March 19, 2021

Weekly News – Friday 19th March

Message from the Headmistress

Dear Parents,

After another long week in school we have finally found the weekend.

This week, we have been getting on with the important stuff of teaching and learning. I was particularly impressed to find the Year 5’s doing real experiments in the science lab on Wednesday (but a bit grumpy when one of them smelled like freshly cooked toast….)

In School LFD Testing and Home Testing

As for our big laboratory procedures, we finished our in school testing of pupils in all Senior year groups on Tuesday without a hitch, and all came back negative. That was a relief. A huge operation, performed with efficiency and smiles all round. Now these pupils have all been sent home with 2 boxes of test kits, which will last for the next 3 weeks. If we require them to test twice a week throughout the Easter break, further supplies will be issued before the end of this term.  If children/parents are experiencing difficulties taking the tests at home, let us know. By Friday night, all Y7-11 should have done one test at home.

Comic Relief

Today has been Red Nose Day, though without the noses this year. So that would be just Red Day. Some of the senior staff have engaged in the annual and now ritual humiliation of competing against the pupils in a series of challenges. We can’t win. (Can we?)

New Headteacher

Today, I have hosted Helen Barsham, the new Headteacher, on her second visit to the school. We have toured the junior sections of the school. We will be announcing next week a date/time for a virtual session for parents to have their first meeting with her, as she continues to familiarise herself with the school and its communities. I am sure she will be willing to answer your questions too. The great thing about virtual events is they are unlimited in the number of participants who can be present- so there is no handpicking of parents here. You will all be invited.

New Marketing Manager

Earlier this week we met with our new marketing manager, Claire Jones, who commences her work with us on Monday 19th April. She is very excited…  and we can’t wait for her to start…

Next Week:

On Wednesday 24th March the Senior school children will all have individual school photographs taken (Juniors have done this this week). I am sorry this is before the hairdressers reopen, and some may be bleary eyed from the early starts, but if they wear their uniform smartly and smile they will look just perfect.

On Friday afternoon (26th), I am looking forward to judging at the Year 7 + 8 English Spoken Cup competition.

Year 11 Exams update. (No Exams update) Whilst we are awaiting further guidance from the DfE, Ofqual and the examination boards at the very end of this month, I can let you know that the Boards will be issuing further exam style questions on their public platforms in April, this is especially useful for recently reformed qualifications where there is not a lot of exemplar material available. It is likely that this will form part of our internal assessment material.

I can also confirm that there are plans for a full series of examinations in the Autumn Term for any pupil who wishes to sit ‘the real thing’.

Meanwhile internally we will be working on our centre assessment policy to reflect our quality assurance mechanisms and equality provisions. For your information, this will be ratified by the examination boards so you can be assured that our practice will be compliant and we will be undergoing fair and transparent processes in our awarding of grades.

Year 11 Leaving Date

I have previously said that we will keep the Y11 in school until JUNE 18th at the earliest. I hope to have further detail on their end of Year soon.

Internal Exams Years 7-10

We have now decided that we will not be running our internal exams weeks for Years 7-10 in quite the same format as previously.

KS3 (Years 7,8 and 9) pupils will be informally assessed through a supported piece of work/assessment/project. This will take place in class.

Y10 will have a summative exam style assessment in the form of an end of year exam. This will also take place in class.

This will all happen from:  Monday 17th – Friday 28th May

Spring Term Discount. This information will also be sent by separate communication to all fee payers.

As promised in communications in January, the Trustees have met to discuss the savings made by the school in the 7.6 weeks lockdown (January to March 2021) and how we can share this saving with parents.

It has been agreed that a 5% discount will be awarded to the weeks out of school for all pupils in Year 7 to Year 11, and a 7.5% discount to pupils in Reception to Year 6.

The Nursery facility was open throughout, in line with government guidelines, and there is no discount for these pupils.

I would like to take this opportunity to explain the rationale behind these figures.

This lockdown, we have had fewer savings than in the Summer Term lockdown. We anticipated it being a shorter lockdown, and we required greater staffing to facilitate the greater commitment to online learning and support whilst retaining the Key Worker provision throughout the School. Fewer staff were able to be furloughed. We ran a full curriculum, with teachers available throughout the lesson times, either teaching on TEAMS, or supporting the pupils working on pre-set work on Satchel: One. This was enhanced from our Summer offering.  We also built in tutor time support and assemblies to replicate what would normally happen in the normal school week on site.  The discount reflects that children did not have access to our on-site facilities and we had a saving on sports facility hire. All our other costs running the business of the school were retained, with the exception of catering.

The greater discount offered to the Junior age pupils compensates for the lunches which are included in their fees.

The Spring term discount will show on the Summer Term bill which you will receive at the end of term.

Finally remember to socially distance, and to self-isolate and seek lab tests if anyone in the household is symptomatic or has a positive result on an LFD test.  If you, as parents are eligible, book a vaccination appointment!

And have a lovely weekend,

Mrs Hutley

Message from the Head of Juniors

Please click here to view this week’s Stars of the Week

Dear Parents,

Science Day on Wednesday was a big success and the children were really excited to be carrying out the different experiments. Some children even got to go over to one of the Senior labs. Have a look on our social media pages to see some of the activities – great photos illustrating how much fun the children are having now they are back in school.

Today, children are all dressed in red for Comic Relief.  It wasn’t quite the dry, sunny morning we had hoped for but the weather did improve and the children were able to complete their sponsored walks and runs. Thank you for your support with this and the generous donations.

Next week is the last full week before the Easter holidays.  A reminder that on Wednesday 31st March, we finish at lunchtime. To allow us to distance and remain in our bubbles, please could I ask parents to collect EYFS and KS1 children from Elm Avenue at 12:10 and KS2 children at 12:20, before the Senior School children are dismissed.  There will be no After School Club on this day.

Have a lovely weekend,

Mrs Wright
Head of Juniors