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  • Writer's pictureMr S. Jones

Headteacher's Weekly Update - 11th February 2022

I hope this letter finds you and your families well. A Friday update for you, as we look forward to the half term holiday.


Covid-19 cases continue to drop with eight cases this past week at the time of writing. We will keep a close eye on local infection rates over the half term holiday, but hope to be able to dispense with masks, once we return to school on Monday, the 21st of February at the usual time.


Exam boards released the advanced information for the GCSE exams taking place this summer for

Year 11. From our point of view, the information was slightly underwhelming. The good news,

however, is that we have been working exceptionally hard to ensure our students were prepared for

GCSE exams regardless of any concessions that would/would not be brought in. For information,

there is support on the exam board websites for parents, carers and students, that you might want

to look at.


I was fortunate to be on a call yesterday with Dr Jo Saxton, the Chief Regulator for Ofqual. She

commented on the advanced information and wanted to provide reassurance that Ofqual are

doing all they can to make the exams, this summer, a level playing field. Hot off the press is a

response to a question that has been at the forefront of my mind these past few months,

namely, what happens if a student tests positive for Covid during the exam season? The simple

answer is that ‘special considerations’ will be applied, as they always are if a student misses an

exam for any reason. Additionally, the exam boards have ensured that there is at least ten days

between papers (most subjects have at least two exam papers) so that a student won’t miss

both exams for that subject as a result of Covid. Exam boards will then have at least one

externally assessed piece of work for each student for each subject, they will then scale up the

grade accordingly. I think, on balance, this is a clever idea. What students do in internal

exams, and during lessons, is still of great importance, as it will help inform the special

considerations I referenced. I know Year 11 will continue to work as hard as possible in the

remaining time they have with us.


Year 11 families would have received a message regarding the study space that is available, in

school, during half term. If this would be of benefit to your child, please send them to school from

10 o'clock from Monday through to Friday. They will have access to a quiet space as well as IT

provision, should they need it.


There have been some technical difficulties for Year 9 students completing their Option choices

online, as can be the case when you’re trying something for the first time. We have been working

very hard to resolve the issues. We have also been working hard on some contingency plans, in case the ICT, ultimately, doesn't allow us to complete the options online. I would like to reassure families that no students will be disadvantaged as a result of these difficulties. More information to follow in due course including the possibility of extending the deadline for option choices to be made.


Year 7 and 11 reports went out to families via the MyEd app this week. Year 9 and Year 10 reports will follow in due course. I hope they provide useful information and feedback, as well as targets for students to improve.


Vaccination UK are running a series of catch-up clinics over the next few weeks, giving you an

opportunity to get your daughter/son a vaccination, if they have missed one in school. Please see

the information accompanying this letter for further details.


A quick update on our Year 13 Royal Springboard students. As you know Kelmscott students have

the opportunity to apply to Royal Springboard for a fully funded place at one of the best boarding

schools in the country for their 6th Form. Our Year 13 students are doing exceptionally well and have fed back their progress so far this year. They are in the throes of applying to university, it is

wonderful to see them applying to some of the best universities in the country, to study Law and

suchlike. We hope they provide inspiration to our current students.


I was thrilled to see the coach leave our car park yesterday, taking forty of our students to

Stratford-upon-Avon for the Shakespeare residential. It feels like a big moment for us as a school, as

trips like this have not been possible these past few years. The students get to enjoy a performance

of Much Ado About Nothing as well as soaking up much of the culture in that popular, international

tourist destination. Please have a look at our school Twitter account if you'd like to see a bit more of

what they've been up to.


Some of Year 9 were also out on a trip yesterday, with a group of classicists visiting the Bloomsbury theatre to see a performance of Euripedes’ Electra. I know these trips are a sign of things to come, and I hope to be reporting on many more, in the coming weeks and months.


As inflation begins to hit our community, with energy prices set to rise imminently too, I would like to

remind families of the Kelmscott Food Bank. If families could benefit from a discreetly delivered

parcel, please get in contact with us in confidence at foodbank@kelmscott.waltham.sch.uk


A further reminder for families dropping students at school in cars in the morning, there have been

some questionable manoeuvers from car drivers in the vicinity of the school. Some of those by

members of the public, but some of them also, by our families. I would like to remind everyone of

the importance of driving very carefully in and around schools. There have also been some changes to the highway code that came into being in early January of this year. It is worth having a look at those, particularly the changes to the rules for pedestrians crossing at a junction. Thank you in advance for your support here.


Advance warning, in the first week back after the half term holiday we have an Inset Afternoon on

Thursday, the 24th of February. That means that students will be in school until lunchtime only, they

will be dismissed at 12:40pm. Lunch will be available for those that would like it, a study space is

also available, for a small group of students, if returning home at that time is not possible. Please let

us know if you would like to take us up on that offer.


Finally, congratulations to Ikram Abdullahi in 8L he amassed 32 rewards points last week, the most in the school – keep up the good work.


That only leaves me to wish you a very happy half term. I hope you have an enjoyable, fun yet

relaxing time with your families. We look forward to seeing everyone, suitably refreshed, after the

holiday.


Yours sincerely


Mr Sam Jones

Headteacher

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