Headteacher Update

March 2021

Unbelievably, we are at the end of the second term of this year. It has been both a challenging period, but also one where yet again we have seen the very best of people as we all deal with the hurdles that face us in this crisis. It is hard to believe that we have been living through this for over a year, but as ever I pay tribute to our staff, students, parents and our wider community for pulling together and doing their very best in the circumstances.

The resilience of our students is yet again reflected in the vast numbers who have retained the majority or all of their credits this week. We have amended the criteria slightly so that students must have 4+ days attendance and 48 credits or more out of 50 to receive the message home to parents. Messages will be sent out after 3pm today, so fingers crossed your child is on the list!

Unfortunately, this term we have received numerous complaints from residents and road users about the lack of consideration or outright dangerous behaviour of some of our students who ride their bikes to school. This behaviour includes deliberately blocking traffic, swerving in front of cars, paying little attention to members of the public walking on pavements and being abusive when challenged. It is extremely disappointing that the behaviour of a minority of our students on the way to and from school is having such a detrimental impact on the views of our community about the school; this is wholly unfair on the majority our students who are considerate and well behaved. If your child does ride a bike to school, please remind them of the importance of road safety and consideration of others. We are also banning e-scooters from the school site as the law remains unclear and we have witnessed some dangerous behaviour by many students who ride these to school.

As you will be aware, further Covid testing kits were sent home with your child yesterday as the government is asking that the twice weekly testing is maintained throughout the Easter break. Just a couple of reminders:

  • If the home test kit is positive you will need to have a PCR test from a testing site to confirm the result. All positive results should be reported to school via email
  • If you or your child develops symptoms, you must book a PCR test at a testing centre and not use the home test kits.
  • If your child develops symptoms this weekend up until 4pm on Sunday and then has a positive PCR test, you must contact the school via email so we can identify close contacts – office@johnspence.org.uk
  • If your child has a positive result from the home test kit before 4pm this Sunday then you must contact the school via email.

If you are unsure of anything please do contact the school via email and someone will get back to you during the Easter break.

We have been fortunate compared to some other schools that we have had to ask very few students to self-isolate since the return to school on 8th March, but it is recognised that when positive cases have been identified this can be a financial burden on families where parents or carers need to take time off work. The Local Authority has recognised these challenges and has put together a support fund that can be applied for if certain criteria are met. Full details can be found here.

It has been a busy term and it is great to have everyone back in school and start looking towards the future. There is obviously still much to do in the present, not least the Year 11 Assessed Grades and there will be further information published to parents regarding this after half term, but it is good to be planning for the return to normality and we are working hard to ensure that all students have access to all the opportunities they need in the coming weeks and months.

I hope that you all have a relaxing and enjoyable Easter break.

Best wishes and stay safe

Jonathan