Dear parents and carers,
I hope this finds you well and preparing to enjoy the Easter break, taking advantage where possible of some easing of restrictions. For me personally, the end of this term marks the end of possibly the most difficult period of the whole pandemic. It seems a long time since the end of the Christmas break, with huge uncertainty around who would return and when. I am sure I am not alone in finding the last lockdown the toughest to get through. However, there is now a feeling of optimism around what lies ahead and the mood is changing.
It has been a massive boost to us all in school to have the children back with us for the last three weeks. We have been hugely impressed with the way they have come back and settled into routines again after ten weeks out of school. I know that the isolation of the past months has hit our young people hard, and it is so good to see them enjoying each other’s company again. Our classrooms are once again full of life and learning. Our extra-curricular clubs are starting to get off the ground. It is great to see all this happening, and I am excited at the thought of the school continuing to return to normal as the summer term progresses.
I would like to thank you for your ongoing support, particularly with our testing programme which we have been running in school. Over the fortnight we completed well over 1500 tests in school without a single positive result. This was really encouraging and gave us all confidence that school was as safe as we could make it. We have continued to follow all our measures and these have again helped us keep the virus out of school. I am incredibly proud of the way the children have responded to all we have asked of them. In particular, I know the wearing of face coverings has been difficult during lessons. We await a government review over Easter to see if guidance will change with regard to this for when we return. The government is asking for us all to continue with home testing during the Easter break, so we will be reissuing home testing kits to children before they leave for the holiday. Please use these as you have been doing to help keep everyone as safe as we can.
If your child does display symptoms in the holidays you should book a test at a testing centre for them. If the result of the test is positive and they were in school within 48 hours of having symptoms, then you need to report it to us via our email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will then identify who has been in close contact with your child and notify relevant staff and families. We will notify any close contacts of confirmed cases by text message in line with DFE guidance. If your child tests positive for Covid and they developed symptoms more than 48 hours since being in school then you do not need to contact us. Instead, you should contact NHS Test and Trace.
I will write again before we return to school to let you know of any changes which we hear about during Easter. There will also be reminders about uniform and expectations for when we return. I know Year 11 will be anxious to know more about what lies ahead for them over this important summer term, and Mr Chapman is writing separately to parents of pupils in Year 11 with our latest updates for them.
Lastly, can I take the opportunity to wish you all a very happy Easter and a restful break.
Dr. Nick Walmsley