26 August 2021

Good afternoon,  I hope that you and your family have had a chance to have some time to relax in some way over the past few weeks.  I fully appreciate that this is an uncertain time for many people. As we look forward to receiving students back, and to welcoming our new Year 7 intake,  I thought that it would be useful to update you on some practicalities....

Staggered start:  We are required to COVID-test students as they return to school   In order to enable this to happen the year groups start on different days - Year 7 and 11 start on Thursday 2nd Sept; they are joined by Years 8 and 10 on Friday 3rd Sept; Year 9 start on Monday 6th Sept, at which point everyone will be here.  The consent form for COVID testing is online here.  

COVID regulations:  The rules have changed, as we all know, and so school will operate much more "normally".  The national guidance for parents and carers is hereKindness and empathy are going to be very important characteristics of each of us as we return to school; we will have some people who are delighted at the return to "normal" school and some who are very anxious at the thought of returning. Some key points from the guidance are:

  • Face coverings are no longer compulsory, but the government "expects and recommends that they are worn in enclosed and crowded spaces where you may come into contact with people you don’t normally meet".  Students may wear face coverings in school if they wish.
  • Lancashire County Council has issued guidance about school buses  and they "strongly advise that children and young people aged 11 and over should continue to wear a face covering when travelling to secondary school or college if they are able to do so."
  • We do not need to keep students from different year groups apart for COVID reasons, which means (among other things) that we can return to a single lunchtime.  The timings of the school day are on our website here.
  • Hand hygiene is still very important so we will be expecting students to sanitise their hands frequently - having their own small supply of sanitiser would be very useful;
  • Likewise the "catch it, bin it, kill it" approach to coughs and sneezes is very important;
  • We will be ensuring that their is regular cleaning and that spaces are appropriately ventilated;

Open Evening:  We are delighted to be able to run a "real" Open Evening this year, which will take place on Monday 13th SeptemberSchool will close at 12.20 on that day, as we do each year, to allow for preparation for the evening.  In order to manage the flow of people at Open Evening to avoid crowding we are asking families to book (free!) tickets online for their arrival time.  All the information is on our website here - please share this with any friends or family who may be interested.

Standing orders for bus passes - a notice from Mrs Eckersley, School Business Manager:  Thank you to everyone for setting up appropriate standing orders to pay for school bus transport.  Please just be aware that we can not adjust or interfere with the standing orders you have set up for bus passes. Only you or someone with you online banking details can do this, we cannot take payments without your permission. Please ensure your standing orders are set up to come out of your banks on the 1st of each month for the amount of £57.00. The standing orders run from the 1st Aug 2021 to 1st May 2022 (10 months) also please ensure your child's name is in the reference, so we can match up the records in school. Many thanks.

Equipment and uniform:  Please ensure that all students have their own equipment and the correct uniform - if in doubt, the information is on the website here.  

Attendance at school:  The government is very clear that all students should attend school as normal - it is therefore very important that all our students start at Walton-le-Dale on the appropriate day in the next week or so.

I am very much looking forward to seeing everyone back in the next week or so.  As a school, we are emerging from the pandemic stronger in many ways and we rightly have high expectations of hard work and good behaviour by every member of our school community from the very first day in September,  We describe this as ASPIRE (each of us Achieving, Self-motivated, Positive, Imaginative, Respectful, and having Empathy).

With very best wishes,

James Harris



Posted by James Harris

Category: WLD Updates