Category: Letters

A letter from the Head Teacher

16th October 2020

Dear Parents/Carers

Thank you for your continued support with all our efforts to ensure Heworth Grange School is a truly wonderful place to study and work.

We will shortly publish our contingency planning on line in the Covid Section of the website.  This outlines how our school will operate if we have to partially close or undergo additional more stringent closures.

Teachers have been working hard to ensure our students can access work on line via the website.  If students are self-isolating at home they should enter the website and go to the Parents/Carers and students section.  From there you will see a drop-down menu for each year group.  Students can then see work for each subject.  Staff will upload work in Class Charts and this should be completed following their normal timetable.

On a more positive note I am delighted that under very strict protocols we welcomed our peripatetic music teachers back into school this week and more than 80 students are involved with additional music lessons.

We have also been able to invite some students back into the food technology rooms and science labs under carefully controlled conditions and on rota.  It is hoped that the addition of these practical lessons in these subjects will support our students and will obviously be an enjoyable addition to their theory lessons.  Mrs Hudson has bought another set of ukuleles to enhance the music lessons also.

Mr Vause and Mr Morris will be starting football and futsal after school clubs again following the half-term, which again is exciting and very welcome.  We will continue to monitor the introduction of co-curriculum clubs, which will take place in year group bubbles as the next half-term goes on.  We hope to be able to widen the offer for students in the coming weeks.

Thank you for your support with the Virtual Open Evening, we had over 1,700 page views and 600 unique visitors, which is very exciting.  As always please continue to support the school and contact us if there is anything you have concerns about.

 Please continue to remind our children and young people to wear their masks unless exempt and to wash and sanitise hands regularly throughout the day.

Finally, may I remind you again that Friday, 23rd October is a training day for all staff and will be closed for students.  Term starts again on the 2nd November, after the half-term holiday.

Yours sincerely

Ms A Denholm

Headteacher

Letter to Parents of Years 7, 8, 9, 11 and Post 16 – 16/10/2020

Dear Parent or Carer,

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 the Public Health Team to carry out a full risk assessment and we have decided that year 10 students need to isolate for 14 days.

Students in years 7,8,9,11 and 13 are not part of this bubble therefore do not need to make any change to their usual routine, including school attendance.

We are already taking appropriate action to clean affected areas across the school. 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 in year 10 should continue to attend school, including siblings of year 10 students.

Yours sincerely

Allie Denholm

Headteacher

Letter to Parents of Year 10 – 16/10/2020

Dear Parents and Carers of year 10 students,

This letter applies to year 10 students only

A member of our school community has tested positive for Covid-19. The school is working closely with Gateshead’s Public Health Team to reduce the risk of infection for your children and our staff.

We have followed the national guidance and have identified that students in year 10 should now stay at home and self-isolate until 29th October.

We are asking you to do this to reduce the further spread of COVID 19 to others in the community.

If your child is well at the end of the 14 days period of self-isolation, then they can return to usual activities. If they become unwell with symptoms please arrange a test (see below). However, a negative test does not mean that your child can return to school earlier than 14 days.

Other members of your household can continue normal activities provided your child does not develop symptoms within the 14 day self-isolation period. This is because they are NOT contacts of the positive case. They are contacts of contacts of a case. Contacts of contacts do not need to self-isolate unless someone in their household develops symptoms or they come into contact with another case.

Please see the link to the PHE Staying at Home Guidance

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection

If you think that someone else in your household has come in contact with a confirmed case or you need help or advice about self-isolation, please contact Gateshead Local Authority.

Public Health Advice on symptoms

As your child is identified as a contact of a case, please try not to worry. For most people COVID-19 is a mild illness.

If anyone in your household becomes unwell with one of the symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19) to book a test by visiting:  https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/get-a-test-to-check-if-you-have-coronavirus/

Symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of any of the following:

A new continuous cough

A high temperature (fever)

A loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)

Any one of the above symptoms gives reason for high level of suspicion for COVID-19.

Information about COVID-19  symptoms and management of the virus can be found here, www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

How to stop COVID-19 spreading

There are things you can do to help reduce the risk of you and anyone you live with getting ill with COVID-19

  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • wash your hands as soon as you get home
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards

Further Information

Further information is available at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Although COVID-19 is circulating in the community, usual childhood illnesses are too; and it is important that these are not missed. Please contact your GP or NHS111 if you are worried; or call 999 if seriously unwell.

Best wishes

Allie Denholm

Headteacher

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

Pupil & Parent Guide for September

17th July 2020

Dear Parents and Carers

As you are aware, schools will re-open in September 2020 for all students.  We know that most of our students have been away from Heworth Grange School for some time due to the pandemic.  As an organisation, we want to ensure that our students are comfortable with the new arrangements in place to cope with COVID-19.  Our priority is that our students and staff are kept safe, well and happy.

Re-opening Arrangements : September 2020
In order to support the reopening we are having 3 days of staff training on the 7th, 8th and
9th September for all staff. The training will be followed by a staggered start for our students on the 10th, 11th and 14th September. I have enclosed a booklet detailing the staggered start for year groups alongside information regarding the way school will run to ensure we are following government guidance in relation to COVID-19.

I appreciate school will feel a little different for our students in September but I know you understand that this is to maximise the safety of our children.  We will have a team of staff to support students with any concerns or worries they may have on return to school.

Please take a moment to read the September 2020 Guidance Booklet for students, parents and carers so that you are familiar with how school will run and the start times and days for the different year groups.

As always, as we draw to the end of term, we are sadly saying goodbye to some staff; Mr O Inglis, Mrs S Scott, and Mr K Lister are all moving to pastures new along with a number of supply staff who have been with us a long period of time.  I know you will join me in wishing them every success in their future endeavours

We will also be welcoming a number of new staff:

Mrs V Carter DHT – Curriculum and Standards
Mr J Holt DHT – Teaching and Learning
Mrs J Mitchell – AHT – SENDCO and Designated Safeguarding Lead
Mrs K Maddock – Lead Practitioner – Maths
Mrs R Frame – Science
Ms K Wanless – Art and Photos
TF – listed + SCITT trainee
Miss H George – Pastoral Manager KS4
Ms R Chippindale – Pastoral Manager KS3
Ms A Kelly – Literacy Coordinator and Resource Centre Manager
Mrs P Blanchard – Director of Mental Health

I know that you will also join me in thanking all staff at the end of what has been a very challenging year and I once again thank you for your continued support.

I also want to extend my best wishes to Year 11 and Year 13 students for their future endeavours and I look forward to hearing about their achievements in August and beyond.

Yours sincerely

Ms A Denholm
Headteacher

Phased Reopening of School

10th June 2020

Dear Parents and Carers,

Further to the letter communicated by Consilium Trust CEO, David Clayton on Friday the 5th of June, I am writing to provide further information relating to the partial re-opening of Heworth Grange. As indicated by the Government on the 1st June, the proposal is that Years 10 and 12 return to school on a phased basis. Ensuring the safety of our learners, colleagues and our communities remains our priority, so we are cautiously adopting measures in order that this is achieved.

Our online approach to learning across all Year groups, including Years 10 and 12 shall continue until the end of the academic year.

Week Commencing the 15th June

 Identified Year 10 learners will be invited to attend Heworth Grange for calendared face to face meetings. This will take place with members of the Pastoral team. Individual learners will be contacted inviting them to attend. No learners should attend without an invite.

 Year 12 learners will be invited to attend Heworth Grange for calendared face to face meetings. This will take place with members of the Sixth Form team. Individual learners will be contacted inviting them to attend.

Week Commencing the 22nd June

 Year 10 learners will be expected to attend on one day between Monday to Thursday. They will be placed in a single teaching group of a maximum of 9 learners and will receive provision in English, Maths and Science totalling 3 hours. The morning sessions in school are intending to support the online learning that is taking place, and it is expected that the online learning continues on the days when learners are not in school. Information specific to your son and daughter and the day expected in school will be communicated to you individually.

o We intend to reduce the anxiety that the re-introduction may bring for your son/daughter by providing a wellbeing and Health and Safety session at the beginning of the day for each Year 10 group.

o We have designed our provision in a way that minimises the risks of transmission by preventing groups of learners from mixing with each other. Therefore each teaching group will start and finish the school day at different times. The day and time they have been requested to attend school will be communicated with you beforehand.

 Year 12 learners will continue to attend Heworth Grange for calendared face to face meetings. This will take place with members of the Sixth Form team. Individual learners will be contacted inviting them to attend.

In order to address any further concerns that you or your son/daughter has, I attach additional information via a ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ section.

A copy of Trust plan and guide for parents and carers on re-opening can be found at https://consilium-at.com/docs/letters/Wider_Reopening_Plan_-_Guide_for_Parents_and_Carers.pdf.

Year 10 Parent/Carer Survey

Finally, if you could please take a few minutes to complete a short survey in order to indicate your son/daughter’s attendance that would be most appreciated (https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/MLG86HN)

Yours faithfully,

Mr O Inglis
Head of School

© Heworth Grange & Consilium Academies 2020
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