11th September 2020

Dear students, parents and carers,

Many thanks for your ongoing support with the restart for young people’s education. I hope that your child has gradually become more confident coming into school this past week and is settling well. If this is not the case please talk to us early via the tutor or Head of Year so we can keep an eye out for them and spot issues earlier rather than later.

This past week has been a huge learning curve for us as you can imagine. We had a plan that worked on paper but until we actually started to run it we could not be totally sure of its success. In the main, things are working well. Mostly students are keeping to their bubbles and the students and staff are getting used to the new ways of doing things.

We have reviewed things after a week and we will make some tweaks and changes for Monday but largely we will continue to run things as we have. One question I have been asked a few times is could students come in PE kit. I am aware some schools run this system. We discussed this in some depth at a senior meeting last night and we believe students should continue to arrive in their uniform. There were a host of detailed, site-specific, reasons for this but the fundamental point is that it is not hygienic for students to do PE and stay in the same clothes for the full day. We have cleaning regimes on site and I would much rather we had students keeping things as  normal as possible in a world of change. Some stability and consistency is really important so uniform assists with this.

We are closely monitoring the guidance and how the school runs and we will remain alert to any issues. I make the assumption that I want the school to run as if my own children were here (long since flown the nest!).

Year 7 will be completing Cognitive Ability Tests (CATs) starting on 21st September which are a short series of tests to assess a student’s reasoning (thinking) abilities in key areas that support educational development and academic attainment. We will use this information to better meet their needs in the classroom and help them achieve.

Finally, for me, as the new Head of School here, it has been good to see the vast majority of students responding positively to me. I make no secret of the fact that I am a bit old-fashioned in regards discipline in schools. So there will be bumps along the road but I am determined that we continue to improve and this starts with standards and expectations around behaviour. To the students I would say thank you for stepping up, keep on smiling, being calm and follow the rules!

Mr Parr-Burman