Coronavirus Update – Week 9

Jun 10

Dear parents and carers,

I’ve held off writing this week’s letter in the hope that there would be more guidance issued from DfE regarding which additional year groups would be returning to school during the summer term. When the announcement was made just over four weeks ago that Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 students would be attending school again, it was also hoped that all primary aged children would be back at school for four weeks at the end of the term. As I type this letter, it appears that plan has been dropped. At this time, we do not expect to see Year 5 for the remainder of the year. Perhaps that will change in the coming weeks – so much has changed during the past few months, you can never be sure what’s around the corner. Of course, we’ll keep you informed if there is any change.

Year 6 returned to school last week and, while I’m sure it was a nervous time for some parents, students and staff, it has gone without a hitch. We’re all delighted to see so many children return to school, and they are enjoying being back amongst friends in a safe and welcoming environment. The cultural high point of last week with Year 6 was Mr Heeney’s bingo, which was beamed live to all classrooms with a full bar of Crunchie on offer to the first with a Full House.

In case you missed it, here’s a link to the video diary that Mr Nisbet took on the first day back for our Year 6 students. It’s not a scary or unpleasant place despite the measures we’ve put in place – it’s fun, safe and welcoming.

We are at the final planning stages for welcoming Year 10 and Year 12 back into school for some sessions from next week. We’re limited by the government guidelines as to how many students we can have back in school at any given time. We also need to strictly adhere to the ongoing social distancing policy.

We have to make sure that:

No more than 25% of years 10 and 12 are on site at any given time

We don’t change the groups during the day – we can’t have one group of students in the morning and then another in the afternoon

The groups are around half the normal class sizes, to keep the two-metre distance between everyone

To fulfil all of the necessary criteria, whilst making it a useful session for the students to attend, we plan to be quite innovative in our approach. Look out for more information from Mr Nisbet about these plans in the next day or two.

Additionally, we are still providing care for the children of critical workers who are not in Year 6. As more and more parents return to work, we’re seeing a rise in the number of students attending. Please check the critical worker list to see if your occupation is listed. If it is and you would like your child to attend school, please let us know by getting in touch via telephone or email. We’re more than happy to see them – just give us some notice so we can ensure we have enough staff and facilities prepared.

During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and lockdown, people are relying even more on online technology. With schools only open for some children, most are at home, away from their friends, peers and teachers. This makes being online extra important for children and young people. Whilst this can bring benefits to children, they can also be exposed to risk online. When children spend time online they may be exposed to: online abuse, cyberbullying, sexual exploitation, sexting, the sharing of inappropriate materials, grooming and radicalisation The NSPCC have a number of resources providing information and advice about these subjects and they can be found here on the nspcc website .

Looking forward to September, we know there are some questions you’ll be asking. The answer to the vast majority of these queries, unfortunately, is “we don’t know yet” as there is no guidance or government strategy in place at this moment in time.We have, however, taken some decisions that will be important to you in planning for September:

The transition for Year 4 and Year 6 students from other schools will take the form of virtual tours, question and answer sessions with key members of staff and, hopefully, the ability to visit the school site sometime before September.

Uniform will be relaxed for the autumn term at least. Mr McCudden will write to you with more detail, but we recognise that blazers, formal shirts and ties aren’t very convenient in the current climate where clothes should be washed after being worn once. Instead, we’re going for more durable, easily laundered items of clothing that will still be part of our uniform when we return to normality.

All Year 11 students who have applied to join our sixth form have been provisionally offered a place, subject to them achieving the required results.

Can I remind everyone that, to keep the risk of coronavirus transmission to a minimum, we are not accepting reception visitors at either site or holding meetings in person unless unavoidable. Please call if you have a query or concern and we can advise you on how we can best deal with it.

If you haven’t yet responded to the consultation on shortening the school day for Year 8 upwards on a Wednesday, can you please do so by emailing your views to the Clerk to the Governors Mrs Carole Hutchinson at by 17 June 2020. If you’d like further details on the proposal, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Until next week, when I’ll update you again, please take care of yourself and your loved ones. If you have any concerns or questions, no matter how trivial you think they may be, please get in touch.

Best wishes,

Neil Rodgers

Executive Headteacher