2nd July 2021
Reading last week's blog has been a mixture of happiness and sadness as it has been followed this week with lots of positives and also some setbacks.
Duke of Edinburgh
First, congratulations to the year nine students who were out last weekend on their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh expedition. They faced all challenges with enthusiasm and commitment and it was a pleasure to spend the weekend with them.
A special thank you to all the staff who regularly and consistently support our children in extra-curricular activities, and especially Ms Dorrity, Mr Moss, Mr Harris, Mr Colechin and Ms Mahadevan. I am very proud of all of the additional offers that are available to our students and it was good to see over thirty students out and about in the Leicestershire countryside, even if some of the routes were a challenge to navigate!
On the other hand, it was bitterly disappointing to be picking up news of positive Covid cases appearing across year eleven over the weekend. The senior team met last Sunday and had to make the sad decision to hold Monday's year eleven farewell assembly on line and for Tuesday's prom to be postponed in order to reduce the risk of any further spread.
However, the assembly was nearly full and it was heart-warming to see again the changes in our students from when they joined us in year seven to the group of mature and thoughtful students they are now. Thank you to Mr Bradbury for organising the assembly and best wishes to him also for the future.
Transition for year six students
Thursday night was very busy with a large group of parents of year six students joining us online for further information about our transition plans. Packs have now all been distributed to parents via primary schools and Mr Hobbs has already visited a number of schools to speak directly with students.
The school continues to develop partnerships across the country and we are making further plans with local partner schools to develop a professional development programme for staff next year. This will complement the in school support we have for staff as we grow and develop in size. I also met with our MP, Darren Henry, on Monday to discuss our school plans and to ensure he was informed of our vision for the school's development over the next few years.
Update on September
Our plans for starting term in September are on our website, but we are still awaiting further guidance from the government regarding specific plans for testing and the implication that may have on further staggering the start of term. We continue to face uncertainty and a lack of clear guidance, combined with criticism that schools have been too keen to send students home when outbreaks occur. I met with senior leaders from across the country on Tuesday and as a result we have written to the Secretary of State for Education with the following:
Only yesterday, the Prime Minister’s official spokesperson implied that schools were capriciously choosing to send home more pupils than necessary..... Currently, a week before the end of term for some schools, and no more than fourteen working days for most, school and college leaders still have little idea of how they will be expected to run their settings in September. You told Parliament yesterday that you “believe pupils would not be facing bubble arrangements in September”, but nothing has been communicated to schools and colleges about this.
I am committed to ensuring that parents get timely advice and we will be working through the summer to ensure that classrooms are ready and plans adapted where necessary to meet the demands of the current situation.
Current COVID cases
The senior team contacted a number of families on Friday and are spending the weekend reviewing any further cases so that we can be on top of the situation at the start of next week. I am afraid there will be more families contacted before the weekend is over. It is very regrettable that despite our best efforts, we have had cases within our community. Please rest assured that we are not sending students or staff home on a "capricious" basis, but as part of a structured and considered plan to keep everyone as safe as possible.
Please try to ensure you all stay safe.