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15/07/2020

Letter from Mr Mirams - 15th July 2020 (End of Term 6)

Dear Parents

We now find ourselves at the end of the strangest academic year that any of us have experienced and much of the uncertainty of the last few months continues as we enter what is the traditional summer break.  This year will be totally different for most of us in the school as we try and prepare for the challenges of the new year, new children and changes that have been forced upon us by Government Guidelines.  This time of year is always one for much discussion as we await exam results at Secondary, discuss progression of older children and the normal debates occur amongst parents over classes in Primary.  It appears little has changed this year.

Despite the continuing uncertainty, regular changes and the need for all to be flexible I am writing to you all in an attempt to clarify as much as I can prior to the end of term on Friday.  As a school we are attempting to get two schools of pupils and staff, with age ranges from 4 to over 70, back to school safely and trying to ensure that the anxieties of many are reduced.  We have to accept whether staff, parents or pupils that none of this current situation is ideal, there remains an element of risk for all and that we are trying to find our way through completely uncharted waters.  Ultimately, it would be easy for anyone to pick holes in any school`s plans for the new year and as always the social media platforms and school gates will be rife with opinions and suggestions.  As I have always said in the past, we are an acquired taste and when you come to our school you just have to accept that we will do it our way.

The following information I hope will be useful to all of you.

COMMUNICATION:

We will continue to use email as our main communication method from next week onwards and I would like to draw your attention to the following email helplines:

We will continue to have limited staff on site and will attempt to answers questions as quickly as possible over the Summer break.

No parents will be allowed on site unless this has been organised by senior staff and all communication will be done by email and telephone from now on.  This is a big change for all of us but we must begin to get used to the new normal which is unlikely to change in the near future.  Most meetings in regard to pupils will be carried out over the phone in a similar way to lockdown.

ORGANISATION OF THE SCHOOL DAY:

We will be following Government guidance in regard to organising the school into Year PODS across both sites and particularly at Secondary this will be a massive change to our normal working practices.  The huge logistical operation means that for the first term Canteen provision will be limited to cold packed lunches at Primary and a more limited option than normal at Secondary.  All year groups will be segregated within the school to the best of our ability.  We are also implementing staggered starts and finishes at both schools.  We are aware that for some parents this will cause some inconvenience but we have no option and will limit the time gap between year groups as best we can.

PRIMARY ARRANGEMENTS:

YEAR GROUP

SCHOOL ENTRANCE

START TIME

END TIME

R

Pedestrian gate

9.00

3.15

1

Pedestrian Gate

8.50

3.05

2

Vehicle Gate

8.50

3.05

3

Pedestrian Gate

8.40

2.55

4

Vehicle Gate

8.40

2.55

5

Pedestrian Gate

8.30

2.45

6

Vehicle Gate

8.30

2.45

Many of you have already experienced the start and end of the day during lockdown so are familiar with the routine.  The children will then be lined up in our car park prior to entering and leaving the site.  This will be carefully managed and I would ask that all parents ensure children are on time as we have no room for flexibility.  If you are late then you will have to wait until we have all children in safely.

We are more than aware of the situation in regard to traffic and parking but you need to acknowledge that these are less than ideal times for all of us.  We would ask that you consider all those living in our school community at this very difficult time.

SECONDARY ARRANGEMENTS:

YEAR GROUP

SCHOOL ENTRANCE

ENTRY TIME

BUILDING ENTRANCE/EXIT

TEACHING AREA

END TIME

7

LOWER PUPIL GATE

8.30

PUPIL ENTRANCE

MATHS

2.15

8

LOWER PUPIL

GATE

8.40

PUPIL ENTRANCE

ENGLISH

2.25

9

MAIN GATE

GATE

8.40

BACK DOORS SCIENCE

SCIENCE

2.25

10

LOWER PUPIL

GATE

8.50

PUPIL ENTRANCE

TECH/RE

2.30-2.35

11

MAIN GATE

8.50

MAIN RECEPTION

HUMANITIES

2.30-2.35

VI FORM

MAIN GATE

VARIOUS

PUPIL ENTRANCE

ART/IT ROOMS

VARIOUS

Pupils will not be allowed on the school site until these times and all gates will be patrolled by staff.  The pupils must enter via the prescribed gates and will be lined up with Form tutors before entering the school.  The Lower pupil gate is the one opposite KFC and the old Harvester Pub by the bus stop.

PUPIL EQUIPMENT:

All Primary pupils will have equipment provided in school within their classes and should not bring their own into school.

However, at Secondary we expect all pupils to have their own equipment as they will be moving within their areas and all must take responsibility for reducing the risk of transmission.  Therefore all secondary pupils must have the following for all lessons:

  • pencil
  • pen
  • ruler
  • sharpener
  • rubber
  • red pen
  • glue stick
  • coloured pencils
  • coloured year group lanyard (will be given to pupils on their first day in school)

We would also ask that secondary pupils also provide themselves with a scientific calculator as we will be unable to move these continually around the site.  In addition pupils should always have their diary and reading book.

I cannot emphasise enough the importance of ensuring that pupils take responsibility for their own learning.  We will be doing equipment check regularly.

SIXTH FORM:

The Sixth Form pupils will start back after the other pupils on Wednesday, 2nd September with Year 12 arriving at the Drama Studio at 9.30am and Year 13 arriving in the Drama Studio at 1.00pm.  The Sixth Form will be briefed on their lessons and arrangements for their school day at this point.  It is likely that space will be limited and most Sixth Form pupils will come and go throughout the day and enter the school via the pupil entrance.  We will be expecting Sixth Formers to set the example for the rest of the school in regard to routines, attendance and punctuality.  All Sixth Form pupils MUST wear their lanyards on the school site.

YEAR R:

It has been great to see some of the new Year R pupils joining us for transition this week and already settling into the Early Years area.  They will be starting with us on Thursday, 27th August and for the first two days will be in from 9.00am til 12.00pm.  From Tuesday, 1st September they will be with us Full Time from the times we have highlighted in the table above.  At St. George`s we like to hit the ground running and get them going straight away!

YEAR 6, 7 and 11:

From Thursday, 26th August we will be welcoming Year 6, 7 and 11 back at school to learn the routines and get back into school quickly.  Their timings are shown in the table above and they need to get into these routines quickly.  I am sure some of our older pupils will moan about their early starts but it is probably a good time to learn that life is simply not fair.

ALL OTHER PUPILS:

All other year groups will return on Tuesday, 1st September at their given times and will be expected to be ready to learn from the start.  There should be no excuses for any uniform issues, wrong hair colours or lack of equipment.  Our expectations in regard to these and behaviour are absolutely clear and the current circumstances mean that there will be no special arrangements or deviation from our procedures.  The school must continue to be a compliant and well organised environment given the current guidance. 

RESULTS DAYS AND SIXTH FORM REGISTRATION:

Information about the results days on 13th August and 20th August will be sent out to you from our Examination Team.  I would have liked to have provided more in depth information, however, the Government and Awarding Bodies have yet to confirm all arrangements and Appeals procedures.  Once again we are in the hands of others.  Our aim is to run a results day, Sixth Form Registration and Careers guidance via a Supermarket entrance system with one parent allowed to accompany pupils.  Watch this space!

YEAR 11 HEAD OF YEAR AND PREFECTS:

I am pleased to announce that Mrs Giles will be back from maternity to reunite with her Year group as they approach the most important year   However, I would like to take the opportunity to publicly celebrate the huge contribution that Mr Wakefield has made while acting as Head of Year this last few months.  A large number of you have contacted me to express your huge gratitude for the way in which he has supported throughout the Pandemic and the approach he has taken.  We are very lucky to have such a committed member of staff.

We will also be organising Prefects and Senior positions once we return to school.

PRIMARY EXTENDED DAY:

The information on Extended Day has already been sent out to you all and you will be aware that the provision is more limited than normal.  You all need to be aware that even this provision has meant that we are stretching our resources significantly and that many schools are not offering any Extended Day provision at all.  I would like to thank those staff who are working extra in order for us to put this in place.

FREE SCHOOL MEAL VOUCHERS:

We will continue to provide these throughout the Summer holiday to all those eligible families and you should receive them week beginning 20th July 2020.

SCHOOL EVENTS:

At this point in time we will be reviewing all school events over the coming weeks and will keep you informed what will be happening in Term 1.  There will be very limited face to face events, meetings or after school activities in Term 1 as we try and work our way through the logistical challenge of bringing the Whole School back.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

We are under no illusion that it will be impossible to meet the needs and requests of all of you.  In fact we have already received numerous requests for special arrangements and you will be aware from my previous emails that this will not be possible.  We are not being difficult but have to ensure that we can implement current measures with the resources we have.  We will do what we can to the best of our ability given the fact that no one can be sure of the implications, risks and next steps more than a day ahead.  There is unlikely to be much of a break for many of us as we work our way through the issues that will arise in the new term.

Many of our staff have been totally committed to the children since lockdown and the support you have given at home is fantastic.  I am sure that many of you have also benefitted from spending time with your children and lockdown will have provided them with added resilience during this time.  I would like to reassure that over the last month all staff have been preparing for the new academic year and liaised over the academic needs of pupils they will be teaching.  Behind the scenes the staff have continued to put pupils first above themselves and it has been once again amazing to see the commitment of our staff to your children.

The school will be a very different place on our return, the pandemic has had a lasting impact on those of us who have experienced the first hand effects of the virus.  We will all have to accept that despite our best efforts there will be many that will judge the next steps, will have an opinion and believe that they could do a far better job than many of us in the school.  My message to all of you is that you couldn`t have a more caring staff anywhere, a staff who have gone that extra mile and in many cases are simply exhausted with trying to second guess the next move for our school.  We have people in all different positions who have ensured that the children are supported, that the school is safe, clean, maintained and prepared for the next steps.

Ultimately, the staff and I care about your children and the community as a whole.  What I would ask is that all of you show the same compassion to our staff as we enter what will be the greatest challenge ever in education.  We accept that our methods may not be suited to all.  In one parent`s words this week: “What I love about this school is that whether I agree with it or not I know where I stand.  If you change anything please don`t change this!”

Don`t worry……………….All the time I am Headteacher you will be stuck with that particular trait alongside the fact that I care very deeply and am passionate about all in our community.

God Bless You this summer and please stay safe.

Mr Mirams