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3 October 2022

In one sense, it is remarkable to think that we have been back at school for a whole month and yet, in the same breath, it feels much longer than that as so much has happened. 

We have had the hugely significant period of national mourning for Queen Elizabeth II, as well as the Bank Holiday for her incredibly memorable and moving funeral. We held our Main School Open Evening for prospective parents and students looking to join us in Year 7, at which our current school community really showed the best of itself and provided a warm and proud welcome to all visitors. I look forward to welcoming current Year 10 and Year 11 students and their parents and carers, as well as those looking to join us from other schools, at our College Open Evening on Wednesday this week, where I know our students and staff will do us proud again. 

As Headteacher, the start of this term feels particularly positive as it is the first since I started at Warlingham School & Sixth Form College where the focus of September has been exclusively on education and not either implementing social distancing measures or organising wholesale COVID-19 testing of the school community. As such, it has been great to use this fresh start to re-establish and reinforce the key values and standards and expectations of our school community. 

My assemblies at the start of this term focused on the importance of our community being inclusive and supportive of all of its members, ‘living’ our values of courage, commitment and kindness and having ambitious goals for what we individually and collectively can achieve this year. The new Year 7 students have made an excellent start in doing all of these and are already making a very positive contribution to our community having settled in and set high standards for themselves from the outset. You will have noticed that we have introduced a new information management system called Arbor, which (while we are grateful for your patience and support during the early stages of its introduction) we are confident will really help the channels of communication and support we can provide together as a school, and as parents and carers for the students at Warlingham. 

This newsletter introduces you to the leaders in our House Team and the leaders within our College community as the College Student Leadership Team. The building of capacity in our House Team to provide the best support possible to students has been a big priority during, and in the aftermath, of the COVID-19 Pandemic. The development of our new House Hub, along with the future building of our new Mental Health and Wellbeing hub to develop the excellent work of The Bridge, are positive developments this year. It is also great to look forward to the coming year in which the college students are able to much more fully act as leaders and role models in our school community and I know that they are excited to do just that. On the subject of role models in our school community, I could not fail to recognise the phenomenal achievement of Year 11 student Holly R in swimming the full length of Lake Windermere – huge congratulations to Holly and what an inspiring role model for all our community of courage and incredible commitment.

We have a busy and exciting term ahead and I am eager to see how we build on the fantastic start to the year we have had so far.