Head's update 14th May 2021
Update regarding face coverings in school, school day 2021-22 and school attendance.
Dear Parents and Carers,
It is now four weeks since the students returned to school from the Easter break – where has the time gone? I hope that you are well and getting set for summer. Surely the weather has got to improve soon!
I apologise for not being in touch with you yet this term. Much has been happening, and I will use this communication as an opportunity to update you.
It is heartening to see the country come out of lockdown and continue on the roadmap announced by the government. Whilst the rates of infection in our local area remain low it is important that we continue to follow the national guidelines both in school and in the community.
A crucial part of keeping the school community safe is the twice weekly lateral flow testing of students that we strongly recommend continues at home. The advantage of this testing is that it can identify positive cases at an early enough stage to prevent an outbreak in school. Of course, it comes with concerns including the chance of a false positive result. If you do test positive on a lateral flow device, you will need to get a confirmation PCR test. At school, we have had a student test positive, but the PCR test result being negative. This has resulted in several students being asked to self-isolate following the initial positive test but then returning to school once the negative result has been confirmed. We understand that this can be frustrating for you and your child, but I do hope that you understand the rationale.
You will have heard the government announcement this week regarding the change in guidance regarding the wearing of face coverings in school.
Considering this we are now recommending the following:
Face coverings will no longer be compulsory for students in classrooms and corridors. Students may continue to wear one if they wish and may be asked to wear one if working in close proximity to a member of staff.
Staff will no longer be required to wear a face covering in classrooms but may continue to if they wish. Staff that are in close proximity to students for a period of time are likely to continue wearing one.
Staff will continue to wear face coverings in corridors.
All students that travel to school by bus must wear a face covering for the duration of their bus journey. This remains a government requirement.
This will come into effect from Monday 17th May.
Next week some students will be receiving the HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine in school. This has taken place at school over the last few years and is not related to the Covid-19 outbreak or the Covid-19 vaccination programme. If your child is due to be vaccinated, then you will have had contact separately.
School Day 2021-22
We have been reviewing the timings of the school day for the next academic year in particular the early finish that is currently in place on a Wednesday. From September 2021 we plan to remove that early finish with all school days finishing at 3:00pm. This will allow for an extra hour of teaching per week for children in key stages 2, 3 and 4.
This year we have been operating ‘Covid timings’ for the school day meaning a change to our normal school day timings. What has been apparent is simple timings allow the school day to run in a more orderly manner. Therefore, the school day timings from September 2021, providing Covid restrictions allow, will be:
8:47 All students to be on site
8:50-9:50 Period 1
9:50-10:50 Period 2
11:30-12:30 Period 3
12:30-2:00 Period 4 including 30-minute lunch
2:00-3:00 Period 5
I am sharing this with you now so that you can consider the impact that this will have on any pre-school/post school transport and childcare arrangements. Any feedback can be shared with the school via the link https://forms.office.com/r/f0AbZSSXfw We hope to be in a position to confirm these changes by the end of the half-term so would value your feedback by Monday 24th May to inform the decision.
This year has been a very different school year in terms of students self-isolating and remote learning taking place for an extended period. Nevertheless, the government have made it clear that school attendance remains compulsory when your child is not self-isolating.
We calculate attendance figures for students based upon when they should have been in school and any COVID related absences, including enforced school closures, do not affect the student’s overall percentage.
In the coming weeks, we will be sending out concern letters to some families in regard to attendance in accordance with government expectations. Please see the guide below which shows how school attendance can affect your child’s future progress:
Less than 6 days absence a year: excellent attendance. Pupils with this attendance should achieve the best grades they can leading to better prospects for work, college, or university.
Less than 10 days absence in a year. Pupils with this attendance are likely to achieve their target grades and have good opportunities for work, college, and university.
19 days absence over the year. Pupils with this attendance are missing a month of school per year and may drop an exam grade; it will be difficult for them to achieve their best.
29 days absence in a year: These pupils are missing 6 weeks of school a year; it will be very difficult for them to keep up and do their best.
Pupils with this attendance are missing a year of school over the five years of secondary education, it will be almost impossible to keep up with work.
The school can issue penalty notices for poor attendance but always wishes to work with our families proactively to ensure regular and sustained school attendance.
We appreciate your support in this matter. Now, more than ever, school attendance is important.
Launch of The MSPTA 50:50 ClubPrize Draw Through ParentMail
The 50:50 club is a school community membership lottery, where three winners are selected at the end of each term. 50% of the cash raised makes up the termly prizes and 50% goes towards resources for our school. Anyone who wishes to participate pays £10 per number per term. There will be a draw at the end of each term, whereby three numbers will be selected. The first prize is half of the prize pot for that term and the next two prizes equate to 25% each of the prize pot. There is no limit to the amount of numbers a participant may purchase and no maximum or minimum number of participants. It is simply £10 per number, per term with a closing date of 30th June for this term. Numbers are allocated at random. If you would like to purchase tickets, you can do so by logging into ParentMail and going to the shop.
Many thanks and best wishes for the weekend.
Ben Chaloner - Head Teacher