Dear Parents and Carers,
As we end this first half term of the academic year I take this opportunity to write to you to extend my thanks for your ongoing support during an extremely difficult period. We have all faced many challenges over the first eight weeks of the term and I am proud of the way the Central community has rallied to meet them. We have made great strides during this time in school and our routines for keeping everyone safe are well established. In addition, we have begun the job of filling the gaps in the education of our young people which have been created by the lockdown period earlier in the year. This will be a long process, but one which we have made strong start with and will continue when we return in November.
We have thankfully not been affected significantly by positive cases of Coronavirus in school. However, as you will be aware from the media Lancashire is still at Tier Three with a high number of cases. If your child receives a positive test for Coronavirus during the half term break, it is vital that you inform school. Please use the link at the top of our website page to report the details of the positive test or email firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can take the necessary steps to keep everyone safe in school.
The following are a few things of note for when we do start back on 2nd November:
Our young people are looking smarter in school and we have made positive steps to improve our appearance over the first half term. I would like to thank you in particular for your support in reducing the number of trainers and the amount of makeup worn in school.
The latest government guidance for keeping schools open was published on Wednesday. It asks that we seek wherever possible to keep windows open in classrooms to improve ventilation and prevent the spread of Coronavirus. This will inevitably mean that classrooms are cooler as the winter draws in and the guidance asks us to make reasonable adjustments to our uniform requirements to compensate for this. For this reason, can I suggest that your child wears a plain black jumper to school over the coming months in addition to their blazer? If necessary, we will allow pupils to wear outdoor coats in lessons so that they can keep warm. We will, of course, have our normal heating on to keep things as comfortable as possible, but clearly the open windows will mean cooler working environments for all.
Next half term I would like to reduce the amount of jewellery some of our pupils choose to wear when the arrive at school. Please will you remind your child that jewellery is not allowed in school. Rings in particular can be an issue and these will be confiscated after half term if pupils choose to wear them.
I have taken the decision to reduce our lunchtime break by ten minutes from after half term. These 10 minutes will be added to lessons 1 and 2. Pupils will still have 15 minutes to eat their lunch in their form room and then 30 minutes outside rather than the previous 40 minutes. As you know, our measures in school require pupils to remain outside in their respective bubble areas during break times. This change will reduce the amount of time pupils are spending outside as the weather draws in and prevent them from getting too cold and windswept. We will of course continue to provide inside space if the weather is too severe. It would be helpful if pupils could bring a good waterproof coat to school with them to keep them warm and dry when outside.
Can I underline the importance of pupils arriving on time to school? I understand that there are occasionally issues with public transport which are unavoidable. However, a number of late marks are issued each day because pupils have not made their way in a timely manner to school, or have stopped at the shop to buy sweets. Our warning bell goes at 8.40 and school starts at 8.45, at which time the gates are locked. Any pupils arriving after this time will be marked as late and parents contacted. Please stress to your children the importance of being on time for school to make a prompt start to the day.
Half-term is a good opportunity to stock up on stationery supplies so that pencil cases are fully loaded for the second half term. Having pupils fully equipped means that lessons can start promptly without distraction and pupils should be responsible for ensuring they have the correct kit for all lessons. In addition, it is particularly important as the winter rains arrive that pupils have a good waterproof bag in which to keep their books and stationery.
School improvement work
After half term we will begin a period of significant maintenance in school to replace and repair all the flat roofs on site. This will ensure that the building is watertight throughout, allowing us to repair and redecorate inside without fear of further water damage. This work is possible thanks to a successful Condition Improvement Funding bid submitted by the Bay Learning Trust on our behalf as one of their academies. I am delighted that we have been able to secure this significant amount of money to improve the learning environment for all in school. The work will begin in mid-November and last for approximately six months.
Payment for lunches
Please will you ensure that you have sufficient funds on your child’s account if they are ordering food for lunchtime. We will never see children go without food, but we are conscious that we do not want accounts slipping into arrears if we can help it.
Finally, it only remains for me to wish you a restful half term holiday and a good break before we begin again in a week’s time. School will reopen on Monday 2nd November for all pupils.
Dr Nick Walmsley