Headteacher’s Weekly Newsletter (4 March 2021)

Dear Parents

There is information about next week to bring you up to date on.

Return to School Information

As we enter the last few days of this week it is gladdening to think that this time next week we will have seen all of our students back onsite; a week today we will be fully open. I am sure the students are looking forward to the return to school, some I am sure will be a little nervous, but they should all be confident that we are eager to see them back in lessons and interacting with each other. As seems the way nowadays, there are some changes for them to adapt to, but they have done this so impressively over the last twelve months I know they will take to the systems seamlessly. It will be a welcome relief to do duty on Thursday morning and see our full school community back together as one again.

There are several items to update all parents on regarding the return to school site next week:

Lateral Flow Testing for Students

We sent letters out to all parents this week regarding the Lateral Flow Tests that are being offered to all students as they return to onsite learning. It is essential that any student who is having a Lateral Flow Test arrives with their consent form signed by a parent (for those aged 15 or under) or signed by themselves if they are aged 16 or over. Once the students have had the three tests in the first fortnight in school we will issue them with home testing kits, which come with comprehensive instructions.

Lateral Flow Tests for Families of Students at school

The Department of Health and Social Care announced over the weekend that, from Monday, 1 March, households with primary school, secondary school and college age children, including childcare and support bubbles, can test themselves twice every week. In order to do this, you need to request asymptomatic testing kits using the available website. You will then be able to pick up home testing kits from a designated site or have them delivered to your home. Further details are available here.

Remote Learning Next Week

Remote Learning tasks will be set as follows next week to ensure continuity of learning for the students. The only sessions where Remote Learning will not be scheduled is the afternoon for any year group that has been invited into school for testing. In particular:

  • Y13 – Remote lessons as normal Monday am, no lessons Monday pm as testing
  • Y12 – Remote lessons as normal Monday am, no lessons Monday pm as testing
  • Y11 – No remote learning set, in school on normal timetable from Monday, 8 March
  • Y10 – Remote learning as normal on Monday, in school on normal timetable from Tuesday,

9 March

  • Y9 – Remote learning as normal Monday, and Tuesday am, no lessons Tuesday pm as testing. In school on normal timetable on Wednesday, 10 March
  • Y8 – Remote learning as normal on Monday and Tuesday, in school on normal timetable from Wednesday, 10 March
  • Y7 – Remote learning as normal Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday am, no lessons Wednesday pm as testing.

From Thursday, 11 March all students will be in school following their normal timetables.

Operational Details and Risk Assessments

As you would expect we have updated our operational details and risk assessments to reflect the changes in control measures. In particular these now include references to the Lateral Flow Tests and also the change in guidance in relation to facemasks. These will be available on the school website, alongside information such as the privacy notice for the Lateral Flow Tests, at the end of this week. The operational processes we have been following since September will remain in place with some minor alterations to allow for the Lateral Flow Tests to be conducted. We will continue to update these as and when the guidance changes.

Facemasks

Department for Education guidance is clear that the wearing of facemasks is recommended for all students where social distancing cannot be maintained. As a result, we expect all students to wear a facemask while inside school, including in lessons, unless they have a medical reason for not doing so. The Department for Education have introduced this extra control measure until Easter in the first instance, when I hope it will be relaxed to the previous conditions.

Uniform

All students are expected to be in full school uniform on their return to onsite learning from Monday, 8 March. This means we expect students to be in full uniform when they arrive for testing and also if they are attending the hub next week. Students will need to ensure that they have their PE kit and correct books and equipment to resume their normal timetables as soon as they are back in school.

Extra-Curricular Clubs

We are aiming to return to as extensive an extra-curricular program as we can in the coming weeks. Next week we will start some of the clubs back up:

  • Year 7 Open Spaces after school – starts Thursday, 11 March
  • Year 9 Rock Club – starts Wednesday after school
  • Year 8 Music Group – starts Thursday after school

The week after, as well as the above we will see the following also start:

  • Year 10 Music group – Monday after school
  • Year 7 Choir – Tuesday Lunchtime Year 11 Music – Friday after school

World Book Day – A story for the whole family to share

It has become a William Howard School tradition that students and staff share a story on World Book Day. This year we have moved the event online, and we invite you to join in. Follow the links on our website and listen to our Drama and Performing Arts students read a tale of suspense! With links to competitions, author events and audiobooks, this should give students a chance to have some book-related fun this weekend.

School Transport Routes

All students will be back at school starting from Thursday, 11 March. This is the date from which we will need to restart charging for school transport routes that are provided by the school. The direct debit collections for parents who pay for their children’s transport will be restarted on Thursday, 1 April as a result.

I am hoping this will be the last of the Weekly Newsletters we have been sending out, as after next week school routines should return to a certain sense of normality. However, as always, if there is anything at all we can help with, or you want to ask about, do not hesitate to get in touch.

Yours sincerely
Chris McAree
Headteacher

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