Headteacher’s Blog – Week 38

Monday 6th July 2020

I hope all our families had a nice weekend, albeit a little wet. I spent time going through the guidance for the full opening of schools in September. As you can imagine, there is now a lot of planning taking place by school leaders.

We will keep our parents and students informed as our plans develop for a full return to school for all pupils in the autumn term. We will also be planning for the eventuality of a local lockdown, but very much hope that we won’t need to take that plan off the shelf!

A few things that our families can be considering in the meantime:

  • Unless your child is unwell, attendance to school is mandatory from the autumn term.
  • If your child can walk or cycle to school, this is the preferred method of travel. 
  • We will be resuming our full school uniform policy in September (including tie, blazer and jumper).
  • All students in Year 11 will be expected to continue to study the full suite of their GCSE subjects and sit their exams in the summer of 2021.
  • There will be an update to our school’s behaviour policy to set out any new rules and the consequences for breaking them.
  • Remote learning (learning from home) will remain a feature of our school’s curriculum, e.g. homework or extension tasks.
  • Students will be required to have their own equipment (pen, pencil ruler), hand sanitiser, tissues and school bag
  • There will be no large gatherings of students e.g. for assemblies in the autumn term, nor any overnight school visits.

The government has also confirmed that they will continue to support those families with children eligible for free school meals over the summer holidays.

If your circumstances have changed and you believe you may be eligible for free school meals, please follow this link.

Tuesday 7th July 2020

Today would be the day that I would be giving a warm welcome to our new staff - so we did it virtually instead! Welcome to:

  • Miss Ashton (Teacher of MFL)
  • Miss Brennan (Teacher of Computing)
  • Miss Butler (Teacher of Technology)
  • Mrs Dean (Teacher of Drama)
  • Miss Forber (Teacher of Art)
  • Mrs Kilroy (Second in Science)
  • Mr Lomax (Teacher of Maths)
  • Miss McQuiston (Teacher of Dance)
  • Miss Stendall (Teacher of Art)
  • Miss Williamson (Teacher of English)

I am delighted to have these staff on our team - they were all really excited about starting at Kingsway in September. And what a start that will be!

Following on from my update on the return to school yesterday, here’s a few extra points:

Water Bottles - ideally all students would have their own water bottle and use the school water fountains to fill them during break times. Please be aware it is unlikely that these fountains will be in operation under the current restrictions. Water will be available to purchase in plastic bottles from the school canteen if needed.

Finally, we have received notification from the government that the Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to address all school leavers on Friday 10 July at 10am.

The Prime Minister will be giving an address to all school leavers which will be broadcast on Facebook and YouTube.

Wednesday 8th July 2020

Some students and parents have been asking whether masks will need to be worn in September. The current guidance is that there is no expectation for masks to be worn. This guidance, of course, may change during the summer. Parents may therefore wish to be prepared and have a mask ready as part of their child’s school kit for the new academic year. At this time, as a school we are not expecting the wearing of masks for students or teachers.

In September, parents will need to ensure that they use Parent Pay to top up their child’s account to pay for school dinners. Previously students have had the facility to top up their own account with cash, using biometric machines in school. Due to the risk this presents, these machines are likely to be out of use in September. If you are unsure how to add funds to your child’s account please follow this link.

Barnardo’s ‘See Hear Respond’ service

See Hear Respond is a service provided across England by Barnardo’s and other national and local community-based organisations in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The programme has been created to help children and young people in England who are experiencing harm and increased adversity during this period by providing support to those who are not being seen by social care or other key agencies. Working with its partners, Barnardo’s aims to reduce the likelihood of harm and ensure other support and protective networks are in place using:

  • online digital support, including advice and information, online counselling and a telephone helpline
  • face to face interventions, such as support for groups at risk outside the home and one to one support
  • reintegration into education, including assessments and the delivery of support pathways back to education

See Hear Respond accept referrals from any source either through the Freephone number 0800 151 7015 and via the online referral hub.

Thursday 9th July 2020

We are delighted to have received an award in recognition of our response to keeping children safe during COVID-19. The Award is assessed against both the safeguarding initiative and the impact it has had in keeping children and young people safe during COVID-19 and recognises:

  • How the school has adapted safeguarding policies and procedures during COVID-19; 
  • ​How the school has identified vulnerable pupils and ensured that they are kept safe during COVID-19; 
  • ​How the school has been innovative in their approach in safeguarding children and young people during COVID-19. 

Mrs Clarke will be inviting applications for the post of House Captains and Deputies. This is for current Year 9 students only. The deadline for applications is Friday 18th July 2020.

September Update

Our plans for September continue and we will be sending out details to parents before the end of term. I will provide information as we know it through my daily blog. At present our plans are on the basis that the current guidance remains unchanged and these plans will operate initially until 25th September 2020.

  • School will start and finish at the normal times (8:30am-3:00pm). We expect students to be in school, in front of their form tutor for 8:30am, therefore arrival to school by 8:25am is advisable. Due to the COVID guidance and need to keep students in year group, or form group bubbles, the school building will not be open to students until 8:15am. Please make sure your child does not arrive before this time as they will be unable to get in the building. 
  • On a similar note, unfortunately our school canteen will not be open for breakfast in the morning - please make sure your child has breakfast before they come to school. If you would like some support with providing breakfast for your child, please contact their Pastoral Head of Year.
  • Visitors will only be allowed onto the school site by appointment only. Please help us by making sure your child is organised for their day e.g. bag, kit, lunch etc as we will not be allowing parents on to the site to drop off forgotten items of equipment.
  • Parents can also help by getting their child in the habit of cleaning up after themselves! Once back in school, students will be responsible for keeping their work area clean and tidy and where required will need to wipe clean any equipment they have used.

Friday 10th July 2020

September update:

As previously mentioned, all students are expected to return to school in the autumn. We will be doing this as follows:

  • Monday 31st August 2020 Bank Holiday
  • Tuesday 1st September 2020 Staff INSET Day
  • Wednesday 2nd September 2020 Staff INSET Day
  • Thursday 3rd September 2020 Year 7 and 8 students only
  • Friday 4th September 2020 All year groups

On students’ return to school, we have the highest expectations of their behaviour and have updated our behaviour policy to reflect some of the changes we have made to the operation of the school as a result of COVID-19.

We will continue to keep parents informed of plans through our communication channels. 

Have a lovely weekend - the sun is on it’s way!

Mrs J. Lowe

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