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Please take the time to read this newsletter as it has some vital information regarding the next academic year.

Well, what a completely different last part to the year we have all had. As a Head Teacher, it is my job to strategically plan for the coming year and anticipate potential obstacles which may impede our school’s progress. I can honestly say, I didn’t see this pandemic coming at the start of last year!

However, I would like to say that I am very proud of how our school community has responded over the past months. As a small school, we have always embraced the importance of being a family. During this lock-down period, our school has really stepped up and responded in such a proactive manner; I would like to thank you all.

Students, you have been incredible. Whether you have been working in school in any of the bubbles or working at home using the different virtual platforms we have set up, I am so impressed by the work that you have been completing. I hope that you have appreciated your tutors and teachers calling you and meeting some of you to support you during this time. I can’t wait to see you in September and catch up with you all.

Parents, I cannot thank you enough. I don’t underestimate how difficult it has been for some of you. Trying to support your child’s learning whilst also possibly having to work from home or look after other siblings (trust me, I feel your pain having 3 children and 2 of them under 3!) Throughout this time, you have supported our school and worked with us. I really do appreciate this and again am looking forward to seeing many of you during the next academic year.

Staff, I have never been so proud of being the Head Teacher of Pewsey Vale School. Over the past three years, we have continued to progress and develop. We have increased our numbers, we have doubled our attainment results, we have significantly increased the range of provision that we offer and we continue to grow in reputation. However, it is how you have all conducted yourselves over this past few months that has impressed me the most. You have all stepped up. You have gone above and beyond. Your contributions have meant that we have been able to support all of our students, offer provision both in school and remotely, support the local community through food banks, delivering meals and parcels, advising struggling families and so much more. I sincerely thank you. The Governing Body would also like to pass on their thanks and I would like to thank them for their ongoing support.

Unfortunately, in schools, at the end of the academic year, we say goodbye to people; students and sometimes staff. Regarding the students, Year 11 you are about to embark on pastures new and I wish you the very best in your future – go and be exceptional. Hopefully, we will see some of you on results day and will communicate with you our plans over the coming weeks.

When it comes to the staff, we do unfortunately have some staff leaving us. Mr Beaty has gained promotion and is going to a school in Hampshire, Mr Malhi is retiring after a long and successful career, Ms Hall is relocating to another part of the country, Mrs Sealy has had a career change and Mrs Sparke is retiring after a significant number of years within our school and the community. Some of the staff have written farewells in the newsletter that follows this. I will say my personal goodbyes to these colleagues later on today. However, I would like to publicly say that your contribution, support, candidness and professionalism has been greatly appreciated and I will miss you all. I wish you the very best in your next chapters and know that you will keep in touch.

So, when one door closes another one opens and we have various new members of staff joining us in September. We have been very fortunate in been able to recruit more teachers and staff to support our students when they return and increase our capacity. I look forward to welcoming in September Mrs Hannon as a Teaching Assistant, Mrs Blackstock as our new Science Technician, Mr Adkins as our new RM teacher, Miss Bawcutt as our new PE and Maths teacher, Miss Johnson as our new PE and Science teacher, Mrs Furness as our new Second in English, Mr Hewitt will be joining us permanently as our MFL teacher and Mrs Key will be our new Food teacher. As you can see, our school continues to grow and provides specialist support and teaching in all areas.

In addition to welcoming these new staff, we will also be welcoming our new Year 7s. Over the past few weeks we have been very busy meeting as many of you as we can. The video calls, virtual messages we’ve sent and the packs home that you’ve had have hopefully helped. It was also great to see so many of you online for our live You Tube Transition Evening on Tuesday. I look forward to seeing you in September.

So, regarding September. I have put in an additional Inset day on the first week back as we need to prepare for working under Covid circumstances. Therefore, Year 7 & 11 return to school on Friday 4th September and all other year groups return on Monday 7th. As it stands, all students will be in at the normal times although lessons may be taught differently and the school will probably be zoned in the first few weeks. More information will be sent to you about this at the end of the holidays.

School uniform will not be required for the first month so please do not panic. Parents have had enough to put up with over the past few months without panicking about buying school uniform. Students can wear something practical, comfortable and appropriate. If they wish to wear uniform, then obviously this is also ok. So, now comes the time for me to say goodbye until after the holiday. I emphasise what I said at the start of this message – thank you. Some of us will be in a lot during the next 6 weeks but I am encouraging all students to take a break from work, some of you have preparatory work to do and some wish to do some catch up but you all need to take some rest. In the meantime, please stay safe, take care and fingers crossed I will see you all in September.

Neil Pritchard

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