17th October 20
12th October 20
The Sixth Form lecture series has been running for a few weeks now – the speaker either visits us or Francis Holland – and the lecture is filmed to be shared with those that can’t be there in person. The Drama Studio hosted something a little different for the Year 12 on Monday. Harry Baker, a Bristol Maths & German graduate and the youngest ever World Slam Poetry Champion, talked to the boys about his love of language, shared some of his poetry including the first poem inspired by an idea he had on his paper round, and the poem he wrote on his favourite prime number (59).
The School has today focussed on mental health and wellbeing as it is World Mental Health Day tomorrow. It was the focus for this afternoon’s PSHE session and also for this afternoon’s assembly which was done by Section so that age appropriate advice and information could be shared. The Year 13 have also produced a video on their techniques for coping with pressure. It is impressive that they have found the time to do this at a point in the year when they are juggling competing academic demands.
The Year 13 are focussed on their applications to university at the moment and for some the application deadline is the end of next week. Those applying to Oxbridge or for medicine and dentistry are pulling the final pieces together. The medics have all recently sat the UCAT and there are tests coming up in early November for Oxbridge. It is a challenging time for them, and with such competitive applications there are more challenges to come but I congratulate them on all they have done so far.
5th October 20
Throughout lockdown the LAMDA teaching continued online and I am very pleased that so many of the boys managed to sit the exam over the summer. The results that we have received so far have been excellent. 7 boys passed with Merit and 3 with Distinction, one in Grade 8 and two in Grade 5, which is a great achievement as only around 10% of entrants receive this grade. These qualifications help build confidence with public speaking and communication skills so are well worth pursuing as they build important skills for later life.
One teacher has also had something to celebrate. Mr Astbury-Palmer, the Head of Maths, has been selected for an Outstanding Educator Award by the University of Chicago. The award has been running for the last three decades. Each year new undergraduates are asked to “to nominate an educator whose guidance has helped them along the path toward intellectual growth”. Mr Astbury-Palmer was nominated by one of our students who left us at the end of last academic year. I am sure you will join me in congratulating him.
I am pleased that Miss Twomey and Mr Tibbles have started rehearsals for the Sixth Form play. As those who have been here for some time will know, the Drama department have moved easily between genres – from promenade and physical theatre to horror and farce – and have chosen an interesting piece and approach for this term’s production. Beat the Devil, a monologue written by David Hare about his experiences in lockdown, will be divided between a number of boys and will be streamed in early December. We look forward to seeing it!
28th September 20
I hope that you have all had a good week. Again I have been pleased by the way the boys have responded to the circumstances in which we are running the School. I am also grateful to you for the steps you have taken to make sure the school is safe and kept your sons out of school if they are showing potential symptoms. It is tough that the last few months have seen us all make sacrifices and it is to last for a while yet, but I hope you will continue to reinforce the message with your sons that the steps being put in place at School and more widely are important for all of us.
Clubs are now running every lunchtime for those year groups not attending games. Please encourage your sons to get involved in the activities where possible – duty staff in Hannah House are encouraging them towards the clubs and tutors will be monitoring involvement but do also have a conversation with your sons about what they can do to make the best use of their time. From Ukelele Club Ensemble to Cryptic Crosswords, from DJ-ing to Mandarin, Debating to Coding as well as Psychology and Sociology Club for the Sixth Form. It is sad that the full range cannot be open to everyone but there is a broad programme in place for when normality returns.
I was pleased today to be given an afternoon off my weekly Team assembly by the Head Boy, Monty Cortazzi, and his two deputies, who made a film for the School about studying and study skills. They not only shared their own experiences but also drew on the knowledge of some of the teaching staff – Mr Bray, Ms Ataii and Mr Eade. It is not easy to establish yourself as the leaders of the student body when you are operating in a bubble but they delivered a strong message to the community and I hope the boys will take away a few tips that they can incorporate into their own routines.
21st September 20
Today started well – first thing this morning, as the boys were arriving at School, a number of last year’s leavers gathered to present an honours board as a souvenir of their time at the School. Some have already made their way to university, others head off this weekend and a few are starting courses remotely at home. It was lovely to see them all, to give them their Old Boys ties and to share a few memories with them. They were a year group, and a set of parents, who did so much to support the School in its early days and although it wasn’t the event we planned, it was great to see them and hopefully the rules will let us be all in one place soon.
So, as the leavers pack their trunks, we turned our thoughts earlier this week to the future plans of our current pupils. On Wednesday evening, Mrs Deedat and Jason Smith from UES hosted a webinar with representatives from USC, Notre Dame, NYU, Wake Forest and the university I find most fascinating, St John’s College, at which all students follow the Great Books curriculum, reading around 200 of the greatest books ever written, starting with Homer’s Iliad and finishing in the modern era. Listening to the different speakers I find myself both envious of and excited for the boys who have such a range of opportunity today.
Sixty clubs and activities returned to School from this week, with all the boys having their first Friday session today. The bubbles do not allow the free choice across all the clubs that the boys had last year but there is a range of options in each year group which I hope they will enjoy. Once the sports venues reopen we will add those back in too. As with all things, we will keep reviewing the offering and making adjustments. The Barometer, our pupil-led publication, is the first club that will operate across all year groups via Teams and we look forward to their first edition at half term. All boys are welcome and encouraged to contribute to it.
24th August 20
Wetherby Senior announces another strong set of GCSE results – the school’s third set of results since it first opened its doors in September 2015
Seth Bolderow, Headmaster, said: “The uncertainty that has surrounded this examination period has been very unsettling for boys and their parents. I am, therefore, particularly pleased that the system has recognised the boys’ hard work over the last two years. I have been so impressed by their positivity and resilience and look forward to welcoming them back knowing they are well positioned for their onward transition into the Sixth Form.”
Based on the results received:
3rd July 20
The rise of the sequel in cinemas has replaced endings with cliffhangers or teasers and a good ending is important – endings give meaning to the story we have been enjoying and prompt reflection on what we have just seen. Our traditional end of year prize giving is also intended to do that, it is an afternoon on the end of term when at the end of a busy year, we can look back on all that has gone before, recognise the achievements and progress the community has made.
I hope that today’s video which the boys will have watched in tutor time will prompt that same reflection and give them a chance to look back with their tutor and friends on their year and all that they have achieved both before and during lockdown. Good progress has been made by your sons and that I have been receiving shout outs right up until yesterday is a testament to their hard work and that of the staff. I know that there have been opportunities missed but they have made the most of a very difficult situation. If they can take that resilience and independence forward into their studies next year they will do well.
And so, as the country begins to re-open, I hope that you are all able to have some time away, to recharge and I look forward to seeing you all in September.
Have a wonderful summer.
8th June 20
I hope that you all enjoyed the half term break – the boys have settled back in well and I have enjoyed reading the shout outs this week. I was also pleased to see so many of the boys engage with the inter-Trib Drama and Music competitions – the quality of the entrants was excellent in both competitions and I look forward in particular to seeing how the music competition develops when we are all back together in the future.
The English Department would like to invite the entire school community to take part in Wetherby’s ‘Celebrate and Educate Reading Scheme’. Building upon this year’s Diversity Day and the School’s ongoing promotion of Wetherby values, the scheme hopes to encourage the celebration and education of diversity and difference. The current Black Lives Matter protests in America have no doubt sparked curiosity and questions from many of the boys. As always, the English Department would like to use literature as a springboard to help the boys further understand and engage with such an important and topical issue.
The English Department will ask boys, parents and staff members to write a short review of their chosen text once they have read it. We hope to share all recommendations and reviews at the end of the term.
As you know, we are working towards reopening for Year 10 and Year 12 on 15th June. It is important that the boys are given some time in School for their wellbeing and it will also allow us to prepare for next academic year when we may face similar challenges and periods of reduced numbers in School. Please be reassured that the safety of the community is our priority and meetings have taken place this week, including a walk around of both buildings, to make sure that everything will be in place for a return with social distancing in place.
With best wishes, Seth
22nd May 20
I hope that this last newsletter of the half term finds you well. I have been informed this week of some families that are unwell with the virus. I hope that you get well soon and please know you are in my thoughts.
The world of education has been under the spotlight this week with much of the talk around whether schools would or should reopen. Whilst most of the focus is on primary age children, the government would also like Year 10 and 12 to have some face-to-face time with their teachers before the end of term. We are currently preparing a timetable for boys to return to school two days per week, so we do not have both year groups in at the same time and help us to maintain social distancing. The timetable has also been planned so that boys and staff do not have to travel during peak travel times. I must however stress that any reopening is conditional upon the Government’s five tests being met. Once we have confirmation, which I understand is likely to come towards the end of next week, I will be in touch with more details.
Many staff were pleased and surprised to receive messages from their pupils thanking them for their hard work earlier this week. It was a much needed boost at the end of a challenging half term. I was very pleased to receive this message from the PTA which I share with you all:
“On behalf of the WSS PTA, we would like to express our gratitude to all of the teachers, support staff and also the Wellbeing Team who have so quickly adapted to the new way of working. During these very uncertain times, it is reassuring to know that WSS teachers have carried on with the daily task of educating our boys with both professionalism and humour. We salute you all and would like to recognise your vital contributions as we mark National Thank a Teacher Day.”
As ever, I am grateful for the support of the PTA.
This week has seen one of the adaptions we have had to make this term as the Year 11 started on the A Level Foundation Course which will give them a taste of the subject matter they will be covering over the next two years as well as the independence necessary for success at A Level. That they will have the chance to start the course before we return as well as finding out early if they have made the right choices is an opportunity others have not had and I am pleased to hear that they are embracing the opportunity and working hard.
I hope that you all have a very good half term and I will be in touch with further updates as I have them.
Best wishes, Seth
15th May 20
I hope that this email finds you safe and well. It has been another good week with lots of shout outs from the staff and excellent work from the boys. I have had good work shared with me, from Oscar Frederiksen’s computer animation to explain how different variables change pressure (tune into my assembly later for a short snippet), to Lorenzo creating an avatar for Mr Pimlott to use.
I also want to mention the excellent work of Harry Singh Virdee in Year 11 and Monty Cortazzi in Year 12 who have helped West London Mission sort and deliver groceries to homeless men in the area earlier this week. The men are usually accommodated in the night shelter on Seymour Place but have all been relocated to hotels in the area. They distributed bags and bags of groceries generously donated by Waitrose and I know they hope this is the first of many such deliveries.
As I mentioned in assembly last week, we are saying goodbye to a year group for the first time. Their commitment to the School Community continues to inspire me – Louis Jegou has offered to tutor younger boys in Maths over Microsoft Teams. I hope that any younger boys who need help in this area will take Louis up on this very kind offer. A normal Year 13 farewell would include an opportunity for them to talk with staff, share some memories and say goodbyes – Zoom, which has become the tool for all sorts of communicating and socialising, will be the venue for their farewell later today.
Many of the staff have put together farewell videos for our Year 13 leavers to share some stories and memories of the year group (I particularly enjoyed the story about Mr Warner convincing a Duke of Edinburgh participant that they needed to bow to the cows to pass safely through a field) and pass on some words of advice for the future (“never pretend to be more well-read than you actually are”).
I was struck by two things watching the videos – firstly the affection the staff have for the boys and secondly that the boys are taught by a fascinating, interesting, caring and funny group of teachers. Watching the videos reminded me how lucky I am to have the workmates I have and how much I am looking forward to working with them in person in the future.
I hope you enjoy the weekend.
Best wishes, Seth
I hope that this email finds you safe and well. ...