11 October 2020

Good afternoon,

Staff training (INSET) day:  Following the school term dates which were set more than a year ago, there is a staff training day on Friday (16th October) and school will be closed as, in line with government guidance, training will be undertaken remotely.

Late buses:  We have been running the late buses (at 4.15pm) because we expected significant number of students to need to stay to use the school facilities in homework club.  This has not been the case and, on several days in the last few weeks, we have only had a handful of students (3 or 4) across the 2 buses.  The late buses cost the school about £200 per day so this is not a sensible use of school resources.  We are therefore stopping the late bus services from October half-term and we will review again at Christmas.  I know that the services are sometimes used by students who have to stay for detention so please discuss with your son or daughter that, should they need to stay for detention after half-term, they will have to be collected or make their own way home.  The number of students on detention has been very low and we hope that it will stay that way.

Blackburn bus routes:  There are very few students on the 503 this year so we have amended the routes so that those who normally catch that bus can catch the 501 or 504 instead.  The updated routes are on the website here and are attached to the email version of this update.  Please be aware that we have carefully monitored the number of students who catch each bus over a period of several weeks so it is important that students do not "hop" from bus to bus as sometimes occurs. We will do new seating plans for the 501 and 504 services.  Should you have any queries about the Blackburn bus services please contact Mrs Eckersley at school (s.eckersley@waltonledale.lancs.sch.uk).  The changed routes will take effect from after the half term break (Monday 2nd November).

Behaviour:  Behaviour across school has been very good with most students, particularly the older ones, adapting to the new systems really well.  I have been surprised and pleased by the students' overall approach.  Our pastoral and SEN teams, and indeed every member of staff, have been working flat out to support students who have, for whatever reason, struggled on their return to school.  There have been a very small handful of students who have caused any disruption at all.  Under the current pandemic restrictions we have no capacity to have such students in school if they will not follow reasonable instructions.  Mr Howarth (Deputy Headteacher - p.howarth@waltonledale.lancs.sch.uk) is in charge of behaviour across school, along with having overall responsibility for all student support, and I have clearly instructed him to make swift use of fixed-term exclusions for any students who behave in a way that is unsafe or disruptive.  We are a highly inclusive and supportive school, as everyone knows, but we have to keep everyone safe and keep everyone learning.   To end this on an upbeat note, since we returned in September, 78% of all Classcharts points have been positive and the pastoral team have been working on a new rewards system, based on Classcharts, which is being introduced over the coming weeks.

Year 7:  We usually have our "settling-in evening" at this time of year and we cannot do that on a physical face-to-face basis.  This meeting is always a pastoral discussion between the tutor and the parents and this year it is being done over a number of weeks through communication by email, phone or Teams.  I know that there have been some conversations about Year 7 setting - please be aware that we use very broad setting in Year 7, students can easily be moved from set to set as we get to know them even better, and it only applies to Maths and Science this year.

Homework:  If you wish to book your son or daughter into homework club please use this link to the online booking form.

Communications:  Please remember to register for Classcharts (email classcharts@waltonledale.lancs.sch.uk with any issues) and School Gateway to keep up to date with information from school.  If you use social media, please keep an eye on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.  There have been several messages sent out this week:

•    Reminder for Year 9 HPV injections on Wednesday
•    Note to Year 7 & 11 parents re photos - All students should have now brought home proof photos/order forms. Please ask your son/daughter to post all orders in the box in the Dining Room by Thursday 15th October. 
•    Stationery update - Unfortunately we are awaiting delivery of the coloured pencils. Apologies.
•    Text re Inset Day on Friday

Have a good week and please don't send your son or daughter to school on Friday!

James Harris


Posted by James Harris

Category: WLD Updates