Dear Parents and Carers,
I’d like to start by thanking you for your patience and support as we have taken the uncomfortable but necessary step this week of asking some year groups to learn from home. I hope that next week will see a good number of staff return from sickness absence so we can deliver a full timetable as normal. We are open to all years groups as usual on Monday.
New Covid Guidance
The government have issued new guidance for schools regarding how long staff and students should stay away from school in they are unwell. The direction of travel is clearly towards covid taking its place amongst all the other illnesses we get from time to time.
Students and adults who are not well enough to come to school should stay off school in the usual way, and return when they are well enough to do so.
Adults with the symptoms of a respiratory infection, and who have a high temperature or feel unwell, should try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people until they feel well enough to resume normal activities and they no longer have a high temperature.
Children and young people who are unwell and have a high temperature should stay at home and avoid contact with other people. They can go back to school, college or childcare when they no longer have a high temperature and they are well enough to attend.
Covid testing is not recognised as necessary for the majority of people, but some people may still have tests available. Any adults with a positive COVID19 test result should try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for 5 days, which is when they are most infectious. For children and young people aged 18 and under, the advice is to avoid contact for 3 days.
You are the people best placed to judge whether your child is well enough to be in school, with covid or any other illness. If you are at all unsure, please don’t hesitate to contact the school and ask for advice.
I now have the final figures for our charity fundraising this term. We raised a total of £1203 to support urgent humanitarian work in Ukraine, which we have donated to the Disasters Emergency Committee. We also raised £928 on Red Nose day which we have donated to Comic Relief. Our charitable work is an area I am keen to develop further.
We will be sorry to say goodbye to some teachers at the end of this term. Mr Thompson will be leaving us to take up a post at the Sir Bobby Robson school in Ipswich where he will be working with children with social and emotional needs. I’d like to wish him all the best in role and thank him for his very many years of faithful service to SWA. He is replaced as Head of PE by Mr Morrison.
We are also saying goodbye to Mr Thomas, who is leaving the science department to take up a promoted post closer to his family. Mr Thomas has been with us since 2017 and has taught great lessons to hundreds of children in his time here. I wish him all the very best in his new post. He is replaced in science by Miss Neale.
Although our bus services are generally very reliable, there have over the last few weeks been a few instances of buses arriving late at the end of the school day and, on some occasions, not turning up at all. If this happens students are welcome to make their own alternative arrangements, but we must stress that if they do so we cannot be responsible for them once they leave the school site. If your child is unable to get home safely, they should go to the main reception where we will support them in contacting you and organising transport home. They are also welcome to wait at reception until they can be collected.
The school day
We teach 25 hours a week at SWA, which is very much the standard amount for a secondary school. Some schools teach five lessons a day of one hour each. Others teach six lessons of fifty minutes. Some teach three lessons on one hundred minutes, but the total time is the same. However, we have a relatively short registration and break which makes our school day shorter overall. One of the things contained in the Education White paper this week was the requirement that all state funded schools should have a school week of no less than 32 hours and 30 minutes. Ours is currently 30 hours and 50 minutes. We are not required to have those changes in place until September 2023, but I hope we will be able to bring our day in line with those new expectations by September 2022. A lot will depend on how the bus companies are able to adapt to our proposals. Before we make any changes, I want to hear everyone’s thoughts on the subject, so there will be a formal consultation on this issue next term.
What I like most about Haverhill…
Some of you will know that I have the honour of chairing the One Haverhill Partnership. We are currently undertaking a piece of work to gather the community’s thoughts on all the best things about Haverhill so that we can celebrate all that is best about our town. I would be grateful if you could share your thoughts by visiting https://onehaverhill.co.uk/what-do-you-like-about-haverhill/
Have a good weekend,