Headmasters Update for Parents: The First Full Week

Dear Parent,

A full week is now under our belt and what a joy it has been to hear the school ringing to the sound of excited voices and to eavesdrop on so many creative and purposeful lessons. The school community is back together at last.

Thank you for the way in which you have offered support and played your role. Our pupils uniform is exemplary and all (well almost) have the correct equipment. In many respects this has been life as normal – just as we wanted it to be. Please continue to reinforce the message at home of the importance of following the widely understood control measures for limiting the spread of coronavirus – hands, face, space.

The organisation of year groups into ‘bubbles’ with each occupying a zone of the school has worked well. It is a tribute to our pupils that they have adapted so willingly to a regime of lining up on the school yard, sanitising hands and often remaining in the same classroom for much of the day. Pupils have grasped the importance of us all working together in order to protect each other.

Whilst pupils remain zoned our teachers are having to move around the school building from lesson to lesson. I am grateful to them for adapting their work habits in a manner which best serves our children.

The week however has not been without its challenges. We now have five confirmed cases of COVID-19, four in Year 10 and one in 11. I am thankful that the pupils concerned continue to feel well but they still need our prayers, as do other members of their family who are also having to isolate themselves.

As each case has come to light we have been meticulous in following the guidance offered by Public Health England (PHE) and the local authority. PHE have expressed support for the measures we have already taken and they have shown confidence that the outbreak is limited to one particular part of the cohort. We have also been in full support of PHE’s approach of limiting the disruption to school as much as possible, hence our decision to limit the numbers self-isolating to those who had close contact with the pupils concerned. As the numbers with a positive test result have increased so the number being asked to remain at home has also grown.

Pupils who are currently self-isolating have already been issued with work to complete. School Synergy has recently introduced a new tab called Classwork and this is where all instructions, tasks and resources can be accessed. By enabling the Dialogue button, pupils (and parents) can message teachers directly in a way which is safe and immediate. We are confident that this new service will improve further still the school’s provision for those having to work at home.

A request to keep your child off school will only be made as a last resort. If you do receive correspondence of this sort it is important that you read it carefully and follow the links to government advice and guidance. The Department for Education is insistent that a test should only be requested if a child is displaying symptoms. It is worth noting that if you are self-isolating and receive a negative test result, the 14 day period of isolation will continue.

This current outbreak represents an ongoing situation and I will of course contact you further with information as it becomes available.

Thank you again for your support, best wishes and understanding.

RD Jones