Welcome to the informal weekly round up – Mr Cornish’s Principal’s Blog.
Unfortunately, I have almost run out of adjectives beginning with “un” as we approach the end of the term!
Unprecedented, unexpected, unusual, often almost unreal… You will forgive me, therefore, if this week’s message is slightly shorter than usual. With just two weeks left, I think we can all begin to see the end of the academic year on the horizon. The last few months have been, I am sure you will agree, some of the strangest that we have ever seen.
Sadly we are seeing coronavirus cases rise rapidly in many parts of the world and we are already hearing about “second spikes.” We have also seen parts of the UK experience local lockdowns. I think it is not unreasonable to expect there to be more of these as we emerge from the lockdown. Please continue to exercise caution as we move into the next phase.
Today’s message is mainly focused not on the here and now (although I will address that briefly), but largely on September.
Headteachers, Trust Leaders and Local Authorities received further guidance this week from the Department for Education. 18,000 words is a significant and welcome piece of guidance. In it, we have been advised about the the guidelines for September when all schools are returning.
The new guidance released yesterday continues key themes from the current model of onsite working to develop Covid secure control systems including:
– People who are ill staying at home
– An updated site risk assessment
– Regular, robust hand & respiratory hygiene
– Reduced contact and maximised distancing where possible
– Active engagement with NHS Test & Trace
– Enhanced cleaning arrangements
– “Bubbles” (now whole year groups)
– Social distancing where possible for staff
– Different areas of the school for different year groups
There is much more, of course, and with today being a focused INSET day (which has been focused on Safeguarding Training and SEND input), we will be digesting and responding to the guidance fully in the remaining time left to us.
It is likely that we will be needing to have staggered starts, breaks, lunches and finishes in September and next week, I will be sending a survey to ask those of you whose children use public transport to help us plan for the routes to and from school. We will also be considering how to adapt our curriculum. We have been asked to restrict movement around the building but also deliver a broad and balanced curriculum. You will clearly see the difficulty in delivering Science out of a lab or an effective Food Tech lesson in a classroom!
If the last few months have taught me anything, it is that team work and a collective approach that will help us to navigate the latest guidance and ensure that all students can return safely. There will, therefore, be further communication from the Trust and myself next week to lay out our plans prior to the end of term. Whilst everyone will be back, I do need to make it clear that it is still not going to be a return to “normal” at this stage.
With September momentarily laid aside, I’d like to touch on our plans for the last two weeks. For Years 7, 8 & 9, I hope you have seen our Lockdown Challenge Fortnight. I hope that there is something there that will provide variety for your children as we move towards the end of term. As a parent myself, I recognise fully the challenges that home schooling has brought. I understand that many students need something different and, as ever, if you need our support, please contact us and we will work with you to do what is right for your child.
For Year 10 parents…..please can I say again how fantastic students have been on site. Next week, we are introducing Curriculum Recovery Days into the model which will give students the chance to focus on coursework in relevant subjects and benefit from a dedicated chunk of time on key topics. We will also see more rotation of specialist staffing next week which means I think Year 10 will enjoy the week.
Year 11 parents – thank you for keeping in touch with us about your children’s plans. We continually hear about successful destination and progression planning. Please, please, please (!) do not hesitate to contact us if you need support in confirming your plans for next year. We are still here for you and will be writing to you next week with details of Results Day.
We are nearly there for this week, but please may I take a customary moment to thank you all for your ongoing support. Staff, students, parents – you are all a fantastic community to know and to serve and I am really looking forward to being with you all again properly in the new year.
Finally, our reach online appears to be rapidly expanding with lots of likes, shares and comments. Please continue to help us do this! If you have parents of children in younger years who you think may enjoy All Saints in the future, please do share our content with them so that they can get to know our community. We are very much committed to becoming an outstanding school that provides an educational experience that really does broaden horizons and empowers students in every way.
Please look after yourselves this weekend and remember to act wisely, build community and help others!
Yours, John Cornish – Principal