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A special time for families, Christmas is also a particularly lovely time in schools.

It’s an opportunity for celebration and performance and gives parents and families a chance to join in school events.

Plans to extend the October school half term to a fortnight are not at this stage being taken forward by the Samuel Ward Academy Trust following the results of a widespread consultation.

Dear Parent/Guardian,

I am writing to you to inform you that I have opened a consultation with staff and their union representatives on changing the staffing structure at Samuel Ward Academy.

In the last few years, the Samuel Ward Academy Trust has provided increased funds to Samuel Ward Academy to support its growth through increased pupil numbers. Due to increased pressures on funding, this has now become unsustainable.

At the start of every year, we always review term dates. As the Trust has eight Haverhill schools under its banner, we thought we might look at trying something different.

The main proposal is to extend the October half-term to a second week to make it a fortnight’s holiday.

With Samuel Ward Academy Trust bidding to build two new special schools in Ipswich and Romford, we spoke to Georgina Ellis, headteacher of our Churchill Special Free School, about what is the secret behind their success. Churchill was rated as 'Outstanding' by Ofsted in 2015.