As we approach the May bank holiday we are very much looking forward to the next step of school returning to a greater sense of normality. The first step has taken place this week with Year 7 now moving around the building and accessing specialist classrooms, so at long last they are experiencing what secondary school should be in Technology, Science, Art and so on. They have been absolutely brilliant and staff have reported just how much they have enjoyed getting involved in the practical subjects. If the current situation both in school and nationally remains the same, we will be removing the Year 8 and 9 teaching zones the week after next so that all students are getting back to normal. We will continue to operate safely and adhere to our control measures such as hand hygiene as well as adapting some of our procedures, for example to ensure a smooth flow around the school. Social times will continue to be spent in the year group bubbles.
The weekly merit system continues to show just how well the vast majority of students are doing every week and last week we had five lucky winners of our Courtesy ticket reward scheme. We are also celebrating the achievements of some students by nominating them for the North Tyneside Learning Trust Awards – these awards take place on a weekly basis and recognise fantastic achievements by young people from across the authority. All students who are nominated will receive a certificate from the Trust and hopefully some will be shortlisted so that they can attend the virtual ceremony that will take place in July.
As I mentioned earlier this term, the Sports Academy programme is back up and running and the numbers attending are greater than ever. Just before lockdown we had also started our Expressive Arts Academy and we will have this back up and running in September following a really successful meeting with the North Tyneside Music Hub this week. More details to follow before the summer.
On a more sombre note, we have been listening carefully to the media stories around the ‘Everyone’s Invited’ campaign regarding sexual harassment and violence. Sadly, this is a fact of the society we live in and we use our Relationship and Sex Education programme to consider the importance of healthy relationships with others as well as highlight the risks including those involving social media. As parents, you will be well aware of the risks young people face online and how sexual harassment is very much a part of this; we have reviewed our policies and are confident that we do address the issues raised by ‘Everyone’s Invited’, but are mindful that this message needs to be continually highlighted so that our students know what is unacceptable and unacceptable behaviour as they make their way through the challenges of adolescence. There are numerous organisations out there to support parents including ‘Family Lives’ – https://www.familylives.org.uk/advice and the ‘Internet Watch Foundation’ – https://www.iwf.org.uk/ . Please do seek advice or contact us if you have any concerns about your child.
Finally, it has been great to see numerous opportunities for our students taking place over that past couple of weeks including the Duke of Edinburgh, the Year 9 Hand Of project and the return of music peripatetic teachers. It has been so frustrating that these types of activity have been on hold for so long, but rest assured more and more opportunities will be coming up over the coming months and I know that our students will throw themselves into things as they normally do!
I hope that you all have an enjoyable Bank Holiday weekend.