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Headteacher’s letter 6 July 2020

Monday 6 July 2020

Dear Parents and Carers

As we enter the final two weeks of the summer term, it continues to be business as usual in terms of both the provision / completion of home learning and the continued on-site provision for Year 10 and 12 students. You will be aware that the Government provided guidance regarding the reopening of schools at the end of last week and it would seem sensible to begin my letter to you on this topic.

Planning for September
On 2 July, the Department for Education (DfE) published guidance designed to support schools in England with full reopening from the beginning of the autumn term 2020. The guidance is extensive and has been written with endorsement by Public Health England.

The document sets out what the Government refers to as the ‘system of controls’ – the set of actions that a school must take. This includes minimising contact with those who are unwell, hand and respiratory hygiene and enhanced school cleaning. Schools are expected to find ways to minimise contact and maintain social distancing wherever possible. Whilst this will present a significant challenge, it does mean that once inside their classrooms, students can expect them to look and feel as they did last September. Desks will be spaced-out and all desks will face forward, but there will not be masking tape on desks, or individual one or two-metre bubbles.

You will perhaps be aware of the need for schools to explore how to maintain ‘social bubbles’ during the school day. This involves separating year groups during school hours, but acknowledges that school buses and public transport will be mixed.

In many respects, once students are in their classrooms any plan becomes more straightforward. The greater challenge revolves around how students arrive, get to their designated rooms, access food and have time outside to play, get fresh air or socialise with friends.

As I am sure you can imagine, we are busily working on those plans right now and as the week progresses they will take greater shape. I hope to be in a positon to provide you with a broad outline of our plans next Monday (13 July).

Meanwhile, I would now urge you all to begin preparing for September in practical terms. It is reasonable to assume that we can all look forward to a normal timetable and spread of lessons. That traditional end of holiday visit to the stationers, or the new school bag and uniform can continue as it always has and help get ourselves ready for the new term.

Whilst the new term is some weeks away, in many ways we are back to normal once the summer holidays begin. That feeling has been a long time coming and it is going to be great to get back to doing what children expect and need to do and what my colleagues and I have chosen to do with our professional lives.

I know that there will be some families who will have concerns around the practicalities of arrivals, departures, buses, toilets, lunchtime, and movement on site. Please be reassured that those ‘details’ are uppermost in our minds and the planning for next term will incorporate all of these elements (and many others) with great care.

Year 6 Transition
I wish to thank my colleagues for hosting special Saturday Open Days on 4 and 11 July for our new Year 6 into 7 students. Our first day seemed to go really well and we now look forward to next week.

Year 13 and Year 11 Results Days
Parents and carers of students in Years 13 and 11 can expect to receive a letter from Mr Trainer in the next few weeks about the logistics for collecting results on 13 and 20 August. This is an important rite of passage and we are determined that these very special days will go ahead.

End of Year Reports for Key Stage 3
Meanwhile, all teaching staff are currently entering data that will lead to the production of end of year reports for Years 7 to 9 that will be circulated by email on Wednesday 15 July. Whilst it is not appropriate to generate a normal report, we do think it is valuable to provide feedback from each teacher on your son or daughter’s engagement throughout the period of school closure. This is valuable information for families but also enables us to be better prepared for September.

Virtual Sports Day
Meanwhile, our annual end of year Sports Day will have to be a little different this year. We shall not be suspending lessons for the day and instead this will be a dispersed virtual event that we hope will engage all students, wherever they live. You will receive a separate email about this today and how to submit results online. If you have missed that email then click the poster opposite to read about the event in more detail.

Chippy Newsletter
I have again been asked to provide you with a link to the latest edition of the Chippy Newsletter. I understand that their normal printing and circulation will resume in September.

And finally…

Okay, we are nearly there… It has been a long road but the end does feel in sight. I shall write again next week and aim to provide you and your children with a clear picture of how we shall return safely and with renewed vigour and rigour in September.

Yours faithfully
Barry Doherty

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