Dear Woodfield Academy Community,
In this first week of being the new Headteacher of Woodfield Academy I would like to introduce myself and share with you my ambition for the school. Having worked as a senior leader in a middle school I feel well placed to understand the challenges and rewards which go with the privilege of leading the Academy. As a Physical Education teacher for many years, I find great parallels between the dedication and work ethic required by athletes to get to the top of their sporting field and that of what we want to develop in our pupils. The managers, coaches, officials, medical staff, analysts and sports psychologists work together to produce the very best and it is this collective leadership and the hard work of the participants which breeds winning teams and performers. With the Olympics and Euros behind us I would like to echo the message which Gareth Southgate sent out to England as a basis to address the Woodfield community.
There’s something I like to remind pupils and the reason that I repeat it is because I really believe it with all my heart. I tell them that when you wear the school badge you have the opportunity to climb which ever mountain you want to tackle and that anything is possible. You are part of an experience that you will remember for the rest of your life so make the most of it.
Everybody will have their own idea of what it means to be ‘Woodfield’, but one word we should all use to describe it is ‘pride’. My belief is that everyone has pride, and for the pupils who walk through the gates in the morning it should have a great meaning, where wearing our badge and being part of our school is important to everyone.
This idea that some pupils don’t have pride or have a low opinion about going to school is something of a false narrative. You don’t need to dig deep to realise that. Try telling a pupil they can’t play for the school sports team, that an after school club has been cancelled, a trip can’t go ahead due to the weather or that their favourite teacher is leaving. You only need to see the friendship groups and the collective feeling of belonging to know that without Woodfield their lives would be less.
It’s their duty to continue to interact with each other positively and promote the school when they are beyond the gates. Acting with respect and courtesy to the public whilst making sure the uniform is worn correctly, with the local community identifying such behaviours as a pupil from Woodfield. It’s clear to me that we are heading for a much more tolerant and understanding society, and I know our pupils will be a big part of that. I want our pupils and parents/carers to share this tolerance for each other and to make the school environment one of respect and joy.
We do have a special identity and that remains a powerful motivator. You have all chosen to be part of the Woodfield team, myself included, so let’s work together and build a future we will all be proud of. When putting on the uniform for the first time or even the 100th time, stand tall, be confident and most of all ‘go for it’. Having the chance to achieve and aim as high as possible is what Woodfield is about.
Everybody in the school community should have a voice and know that someone is there to listen. Communication between pupils, parents/carers and staff is an important part of building strong
relationships. I encourage everyone to use the school Facebook and Twitter accounts to keep up to date with weekly information whilst the school newsletter will also be distributed. These will be key in celebrating our achievements and recognising the great work of our pupils on a daily basis. We all know how praise and reward can motivate and increase self-esteem and we wish to share this with you as often as possible.
I look forward to getting to know you much better over the coming weeks, but I hope this introduction shows you the passion and pride which Woodfield Academy will be formed upon. So let’s all get ready to stand tall, be proud of what we represent and work as one team to make Woodfield Academy a special place for us all.
Mr Neil Straw
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