First Word on Parental Thanks

Welcome back to all reader’s of the Weekly Word. Over the coming weeks I will use these columns to discuss the excellent results achieved by students at the school at both GCSE and A-level.

However, I would like to start by focusing upon something even more important. Last year I used my first column to share a parental letter which focussed on the process of settling in and being happy in the school. Many new parents in both Y7 and Y12 told me how helpful they had found the letter, so with apologies to those who dislike repeats, I would like to share it once again in the hope that it will prove useful to new members of the school community.

For most parents, their child’s first days at secondary school are a worrying rite of passage as they move from a small primary school to the larger, more intimidating scale of secondary school and face the daunting prospect of the challenges of the next seven years in a new environment. At the end of summer term 2010 I received the following letter from a Year 13 parent, and hope that by sharing it with you some of the concerns you may currently be feeling will be allayed.

I write this letter of thanks as school term draws to a close and my son’s 2nd year of 6th form also ends. As with most families we now anxiously await our son’s A-Level results to see if he has achieved the required grades to ensure his acceptance to his chosen University.

Whatever his academic results however, I would like to thank you, both personally and your excellent teaching staff. I have found the school to be first rate in terms of its teaching and of course its subsequent results and ratings but there is a lot more to the school than just academia. The pastoral care and encouragement given to our son has helped him grow into a confident, happy and popular young man. He has the confidence to perform on stage both for drama and music and the atmosphere engendered amongst the boys is positive and supportive – again this stems from the attitude and efforts of your staff and is certainly to be commended.

Writing this takes me back to his far less than confident start as he stood at the gates on his first day – drawing deep breaths to steady his nerves. Indeed being one of the youngest in his year as well as one of the smallest students is not easy for anyone and he attracted the attentions of a bully within the first term. I was very concerned but felt that you dealt with the situation very quickly, efficiently and left us all with the confidence that his remaining years would be trouble free in this regard – and they were.

I also recall the nerves with which we faced the school outward bound trip – the first time many of the children had been away from home and probably the first time they were involved in many of the outdoor activities included. My son was also very nervous as this came so early on in the school curriculum. My wife and I watched the coach pull away and fervently hoped he would cope. Incidentally, I remember attending the school meeting prior to the trip at which a member of staff read out a parents letter which was aimed at calming our parental fears. Like many parents I am sure, we sat thinking “oh yes that is ok for their son but he couldn’t have been like ours!”

Needless to say we were early for the coach return having worried for the entire time he was away and quickly over to see how he had coped. When I asked him how it had been he said – and I quote this verbatim – “it was great! I could have done with a couple more days though”…

The reason I make such a lengthy recollection is that if it is of any help to future parents, please feel free to show them this letter as it may also help to calm their fears – believe me we were worried parents of the first degree and yes our son was as nervous as theirs probably is today – honestly!

I believe that Lawrence Sheriff School, its teaching staff and the structure you have created has provided our son with many of the skills he will need to make good his career path as well as a happy and fulfilling future and you have my deepest gratitude for all of your efforts with him.

Thanks Again!

With kind regards.

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