Update from Mr Yates - 10.02.2021
Please see below latest update from Mr Yates which has been emailed to parents.
Dear Parent / Carer
We are getting close to the end of the half term and I wanted to write and congratulate you and your children on working so hard with remote learning. You and your children are doing a great job and I hope you are proud of what you have been able to do together under such difficult circumstances.
Over the last six weeks our staff have provided a high quality and varied diet of remote learning, including a significant increase in the number of live lessons that are being delivered. Your children have been producing some stunning work and there have been high levels of engagement and participation across the board. We have been able to send 891 praise postcards recognising student efforts, 17 Commendation certificates for students who have achieved 5 praise postcards this term and we are introducing a new Live Lesson Legend Certificate to reward students for engaging well with live lessons. There have been plenty of virtual shoutouts for the Sixth Form too.
I am confident that whenever schools re-open, your children will be in a good place to confidently pick up their learning and quickly fill in any gaps in what they know.
During recent weeks, we have taken a dual notification approach and notified students through their school email and parents through their personal email when live lessons are taking place. All our students are now comfortable about how to access learning through class charts and know to regularly check their email each day to check for invites to live learning. I anticipate the number of live lessons to increase further when we return after half term, and we will move to only notifying students through their school email address when lessons will take place. Please support your child by encouraging them to check their email each day so they do not miss any live lessons.
I know our students thrive on a varied diet and that for some families live lessons are not always practical. We are committed to supporting this approach and students will still receive pre-recorded lessons, off screen activities and experience other approaches to make sure learning stays interesting and engaging. Our student wellbeing day, where we focused on activities away from the screen, was well received and we will be repeating a similar day early in the next half term. We are also celebrating LGBT+ history month, continuing our careers advice and guidance for students moving into their next phase of education and a range of other events to make sure we continue to round out students’ school experiences beyond the virtual classroom. We will also be in touch with Y9 parents with more information about the virtual Options event on the 25th February and how you can talk with staff about your child, as soon as we return.
Despite the challenges and delays caused by COVID-19, we are finally able to announce the fencing project to secure the school site will be completed this week. The automated security systems and powered gates will make the site much more safe and secure for our students. There will not be any immediate changes for students and we still need them to come to school through the gates they have been allocated for COVD-19 bubble security. Also, we do not currently allow any visitors to school without an appointment for the same reasons. However, if you do need to come to school for any reason, all visitors must arrive and depart through the College Road entrance. There are separate vehicle and pedestrian gates with intercom systems to allow you to contact reception who will unlock the gates. Visitors will no longer be able to use the Temple Road or any other entrance.
Our mini school has been open throughout the half term and the students who have been attending have been brilliant. If your child is attending mini school and they are not eligible for free school meals, please make sure you have topped up your Parentpay account to pay for lunch. If your child is eligible for free school meals, then you don’t need to do anything. The booking form for the week beginning 22nd February (the first week back after half term) will be emailed to all parents on Weds 17th February, so please look out for the email from school during the half term week and complete the form by midday on Thursday 18th February so that we know how many students to expect in school.
February Half Term
School will be closed to all students between the 12th and 22nd of February. Reminder, as per my previous letter Friday 12th is now a normal school day and not an INSET day. Please make sure your child follows the rules and guidance around COVID and the current lockdown throughout the break.
What to do if my child becomes unwell with COVID or tests positive between the 12th February and 22nd February:
If your child has been working at home and not attending school, please call us to let us know about the positive test result when school re-opens on 22nd February.
If your child has been attending school in person as part of the mini school, please follow the instructions below.
Where a pupil tests positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), having developed symptoms more than 48 hours since being in school, the school should not be contacted. Parents and carers should follow contact tracing instructions provided by NHS Test and Trace.
Between 12th February and 22nd February, if a pupil tests positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), having developed symptoms within 48 hours of being in school, please contact the school by following the instructions in 3a. below and we will assist in identifying and contacting close contacts to advise self-isolation for those affected, as the individual may have been infectious whilst in school.
We have followed government guidance and allocated a dedicated contact number for a limited period to receive notification of positive cases and advise close contacts to self-isolate.
If you need to let us know of a positive case between 12th February and 22nd February, please call 07534689585 between 10.00am and 11.30am. This number has been set up specifically for COVID 19 confirmed cases only. Do not call it for any other reason. If for any reason I am unable to take the call, please leave a voicemail and I will contact you as soon as possible.
If your child is affected by contact tracing and required to self-isolate after the 12th February, school staff will contact you by TEXT MESSAGE. Please make sure your main mobile contact number is up to date.
Finally, I really hope that we will soon be discussing how schools will re-open to all students. We are expecting updates from government as soon as we return. I am hoping there will be clear timelines and safety guidelines for all students so they can understand when and how they will be returning. It is also likely that we will be asked to test all students on their return to school. Our lateral flow testing centre is now well proven and working very effectively. So far it has carried out over 300 tests as our staff are tested twice a week. We have also tested our students attending mini school and we will be ready to test all students if that is what we are asked to do. Students and staff have adapted quickly and the process has now become routine for many.
Take care and I will be in touch with further updates as soon as I can.
Craig Yates - Headteacher