The Easter break is nearly upon us and we wish all of our parents/carers and students a restful and relaxing break. None of us could have predicted the situation over the last 12 months, and even now things are constantly changing. As a school, we do not receive any information from the Government before you do and we are constantly adapting to try and make life as manageable as possible for your families and for the staff in the school community.
We would also like to say a huge ‘thank you’ for your understanding and support during this pandemic. It has been anything but business as usual and we are still coming to terms with what the ‘new normal’ is. Schools across the country are dealing with challenges none of us have faced before in this time of national and international crisis. We are blessed to have had fantastic support from staff and families and are very grateful.
Mental health and wellbeing
We know that the pandemic and the associated measures and restrictions, such as social distancing and school closures, will be impacting on the mental wellbeing of some children and young people. Mental health and wellbeing are important for everyone, and is not limited to students.
- Talk to your tutor, Head of Year or someone you trust about how you’re feeling
- Talk to your friends – This seems a cliché, but sometimes being able to talk about your issues with people who know you can be a huge relief, and often can lead to plans of action to help you deal with workloads and stress.
- Exercise – So we’re not saying that going for a run in the fresh air will automatically solve all of your problems, but getting the blood pumping around your body is a good way to get yourself out of a repetitively negative state of mind – even just for a bit. Not to mention the rewarding feeling that you get afterwards.
- Do something that you enjoy
Further information and support can be found at Mental Health Support for Students
Asymptomatic Testing after Easter
The school has carried out approximately 3000 LFD tests since 8 March. Students should have received a home test kit for regular testing (please contact the school reception if they have not). Students will be required to self-swab and test themselves twice a week at home. Students must report their results to NHS Test and Trace – Report a COVID-19 rapid lateral flow test result and the School – https://tinyurl.com/BewNHS as soon as the test is completed. Please could we urge parents/carers to submit test results before 6.30pm on the day the test is administered. This will allow the school an opportunity to ‘track’ & ‘trace’ close contacts in the event of a positive result.
Students with a positive LFD test result will need to self-isolate in line with the stay-at-home guidance. They will also need to arrange a lab-based polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test to confirm the result if the test was done at home. Those with a negative LFD test result can continue to attend school and use protective measures.
Free school meals during the Easter break
During the Easter break students who are normally in receipt of Free School Meals will be issued with an electronic voucher. This voucher can be used as previously at major supermarkets and will be issued on the 2nd April to be used for the following 2 weeks. The voucher will be sent to parent/carer email addresses that have previously been shared with us during lockdown.
‘Life Ready’ workshops
As part of our PSHE programme, West Mercia Police and Crimstoppers will be working with students across various year groups to highlight the dangers and raise awareness of the following:
- Anti-social behaviour
- Child sexual exploitation
- Knife crime
- County lines
- Hate crime (bullying/name calling)
Travel to and from school
We are aware that parking on Stourport Road is extremely challenging at the start and end of the school day. Unfortunately, when both primary and secondary schools opened on the site of predecessor middle and high schools in 2007, no adjustments were made to accommodate the additional year groups. As these are the youngest children and most in need of transport to the school gate, this has created significant problems for the community in our area. We have been talking to local councils over the past 4 years, in the hope of obtaining funding to increase parking at the leisure centre, which sits on school grounds and so would be a legitimate site for drop off and collection. Unfortunately, funding has not yet been identified, but we will continue to try.
However, we have had a small number of complaints from parents and staff about the school entrance being used as a drop-off and turning point. We must respectfully remind our community that the Highway Code states very clearly: ‘Rule 243: DO NOT stop or park near a school entrance’. We also occasionally receive complaints from local residents about their driveways being blocked by parents/carers collecting or dropping off. Again the Highway Code states: ‘Rule 243: DO NOT stop or park in front of an entrance to a property’. We appreciate how difficult access to the school can be in the mornings and afternoons, and will continue to attempt to work with others to improve this. Unfortunately we do not have control over the budgets that could make improvements, but will continue to negotiate with local government partners. In the meantime we are grateful for your support and consideration in these matters.
Safeguarding, Uniform and Behaviour
We encourage all students to walk to school where possible. If your child is bringing a bicycle to school, please ensure their bike is roadworthy, your child wears a helmet and they have a bike pass. In the unusual event that you have to come on to the school site during the school day please drive extremely slowly and carefully. We would also request considerate parking in the vicinity of the school as we have received complaints from neighbours.
The Leadership team will continue working with all staff and students ensuring that the very highest expectations are adhered to across the school. Please can we stress how much we value your support in reinforcing our expectations and supporting decisions we take in sanctioning students where conduct falls below our high expectations.
It is also important that we take this opportunity to reiterate our expectations in terms of uniform and equipment. We firmly believe that pride in our school uniform and being equipped ready to learn is an essential part of achieving the right learning culture. Ensuring that students are smart, well-presented and appropriately prepared with right learning equipment will be a key focus for next term. Our expectations regarding behaviour and uniform can be found here.
After the Easter break students will be required to attend school in full school uniform and use the changing facilities for their PE lessons.
In addition to the school uniform, our key expectations are:
- Shoes should be worn that are sensible and practical i.e. low heels (no boots or trainers unless a doctor’s note is presented).
- Jewellery should not be worn or brought into school, to avoid loss, damage or injury. One pair of studs in the lobes of ears can be worn but will need to be removed for PE/Games. (No other piercings or retainers are permitted)
- Make-up, including nail varnish, is not necessary for school and if obvious will be expected to be removed.
- Jackets/Coats/Jumpers should be suitable for school and the weather conditions. Hooded jackets/jumpers/branded logo jumpers etc. are not permitted unless it is the school PE hoody.
- False/acrylic nails are not allowed to be worn in school.
- Hair – if long it should be tied back for practical lessons. Hair bands etc. should be black, white or blue (school colours). Extreme styles and colours are not acceptable; symbols, names etc. cut or dyed into hair will require a student to return home.
- Additional subject uniform (i.e. PE) and equipment lists are available from the school. School issued PE T-Shirt, shorts or tracksuit bottoms / or school leggings. School issue PE Hoodie & Suitable trainers
- Other Valuables (i.e. mobile phones, iPod etc.) If they are brought into school, the school will not take responsibility for loss or damage.
Again, we thank you for your support in sharing this message and in supporting us to maintain these standards.
It is well documented that students are more likely to succeed in their education when they attend school consistently. It’s difficult for the teacher and the class to build their skills and progress if students are frequently absent. In addition to falling behind in their education, students who are not in school on a regular basis are more likely to get into trouble with the law. The usual rules on school attendance have been applied since 8 March 2021, i.e. parents’ duty to secure your child’s regular attendance and the school’s ability to issue sanctions, including fixed penalty notices in line with local authorities’ codes of conduct. Clinically extremely vulnerable students should return to school from 1 April 2021.
Mrs Salsano and Mrs Benbow who have worked as Teaching Assistants at the school for many years are leaving the school this Easter. We would like to thank both Mrs Salsano and Mrs Benbow for their work at the school and wish them all the best in their new ventures. They will be missed by staff and students alike.
Have a safe and restful Easter, and we look forward to welcoming our students back in the summer term.