Few Important Matters – October 19 2020 – Half Term

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Our Ref: SKG/pjl/EHT205
Date: 19 October 2020

few important matters

Dear Parents/Carers

As the October half term draws nearer, I thought it might be timely to contact you regarding a few important matters. Please take a few minutes to read this letter. Thank you.

Self-Isolation

We are aware that there is confusion amongst so many of us around self-isolation and why some children need to although their peers may have been told not to. We follow Public Health (PH) advice to the letter when there is a positive case of COVID-19 in school, and this includes communication with PH about each new case. As we keep the children in their bubbles, we are able to trace whom they have been in close contact (see below) with. Therefore, if your child is not asked to self-isolate, it is because we are reassured that they have not been in close contact with the ‘affected person’. Your child does not necessarily need to self-isolate if they have been in close contact with someone else who has been told to do so. They only have to if they are a close contact with an affected person.

Close contact means:

  • direct close contacts: face-to-face contact with an infected individual for any length of time, within 1 metre, including being coughed on, a face-to-face conversation, or unprotected physical contact (skin-to-skin);
  • proximity contacts: extended close contact (within 1 to 2 metres for more than 15 minutes) with an infected individual;
  • travelling in a small vehicle, like a car, with an infected person.

Poor Weather

Now the less pleasant weather is starting, please ensure your child comes to school with a suitable outdoor coat. This is especially important at the minute because the children spend more time in the fresh air in order to reduce the risk of their bubbles being exposed to another year group’s. Mr Varley was in touch with you last week about this matter.

Year 11 and 13 Assessments

Year 11 and 13 students are being asked to complete assessments in class in the coming weeks, but let me reassure you about these. They are being conducted in order for your child’s teachers to establish gaps in learning; outcomes from these pre-Christmas assessments will not be used for any centre-assessed grades in the summer, should public exams end up being cancelled. At the time of writing, the Government has made it clear that GCSE and A Level exams will still be going ahead in the summer, albeit 3 weeks later. Once the students have benefitted from a sustained period in school, we may take the decision to assess them on their progress after Christmas, but you will be informed of this.

Year 7 Settling-in Report

Our Year 7 students have made a fabulous start to the school year, despite the length of time they had been away from school and the fact that they missed the more thorough transition days in July. A ‘settling-in’ report is being sent out later this week, and will contain accompanying information to explain how these work.

This has been a challenging time for your children, and we are extremely proud of how the vast majority have settled to the new normal. Their respect for each other is most certainly worthy of a mention.

I would also like to take a moment to pay tribute to my colleagues, who have worked incredibly hard during these difficult and troubling times. I know that the vast majority of parents and carers appreciate the great lengths that staff have gone to in order that the safety of your children is priority one. They have also been ensuring that they have been delivering an ever-increasing number of live lessons and blended learning opportunities, with an even greater use of technology. We will continue to make this a priority in the coming weeks and months, and the teaching staff will all be given additional and substantial training time on our forthcoming INSET day on Friday 23rd October 2020. The students will therefore finish on Thursday 22nd October.

In closing, please accept my very best wishes to you and your families. Have a restful half term.

Very best wishes,
Sir Ken Gibson
Executive Head Teacher

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