September 11, 2020

Weekly News – Friday 11th September

This week's featured image is of Year 1 on Roald Dahl Day

Message from the Headmistress

Dear Parents,

This has been our first week of normal curriculum and the lessons are calm and purposeful. We are amending the rules in school as issues occur when bubbles are getting too close, for example, we are changing the placing and directing of queues in the White House and on the ground floor of Senior School. Staff are fastidious in cleaning down their spaces in between bubbles. There are still some things to solve and we are actively seeking workable solutions to these, day by day.

I can assure all parents that the staff are all working incredibly hard with additional duties, complex rules and cleaning on top of their excellent teaching and pastoral support.

Following the success of Friday celebrations on Satchel One through the Summer Term,  Senior School is continuing this with ‘Stars of the Week’. This will be in a different subject area each week.

I was thrilled this week to hear of Miss Seaton’s development of the Arts Award Programme with the Year 7, 8 and 9. This is a staged award. The Year 7 will be completing the Discover Programme; the Year 8 Explore; and the Year 9 the Bronze Award. I look forward to seeing this progress throughout the year.

Prefect ties and badges will be awarded to Year 11 in a virtual assembly on Monday.

Pupils’ social media usage at home

Now the pupils are settled back in and have remade their social contacts, we have had a sudden flood of issues in some year groups, following miss-use or inappropriate behaviours on social media/gaming sites. These have all been out of school and we are asking parents to re-enforce with their children some basic things:

  • Some have age restrictions and some young people should not be on these platforms at all. (I will collate a list to publish next week of these age restrictions).
  • Some language has been most inappropriate.
  • The ‘to and fro’ of conversations have got out of hand and caused upset.
  • Once written, all such conversations are able to be evidenced, and cannot be taken back. This can result in investigations in school which could lead to disciplinary sanctions if contrary to our policies and expectations.

We are working hard in school to deal with this ‘out of school’ issue in school. Online safety and good conduct forms part of our teaching in Computing, Issues (PSHE), and Tutor times. We understand after such a long period of lockdown, it takes a while to build the foundations of appropriate usage back up. It is understandable that parents are not always in tune with the young people’s social media presence and they can feel baffled by it all. There are numerous websites which are helpful to parents, for example: internetmatters.org. Parents please be aware that some sites are currently showing some unpleasant videos, issues from which we will cover in school but which may cause distress if viewed. I do not wish to draw attention here to specifics, but please try to establish good communications with your children to openly discuss their viewings…

Peripatetic lessons

We are in contact with all our peripatetic staff and some of them will be arranging 1:1 lessons from next week. You will be contacted when your son/daughter’s lessons are resuming. There is a comprehensive risk assessment in place for these lessons. Speech and Drama will re-commence after Half Term.

Open Day

You may have picked up that our Open Day on Saturday 19th September (next Saturday) will be a virtual event, with sessions for the Junior and Senior School separately.  There will be some pupils and many staff ‘present’.  If you know people whose children have not got back to school or who are not happy, we are able to start new pupils in Hollygirt into this term,  providing there has been a suitable quarantine period between their former school and Hollygirt. We are also beginning our recruitment for next September and this is the first opportunity current Year 6 have to consider Hollygirt Senior School. We were disappointed not to be able to host our Year 5 Taster Day at the end of the Summer Term. Parents wishing to attend this virtual event will need to book on in order to be sent the access link.

Parents’ Forum

I am hosting a Parents’ Forum by Zoom next Friday (18th September) at 6.00pm. Parents’ Forum is a way that I can keep the finger on the pulse of parental ideas and discuss some of mine. The agenda is set by the parents (attending or not) as well as myself. Ideally I would have representations from the different sections of the school. The forum does not deal with individual concerns about a single child or a specific school issue. Clearly my top agenda item for this meeting will be our risk mitigations and any ideas for improvements.  As it is a virtual meeting and we will need to send the link to parents who will be in attendance, you will need to let Mrs Bamber (andreabamber@hollygirt.notts.sch.uk) know of your interest to attend. This group struggled last year with its membership and new interested parents are more than welcome. There is no limit on attendees. If you have any items for discussion please send them to Mrs Bamber and she will collate an agenda. Please note that as it is a virtual meeting I am trialling this at a new time to allow parents to get home from pupil collection/work.

New Parents’ Meeting (Seniors)

We will be hosting our new parents meeting next Wednesday (16th September) at 7.00pm for all senior parents new to the school. You will be sent a personal invitation and a link to this event. Usually it is accompanied by a glass of wine and is hosted in school, however because of the limitations on groups size meetings, we are hosting this virtually – so please feel free to enter with your own glass! The purpose of this is to allow me to introduce to you the teachers at the school so you can see what they look like, to outline our communications and how you can be involved in school and to ensure your children are settling in. Clearly as it is a group event online, there will not be any direct discourse with your son/daughter’s tutor mentors or teachers.

A  few reminders

If senior parents are collecting from Homework Club, can I gently remind you that you shouldn’t come into the school. Please either phone your child and tell them you are waiting outside, or stop at Reception window and the Receptionist will bring them to you.

If you have an appointment on site, you must wear a mask, and fill in our visitors check list on entry.

We have had a few concerns expressed about parents parking, or sitting in cars with engines running, especially on Villa Road. Please could you remember we are situated in a residential neighbourhood and be considerate of our community. Do not block their drives. Switch off your engines to avoid excess pollution and park / drive in a way which guarantees the safety of all our young people.

Guidance updates

You will be aware of the new government advice on restrictions to  group sizes when meeting family and friends.

New government rules mean that no more than 6 people can meet indoors or outdoors from Monday 14 September. Pubs, restaurants, shops and other venues will remain open, but people can only attend in groups of up to six. Venues should also allow for social distancing between groups.

There will be some exemptions to this rule, including schools, work places, weddings, funerals and when your household or support bubble is larger than six.

Car sharing

You should try not to share a vehicle with those outside your household or support bubble. If you need to do this, try to:

  • share the transport with the same people each time
  • keep to small groups of people at any one time
  • open windows for ventilation
  • travel side by side or behind other people, rather than facing them, where seating arrangements allow
  • face away from each other
  • consider seating arrangements to maximise distance between people in the vehicle
  • clean your car between journeys using standard cleaning products – make sure you clean door handles and other areas that people may touch
  • ask the driver and passengers to wear a face covering

A pictorial sheet outlining when a child should stay at home/ get tested is viewable on the following link here. We understand that it is difficult to tell if the symptoms are possibly Coronavirus symptoms or are attributable to something else. Please err on the side of caution. We are not doctors, and only have the guidance on which to base school decisions and advice.

Testing issues

The issues with booking a local coronavirus test have been well publicised in the media and we know that there has been a delay in many of our local centres also in getting the results back afterwards. Getting a test at a centre is still the fastest way to do it. Alternatively you can request via the NHS site a home testing kit. Whilst I fully appreciate your frustrations, as well as those caused by the necessity of having a child at home, we must do what is right, what is in published guidance and in our risk mitigation plan to try to keep school Covid-free. You will be aware that a number of schools in the area have already been forced to send bubbles home because of positive testing results. We seek the support of all our contacts in following guidance to protect our school.

Masks

I updated our mask wearing in school policy last week and as anticipated I am doing it again…

In the SENIOR SCHOOL we will be requesting that staff and pupils wear masks in public places indoors (corridors) at all times when they are entering, leaving or moving around the site. Please ensure all senior pupils have a suitable mask, referring to last weeks guidance ref its care. It should be in a plastic bag in their blazer pocket. Staff will reinforce the rules about wearing, storing, cleaning and disposing with the pupils. If you child is not able to wear a mask please let the form teacher know.

Lunches

The grab bags will remain as the only lunch option until half term. We will seek to bring in some hot options from November and will communicate this with you when the enhanced options are agreed.

Balls

Senior children must not bring footballs in from home. They will be confiscated if they do. We issued a ball to each bubble, both are now in our neighbour’s garden.

Parent appointments and visits to site

We are restricting visitors to our site unless by prior appointment. This is to ensure we have an appropriate space for the meeting and to ensure there is no interaction with children on site. All visitors must wear a mask and fill in our Covid sheet at reception. If you require an urgent meeting without an appointment, the Receptionist will first ascertain if the person required is available for the required length of time and that a suitable space can be identified. We are not being difficult, but striving to minimise the on site contacts with other adults.

Sorry this was a long one! All important stuff. I wish you all a very lovely weekend.

Mrs Hutley
Headmistress

Message from the Head of Juniors

Click here to view this week’s Stars of the Week

Dear Parents,

We are almost at the end of our first full week back and everyone has settled into their new routines. It is so lovely to see the children with their friends again. I hope you have found the welcome meetings with Form Teachers useful and they have informed you well about what to expect this year.  If you couldn’t attend these meetings, please email teachers with any questions you have.

We are once again excited to be working with Nottingham City Council and the Urban Room on the Broadmarsh Temporary Hoarding Art project.  If you would like to see some of the activities children will be involved in this term, please visit https://co-place.org/children

It looks like we are due to have some sunny weather over the next few days.  If this continues, please make sure children have sun hats and sun cream in school.

Finally, a huge congratulations to Oscar and Milena who are our new Head Boy and Deputy Head Girl.  Well done to all Year 6 children who presented, with confidence, such well thought out and interesting speeches to the juniors this week. I look forward to working with Oscar and Milena to implement some of their ideas.

Have a lovely weekend,

Mrs Wright
Head of Juniors