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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 run 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.
At the top of this page, you can see examples from our current Year 7 students - did any of them come from your primary school? Maybe we will be using your illustrations in our welcome booklet for next year's Year 7s....
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 Sargent, Senior Assistant Headteacher. It’s his job to make sure the pastoral side of school life runs smoothly and, in the coming months, that our new students are made to feel welcome and settled as quickly as possible.
Mr Sargent 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 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.
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 Whatley – Deputy Headteacher
Welcome everyone! I’m Mr Whatley – Deputy Headteacher.
A big part of my job is to help Mrs Hutchinson to make Valley Park an amazing school and one where you will be happy and successful. I’ve been at Valley Park for seven years now and really enjoy working here. As well as my leadership responsibilities , I'm a Science teacher (Physics is my favourite), and the highlight of the last transition day we held in school, 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 get to know more about you and to find out how many of you are interested in science too.
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 - Senior Assistant Headteacher
Hello, I’m Mr Sargent! I’m a Senior Assistant Headteacher here at Valley Park and I ensure that we have the staff and procedures in place to best support you, our students. You’ll see a lot of me as you move throughout the school, so be sure to say “hello” and let me know how you are getting on.
I also support the student council in ensuring that the voice of the student is well-heard throughout our community. Could you be our next year 7 councillor? Would you like to share the ideas generated by you and your peers to contribute to the betterment of the school? If so, get involved in the student election at the start of the year to embark on your campaign journey in the student council!
I’m also Valley Park’s Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) which means I’m responsible for making sure everybody is safe and sound while we go about our lives in the Valley Park Community. Therefore, if your worried about anyone in our community, make sure you speak to me or one of the pastoral team to share these worries.
I’m very much looking forward to meeting you all and working with you over the years.
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.