I would like to thank students, staff and families for their work since the start of term. It has been the most unusual start to the school year but we have worked our way through the obstacles and delivered a learning experience that is as close to normal as possible. Students have risen to the challenge and accommodated the changes really well. I know that everyone is looking forward to the half-term break, which will be a great opportunity to relax and recuperate before the run up to Christmas.
As usual, our policy is to not set home based learning for KS3 students, and to keep HBL to a minimum for older students. Year 11 in particular, have mock examinations shortly after they return to school and they will use the break as an opportunity to make significant progress with their revision.
Last week we interviewed for a replacement for Mr. Moane, who left in August to take over as Headteacher at Hitchin Boys School. Following two days of interviews, I am delighted to announce that we have appointed Ms Finlay as replacement Deputy Headteacher. Ms Finlay will join Mr. Nicholls and Dr. Creaby at a senior level from January 2021. She currently works as a deputy head across two London Schools and will bring significant experience with her. I look forward to working with her next term.
The house system has seen a number of events in the last two weeks, as we near the end of the first half term of activity. We have had the Big House Quiz on Wednesday, and inter house football and netball with year 7 on Tuesday. Overall, Austen House are leading the charge with 4378 points, closely followed by Elgar on 4363 and Fawcett on 4237. Every point counts and I am sure there will be further changes in the course of next half term. Thank you to Mr. Cracknell for leading on this.
Finally, I would like to remind all our students about the need to stay safe over the half term, and to refrain from any activities that might risk the spread of Covid-19 infection. In particular, large gatherings are clearly banned and whilst it might be tempting to meet up outside this needs to be avoided. We have had notification from the police that they will be on patrol and will take action if young people are not abiding by the law. Equally, I am sure that no one is travelling to restricted countries over half term – we hope that all students to return Covid-19 free and do not have any time off school due to the need to self-isolate.
As a reminder, I have copied the guidance on self-isolating below.
Parents and carers that are self-isolating
We’ve been asked for guidance when a parent or carer has been asked to self-isolate as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for coronavirus but does not have coronavirus themselves and has no symptoms. We understand the rules are complicated, but in a similar way to children who are asked to self-isolate as part of a school bubble, only the person requested to self-isolate must follow the guidance unless the circumstances change. We hope the below information is helpful for your next update to parent and carers;
If you are a parent or carer and have been asked to self-isolate as part of a bubble at work or because you have come into close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus – you must follow the national self-isolation guidance and stay at home for 14 days: www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-and-treatment/how-long-to-self-isolate/
- This applies even if you have no symptoms and/or you have received a negative test result as it can take 14 days for transmission
- Self-isolation rules do not apply to the rest of your household, they can still attend work or school and complete day to day tasks in line with Government guidance
- If you develop symptoms while self-isolating, your entire household must begin self-isolating immediately
- If you would normally travel with your child(ren) to nursery, school or college, alternative arrangements should be made
- If you cannot make alternative travel arrangements for your child(ren), then they too must stay at home. Please contact your school or education setting directly for advice on remote learning in this situation
Please do not send your child(ren) to school if they have any symptoms of coronavirus. If you’re not sure, consult the online NHS symptom checker at: www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/symptoms/
Only book a test if you or your child(ren)develop symptoms, book at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or call 119 if you do not have internet access.
I hope you all have a great half term together.
Best wishes, Alan Gray
Mr A Gray