News

Headmaster's Update for Parents: 16 July 2021
16/07/2021

Dear Parent,

COVID Update

Our return to full-time face-to-face teaching at the beginning of March marked what I hoped would be the resumption of near normal school life. We were prepared for the continuation of bubbles, masks and zoning but were confident that the number of cases would drop away. How naive we were! We end the school year with more positive cases than ever and with considerable and ongoing disruption to the taught curriculum. The only consolation is that the vast majority of staff have been ‘double jabbed’ and thus less likely to experience serious symptoms. A valuable lesson learned: take nothing for granted.

And so to the next year and our return after the summer break. It is our hope that we will be able to drop the requirement to wear a face mask, instead making it optional, and we will allow pupils to move to specialist rooms rather than remaining in one classroom for much of the day. There are however aspects of this year’s provision which will continue including the zoning of year groups during form time, break and lunch and an expectation that recreation time will be spent outside in the fresh air. We are grateful to our year group councils for helping to inform these decisions.

September will also mark the return of a more comprehensive programme of extra-curricular and enrichment activities and for this we rejoice. We quite rightly hear a lot about ‘lost learning’ but we shouldn’t forget the importance of cultural and sporting opportunities offered by school clubs and societies. The new year provision will build on what we have been able to offer this year which has included the resumption of Duke of Edinburgh expeditions, Bikeability, choir practice (outside and at a distance), charity events and an impressive range of sporting activities.

As part of our commitment to educating the whole child and for acknowledging the demands of the last year, we have been pleased to offer reward days for all years including a trip to Blackpool Pleasure Beach and an activities day organised and overseen by the PE department. All year groups have also enjoyed their own awards assembly during which we were able to recognise and acknowledge the great work completed regardless of lockdowns and COVID related disruption. The resilience of our pupils is a thing to behold.

Our plans for September are conditional of course on what happens nationally and we will continue to be guided by the latest and best advice offered by Public Health England and the Department for Education. Those plans currently include the issuing of two lateral flow tests for each pupil (where permission has already been given) on the school site beginning on the first day back which will commence on the following days:

Thursday 2nd September: Years 7, 10, 11 and L6 only

Friday 3rd September: All year groups


Spirituality

The whole school has benefited from our annual Spirituality Week which this year took on the theme of ‘Unleashed’. Pupils enjoyed the off timetable events, presentations from nationally recognised Christian speakers and bands, and lessons inspired by the theme.

You will recently have received a copy of the latest ‘Growing Faith’ bulletin, part of our ongoing efforts to reinforce links between church, school and home. With this in mind we look forward to next year and our plans to launch a new worshipping community on the school site in order to complement and reinforce the great work already taking place in neighbouring parishes. I am grateful to Mr Pountain for taking the lead in this important area.


Uniform

Please see the accompanying update on main school uniform requirements for September including some helpful reminders and also one or two noteworthy changes which all pupils need to be aware of and adhere to. You can download the file here.


‘Hello, Goodbye’

In September we welcome back Miss Hodgkinson (Geography), Mrs Smith (Science) and Mrs Stott (RE) from maternity leave and offer thanks to those teachers who have worked so hard to cover their classes: Mr Bradley, Miss Williams and Mrs Ogden. Likewise we extend best wishes to the other Mrs Smith and Mrs Bridge as they begin their respective maternity leaves.

Also leaving us for promoted positions are teaching assistants Mrs Howson and Mrs Theaker, teachers, Mr Robinson (Technology), Mrs Dowd (Science) and Mrs Collier (SMT) who has secured a deputy head appointment in a special school. Hanging up their cap and gown for the last time are Mr Bridges (Maths), Mrs Martin (also Maths) and Mr Greenhalgh (our longest serving teacher).

Thanks are offered to Mr Cuff who is stepping back from his position as Deputy Head/Head of Sixth Form to return on a part-time basis to the classroom. We are grateful for his leadership in steering our ‘Outstanding’ sixth form from strength to strength.

All, in ways too numerous to mention, have contributed fulsomely to our school community whether it be over months, years or decades. God bless them all.


Finally

As we break for the summer (today at 12.30pm), thinking of new Year 7 pupils joining us at our first ever summer school, and of years 11 and 13 preparing for results days, and for those in need of rest and recuperation and for all who search for hope in challenging times:

‘May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.’
Romans 15:13

Mr R D Jones
Headmaster