Letter from the Headteacher - Doing the Right Things
Integrity: doing the right thing at the right time
Dear Parents and Carers
It’s been an unusual week with some great highs and some not so good lows. The huge positives are that the Year 11 and 13 students continue to focus on their subjects as we move closer to their second assessment period. We are pleased to see that the vast majority of students continue to work hard and follow our school values on a daily basis.
As restriction ease slightly, the school is becoming livelier and more vibrant both in school time and after school. The PE department are delighted with the number of students that are engaging in extra-curricular activity; the Music department have welcomed their visiting music teachers back into school and the Drama department have made an exciting announcement about auditions for their next production. Our school performances are always superb so I’m sure we’ll be in for another treat!
Unfortunately, there is a small number of students that are not following our values. This is having a negative impact on their own and other students’ education. We are fully aware that these are difficult and challenging times and we will support those students that are struggling to meet our expectations but it is simply unacceptable for them to prevent their peers from achieving their potential.
Once again, I will look to pick out a few highlights from the week and offer some reminders to ensure that everything runs really well next week.
Year 11 End of Year Celebration
Mr Tilley has met with a committee of Year 11 student to determine how they will celebrate the end of the year to ensure they get the send-off they deserve whilst ensuring that we stay within Covid guidelines. There is lots of uncertainty about what can or can’t happen this summer. The school leadership team and staff want to make sure that the students mark the occasion in the right way.
These have been challenging times with many parents being furloughed or out of work due to the pandemic. We have therefore taken the decision that the event will be free to students. We are a fully inclusive school and we want everyone to have the opportunity to attend their end of year celebration without having to worry about purchasing an expensive outfit.
In the future, when the Pandemic has subsided and the students have progressed into the 6th Form, we will once again reconvene the student committee and allow them to determine how they would like to celebrate the end of their time in the 6th Form. Therefore, those students that decide to continue into the 6th Form will have the option of planning a prom or another event of their choice at the end of Year 13. We hope that you can see we are trying to ensure that the students still get a great experience without having to put financial burden on their families whilst also with guaranteeing that they will be able to plan a prom or other celebration at the end of Year 13.
Damage to School Equipment
Unfortunately, a minority of students have picked up on a social media Tik Tok craze that is trending nationally. This craze sees students using the elastic cord on their face covering to cut through the plastic on school chairs. Thus far 10 seats have been damaged at a cost of £30 to £40 per unit. This is very frustrating for the school when educational budgets are so tight and we want to pour as much funding as we can into support and interventions to ensure our students can achieve their full potential and be competitive in the job market in years to come. We have completed a full investigation and a number of students have admitted to what amounts to criminal damage. They will all be individual meetings with a PCSO to ensure they do not do this sort of thing again and the bill for the cost of the damage will also be sent home. All the parents have been very supportive of the actions we have taken and we thank them for that support. It goes without saying that we want to focus every penny we have on building students’ futures and we can’t do that if we are having to purchase new chairs.
Year 11 Revision Transportation Cancelled
We have taken the decision to cancel the revision transportation as there has been little to no take up from students. The few students that have asked for it have been offered taxis.
Mobile Phone Policy
We would like to remind all students, including Sixth Form, of our mobile phone policy. If brought into school, mobile phones must be switched off (not put on silent) and placed in students’ bags. There may be occasions when a teacher allows a phone to be used under strict direction and supervision for learning in lessons. This is the only exception and phones will be confiscated if they are seen at any other time. Under no circumstances should phones be used in the corridors as this poses a health and safety risk.
Thank you to all students who have returned to school in full uniform and appropriate PE kit. The vast majority of our students are looking very smart and meeting our expectations. May we remind parents of our uniform expectations.
Outdoor coats, this includes hoodies or sweatshirts being worn as outerwear, need to be removed at the beginning of tutor time and placed in bags. They should not be worn whilst moving around the school building or in lessons. On days when students have practical PE lessons, they are permitted to wear their school PE kit. They are not allowed to wear sports kit on any other day. These expectations of school uniform will be monitored regularly in the summer term and we are grateful for parental support in ensuring their child is appropriately dressed for school.
Covid 19 Section (unaltered since 23rd April 2021)
Home testing will continue through the rest of this term. It is essential that everyone who has consented to testing continues to test themselves on Sunday and Wednesday each week. This is to ensure that our community remains safe and that we can all focus on teaching and learning in school. Social media reminders will be sent out each Sunday and Wednesday to help students keep to the testing schedule.
Completing the Test
Please see the link below for NHS guidance video on how students can complete the LFT CV19 test at home. Also, the attached guide gives further details and guidance.
Reporting Your Results to the NHS
Report your result so the NHS can monitor the spread of the virus, support communities across the UK, combat the virus and save lives. You can report your results online by visiting www.gov.uk/report-covid19-result. Alternatively, you can call 119 (free from mobiles and landlines), the lines are open 7am to 11pm.
Reporting Results to School
In addition to reporting all results to the NHS we would also like parents and carers to inform the school of only any positive or void test results that you record at home. Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org If your child has a void result we are happy to offer them an in school LFD test the next day they are in school.
Guidance From Devon County council – Please Read Carefully
Follow-up PCR tests required after a positive LFD test
Previously, a follow-up PCR test was only required following a positive LFD test carried out at home. The Government has re-introduced the requirement for a PCR test after positive LFD tests carried out at all assisted testing sites. As of 31st March, staff and pupils who get a positive LFD result (whether at home or at supervised testing site in school) should take a follow-up PCR test. This requirement is now published in the Stay At Home Guidance. Stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) and has been included in the DfE daily update. As the prevalence rates are now low in England, follow-up PCR tests will help reduce the chances of false positive LFD tests. The follow-up PCR test should be taken as soon as possible and within 2 days of the positive LFD result. The quickest way is to book a test online or call 119 for an appointment at a nearby nearest testing centre. Alternatively, a PCR home test kit can be used but it may take longer for the results to come back.
Staff, students and pupils who have a positive LFD test result, their household members and close contacts should self-isolate immediately whilst waiting for the follow-up PCR result. Public health action must be taken from a positive result, whether from a LFD or PCR test, to quickly identify close contacts in school and request that they self-isolate.
If the follow-up PCR result is negative
If the follow-up PCR test result is negative and the test was done within 2 days of the positive LFD result, the person, their household members and close contacts at school can stop self-isolating and return to school or college if they are well. PHE SW Health Protection Team have distributed a template ‘stand down’ letter (attached) which can be used for this purpose. It is important to continue with all existing protective measures, negative test results should not be read as a means to relax preventative measures which are intended to reduce the risk of transmission.
Parents and Carers please see the latest DfE guidance for schools
As ever, the school will continue to monitor and make any adjustments in our way of working in line with any further guidance. This guidance will always be clearly communicated to our students and their parents/carers.
We hope all our students and parents enjoy the Bank Holiday weekend.