Headteacher Update

October 2021

It has been another positive week and students continue to respond really well to the new systems we have in school. We are still ironing out some issues with the Tier 2 rewards where you should receive a text home on a Friday if your child has done everything right during the week; I am pleased to report that this is the case for the vast majority. We expect this to be up and running straight after half term once we are sure the system is working correctly. In the meantime, next week was due to be our Celebration of Success in the Sports Hall, but unfortunately we are still unable to host large scale events safely so instead we will be celebrating students all week. During the week each member of staff will make three positive phone calls and send three postcards home to recognise achievements during the first 4 weeks of term.

Yesterday, the government announced what examinations will look like for Year 11 in the summer. I think that the measures are sensible and fair and will help ensure that no student is at a disadvantage due to the pandemic. We will obviously communicate these measures in detail to Year 11 students and their parents, but in the meantime, the link here will take you to a summary of the steps that will be taken.

We do remain fortunate that the number of Covid cases remains low and there has not been evidence of transmission within school. The measures we have in place remain focused on reducing risk and the use of face coverings, whilst not universally popular, is one that will continue for some time to come. Please can I remind you that your child should bring their own face coverings to school and not rely on getting one at the school gate; we are currently handing out a very large number every day at a significant cost to the school. Please can I remind you that consent forms for the Covid vaccinations must be returned to us on Monday as we are expecting the immunisation team to pick them up on Monday afternoon.

Student attendance is a high priority for us at the moment as it is currently below expectation. We are aware that there have been a number of bugs and viruses going around, but we would encourage you to send your child in even if they are feeling a bit under the weather as every day off is 5 hours of learning lost. This can quickly add up and without realising it the odd couple of days here and there suddenly add up to 25+ hours which is a whole week of learning; data very clearly shows the link between attendance and progress, but it is also hard for students to return sometimes because they have missed so much content and are worried that they will not know what they are doing. We utilise a wide range of measures to ensure attendance remains above the expectation of 95% across the year and this year have introduced rewards attached to good attendance as well as providing the usual high levels of support to help students back into school. Please do speak to your child’s Head of Year if you have concerns as the last thing we want to do is go down a referral route to the Local Authority, but we do have a legal responsibility to ensure that children are in school and that parents are meeting their legal obligation to send their child to school.  Could I also ask that wherever possible medical appointments are booked outside of the school day. We have noticed a significant increase in appointments during early afternoon meaning that students lose their afternoon mark even if they only miss period 5. I do appreciate that this can be difficult!

Thank you for your ongoing support.

Best wishes

Jonathan