26 February 2021
Transcript of the video:
Hello, a slightly longer and more detailed update today - the third of what will probably be four videos....
When we think about the routines and practicalities of school life we always have to start with our basic principles - what are we about? Our ethos is that of a highly inclusive supportive school with a focus on academic progress alongside the wellbeing of everyone, staff and students. We are a kind, well-ordered, calm environment, with a focus on the wellbeing and progress of each individual, both student and staff. In addition, at this time we also have to be very aware of COVID safety as a top priority.
So all our rules and routines are based on those principles.
Firstly, we have really missed having form time. We had to abolish it in September because we couldn't mix year groups (and we have mixed year group forms, except for Year 7), but we have missed it as a basic building block in the pastoral care that we offer our students. So we have decided to reintroduce it into the school day and to create temporary "single year group" forms. They are being created at the moment and will be communicated via Classcharts later on next week. If you aren't able to access Classcharts, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to get your login information. Form time will go back as the first thing in the school day so a new day structure will also be issued next week. Form rooms will be sent out separately so that everyone knows where they are going when they arrive in school. I am really looking forward to having form time back - it is a real strength of the school and enables us to pick up and sort out pastoral issues at the start of each day. There will be no afternoon form time - the statutory afternoon attendance register will be taken in period 5. In addition to pastoral support through form tutors and the ongoing individual mentoring system we are also investing in more counselling and involving as many external agencies as we can in support of our students.
Uniform is a basic of every school and we acknowledge that our students will have grown or may have lost items during lockdown. You can order any new items from the uniform shop online and they can be collected on the first day or possibly earlier by prior arrangement. As always trousers, skirts, shirts can be obtained from supermarkets. Shoe shops aren't open, but supermarkets sell shoes that are suitable. We appreciate that sometimes these aren't what students want to wear, but needs must so, if students have problems with the right shoes we will go to Asda or wherever if we have to in order to make sure that they are in suitable shoes. We recognise that a number of families are in real financial hardship at this time so, if this is the case for you, please contact Mr Howarth (Deputy Headteacher) or Miss Shaw (Family Support Worker) and we will see what we can do to help with uniform. The bottom line is that students will be in correct uniform. Practically it is still early in the year and it can be cold and wet stood outside and cold in well-ventilated classrooms so we strongly suggest a coat is worn over the school blazer. Only school jumpers can be worn underneath blazers - not hoodies. No changes there.
PE will start from day one for everyone, with the exception of Year 11 (not including the GCSE groups). If you are waiting for a kit order just bring something to change into to do PE in the first week. Please would families of key worker and vulnerable students be aware that applies to them from Monday 8th March even if they are in very small groups - they need to bring kit if their timetable says PE. We are not starting extra-curricular activities and late buses immediately - will will get the school underway and functioning and then look at after-school opportunities.
As in September each student needs to be self-contained with regards to their equipment because of the safety rules around sharing things. Each student needs a face covering and a spare (unless exempt as I explained yesterday), a pack of wipes so that they can help to ensure their workspace is safe, they need stationery (the list is on website and packs can be ordered via the uniform shop), their exercise books, any food that they need and their PE kit as appropriate. Food will be ordered as before and will be available at lunchtime in grab-bags, but students are encouraged to bring their own food, like last term.
The principles that I outlined at the start lead to our approach to behaviour. Overall the need for safety means that students must obey instructions - we can't keep them safe otherwise. Likewise they cannot touch each other - the students know our "no touching" or "hands off!" rule. This is mainly an issue with the younger ones who tend to push and shove a bit, but absolutely rules out any form of physical confrontation.
We know that students will want to talk to each other when they get back - it will be lovely to see that - but they will need to be clear that is for breaks and lunches. We all know that the best way to address any gaps in learning is through very high quality lessons and our teachers have been working and thinking very hard about what needs to be done lesson by lesson for each year group on their return. We know that every student's learning matters. Therefore, once a student walks into a lesson it is "silent, focused attention" as I put it. There is no place for chatter or distraction. We are well aware that some of our students have individual needs (it is a strength of our school) and we will do everything that we can to support them - it is in our "DNA" as a school. What I am talking about is the need to ensure that our community is safe, calm and brilliant learning can take place.
As before Christmas, if students cannot comply with these basic requirements for behaviour - obey instructions, no touching, no disruption to learning - then we will have to ask parents/carers to come and collect them and take them home. We have no capacity to isolate students because of the inability to mix year groups and because literally every member of staff will be working with students focusing on their safety and learning.
It will be wonderful to have the school full again - my final (probably) one of these videos will focus on how we plan to address learning going forward with each year group as we return to normal operation.
Best wishes and stay safe and, as it is Friday, have a good weekend!
Posted by James Harris
Category: WLD Updates