January 15, 2021

Weekly News – Friday 15th January

This week's featured image is of pupils in Nursery enjoying the snow during their play time at school.

Message from the Headmistress

Dear Parents,

Another perishingly cold week but at least some of the children will have had the delight of snow. I know snow makes driving conditions hard, and the pavements are icy, but it cannot be denied that it lifts the spirits. Yesterday there was a stream of children passing my home window with sledges. (Maybe I should have questioned why they were not concentrating on their online learning? But sledging is such a rare possibility I am sure their teachers understood!

I am super impressed by Hollygirt pupils’ engagement with their learning this term. Having learnt many lessons in the Summer lockdown things certainly seem smoother this time. I know the teachers are working incredibly hard to keep the work coming and the learning happening. Just keep letting us know if you are having technical difficulties at home or if there is still confusion over what to do and where to go to access materials. In Senior School, keeping the timetable going on TEAMS makes scheduling easier than the weekly timetable of lessons last lockdown and it is much more straightforward for the pupils to know where they should be and when.

We are keeping in contact with pupils via tutor sessions, assemblies and via emails and calls home to parents. As we continue to refine things, this sort of learning will start to feel second nature. We hope it’s not for too long this time, though we are at the mercy of the decision makers elsewhere.

For those of you with children in school accessing our key worker provision, not only are the children supervised as they access their work online but we have in school a variety of staff who cover other essential roles: safeguarding, fire marshal and first aiders. We also have site staff, cleaners, playground staff, some reception cover and a manager every day.

To update you on the plans to roll out mass testing to Senior School pupils and all school staff, we now have supplies of lateral flow devices and are working on rolling out the programme to the senior children currently on site by the end of next week. Those concerned will receive further information in due course along with the letter requiring consent. Once the children are back in school, we are anticipating testing all seniors twice (within 5 days) to check for those who may be asymptomatic. Minimising transmission is the key to national strategy.

If a child is presenting with symptoms, they must get a standard test. Please ensure you let school know of the results of such so we can keep our logs updated. Even though the children are at home and they will not have had contacts with other members of the school community, it is still important that we know.

Along with this communication is an addition to our safeguarding information to cover the lockdown period. There is also a supplementary policy on the website.

Also with this communication is a letter from Dr Costley, the chair of the Trustees who is letting you know about our new Head from September. We are hoping to set up a parent meeting so you can meet her shortly.

Next week looks like a busy one!

From Monday, both seniors and juniors are holding their Sparkle Week where we look for evidence of kindness which bring joy to others. This will be launched to seniors in assembly on Monday morning and will be celebrated on Friday. The purpose of Sparkle Week is to raise awareness of mental health and wellbeing by demonstrating acts of kindness at home. Helping others can be beneficial to all of our mental health by reducing stress, helping others to feel good about themselves and helping to reduce negative feelings and anxiety. We are asking children to wear sparkly or brightly coloured clothes or accessories to lessons next week, too.

On Wednesday we are virtually hosting our Entrance Day for our current Year 6 pupils and external candidates seeking a Senior School place for September. We have had some late sign-ups for this and still have space for a couple more should you know anyone who is at the ‘thinking about it stage’. I hope the Year 6 have received their envelopes full of goodies!

Wednesday also sees the Year 9 Parents’ Evening. Parents are requested to make their appointments with staff once they receive their booking information from Mr Dean. Remember, following our options evening last night, this is the perfect opportunity to discuss your child’s potential for the courses on offer to help with their decision making.

On Thursday selected prospective entrants are able to sit our scholarship papers which we are invigilating remotely.

On Friday I am looking forward to spending the day in school with the new Head!

We will keep on saying Onwards and Upwards…but it is never more pertinent.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Mrs Hutley

Message from the Head of Juniors

Dear Parents,

Our first full week back and again, I would like to say how impressed I am with the engagement from the children.  Some fantastic work is being produced and we will see showcase some of this in our assembly later this afternoon. It is also great to see so many children attending the TEAMS sessions and participating in the live lessons. You will have all received timetables of these and the children will also receive invites and notifications in their calendars.  These timetables will evolve over the next week, as we respond to the needs of each class, and Form Teachers will notify you of any changes.

Next week is Sparkle Week and we invite the children to wear sparkly and brightly coloured accessories to their lessons.  Each class will be working on this and we have also asked the children individually to carry out acts of kindness at home.  Of course, this is not just for next week.

Thank you for all the supportive messages over the last week and a half; they are really appreciated by the teachers who are working so hard on the remote learning. Your feedback is always useful and similarly, please also let us know if you have any concerns.

Have a lovely weekend,

Mrs Wright
Head of Juniors