15 July 2018

As we reach the end of an eventful school year life at Walton-le-Dale continues to be interesting and varied.  The trip to Italy is underway - see the updates and photos at https://www.waltonledale.lancs.sch.uk/news/latest/2018-07-15-updates-from-the-italy-trip-july-2018, Duke of Edinburgh expeditions have been completed (https://www.waltonledale.lancs.sch.uk/news/latest/2018-07-15-duke-of-edinburgh-qualifying-expeditions-2018) and our students have participated in a project about WW1 in Mesopotamia (https://www.waltonledale.lancs.sch.uk/news/latest/2018-07-13-ww1-mespotamia-project) and been involved in an Engineering project at Training 2000 - and that is just over the past few days!  We have a penalty shootout in aid of Amnesty International on Wednesday and our end of year activities day on Thursday.  

End of term arrangements

Please be aware that, following our final assembly, all buses and students will depart at 12.20pm on Friday.

Sports Day

It was great to hear strong views from the students, particularly Year 10 and the Head Boy, about how they would like Sports Day to be rescheduled.  With that in mind, Sports Day will now be Friday 21st September (with a reserve date of the 28th September if the weather is poor).   The mature and intelligent way in which this has been discussed is a credit to the students concerned.


Thank you to the parents, carers and students who have talked to me about the Ofsted report.  We are obviously very disappointed, but the fundamentals of the school remain the same - we are very clearly a student-centred school which treats every young person as an individual.  One of the inspection team said that we are clearly a good school, but don't always do good things all the time... We need to turn our positive relationships into academic progress for all students all the time - we will be working hard on this in September, as you might imagine!  We were surprised and troubled about the comment in the Ofsted report about behaviour in lessons so we have investigated this thoroughly - looking at where the inspectors went and what they saw.  Visitors to school (and I usually show around 2 or 3 families each week) comment on the calm atmosphere and positive relationships between staff and students - the worst that Ofsted saw was occasional off-task comments or a student turning around.  We will work on ensuring all students are engaged all of the time, but we value the positive and constructive relationships that we have in the school.  Should you wish to raise any matters with me, either related to the Ofsted report or otherwise, please do not hesitate to do so - every young person has the right to the best possible education.

Building work

Over the summer there are a number of building projects underway.  The biggest is the re-roofing of A Block, which starts on 6th August.  The most time-critical is the refurbishment of all the student toilets both in A Block and D Block which will be completed during the summer break - this will make a big difference to the experience of all our students.  Smaller projects include removing tree roots which are coming up through the paths and splitting my office in two to create a new meeting room.  School will be busy over the summer!

New school year

We look forward to seeing all our students back on Tuesday 4th September - please make sure that they are in correct uniform (having had several weeks with PE kit as an option!).  Shoes are often an issue - please check our website to make sure that you buy suitable ones (https://www.waltonledale.lancs.sch.uk/parents/uniform). It is a break for all our students, but work in preparation for the new year is very useful.  Doddle (https://www.doddlelearn.co.uk/app/login) has resources for all subjects in all years, Mathswatch (https://vle.mathswatch.co.uk/vle/) is fantastic for Maths practice and BBC Bitesize (https://www.bbc.com/education) is a wonderful source of material.  Please contact me if you would like further guidance on work that your son or daughter can do over the summer break.

Uniform Shop

The Uniform Shop will be open at school on weekdays from the 21st to the 31st August (except for the Bank Holiday) from 10am until 2pm.

Awards Evening - PLEASE NOTE

When we rescheduled this event due to the World Cup semi-final we made a mistake with the date.  It is now WEDNESDAY 26TH SEPTEMBER at 7pm (not the 19th as previously advertised).  Apologies for any inconvenience caused.  We look forward to celebrating with this event at the start of the year.

Saying goodbye.... and welcome....

At the end of the school year we bid farewell, as always, to a number of staff.  Mrs Elliott retires, having worked at Walton-le-Dale for 31 years and Mr McCann also leaves the English department, to take up a post in Lancaster.  Their places are taken by Mr Jeffrey and Mrs Crook.  Mrs Bury completes her temporary contract in Science and two new science teachers join us - Mr Shawe and Miss Lappin.  Mr Withers joins the Maths department from September.  We bid farewell to Mrs Ritson in Technology and welcome Mr Cassidy who takes her place.  Mr Keith joins us in Humanities, replacing Mr Anatsui who left at Easter to move to London.  Mrs Gadsby leaves us as a teaching assistant to pursue a career in primary schools.  

I wish all our students, staff, parents and carers a safe and enjoyable summer break and look forward to seeing everyone in September.  

James Harris