It was wonderful to be back up to full capacity in the building with all Year groups in school. Whilst time away only equated to a week for Years 9, 10 and 11, with the vast majority of all students engaging with and completing their work on line at home really well, for our Sixth Form this was a far longer absence and so their return was really warmly welcomed by all. We were just a little short of distraught therefore to hear of a further positive COVID case in Year 12 yesterday late in the evening, which will now lead to all (but only) Year 12 students having to learn from home once again for 14 days (dates to be confirmed by TTP). We wish our student and her family a quick recovery and look forward to seeing her again as soon as possible.
In an attempt to do all we can to prevent any absences due to COVID, as you are aware the school has a stringent set of health and safety protocols. Part of this is for all students, with the only exception being those medically exempt, to wear face masks both on school transport and in and around the corridors whilst in the school building. Whilst the vast majority of our students adhere to this every day without question, helping to protect the safety of both themselves and others, a very small number indeed require occasional reminders. However, it has recently become a more common occurrence that some students arrive in school without their own mask at all and have to report to the office to be given one. Please can I ask that parents ensure that their child is equipped with a mask to bring with them each and every day. Whilst we will provide any student who has forgotten their mask with one, the cost of doing so over time is considerable and promised masks from Welsh Government have not yet transpired. Many thanks for your kind understanding in this matter.
Please do remember that any student showing any potential symptoms of COVID at all should be kept at home and not come into school until you are confident that they are fully well. In some cases this could require a test to be taken and a negative result returned.
In light of the announcement from Welsh Government this week, regarding the cancellation of the summer examination series, it is now clear that, more than ever, work completed in school and online is of vital importance to those students in the upper school who will now be completing school based assessments. Whilst we still await the details of how this will work and what the assessments will be, we cannot stress enough to students the significance of the quality of all pieces of work produced. Assessments being set by teachers now could well be used to help inform overall grades in the summer and to this end, students need to ensure that the work they submit truly reflects the standard of which they are capable. In the case of our Sixth Form this means fully preparing for their mock examinations which will take place in December and for Year 11 the mocks currently scheduled to take place in January.
It was Armistice Day this week, and as always the school marked the occasion with a time of reflection and a minute’s silence. Whilst we would have held a whole school assembly, perhaps one of the most important assemblies of the year, due to current circumstances that has sadly not been possible. Instead, the whole school came to a standstill as we listened to a reading before observing the silence. As always our students behaved with the maturity which the occasion demands and it provided a moment for us all to reflect, something most precious to everyone at times, and perhaps an undervalued principle in modern life generally.
Accelerated Learning Programme – especially for catching up and extra support purposes
The school is currently operating an after school Accelerated Learning Programme, aimed primarily at Year 10 and 11 students currently, in order to offer further support with their learning. In particular, its aim is to help students recover from any time away from school, to help them continue to make good progress and to continue to help meet other practical needs of students. This is an ongoing support programme and is supervised by teaching staff in ICT rooms in order that students have access to computers and Google Classroom, should they need them. Unfortunately, in light of the fact that it is not possible to run after school clubs, any students attending the sessions will need to be picked up by parents as there is no school transport available at present. Specific students will be invited to join the programme and can attend sessions for as long as they are benefiting from the support given.
We had a COVID positive case in Year 8 also earlier this week, but no further action was necessary as the student concerned had not been in school during the contagious period. We are all very hopeful of the vaccine announced on the national news recently, and the changes to life that this will eventually bring. However, please help us to help all children realise that it is good to be hopeful in life, but we must continue with current health and safety precautions for some time yet to come.
I was recently reminded of a quote from the author Sam Levenson, which I think is worth trying to reflect upon for a moment when everyone is finding life challenging, “Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you’ll find one at the end of your arm. As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands: one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.”
Perhaps age isn’t such a bad thing after all!
Many thanks everyone for your kind support.
I hope your weekend is enjoyable.