(This letter is also available in PDF format – click here to open)
Dear Parents and Carers
I write to you as we approach the end of the very strangest of terms. In spite of all the many challenges, it has been wonderful to see the vast majority of students being able to return to school successfully and safely; although I fully understand the frustration that some of you inevitably will have felt when we have had to close bubbles, a stark reminder that the pandemic is far from over. I would like to thank the vast majority of parents for your support and understanding during this challenging time.
The process of awarding Teacher Assessed Grades (TAGS) for Year 11 is well underway and as ever, it was good to see such high levels of parental engagement at our recent Year 11 Parents’ Evening. I hope you found the evening informative and helpful. If you have not seen our short video explaining the process behind TAGS, the video can be found here. We are still awaiting final assessment information from the exam boards and will inform you of further updates as soon as possible. There will be a dedicated section on our website containing all of this information. The GCSE results themselves will be published remotely on 12th August. We will be writing to you after Easter to ensure that we have the correct contact details for this.
It is important that students in Year 11 use the Easter Holidays to prepare for the final wave of assessments that will take place in May. These assessments will be used as part of the evidence base needed to grade your child. A timetable containing the dates of these assessments will be sent out to you in due course. Students need to use their time wisely and prepare for these assessments diligently.
Sometime after the Easter holidays, we will be able to inform you of the official leaving date for students in Year 11. Given the challenges the year group has faced, we want to make this as special as we can. More details will follow. Unfortunately, we are not in a position to arrange a prom for the year group. I appreciate that this will be disappointing for the students but the time frame for the lifting of Covid restrictions simply makes it impossible for us to arrange an event on this scale. Also, given the costs involved to you as parents, we would not want to go ahead whilst there is still a risk it could not happen. Mrs Hyslop and the Year Team are considering an alternative event sometime in the autumn.
Understandably, there have been some challenges in regards to school uniform over the last few weeks but most of these issues are now resolved. A particular issue has been the wearing of hooded tops. These are not allowed and will be confiscated from students if they continue to be worn after the Easter holiday. May I take this opportunity to remind you that our basic standards of uniform remain as high as ever and to avoid any ambiguity, our expectations can be found in our policy here.
Home Testing over Easter
Your child has been provided with more home testing kits so that you can continue asymptomatic testing over the Easter Holiday. These tests should be conducted each Wednesday and Sunday. It is important for you to report any positive tests to the dedicated email address email@example.com. If your child tests positive on Wednesday 31st March, we will have to contact trace close contacts from school. Any subsequent positive results (from tests on 4th April, 7th April, 11th April, 14th April and the 18th April) should also be reported even though there will be no need for the school to trace close contacts.
Work is well underway with our new block and this is on schedule to be completed and open by July. In regards to the remaining school buildings, work with the DFE continues in relation to the plans for the new build. In spite of all the challenges presented by Covid, this really is an exciting time for the school and the local community.
Parents can be reassured that we have had a phenomenal response from the school community in relation to the wearing of face coverings. There are only 15 students (out of nearly 1,300) who are not wearing face masks due to medical exemptions. It is important for us all to remember that the guidelines around face coverings have been put in place to protect other people by minimising aerosol transmission of the virus in situations where social distancing is difficult, and this includes in many of our classrooms. In every classroom there are individuals who are concerned about transmission and who may have vulnerable family members at home. Of course face masks are inconvenient, uncomfortable and an imperfect solution, but they are nevertheless a preventative measure that will offer some protection and some assurance to some very worried people. We have been led to believe that government guidelines around the wearing of face coverings in school are likely to remain in place after Easter but this is being kept under constant review. For now, you can assume our position on the wearing face coverings will remain the same after Easter, but should the situation change during the holidays we will inform you.
Thank-you for your continued support and I wish you all a pleasant and safe Easter break.
Mr P Davies