3rd July 2020

Dear Parents and Carers,

I wrote last week that we were hoping to be back full time in September and that has now been confirmed. The new guidance came out this week and we are digesting it. It’s a long document which makes a lot of recommendations but also makes clear that it is up to school leaders to choose the best response for their individual schools. Rather than rushing to tell you today our response to a document released yesterday, I’m going to be working with the rest of the leadership team over the next few days to put together a plan. That plan will balance the safety of all students, their families and the school staff with the need to get on with teaching the full curriculum. I’m determined that we won’t lose any more teaching time and that we will put our efforts into making up for the learning that we have lost over the past few months.

There are a number of members of staff leaving us at the end of this term. In no particular order, Mrs Burford has been here for many years and has decided to take early retirement. Mrs Samways is taking up a post closer to home at Thomas Gainsborough. Mrs Coote is taking up a well-deserved post as Head of Art at Hethersett Academy. Mrs Dorelli is relocating to Bali. Mr French has completed his year on a maternity cover - sadly we don’t have a permanent post for him here.  Miss Waller is taking up a post at Joyce Franklin Academy. Mrs Whiting has decided to look for a more part-time role. Mr Tabrar and Mrs Stace are both leaving to begin their teacher training.

All of those teachers have in common that they have worked tirelessly for the students at Samuel Ward and will be much missed by them. I would like to thank them all for their service and wish them the very best for the future.

Despite a very challenging recruitment environment, we have made some excellent appointments and are fully staffed for next year.

Thank you to those of you who have participated in the Unity Schools Partnership survey – at last count we had just over 300 responses from parents. If you haven’t completed the survey yet, I would be grateful if you could. It’s difficult to judge how effective our response to this crisis has been without any sort of meaningful yardstick, so your opinion is absolutely paramount.

The survey will run until the 12th July, and the parents’ version can be found here: https://edurio.com/poll/tyBbRe

There is also a version for students which can be found here: https://edurio.com/poll/pDBob7

I’ll be in touch again next week with more detail on what measures we will be putting in place for September. In the meantime, have a good weekend.

Yours Sincerely

Andy Hunter