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Who are we and what are we like?
Like any new beginnings, it’s always worrying when you don’t know what your ‘new school’ is going to be like – that’s why we've been running our Transition Project so you can send us examples of your masterpieces – in that way, we can learn a little about you, and you can get to know one another a bit more, too. What about our staff, though, what are they like?
Unfortunately, we can’t introduce you to everyone, because you would then be reading this for hours! However, we know it’s helpful to know who some of the most important people will be, so we have outlined some information for you below.
For any Year 7 student, the pastoral team provides a vital support network, particularly in the early days, when secondary school is so different to primary school. For example, most Year 6 pupils experience school days that are centred around ‘their’ teacher and ‘their’ classroom, whereas at Valley Park, our students move around the school between lessons, so they can avail themselves of specialist equipment, laboratories and workshops.
The pastoral team is the group of people which helps all this run smoothly, and they're led by Mr Whatley, Head of Lower School. It’s his job to make sure the Lower School runs smoothly and, in the coming months, that our new students are made to feel welcome and settled as quickly as possible.
Mr Whatley is ably supported by the Head of Year 7 and Student Support Manager, who are the first port of call for any students or parents who have questions or concerns. Whilst the school has been closed, we have taken advantage of being able to give our pastoral spaces a complete overhaul, which means that our new Year 7 students will be the very first to experience our brand-new Student Hub in all its glory – we hope you will like it – and we're even working on a garden that will be a quiet space away from the hubbub of school life, for those students who prefer to have a bit of calm reflection time.
Every morning, your child will meet with their form group and their form tutor. They will either have an assembly with their Head of Year or with Mr Whatley, or they will be engaged in tutor time activities. These activities will have a particular theme and they form part of our enrichment and Personal Development curriculum. There will be opportunities to become involved in our Student Voice, or with competitions, or just to meet new people and get to know them, which is so important when moving schools.
Your child’s form tutor will guide them through such new experiences as understanding their new timetable, knowing how to use their Homework Planner, finding their way around school and making new friends. They will also explain where to find our Health and Welfare Manager, and important matters, like what to do if your child feels unwell during the school day.
There are a few colleagues that your child might see around school more frequently than others, because they oversee the running of the whole school and will probably pop into lessons, especially in your child’s early days at the school. You might also see them if you drop your child to school. We thought it would be helpful to share some information about the Senior Team, so that you know who we are. Below you will find their welcome messages to you as you join our community.
Thank you to everyone who has sent us artwork for the Transition Project so far. You can see three of them in the header at the top of this page. Send us examples of the work you’re proud of, too!
The password for the padlet is: VIAT2020!SeptWelcome
Mrs Hutchinson - Headteacher
Hello, I’m Mrs Hutchinson and I'm very proud to be Valley Park’s Headteacher.
I'm surrounded by a fantastic team of people, all of whom help to make Valley Park the wonderful school that it is. Some of my colleagues have also introduced themselves below, so you can start to feel like you know some of us already - we can’t wait to meet you.
Besides being responsible for the smooth-running of the school, I am actually a Maths teacher so, although my office is directly behind Reception, you might also find me in the Maths Department teaching a lesson. Alternatively, I may visit your lessons, or your assemblies, or tutor times - don’t forget to tell me how Year 7 is going, as I’m always looking for good news stories that I can share with our local community.
I am sure that, when you eventually leave us to start the next exciting chapter in your life, you will have learned so much - but I am very curious about what we might have learned from you along the way, too. Welcome to Valley Park - we are delighted that you have joined us.
Mr Fuller - Deputy Headteacher
Hello, I am Mr Fuller, Deputy Headteacher and a Computer Scientist!
I can’t wait to welcome you into our school community in September, seeing our newest students in your smart new uniform. Part of my job is to make sure you have a broad curriculum, with a timetable of lots of different subjects you can learn, but also to work with Mrs Hutchinson to make sure that your overall school experience is one to remember!
You will find my office in the main corridor behind Reception. Make sure you come and find me to tell me how you are getting on in your new school. The only downside to my office is that my neighbour is Mrs Hutchinson, which makes it very difficult to sneak a biscuit without getting caught…
I look forward to starting your Valley Park journey with you in September!
Mr Whatley – Assistant Headteacher and Head of Lower School
Welcome everyone! I’m Mr Whatley – Assistant Headteacher and Head of Lower School.
A big part of my job is to help you to settle in when you first arrive at Valley Park – I work with your Head of Year and the Pastoral Care Team to support you and to challenge you to do your best. I'll be speaking with you quite regularly when you join us, and throughout the year, to make sure that things go smoothly.
Around my pastoral responsibilities, I'm a Science teacher (Physics is my favourite), and the highlight of last year for me was when I surprised Mrs Hutchinson by setting light to a big handful of bubbles that were in her hands – all in the name of Science, of course!
I'm keen to know how many of you are Crystal Palace fans. Lots I would imagine.
Dr Ekins - Head of Foundation Learning
Hello! I’m Dr Ekins. I am Head of the Foundation Learning Department.
I work with all staff in the school to support any special educational needs and extra help that students might need. My team and I will work closely with you to see how you are settling in and will identify any particular strategies that we need to put in place to help you to learn effectively and to enjoy your time at Valley Park as much as possible.
I look forward to meeting you all very soon!
Mr Sargent - Assistant Headteacher
Hello, I’m Mr Sargent! Like Mr Whatley, I am Assistant Headteacher.
However, I have responsibility for Upper School. Therefore, you’ll see more of me as you move up through our year groups.
I’m also Valley Park’s Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) which means I’m responsible for making sure everybody is safe and sound, and my subject is English.
I’m very much looking forward to meeting you all and working with you over the years. I have just organised leavers’ hoodies for our Year 11s who are departing this year. I wonder how you will design yours when the time comes?
Mr Blyth – Assistant Headteacher
Hello, I’m Mr Blyth – I'm an Assistant Headteacher.
I'm responsible for the Personal Development curriculum at Valley Park, so my job is to help you understand the world in which you live, to make sure you know how to stay safe and to help you become responsible members of society.
I'm also a Music teacher, so you will see me playing in the school shows and in concerts, as well as conducting the choirs. I'm based in the Arts Centre and am looking forward to getting to know you all next year.
I wonder what you will be doing in our annual carol service at Christmas?
Mr Duncan - Assistant Headteacher
Hello, I’m Mr Duncan and I am Assistant Headteacher.
I teach History and Politics, and am also involved in overseeing Science, French, Geography and Computer Science. My office is in the Annexe building (in case you need to ask for directions!), and I teach nearby.
I look forward to getting to know you all... you’ll fit in brilliantly at Valley Park!
If you see me out and about then do say hello; I’m always easy to distract with talk of cats or Manchester United!
Mrs Fuller - Assistant Headteacher
Hello, I am Mrs Fuller, Assistant Headteacher.
I oversee English and Mathematics, and you'll find my office on the ground floor of the Taylor Building, where Mathematics and English are taught. I'm also an English teacher, so I cannot wait to read your stories because you're going to become published authors this year!
Miss Lowe - Assistant Headteacher
Hello I’m Miss Lowe, Assistant Headteacher.
I’m responsible for many subjects in the school however I’m most passionate about Art! I’m looking forward to seeing how creative you are – but also to seeing all the wonderful pieces of work that you have possibly created during the summer break. You will always find me around the school involved in some sort of Art project!
I’m also responsible for the scholarship programme and I know from interviewing many of you that we have lots of talent that I’m excited about experiencing. I hope you are all looking forward to starting your journey with us, as much as I am about meeting you all and getting to know you. You will find my office under the stairs in B block (a bit like Harry Potter!).
Mr Sargent - Building, Estate and Contracts Manager
Hello, I’m Mr Sargent (senior) and I'm responsible for the school buildings and the school grounds.
I ensure that not only are the buildings and grounds safe, but that they're also well maintained. I’m sure you’ll see me around the school, so please make sure you speak to me if you need anything.
Valley Park is a fantastic school to be part of, either as a member of staff or a student – I'm sure you will enjoy your time here with us.