Headteacher’s Blog – Week 24

What a busy time it was in school last week. Staff returned and were able to base themselves in their own classrooms for the first time since September. Students were also back in school and hit the ground running in lessons. 

Our amazing testing team carried out around 1500 LFD (Lateral Flow Device) tests  - the team are staff and community volunteers who have undertaken government training in order to deliver the tests to our staff and students.

We have one more week of testing in-school, after which, consenting students will be given home testing kits. This is something staff have been doing for two weeks now, and is very straight forward.

Unfortunately, we had a couple of positive cases last week, resulting in a handful of students having to self-isolate for 10 days. The government guidance to schools is very clear: in the event of a positive LFD test, students and close contacts must self-isolate. A negative PCR test does not change this outcome. I know this will be frustrating for families, especially when the return to school is so recent, but we must follow the guidance (see below). The best way for students to avoid the requirement to self isolate is to follow HANDS, FACE, SPACE advice - wash hands regularly and thoroughly, wear a face mask and keep 2 metre distance from others.

DFE Guidance
As schools return to full attendance, we understand parents’ frustration when their child is asked to isolate at home either after testing positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), or because of being in close contact with someone who has tested positive.

However self-isolation is one of the most important things we can do to help stop the spread of the virus and help protect our friends, family and our community. Around one in three people with coronavirus (COVID-19) have no symptoms, and so finding and isolating these hidden cases quickly will help to stop outbreaks before they get a chance to develop.

If your child has tested positive having been tested using a lateral flow device (LFD) test at school, they do not need a PCR confirmation because these tests are done in a supervised environment. Lateral flow device tests are at least 99.9% specific, meaning the likelihood of a false positive is extremely low – less than 1 in every 1,000. PCR testing will always carry a risk of producing false negatives. At the moment, carrying out LFD tests in supervised conditions and not carrying out confirmatory PCR testing means we capture the maximum possible number of coronavirus (COVID-19) infections during the initial return to school period.

Hopefully, our combined efforts, including engaging in the testing programme, will see a continued and rapid decline in the number of COVID cases in our community and school will be able to return to more normal operation soon. Thank you for your support.

It has been lovely having students back in our school, though some have returned with a variety of adornments! The following are NOT school uniform:

  • False eyelashes
  • Acrylic nails
  • Jewellery including earrings, bracelets, rings, nose studs
  • Trainers
  • Air pods

I appreciate that students have had the opportunity to add ‘decoration’ to their person during lockdown, but my high standards of presentation in school have not changed. Students not wearing their uniform correctly, will be challenged and items will be confiscated. These are the school rules that all students and families signed up to when they chose The Kingsway School for their son or daughter.

During lockdown, there was a considerable effort to reconnect students with their exercise books so that their learning journey can continue at home as it was in school. Please make sure that exercise books are returned to school in your child’s school bag along with the basic equipment of pen, pencil, ruler, planner plus face mask and small hand sanitizer. We also encourage students to have their own glue stick and coloured pens/pencils to avoid sharing in class.

COVID-19 home testing
Our in-school testing will end on Friday, when we then start the next phase of COVID-19 prevention measures: the home testing of students. Staff are already home testing. To gain the maximum benefit from this approach we need as many families to participate as possible. We are really pleased that, overwhelmingly, families gave consent to the in-school testing programme. 

There is an online form for you to request home testing kits for your child. Although you may complete this anytime, we will need it completed by Wednesday 17th March to ensure kits are handed out this week. Each student will receive enough kits for 3 weeks, with additional deliveries being provided later. We aim to issue these on Thursday and Friday this week. Further information about when and how to test, as well as how to report results will be issued shortly.

If a student tests positive with a home test then they will need to isolate, as will any close contacts. However, they will also need to take a further PCR test, and should this be negative then the period of self-isolation comes to an end. (Please be aware this is not the case with in-school tests). School will need to be informed of any PCR test results.

Our online Enrichment offer has been developing over the Half Term with the reintroduction of the Virtual Enrichment classroom, where departments offer students a variety of activities and opportunities. We are hoping that after Easter we will be able to reintroduce in-school Enrichment activities. The new ‘Enrichment Supporting Wellbeing’ classroom is still available for all students via their Google Classroom and we would encourage students to continue to use this and log evidence to receive merits and certificates.

On Tuesday 2nd March, the full Kingsway Parliament, chaired by Mr Wood and consisting of the Senior Students, House Captains and Student Council Members, met online for the second time, along with guests Mrs Lowe and Mr Knott. This followed a week of Year Council Meetings where all the Student Council Members had the opportunity to meet with Mr Wood to raise any issues they would like to address or discuss. Mrs Lowe and Mr Knott attended the Parliament meeting to respond to student queries and to impart information to the student body about the return to school. Topics on this meeting's agenda included the Canteen, Break Times, Site Management issues, Merit Totals and COVID-19. Students thanked Mrs Lowe and all the staff for all the help and support they have received during the pandemic.

Congratulations to Ghazal G 9N, Imogen D 9T, Esme M 9T, Sarah W 9I, Fatimah N 7S and Henry M 7S who gave an Oscar worthy performance of Matilda in the end of lockdown celebration! The event took place on Friday 5th March to celebrate the achievements of the students who attended the Vulnerable and Key Worker provision in school over the last 8 weeks. Here are some of the winners:

  • Ameila TM's attitude to learning has been excellent. Amelia without exception has been kind and supportive to her fellow classmates.
  • Millie T has shown great enthusiasm for learning and strives to achieve her goals.
  • Lucy W has been an absolute pleasure to have in the classroom, polite, does what is asked of her and a keen learner.
  • Demi B tries really hard and has improved her aptitude for learning over the past several weeks.

Governor focus
Continuing our new series focusing on key people who help keep the school running, this time we are welcoming Sarah Holmes:

My name is Sarah Holmes and I’ve been a Parent Governor at The Kingsway School since June 2018. I have also worked at the school as an exam invigilator since the summer of 2017.

I love the emphasis that The Kingsway School places on the STEM based subjects within the school curriculum; I’m grateful to the teachers at my own secondary school who encouraged me to eventually go on to do a physics degree. I then developed an interest in education myself and trained as a primary school teacher, teaching both in Manchester and also as a supply teacher for a year in New Zealand, while completing studies for a Masters in Maths Education.

I became a mum in 2006 and since then have loved the opportunity to volunteer in my local community in various roles. I am an active member of St. Mary’s Church, Cheadle, where I enjoy playing the piano for services and also helped to run Mustard Seed, their baby & toddler group, in the Upper Room for a number of years. One of my favourite evenings of the Kingsway calendar is seeing and hearing our talented students (and staff!) perform at the annual Christmas Concert in the church! I’ve also been a member of the Patient Participation Group at Cheadle Medical Practice for several years and more recently have started as a volunteer at the Trussell Trust Foodbank held at Trinity Church. I love seeing the involvement our students and staff have in supporting others both in our local community and further afield at our sister school: Kolweny Kingsway in Kenya.

Being a governor combines my interest in education with my love for the local community and I’m looking forward to supporting the school community in whatever ways I can over the years to come.

Dates for your diary

Date Event
Thursday 18th March Year 7 Virtual Parents' Evening, 5-8pm
Friday 26th March End of term

Have a good week, and stay safe and well.

Mrs J. Lowe

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