Dear Parents and Carers,
Firstly, I’d like to welcome parents and carers of children currently in Year 6 who will be joining us next week for transition and next term as Year 7. I’ve asked that you be added to the distribution list for this bulletin from now, because there are some things that it will be helpful for you to know and because the sooner we start to get to know one another, the better. Welcome.
Covid - Step 4
We are putting together a plan for the first week back in the light of the announcements this week from the government about changes in the Covid guidance for schools. The main impact of the changes is that lots of things we have adjusted for Covid, will no longer need to be adjusted. There will be no requirement for students or teachers to wear masks, including on the buses to and from school, though they will be able to do so if they would like to, for a time at least.
We will not operate bubbles and we will not track and trace, so far fewer students are likely to be asked to isolate. We will be able to return to holding physical assemblies and allowing students to mingle freely at break and lunchtime. We will keep the sanitiser dispensers in every classroom topped up and we will continue to require students to use them every time they enter a room. We will also keep rooms well ventilated.
We will also have a new risk assessment and an outbreak management plan, so that if things deteriorate again, we can reintroduce measures of control that we have been using this year. All of this depends on the prime minister confirming that step 4 will go ahead, so we wait for that announcement.
Unfortunately bubbles and track and trace remain in place until the end of term. For anyone who has been asked to isolate recently it must be extremely frustrating, but we simply have no option. Until the guidance changes, we need to follow the guidance. I am very pleased that those rules will not apply to our summer schools, so they will be difficult for covid to disrupt.
We have been asked to test every student twice on their return to school in September, as we did earlier this year. We are in the process of putting together a timetable for that to happen that minimises disruption to school and to students and their families. Students will again be asked to complete two lateral flow tests a week, though not over the holiday period. I will share more details about testing in a letter next week.
This time of the school year is largely spent getting ready for the start of next year. Those of you who have been receiving this bulletin this year may remember that I wrote a while ago telling you of our plans to offer enrichment during the school timetable from September. Since March 2020, students have had limited opportunities to take up extra-curricular activities in school or outside, and fewer opportunities to mix with other children of the same and different ages outside of their teaching groups. By offering enrichment as part of the timetable, we ensure that all students have access to those activities. I believe that enrichment is a central component of a rounded education, so access to is should be a right, not a privilege.
The enrichment will be part of our Personal Development curriculum strand. PD lessons next year will take place every Wednesday during period 5. In week A, those lessons will be classroom based, as they are now. In week B that hour will be spent on enrichment. Students will be able to choose a different enrichment activity each term.
We have put all the activities on offer into a brochure and students will choose their activities next Wednesday afternoon during their PD lesson. We’ve done it next week so that our new Year 7 students, who will be with us that day for their transition activities, will choose at the same time as everyone else. Because we don’t know yet how many students will choose which courses, we can’t say for certain that they will all run or that students will get their first preferences, but we’ll do our best. I think the range of offers is really exciting. If you would like to look at the offer with your child or children before they choose next week, you can find the brochure here: https://samuelward.co.uk/enrichment
We have put together plans for two separate summer schools. The first, on Thursday 22nd and Friday 23rd July is for Year 5 and nearly a hundred of them are attending. The second, from Monday 26th to Friday 30th is for Year 6. Over one hundred and thirty of those children are attending. I’m pleased that the government has put up the money to allow these events to run, but the money on its own wouldn’t be enough if we didn’t have extremely hardworking staff willing to give up holiday time to come and run those. My thanks go to all involved. I’ve seen the plans and they look fantastic.
We’re looking forward to welcoming Year 6 to join us next week, to trying to squeeze in a sports day on Monday if the weather allows, to watching the summer concert on You Tube on Tuesday (link to follow) and all the other traditional end of term things. I’ll write again next week with some news on those things and some more information on September.
As ever, if there is anything you would like to discuss further or anything I can help with, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.