As we near the end of what has been a challenging half term, I write to thank you for the support you have given your child and the school over the past two months. We have successfully balanced the challenges of keeping pupils and staff as safe as possible during a global pandemic, whilst ensuring that high quality teaching continues. This has not been achieved without significant compromises by my staff in all departments and I am taking this opportunity to publicly thank them as they approach the Autumn break.
As we move into term 2 and the winter months, with the national COVID-19 situation worsening, I ask for your continued support with understanding the challenges the school is facing. Whilst we are doing the best we can, it is important parents realise that it is far from ‘business as usual’ in school. It is more important than ever at this challenging time that we continue to work together in a strong partnership; pupils, parents and the school. We have no additional resources to draw on, no additional funding and our staffing levels remain as they would have been, this is the case in most schools across the region.
I have taken the decision to close the school early to students on the last day of term, Friday 23 October. This will allow the students the necessary time to ensure all their possessions are claimed ready for checking and enable you to replace any necessary equipment (particularly stationary) in time for their return. This will leave classrooms cleared and enable the cleaning team to access the rooms without having to move resources during the break. Teachers will need to re-sort their resources and restock and will remain on site until the end of the day to complete this work.
As a result of this, on Friday 23 October, our school day will run to the following timings:
School day starts at the normal time
8.40am for Year 7 – 9 and EPCS6 – Morning registration and PREP
9.10am for Year 10 -11 – Morning registration and PREP
Period 1 – 9.20am – 10.30am -Normal lessons
Extended break 10.30am – 11.15am To allow all students who wish to purchase food and those who are in receipt of a free school meal to claim this.
Period 2 11.15am – 12.10pm Normal lessons
Period 3 12.10pm – 1.20pm
Students will spend this lesson with their tutors, reflecting on their learning in half term 1 and organising themselves for the term ahead.
They will also participate in a virtual quiz, led by the Sixth Form House Captains.
1.20pm Students finish and depart the school site
Thank you to the Sixth Form for organising the quiz. They are keen to support the school and engage with younger students. The quiz will be delivered virtually.
Please support us by checking your child’s equipment and replace anything outstanding so when we return there are no issues identified at Roll Call. Remember your child can wear a navy blue jumper or cardigan without a logo if they are feeling colder as the weather changes. No hoodies are allowed and if seen will be confiscated so please respect this rule. For older students a reminder that acrylic nails need to be removed as does excess jewellery before we start back. Please see your child’s handbook for full details of the expectations we have if you are unsure.
Finally, I am mindful half term includes Halloween, every year some children dress up and go from door to door in search of trick or treat. But this year, following the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing guidelines still in place, some people have raised concerns about children calling at multiple households.
Another issue is that although trick or treating typically takes place outdoors, it is hard to know whether people opening the door will be wearing a mask. Some people are feeling particularly vulnerable at this time and maybe trying to reduce the number of people they come into contact with. With this in mind, can I ask you to set your expectations for Halloween and how best to celebrate it if you chose to, with your child.
I do not wish to have reports of children from our school using eggs as a so-called trick (when it is, in fact, antisocial behaviour) or being inappropriate during Halloween as it causes unnecessary upset and anxiety within our community. More than ever we need to look out for one another.
Thank you for your support with this.
I wish you a restful half term. Please stay safe and we look forward to seeing the students back in school well-rested and keen to learn on Monday 2 November (Week A).
Mrs L Cook