Dear Parents and Carers,
I hope you had an enjoyable half term break. It already feels a long time ago and now that the clocks have changed it feels very quickly much more wintery.
I mentioned in a recent letter that there had been some incidences of reckless behaviour on the road outside school. I have heard again this week that some students are running across the road without looking or using the pelican crossing by Westfield school. I will make sure we have a staff presence there for a while to keep an eye on the situation, but we can’t have someone watching the road as every student crosses it. Please remind your children of the importance of road safety and the potential seriousness of a road accident.
We have changed the way that we record attendance because some new codes have been issued by the government. Previously students with a positive covid test were marked the same as students who were isolating which effectively removed them from attendance figures. They are now marked as ill but with a special sub-code to show they have covid. This is the case even if they are not feeling ill. We have been back through last half terms attendance records and updated them so, if your child has been off sick with covid, you will see a change in their attendance on Go 4 Schools. This is nothing to worry about. We will not take any covid absence into account when looking at children’s attendance.
Covid aside, high attendance remains one of the main factors affecting student outcomes. Those students who make the most progress are those students with the best attendance. Students awaiting covid test results or students with a positive result cannot attend school by law. Students who feel a bit under the weather and whose symptoms are not covid symptoms can and should come to school. Please support us in making sure your child attends school unless they are simply too ill to do so.
We currently have twenty confirmed cases of covid. There are two in Year 7, ten in Year 8, none in Year 9, four in Year 10, two in Year 11 and one each in Years 12 and 13.
You will be aware that we are asking students to wear masks in public areas of the school and to take lateral flow tests twice a week. Those two things remain our best protection against Covid. We were expecting students to be offered vaccines next week but disappointingly that has been postponed. I contacted the county council this morning to protest at that delay and we have now received confirmation that those vaccinations will take place on 15 December. In the meantime, it is possible for parents to book vaccinations for children aged 12 and above on line via the NHS covid vaccination page https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/book-coronavirus-vaccination/book-or-manage-a-1st-or-2nd-dose-of-the-coronavirus-covid-19-vaccination/
Between March 2020 and September 2021 we didn’t hold any face to face assemblies. Those events are absolutely crucial to a school for building a sense of community and for maintaining standards. We have paused assemblies this week as we rewrite the schedule to allow us to meet with half a year group at a time, doubling the space available. Students will be required to wear masks in assemblies unless they are exempt. Assemblies will resume next week.
Celebrating good news
We have a weekly in-house email called reasons to be cheerful in which we share with staff a summary of all the good things going on in school. We are going to be putting a lot more of that information out on our twitter account. You can follow us at @SamWardAcad. If your child has a piece of work they are especially proud of, or if you see something they have done that you thing deserves a mention, please get in touch with Mr Sumner who will be happy to include it. The same applies for achievements outside of school. Mr Sumner can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Those of you who follow us already will have seen today the first steps in the installation of our new outdoor classroom. That will work alongside our soon to be planted forest school to enrich the school environment and add more options to our approach to teaching. The forest school will obviously take a little while to come to fruition, but the outdoor classroom will be usable very soon.
We will be closed for a staff training day on Friday 26th November. School will not be open to any student on that day.
Have a good weekend,