Dear parents and carers
We are so excited that students will be returning to school again, from Monday 8th March (Week 1). We have all missed seeing our young people face to face and getting back to a more normal way of working. The response to the lateral flow testing this week has exceeded our expectations with 100% of Year 13 coming in for testing and just under 70% of all the other year groups. During the course of next week, we will be carrying out the final test with students that have opted in during the course of the school day.
Well-being of Students and Return to School
To ensure that all our students are well supported when they come back into school we have developed a programme that will focus on well-being which will be covered in the first lessons. This programme will focus on acceptance of others, including developing an understanding of neurodiversity reflecting on Asperger’s, ADHD and dyslexia as well as exploring equality issues such as LBGT to promote understanding and tolerance. We will also look at establishing routines and good sleep patterns post lockdown, mindfulness and reflecting on the experiences that students have had during the pandemic and how we might support each other with that. We hope that this programme will go some way to supporting our young people back into school although we know that for everyone this will be daunting and for a number of students it will require great resilience and will be very challenging. I would like to reinforce that school is here to support students with a successful return to school and if there are any parents or carers who are concerned about their child’s return, we would encourage you to contact school and talk this through with Mrs Mitchell our SENDCo or their Head of Year.
Return to School Arrangements and Testing
We welcome back years:
7 and 13 on Monday 8th March, years 10 and 11 on Tuesday 9th March and finally years 8 and 9 on Wednesday 10th March. We will return to normal school times next week, with all advisories beginning at 8.45am from Monday, whether students are coming into school or still at home. The return of each year group will be staggered during the course of the day and, as students return to school, we will be offering the third and final test to all who wish to have it. Students should return on the day, and during the time slot, that has been allocated for their return (including those students who do not wish to have a COVID test). Any student that has missed tests 1 and 2 is still welcome to have a test on the day that they return, please ensure that they bring their consent form with them. Accompanying this letter are further details about the return to school, testing times, general guidelines for school life when students return and a reminder of the normal school day timings. Please ensure that you have read through the information carefully and do not hesitate to contact the school if you have any further questions. We have been impressed by the exemplary attitude of all the students who have attended school for testing so far and we would like to impress upon all students, parents and carers that, whilst the end may be nearly in sight, we must all still follow the COVID rules and regulations in order to ensure the safety and well being of the whole school community.
As sometimes happens during the course of the school year we have said farewell to some members of staff at the end of February:
Mr Tellyn, Head of PE, Ms Hudson, Head of Art, Ms Partington, Alternative Provision, Ms Adams, Exams, Ms Conlon, Social Media and Events.
I am delighted to announce that Mr Beresford has been appointed as Head of PE and Mrs O’Brien has been appointed as Head of Year 9. Mr Beresford and Mrs O’Brien are both fabulous appointments and I am delighted that they will be taking over their relevant responsibilities. Ms Wanless and Ms Kilpatrick will be ensuring that art, textiles and photography continue to be delivered to the highest standards following Ms Hudson’s departure. I know you will join me in wishing all our staff leavers the very best of luck as they pursue their future endeavours.
Assessment Year 11 and Year 13
I met with Trust leads this week to formulate the plans for Year 11 and 13 assessments and I am meeting with school leads next week to move this forward. I will communicate this to parents and carers next week once I have shared with the rest of the staff body. It will however be extremely important that students attend school in order for us to assess where they are
in the fairest possible way to enable us to generate centre assessed grades. We will be reinforcing this with students next week and we would ask that you do the same at home. We will be assessing through a variety of means in a fair and encouraging way, the last thing we want to do is cause any anxiety to students regarding this process after the year we have all had.
It goes without saying that we all know students have missed a lot of ‘normal’ schooling this year and as we return to school we really do need every student in school every day. We know some students may have worries and concerns but please contact us, so that we can resolve these. We have made great improvements in attendance during this last lockdown through attendance to remote learning sessions and we want to continue this face to face as we return. Again, if you have any concerns please contact the attendance team, head of year and our SEND team.
We look forward to seeing students next week and thank you as always for your support throughout these changing times.
I wish you all a lovely weekend.
Take good care.