Headteacher’s Blog – Week 12

SEND Week of Action
This week, the Inclusion and Diversity Department launched a ‘week of action’ each day staff were able to access video or audio recordings by students with a range of additional needs. Their bravery and courage in speaking about their experiences to help our staff continue to provide tailored support was touching. We also heard from some of our parents who were eager to share tips and advice about how best to support their child. Throughout the week, staff were also able to learn new strategies and were given further information about a range of special educational needs and disabilities. Our thanks go out to everyone who participated and who helped organise this wonderful event.

Isolation Pen-pal scheme
Last week we wrote that Mrs Jones, our Community Mentor, has instigated an exciting new project for our students to reach out to some of our community who may be feeling increasingly isolated during the pandemic. I was delighted to see so many of our students offering letters and reaching out to people that they wanted to support. There are still a few days left to get your letters in and then we will be sending these out. We’ll keep you posted about how these are received by our recipients. 

Year 11
The Year PPEs began at the end of last week and continue until Friday 11th December. For the first time, all Year 11 students are sitting these exams in the same hall. When students are not in exams, their normal lessons are running virtually except during Period 3, or when the vast majority of the Year group are in an exam. 

We have made contingency plans should students be affected by the need to self-isolate. In the first instance, whenever possible maths and English exams will be repeated within the blank exam slots in students’ timetables. Results from these catch-up exams will need to be treated with caution because the papers will already have been seen by the rest of the Year group. A further significant contingency is a second season of PPEs planned for February, hopefully when the COVID environment will be quite different. These details will be available in the new term.

During this term, we have been developing and implementing our plans to support students to make up lost learning. Enrollment on these schemes is targeted at those students most affected by enforced isolation and subsequently encountering difficulties in making up the resulting lost learning. Interventions have been underway during this term including extra staffing in maths, English and Science to provide additional teaching in lessons, and/or during the school day. 

We have commissioned the Government’s programmes for tutor support in maths and science. These begin in January and will deliver ten virtual tutor sessions for groups of three students. One condition of these schemes is that they must take place in school. Priority will be given to those students most affected by having to self-isolate and struggling to make up their learning.

Our Year 11 Virtual Revision Classroom has been created, with teachers uploading a variety of materials to support learning, including pre-recorded videos. Also, a series of catch-up revision sessions are running on the following days:

Mondays History, Geography, MFL & Science
Tuesdays English
Wednesdays Maths
Thursdays Other Options Subjects

Further support from subjects has been through the purchase of subject apps and revision guides.

We are also working with other agencies to provide additional support for our students. These details will be released when confirmed.

Safeguarding update
In recent days, we have had two boys from other schools enter our Foxland site and deliberately set off the fire alarm. They appear to be gaining access via a residential property adjoining the field and it is possible that they have received help from some individuals in our school. This is very concerning and we are working closely with the police to apprehend the individuals. Any student involved will be putting their place at our school in jeopardy. We have increased security in the area and it has necessitated an adjustment to our COVID protocols which allowed Year 10 convenient access to one of the towers.

Public Health England Meeting
We had a very positive COVID-19 meeting this week with the Registrar for Public Health. This meeting was at our request following the increase in school cases at the start of half term and we wanted to know what further actions we could take to protect our community. The Registrar fully endorsed the processes we had implemented and complimented the school on the efficacy of our approach. Within our local COVID-19 context, he estimated we might have anticipated more cases than we have actually experienced. We continually review our practice to try and ensure the least disruption as possible whilst keeping people safe.

Christmas is coming...
December is arriving this week and after the events this year, I’m certain that we all deserve some festive cheer so we have planned a number of events throughout the last few weeks of school. 

The first event will be 11th December, where all students will be permitted to wear one item related to Christmas in return for a small donation to Save the Children. Some examples of suggested items could be a Christmas jumper or tie, a Santa hat, a pair of festive socks. 

Our charitable spirit will be continuing through our form Christmas hampers that will all be donated to local food banks. If you can offer any food or treats to support families in need over Christmas, these will be gratefully received and go a long way to helping us produce over 40 hampers.

To help spread the festive cheer, Caterlink will also be providing students with the opportunity to tuck into their roast turkey early by serving Christmas lunch. A full menu will be shared with students next week.

Throughout the last week, Raising Standards Leaders will be sharing celebrations and achievements with their year groups and on the last day of school there will be an extended form time period 3 and an early close at noon. All buses have been notified so that students can get home safely. Please note that there will be no food service on this last day due to the early departure, please ensure your child brings a snack and a drink if they wish.

Dates For Your Diary

Date Event
Monday 14th December Year 11 return to normal timetable following PPEs
Friday 18th December School breaks up for students at noon
Monday 4th January INSET Day
Tuesday 5th January Students return to school at 8:30am

Have a good week, and stay safe and well.

Mrs J. Lowe

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