Re: latest update regarding government announcement and end of term arrangements
It has been a busy week with a number of announcements earlier this week by the Prime Minister and the Education Secretary which I am sure many of you will have heard but as we approach the end of the term, I thought it was a good time to share these with you.
It is really positive that as a country we will hopefully move to step 4 of the roadmap and the removal of restrictions across England on the 19th July. As a school however, in line with the increased rates of Covid seen across Sandwell over the last two weeks (including 29 cases in school at the time of writing this letter), the governing body and I decided that we will not be changing our restrictions until September.
This means that face masks will be continued to be worn in lessons and other areas until we break up on Wednesday 21st July. As with all decisions made this year throughout the pandemic, I have held the safety and wellbeing of students, staff and our local community at the front of my thoughts.
With this in mind, it seemed sensible to retain our systems in school for the last 3 days of the summer term to minimise the risk of transmission of Covid and therefore reduce the risk of needing to self-isolate during the holiday period. Our staff have been working exceptionally hard over the last 18 months during Covid but more so recently with all the additional work that has been required for the Y11 GCSE and Y13 A’ level qualification processes.
The result days have changed and will be as follow:
• Level 3/A’ level – Year 13: Tuesday 10th August at 9.00am
• GCSE – Year 11: Thursday 12th August at 9.00am
Year 11 and 13 had a much tougher time this academic year because to the loss of face to face learning over the past 18 months through lockdowns and self-isolation due to being close contacts.
Throughout this time, they have kept positive and focused on their studies and were a real credit to their families. I am sure that when they receive their results in August they will get the results that they deserve.
In September our focus will heighten with our Year 11 and once again the day for Year 11 will not end at 3.00pm, it will end when period 6 finishes. Their compulsory period 6 is part of our enhancement for Year 11 but it will also support on repairing any gaps in students’ knowledge that have been created through lost learning time with teachers.
Many of you who have passed the school over recent weeks will have seen a lot of work going on within our grounds. We now have a 7 lane 400 m running track following its complete refurbishment and extension. Next year I hope to see an inter-house Sports day making full use of it, as well as many of our Primary schools being able to utilise it. To officially reopen the running track, we will hopefully be completing a 1-mile charity sponsored run next week with our Year 7 to Year 9 students.
Our target is to raise £10,000 which will be shared between the intensive care units of Sandwell and Walsall hospitals who have cared for many of our families and our community. The money raised will also create a memorial garden on our site, in memory of loved ones lost during the pandemic. Any additional contributions can be made via our GoFundMe page at https://gofund.me/f71c6fd0
You can also find enclosed the sponsor form used by our students should you wish to support this good cause – if you wish to use it, please ask your child to return it with your sponsor money to the PE office. Along with the running track, we now have a new long jump and triple jump area and following continued work over the coming months, we will have 2 new FA standard football pitches as well as an artificial cricket wicket. I hope to bring you news of further developments on our increasing sports facilities in the new academic year.
As the summer holiday is fast approaching, please note that Sandwell Leisure Trust offers free swimming during the school holidays for under-16s who live in the borough. You can find further information via https://www.slt-leisure.co.uk/free-swimming-in-sandwell/
As with tradition at the end of the term, school will be closing a little earlier than normal on Wednesday 21st July – students will finish at the following times:
• 12.30pm - Years 8, 10 and 12 students
• 12.45pm - Years 7 and 9 students
Following the direction from government on Tuesday, we need a little more time to plan our return in September to meet their expectations. However our current proposal is to start Years 7, 8 and 12 on Monday 6th September and the other year groups on Tuesday 7th September. More information will be shared on this shortly.
Despite the possibility of looking forward to no restrictions, I would like to remind all parents/carers of what should be done should anyone in your household develop symptoms of Covid (please see this information at the end of this letter).
Mental health has been a concern throughout the pandemic and as we move into the holiday period, I wanted to remind you all of the various different support mechanisms which can be found on our school’s website and via www.Kooth.com
This weekend though we look forward to a once in a lifetime experience of England v Italy in the European Cup Final. Nights like these are where families and communities come together and since kick off is at 8.00pm and with possibilities of extra time or even penalties, this will probably be a late night for a lot of our students (and parents/carers).
Having spoken to our governors yesterday, they agreed that school should begin a little later on Monday 12th July so that our students can enjoy this event. Students will be expected to start at 9.45am on Monday with a tutor period and lesson will begin at 10.05am with lesson 2.
Please note that this doesn’t apply to students going on a PE canoeing trip to the Malt House Stables Activity Centre on Monday who should still come to school for 8.45am (and meet PE staff in the canteen). Thank you all once again for your continued support.
Enjoy the weekend and hopefully a great result for the country and I wish you all a lovely summer holiday.
Additional information about potential positive cases during summer What to do if your child develops symptoms of COVID 19 For most people, especially children, COVID-19 will be a mild illness. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are recent onset of:
• New continuous cough and/or
• High temperature and/or
• A loss of, or change in, normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia) If your child develops any of these symptoms of COVID-19, they should remain at home and arrangements should be made for them to be tested at a test centre (via a PCR test).
At that time, all other household members must also stay at home, not go to work, school or public areas, even for exercise. Testing can be arranged by calling 119 or via the NHS website: nhs.uk/coronavirus When the result of the child’s test is known further advice will be available. The school will not need to be informed after Wednesday 21st July as from that point onwards, close contacts will be identified directly by NHS Test and Trace. Please note that as per government advice, schools will only provide tests for twice weekly asymptomatic testing for students and staff over the summer period if they are attending school or college settings. However, testing will still be widely available over the summer and kits can be collected either from your local pharmacy or ordered online.