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Letter from The Headteacher 9th October 2020

Dear Parents/Carers

As we settle into the term, we felt it would be useful to highlight a few reminders that will help school continue to run smoothly.  I would also like to thank the students, parents and carers for the way in which everyone has supported our determination to get back to school life.

Break and Lunch
Students have worked brilliantly with the new arrangements and we have opened up another till to speed up the process.  Thank you to all for your continued support.

Winter Weather
As we have moved into more cooler and possibly wetter weather students have been very sensible.  They have coped well with moving to their wet weather locations but they must bring a coat to school for days when rain or cold weather is forecast.  We will keep students outside where at all possible both for their own health and well-being and as part of our Covid-19 secure mitigations throughout their lunch break.

Uniform
Thank you for your support in ensuring students have the correct uniform and look smart.  We are proud of the way they look and represent themselves and we appreciate parent/carer support in ensuring that is the case.  As we move into colder weather it is vital that we are clear about the expectations, especially at this time when Covid-19 precautions can add extra complications.  Students should bring a coat but this should be removed once inside, along with hats, scarves and gloves.

Face Coverings
There is very clear guidance from the government that: “you should also wear a face covering in indoor places where social distancing may be difficult and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.”  As a school and Trust you will know we have taken the decision to wear face coverings in communal areas.  There is a requirement for all of our community to play their part in taking care of each other.  We support the small number of students who have reasons why they cannot wear a mask, however, for everyone else, we insist that they be worn in communal areas.  The vast majority of students are fantastic and do follow the recommendation but a small number of students do have masks provided by parents/carers, but have to be reminded to wear them or have to have them replaced every day due to losing them.  It is not acceptable to carry a mask in pockets but be reluctant to wear it, it is equally not acceptable to ignore requests to wash hands or sanitise.  Can we ask that, unless you have a reason for your son/daughter to not wear one, that you please encourage your son/daughter to follow this recommendation and check that they have their covering(s) the night before.

School Closures and Compliance with Precautions
You will be aware that some schools have experienced incidences of school partial closures under Covid-19 restrictions.  I cannot stress strongly enough how much I wish to avoid this eventuality at Heworth Grange School for as long as possible.

We will shortly be publishing online our contingency planning and remote learning protocols in the event of any closure of small groups or years.  This, I hope will provide the reassurance of the continued high-quality curriculum and learning experience your son/daughter will enjoy in any eventuality.  Should we need to trigger these actions as part of increased restrictions we will write to you with clear guidance.

Sickness Absence
If your child is absent from school due to sickness please remember that you must contact the school every day that your child is off to avoid receiving a phone call. 

We do understand that these are changing times and that for students are particularly anxious about what is happening at the moment.   We are working hard to provide a safe, secure and consistent environment that allows them to learn and be happy.  We are managing the external inconsistency in order to keep the school environment as calm as possible.

We thank you for your support in ensuring they also do their bit to help us to maintain that and keep our fabulous school open and purposeful.

Yours sincerely,

Ms A Denholm
Headteacher

Confirmed case of COVID-19

Dear Parents and carers,

A confirmed case of COVID-19 in our School

A member of our school community has tested positive for Covid-19. We have been working closely with Gateshead Public Health Team to carry out a full risk assessment and identify all those who have been in close contact with the affected case.

If you have not already been contacted to inform you that your child should isolate then your child has not been identified as a close contact and therefore does not need to make any change to their usual routine, including school attendance.

The school has already been in touch with parents of close contacts to explain the next steps. We have explained that close contacts must self-isolate for 14 days (this includes household members of the positive case). Only the close contact needs to self-isolate; other members of their household do not need to self-isolate.

If you think that someone in your household has come in contact with a confirmed case or you need help or advice about self-isolation, please call the Gateshead Local Authority. Also, if you need public health advice on testing, that is the number to call.

All appropriate measures are in place in line with the guidance provided to ensure the health and safety of our communities. As a result, the Public Health Team have confirmed that it continues to be safe for the school to remain open, and that all students who are not required to self-isolate should continue to attend school.

Yours Sincerely,

Allie Denholm
Headteacher

Letter from the Headteacher 2nd October 2020

Dear Parents/Carers

As we come to the end of another week I would like to thank you again for your support.  It has been extremely encouraging to receive such positive feedback from parents and carers by telephone and email.  It is very challenging working within the strict guidelines but knowing we have your support makes a big difference to us all.

Year 11 and Year 13 Intervention

We are well aware that Year 11 and Year 13 have missed out on vital learning at such a crucial time leading up to exams.  We have therefore arranged catch up sessions during co-curriculum time on Wednesday and Thursday after school, starting week beginning 5th October for Year 11.  We are currently arranging Year 13 interventions and more details will follow shortly.  Letters detailing intervention for Year 11 are being distributed to students on the 2nd October.

Toilets and Lunchtime

I know that some parents and carers are concerned about lunchtime arrangements.  The shorter lunchtime arrangements are in place to reduce the time students sit opposite each other and to keep the students in their bubbles.  We have to follow government guidelines on this which I appreciate have presented challenges.  We have however taken feedback from parents and carers and students to try and speed up the process.  All toilets are now used by students to reduce queues and we are working with the catering service to open more tills to speed up food queues.  We hope this will help to improve the service in the near future.

Virtual Open Evening

This will take place on Tuesday, 6 October 2020.  Please can you encourage friends and families to join this event and of course promote our wonderful school.

It was a delight to meet with Year 7 students this week to ask them about starting at Heworth Grange School.  They were all so happy to be here and talked about their favourite lessons and of course the school dinners, which they were keen to tell me about.

I am as ever grateful to you for all your support and despite the difficulties of our North East local lockdown I hope you are all managing to keep safe.

Yours sincerely

Ms A Denholm
Headteacher

Letter from the Headteacher 25th September 2020

Dear Parents and carers,

I am writing to you at the end of our first two weeks back both to thank you for the overwhelming support for our return to on site education and to update you on on-going issues and adjustments.

There is a great deal to celebrate about our students returning to school. In particular the way that they have been able to re-focus on their learning and how well they have adjusted to the new measures in place around school. 

Teachers and support staff have been delighted to see how well our students have settled back to work with a strong ambition to do well. During leadership walks around school it has been wonderful to see and hear the familiar sights and sounds of purposeful learning.

Students have adapted exceptionally well to the new seating plans used for lessons, the dining hall and advisory time. This is to ensure that if we need to, we can implement track and trace very quickly. In addition, students have been extremely compliant and thoughtful about using hand sanitiser and wearing their masks in the appropriate areas whilst remaining in their bubbles. I would like to thank you for your support in making sure all our students attend school with their masks. I am aware that false information has been circulating on social media around an outbreak of Covid-19 in school. If school is made aware of any Covid-19 cases we link closely with Public Health and the Department for Education. Parents and carers will be made aware if we are advised that any students should isolate or if any other action needs to be taken. This is a very challenging time for all of us, I ask parents and carers to ensure that they take information from our official social media pages, text messages or letters home and to avoid speculative sources of school information.

Attendance
Obviously, it is really important that our students benefit from being able to learn from their teachers in person, which requires them to be in school. We understand that families may have concerns, but it is really important that unless your child is genuinely ill or isolating due to Covid-19 symptoms in the household or direction from track and trace, that your child attends school.  In addition, if you are in a position where your child has to be off school for a Covid-19 related reason, please ensure that you can provide evidence to cover this absence. It is normal for children to get winter illnesses, but unless symptoms of Covid-19 appear students should to come into school if they feel well enough. We want every child to aim for at least 96% attendance.

Website
We are updating the Covid section of the website regularly as we review daily and adjust our practice in the light of experience and the reality of 1200 students and 120 staff on site. Whilst we are delighted with how well things have gone, equally we continue to work to improve and adjust where needed. Please make sure you check this area of the website to ensure you are familiar with the Covid-19 information.

Arriving to and leaving school site
Students should wear masks on public transport and maintain social distancing on the way to and from school in line with Government guidelines. We have asked students to ensure they are courteous towards local residents by behaving sensibly on the way to and from school and ensuring any litter is put into a bin. We would appreciate your support in reinforcing this message at home.

We would like to thank parents and carers for being conscious of our neighbours when picking up and dropping off students by car.

We will be monitoring well-being of students carefully and ensuring that everyone is adjusting as well as possible to a return to different routines and systems. Please continue to let pastoral staff know if you have any concerns. Thank you for your support which has clearly prepared the students well for their return, this is not unnoticed and is very much appreciated.

Yours sincerely,

Allie Denholm
Headteacher

Letter from the Headteacher 7th September 2020

Dear Parent/Carer,

We have nearly arrived at the exciting moment when we welcome our students back to school for the start of a new academic year. Staff have been preparing relentlessly over the summer both the site and the teaching to allow students to be able to return to what we all do best in a safe and happy environment.

I am writing today with some final details which will hopefully allow you to make the arrangements you need to for the start of term. Other useful information on the school website includes:

Updated Parent/carer FAQs: To reflect changes to government guidance and some additional detail in response to feedback and discussion. This includes information about what to do in instances or suspected cases of Covid-19.

Updated Risk Assessment: This document will remain organic and will reflect changes as and when necessary.

Updated Welcome back booklet Which includes information about entrances, exits, year group zones and how to keep safe.

Staggered start times information- Explaining the dates and times that different year groups return to school.

Wellbeing information: A summary of the range of approaches we will use during this year to support our students. 

A reduced lunch menu– For students to decide what they would like to eat in advance.

There will be changes to the school site, some for Covid-19 secure measures and some because we have continued to make improvements over the summer holiday period. Students will have an extended advisory/tutor period on their first day to learn everything they need to know about how we will be working.

We know the vast majority of our students are well placed to return to an environment they know and in which they are successful both academically and personally. We believe we know the students for whom some additional support may be needed for them to feel confident coming back and we are prepared to provide that to help them as well as any other students in the coming weeks. Teaching staff are preparing to diagnostically determine where the students are academically and plan for their onward progression.

Finally, the preparation for any new school year is always a mixture of nervousness and excitement. This year feels especially heightened, I would you to encourage a sense of calm when discussing returning to school with your child as the partial re-opening before the summer with year 10 and year 12 was a success. I would also ask you to discuss the importance of returning to school to support your child’s learning as well as their well-being.  An enormous amount of planning has gone into ensuring that students and staff will be safe in school. If you have concerns about your child returning to school please contact us to discuss this.

Thank you for your support as we begin our new academic year, I look forward to working with parents and carers as we move forward and our students and staff settle into slightly different patterns. I know that our practice will change and adapt as new information is released but I would ask that we work together with mutual respect and kindness, knowing that Heworth Grange always has your child at the heart of everything we do.

Yours sincerely,

Allie Denholm
Headteacher

School Meal Options *Reduced Menu*

We will be running on a reduced menu upon re-opening of school. Please see menu options below:

Break options:

Monday
Sausage Sandwich
Pizzini

Tuesday
Chicken Goujon Sandwich
Pizza

Wednesday
Croissant
Calzone

Thursday
Bacon Sandwich
Pizza

Friday
Sausage Sandwich
Pizzini


Lunch Options:

Monday
Chicken Joe
Cheese & Ham Panini
Cheese & Pizza Sauce Panini
Sandwich
Yoghurt
Fruit
Cookie
Still Water

Tuesday
Chicken Joe
Pepperoni Panini
Cheese & Pizza Sauce Panini
Sandwich
Yoghurt
Fruit
Cookie
Still Water

Wednesday
Chicken Joe
Chicken Tikka Panini
Cheese & Pizza Sauce Panini
Sandwich
Yoghurt
Fruit
Cookie
Still Water

Thursday
Chicken Joe
BBQ Chicken Panini
Cheese & Pizza Sauce Panini
Sandwich
Yoghurt
Fruit
Cookie
Still Water

Friday
Chicken Joe
Cheese & Ham Panini
Cheese & Pizza Sauce Panini
Sandwich
Yoghurt
Fruit
Cookie
Still Water


© Heworth Grange & Consilium Academies 2020
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