Email received by Mrs Snowden 4th June 2020
Dear Coral (headteacher),
We are living in strange times but I think it will be the familiar that will bring us clear of it all.
I'm not going to take too much of your time as I do realise that you have an amazing amount of stuff to work through.
I am so grateful to be working within such a team and workplace that has afforded me time to keep my focus periodically on the job that I really enjoy whilst remaining mentally free to ensure the safety of my family rather than on any time or monetary constraints. It's been a rollercoaster ride start to 2020 but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
During lockdown I guess we have all faced the threat among us with trepidation and feared the worst fuelled by news reports and rumours but the one constant has been the calm composure you have shown throughout. You always have time for people, whether it is one of our lovely pupils or one of our team of colleagues.
I know that everyone returning to work on Monday was worried and I admit I felt very vulnerable. I had read the risk assessment and the Operational Plan but worried about how it would actually "work" in reality. Once I arrived at work and saw your familiar easy smile it made me feel a lot more confident. Coral your confidence and positivity is infectious and you have carried me through the first three days of opening to more pupils to realise that the new normal is very achievable. In just three days you have guided us and supported us, thank you.
I realised today that we have children in our school laughing and playing and learning and enjoying and still they can cope with social distancing. I can also see our SLT team beavering away supporting and advising in a very special and caring way.
I just really wanted to say that you are appreciated so much for being such a calm, supportive and considerate person.
xxxxxx (current member of staff)
Letter received by Head Teacher 26 November 2019
Dear Mrs. Snowden,
It was an absolute pleasure to start my teaching career at Western House Academy. Moving to a new country and starting a new career was intimidating, but the team at Western House made my journey an exciting one. I never felt as if I was simply just “a teacher” I felt part of the entire family. From the executive team, the staff, the parents and children, everyone made me feel welcomed, supported, and ready to start my teaching career.
Coming into a new Country, there was a lot of differences from the curriculum I was used to. I never felt overwhelmed because I knew there was a whole team I was able to confide in if I felt uneasy. The staff supported me in learning new terminology, vocabulary and learning expectations. The students showed me how much fun school was, and how silly a Canadian accent can be when trying to learn phonics together. The parents amazed me in how our classroom quickly became one big family. And my Year One team exhibited how well a team
can work together to put each and every child first.
I have countless stories and memories from my experiences at Western House Academy. One being every morning you (Mrs. Snowden) would welcome my roommates and I and we would share stories of how our nights or weekends were. Not only did we have a professional relationship, but we also had a genuine one. Each and every child I came into contact with made an impact in my teaching career. I will never forget all the amazing Year One students I had the pleasure of teaching. Each day they came in with positive attitudes and ready to learn.
I cannot thank the Western House Academy family enough for all the support, education and friendships I received while teaching at Western House Academy. If I ever had the opportunity to come back, I would in a heart beat!!
Email received by Headteacher 8 November 2019
Dear Mrs Snowden,
I miss Western House greatly and I cannot wait to return. Teaching at Western House was an incredible experience and the children and staff were very welcoming and helpful. The children of Western House are thoughtful and caring learners who demonstrate the school values through their learning and the ways in which they interact with their peers and the staff at the school. The children were patient and understanding when I said something that they did not quite understand and we were often amused by the different ways I pronounced words and the different phrases I said. The children were very curious about where I came from and had a variety of questions about Canada. What surprised me the most was the interest they showed in my family and how I could move to a new country without knowing anyone here. I remember clearly one discussion I had with a Year 1 girl who told me "that's okay because now you know us and we can take care of you!" which just further illustrates how caring the children are.
The staff at Western House were amazing and tremendously helpful especially in the first weeks of working at Western House. They welcomed me with open arms and made sure that I knew that I could ask anyone about anything I felt unsure of and that no question was too silly. Thanks to the fantastic support of the staff, I was quickly able to adjust to teaching the Western House way and never felt overwhelmed by the differences from teaching back in Canada.
I hope to be able to return to the place that quickly became "home" for me soon.
Email received by Specialist MFL Teacher 12 Oct 2019
Many thanks for your email. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you and the school for your outstanding commitment to teaching French. Your students come to our school with a very sound understanding which compliments our SOW and enables us to really stretch them and extend their learning.
I analysed our results in summer and it was very clear that students from Western House were doing considerably better than students from other primary schools. I used the data to speak to other local schools only a couple of weeks ago to urge them to introduce their students to languages at KS2 because not learning French at primary is having a detrimental effect on their progress in KS3, as one can appreciate. When I realised that xxxxxxxxx worked at Western House I thought it would be a brilliant opportunity to send you my details and I am so glad to have received your response.
I would be delighted to work with you! When and where would be most convenient?
Look forward to hearing from you.
xxxxxxxxx (secondary school MFL teacher)