Hooray! The day has finally arrived when we can begin to welcome our students back into school.
There has been a lot of preparation for this moment including creating a one way system around each of our campuses, getting classrooms clean and tidy and training our team of testing volunteers.
You will have seen a recent communication advising that, with the exception of Year 11, all other year groups will be invited into school to have their test the day before the return to school. This is so we can ensure there are no asymptomatic cases in school. For Year 11, they will now start after the first break, with testing taking place before then. Students and families will be informed promptly of a positive result by the school. We are doing everything we can to keep our school community safe.
Testing is a new feature of the organisation of our school, and we are pleased that we are able to offer it to all our students. However, a negative COVID LFD test is not a licence for students to disregard the guidance. As well, the government has suspended the option of having continuous 7 day LFD testing for any person who is identified as a close contact of somebody with COVID-19. Instead, the previous system of identifying close contacts and then self-isolating for 10 days will apply until further guidance is provided. The country remains under lockdown and restrictions must be adhered to at all times.
A key component of school safety is the wearing of masks in school. I know that they are not the most comfortable of accessories and that they can make communication that little bit harder. But for now, I believe the benefits outweigh the inconvenience and hopefully by Easter, because we were all compliant with the measures expected of us, we will see school operating as normal.
It is likely that there will be those families who do not wish to engage with the testing programme, which means we can never be certain that there are no asymptomatic students in school. However, I hope that with the vast majority engaging in the programme we will be more sure than not.
Likewise, we cannot force students to wear a face mask in school, nor can we exclude them from their education. However, we are hoping that all our students and their parents play their part in keeping our school community safe and follow the expectations we have.
As students return to school please could we make a plea to parents and carers who drop off and collect their children not to park outside of the school, or stand by the gate. In addition to restricting the safety of students who are regularly forced into the road because of parked cars, we need to maintain social distancing as students depart. Please arrange a suitable meeting point, such as the area we negotiated with John Lewis in September, or in a street away from the school. Please also ensure that you are considerate to our neighbours.
Students are expected to wear their full school uniform on return to school. For students in Key Stage 3, they can continue to wear their school PE kit on days they have PE lessons, to avoid crowding in the changing rooms. I must stress this is school PE kit only and not hoodies for example. Our school behaviour policy will be followed for any students violating our uniform policy.
Most students have not been in school since Christmas, and they may well have received electric or e-scooters as presents. These are not allowed on school grounds, and therefore it is pointless students using them to come to school. The police have informed us that they need to be insured in the same way as a motorbike or car, and some youngsters have had them confiscated as a result.
When they return to school, students will notice that our premises team have been working hard. Work has nearly been completed on replacing all our doors with new doors that meet fire regulations and we have refurbished our Foxland library into a new Learning Resource Centre to cater for up to 100 students. This space will build upon the skills that students and staff have developed in learning online.
Someone who has been making the most of remote working is Art teacher, Miss Stendall who has created this fabulous virtual art exhibition.
Congratulations to Bastian B in Year 9 who achieved a SILVER award in the school’s Maths challenge. As the youngest entrant he did really well, scoring second highest for the school.
Keeping students safe in all aspects of their life is something that The Kingsway School is deeply committed to. Whilst we were unable to run our usual workshops, last week we did complete an online Risky Business Week. During the week students were given access to assemblies surrounding topics that are covered in the PSHE curriculum. These include prejudice, harmful language, identity, drugs and alcohol, healthy relationships, managing money, loans, housing and antisocial behaviour. Our PSHE curriculum will continue to support students’ understanding in these matters. Many thanks to everyone who contributed and participated in these sessions.
We also celebrated World Book Day on Thursday 4th March with a number of competitions to enter. 'The Masked Reader' was a popular form time competition, where English teachers read the blurb to their favourite novel, whilst in disguise, and students had to guess each teacher. Whilst nobody was able to get 'full marks', a number of forms and students came close and will receive extra merits and a prize upon our return to school.
Our annual 'Battle of the Books' has commenced, although in a virtual format this year. The deadline to enter has been extended to Friday 12th March. Pick your favourite novel and create a recorded speech or performance, persuading the judges to select your novel as the winner of the Battle of the Books! Send your recordings to either Miss Dean at email@example.com or Miss Halligan at firstname.lastname@example.org. The winner will be announced on Monday 15th March, with a prize and certificate.
As we were not able to celebrate World Book Day in a face-to-face manner, we are extending the whole of March as World Book Month. Years 7 & 8 have book vouchers ready for collection in form rooms and years 9-11 have free books to collect from the school library. There will be upcoming competitions shared in school and in our online library throughout March.
Last week, we were delighted to welcome our next generation of Kingsway learners and their families and are thrilled that we are oversubscribed again. Whilst we know from the many messages to the school that some families were disappointed that they have not been allocated a place at The Kingsway School, we would urge them to contact their Admissions Team at their Local Authority and we hope that they will be able to work with them to resolve their queries. If you were successful in your application and you feel you don’t yet know the school very well, please have a look at the school website on Thursday, where a ‘Meet the Team’ recording will be released by the Transition team, ahead of the April Welcome Evening, and don’t forget to join the Facebook closed group for the Class of 2026.
Over the next few weeks, we are introducing a new feature to my blog in which we hope to introduce you to some new faces, and refamiliarise you with some longer standing staff members and governors. This week we are introducing parent governor, Kathrine Chow.
“It is my pleasure to introduce myself to the children, staff and parents within the Kingsway School family. My role within the Governing Body is Parent Governor. This role is a new role for me having started in the Autumn Term of 2020. I am excited about what the role of Parent Governor will bring and I hope I will have a positive impact within the Governing Body Team.
I work as a Teacher at Gatley Primary School and have taught in Primary education for almost 15 years. Education is a passion of mine and I am keen to learn more about how children learn and develop once they leave Primary Education and begin their Secondary learning.
I have previous experience of being a Governor on two Governing Bodies at previous schools: once as a Parent Governor and once as a Staff Governor. Both of these roles provided me with experience of all the factors a Governing Body oversees within a school. I found these experiences incredibly fulfilling and for that reason, I was keen to undertake this role once again in a new school.
My son started in Year 7 at The Kingsway School in September of 2020 and has been really enjoying his time at school so far. I was keen to be involved as a Parent Governor so I could not only join him on his journey throughout his secondary education but have a real influence on the experiences he would have at secondary school too. The role Governors have is to set the strategic direction of the school and be a critical friend. I feel very lucky to get to work so closely with wonderful children and staff at the school. It is a very exciting time at The Kingsway School as we embark on our new journey within the Education Learning Trust (ELT). It is a superb opportunity to build upon current links with other Primary Schools within the trust and in the local area who feed into The Kingsway School and create a positive learning pathway for children.”
Dates for your diary
Have a good week, and stay safe and well.
Mrs J. Lowe