Email to Principal, SLT and staff received Friday 2 Oct 2020
I can't quite believe today is my last day after deciding to take early retirement and relocate to Wales (emphasis on early retirement - don't let Kyla tell you otherwise!).
Although I haven't been with you long, I wanted to put into words how grateful I am that I have ended my career on such a high with true belief in our profession being restored.
As several of you know, I became very despondent with teaching over the last few years; pastoral care seemed to take a back seat; children were no longer such individual and unique beings but data and percentages; more and more lessons were no longer about the learning but about getting facts right for SATs results and children were disengaged. Staff no longer spent time with each other and some hardly seemed to acknowledge each other down the corridor - such was the pressure being felt. I therefore decided to do supply so that I could get the benefit of being in the classroom without the politics that went with it. However, supply had its drawbacks, for example no longer building relationships with children.
It was at this point that I also started working here at WHA as part-time PPA cover and I soon realised how welcoming and friendly everyone was (thank you to Kim in particular) and, when the part-time year 4 teaching vacancy came up, I decided to go for it again and take up the position. Obviously at this point I had no intention of moving to Wales but we found our dream home, hence my time here being short-lived.
It's been enlightening to see the amount of pastoral care here and, let's face it, we cannot and should not forget that a child can't learn unless they are in the right place for learning. All the hard work done to make the children feel safe and happy may not show results in progress straight away, but that hard work DOES pay off and it is refreshing to see the effort put into children's well-being here.
Staff not only have time to talk to each other, but make an effort to have lunch together, albeit in their bubbles at the moment, and this makes such a difference to teacher well-being.
When SLT appear at your classroom door, it is to check IN with you, not check UP on you, and are there to offer assistance at all times. You get told "well done" too, rather than just told what you should be doing better.
So thank you to all at WPA for completely restoring my faith in our fantastic profession. I have such happy memories to take with me now and, although I am looking forward to my retirement and relocation, I am definitely feeling quite emotional today. That in itself says it all really!
Take care, look after yourselves and continue to look after each other as you all do so well.
All the very, very best,
Email received by Principal 8 Sept 2020
I have been thinking of everyone a lot over the past week. I hope the children and staff are settling into their new routines well.
I arrived at Western House Academy feeling a little tired and disenchanted with teaching (as many teachers do after several years in the profession). I am delighted that I stumbled upon this absolute gem of a school, it rejuvenated my passion for teaching with its work ethos, support and fantastic network of professionals and enthusiastic children. It is wonderful to work alongside a team of people who are passionate about their various roles which makes this school a well-oiled machine. I was incredibly sad to say goodbye to this school but will always remember my time here fondly and hope to cross paths again in the future.
Email received by Mrs Snowden 19 July 2020
Hi Coral (Principal),
Once again, Thank you for the bottom of my heart for all your support and guidance over the years. You have made me feel a part of the WHA family. I am really going to miss everyone!
The moment I walked through the doors at Western House Academy, I knew this was the place I wanted to be. There is a positive ethos around the school that immediately grows on you. I started here as an NQT and quickly become Team Leader in the middle of my second year of teaching. I was inspired and guided by some brilliant Teachers and Vice Principals to help me grow as a practitioner. The school has outstanding staff who always put the children at its forefront. The curriculum is well rounded to ensure that each child has the opportunity to excel. I have been given many development opportunities to support me in my career which has enabled me to become a Vice Principal after four years of teaching. The WHA values are ingrained in the children, staff and the whole school.
Mrs Snowdon [sic] has led the school to great success due to her love and dedication to the children. This can be seen in the staff and the teaching and learning across the school. It is truly a family here at WHA!