News from the Wessex Learning Trust


Thank You and Adieu at Wedmore First School Academy

20th December, 2017 by Jude Owens

One of our Wessex Learning Trust Schools, Wedmore First School Academy will be saying adieu at the end of this month to a much-loved member of staff when Headteacher Jackie Hipwell retires after 16 years in post.

Jackie joined Wedmore Headteacher in September 2001 for her first headship post and has stayed until her retirement. During her time in post Jackie has been a dedicated professional who always strived to make learning fun for children; whilst working hard to meet the increasingly challenging national expectations in education over the years. Indeed, under Jackie’s leadership, Wedmore has had three successful Ofsted inspections (2006, 2009 and 2014) when it was judged Good in each inspection, meeting the increasingly demanding Ofsted criteria. But as well as academic success, Jackie has always been a very caring and kind professional who worked hard to develop the ‘whole child’ so that children leave Wedmore First School as polite, confident, articulate and enthusiastic young people, ready for the next stage of their learning journeys.

Determined also to provide the best learning environment for children and with ever-growing pupil numbers, Jackie has led many building projects. Not least the refurbishment of the school’s original dining hall area as a library, resource and teaching area, a new kitchen extension and changing rooms for the swimming pool; as well as bringing the school’s catering facilities and nursery ‘in house’ under the school’s direct control. Most recent developments are the completion of the four classroom extension of the main building in March this year and the ongoing refurbishment of the nursery.

Wedmore First School was one of the first schools in Somerset to convert to an Academy in July 2011 and Jackie assumed a key role in bringing about the formation of the Wessex Learning Trust from September 2016 and was Deputy CEO for the inaugural year working with other local Cheddar Valley First Schools, Hugh Sexey Middle School and The Kings of Wessex Academy.

During her headship at Wedmore, Jackie has also worked in close partnership with neighbouring First School Heads; and has played a positive role in the Wedmore community, participating in a number of community projects; including working with Wedmore Green Group, Wedmore in Bloom and the Parish Council.

Commenting on her time in post Jackie said:.
“I have very much enjoyed my time working with the children, parents and staff of Wedmore and other schools and there have been many, many positives, and some challenges too! I would like to say a big thank you for the opportunity of being Head at Wedmore and I am now looking forward to fulfilling my future plans in this next stage of my life.”

Wedmore First School Academy will be celebrating Jackie to thank her for all her devotion and commitment to many children over her 16 years in post and wish her a happy and fulfilling retirement.

Executive Headteacher Gavin Ball said:.
“On behalf of everyone in the Wessex Learning Trust I would like to thank Jackie for her very real dedication to Wedmore First School Academy and the countless children she has inspired and nurtured over these 16 years. Jackie has been instrumental in developing the Trust and we remain forever grateful to her. She will be missed and we wish her well in her retirement.”

Former students and parents have asked if they can make a contribution towards Jackie’s leaving gift and can contact the school:
Wedmore First School Academy, Blackford Road, Wedmore, Somerset BS28 4BS.
Tel: 01934 712643 Email: office@wedmore.somerset.sch.uk