Headteacher's Weekly Update - 19th November 2021
I hope this letter finds you and your families well; a Friday update for you as always.
At the time of writing, we have had 2 Covid cases in the school community this week.
Students have spent some of their week, completing activities linked to anti-bullying week, which
was this week, of course. I was pleased to see that kindness was up front and central in this year’s
campaign, something we champion every day at Kelmscott. The Anti-bullying Alliance commented
that, “kindness is more important today than it has ever been. The isolation of the last year has
underlined how little acts of consideration can break down barriers and brighten the lives of the
people around us. This is one of the reasons that ‘One Kind Word’ has been chosen as the theme of Anti-Bullying Week this year.” These are important reminders for us all in my humble opinion.
Upsettingly, and ironically, given what I have shared above, you may have seen in the media this
week, reports of issues with the social media platform TikTok, namely students uploading
inappropriate images and gifs of their teachers and other adults working in schools. This is
something that has been happening nationwide, and sadly, Kelmscott is no different.
We have been made aware of a number of accounts using the Kelmscott name and logo with some very unpleasant content being uploaded. Not only is this very distressing for those staff involved, it also brings the good name of the school into disrepute. I would like to remind students and families that such activity is illegal and could involve prosecutions, as malicious communication. We have worked hard to get to the bottom of this, and the students involved are facing serious punishments and have jeopardised their places at the school, as a result.
We work closely with students on e-safety during their time with us but clearly the message, to
some, is not getting through. Hopefully, your child is not involved but I would urge you to remind
them that following an illegal account or sharing images (whether your child created them or not) is
a serious issue. It is also wholly out of keeping with the kind and compassionate values that we
place such importance on here at Kelmscott.
As families in Year 9 and above will remember, we took a decision to ban mobile phones a few years back, to better protect our students from the potential harm they can cause. Social media accounts should not be held by those under the age of thirteen, of course, but we still regularly see students in Years 7 and 8 with such accounts. I do worry about the harm this can do, in terms of potential bullying online, as well as wholly inappropriate content being shared too.
I hope you can find time this weekend to speak to your child and consider the following:
➔ Ensuring your child (if under 13) does not have access to social media accounts where the
age range from the provider does not permit it.
➔ Informing your child about the consequences of creating accounts, as described above, and
sharing inappropriate content.
The safeguarding of students and staff is always our number one priority at Kelmscott. I feel sad
that some members of staff have been affected by this. I hope that all students make sure they are
not contributing to this problem either directly, or indirectly by following such accounts online, or
failing to report such accounts.
In other news, we are busy getting ready for flu vaccinations that are taking place in school on 7th
December. We would be grateful if you would respond to the communication sent out by Ms Stoffell, our Student Health Manager, yesterday, to ensure this process runs as smoothly as possible.
I would like to take this opportunity to remind you about the Kelmscott Foodbank. We know that
many of our community are feeling the pinch of the rise in inflation, of late. If a food parcel would be helpful, please get in contact, in confidence, by emailing email@example.com and we will organise the discreet delivery of a package.
A new law came into force today that outlaws the sale of expensive school uniforms. The cost of our school uniform continues to be very low, as this has always been a priority for us historically. I was interested to read, however, that schools and uniform suppliers could do more to provide for the sale/provision of second hand uniforms to reduce the cost even more. With that in mind, when your child does outgrow their uniform, I would be grateful if you could consider donating it to us here, so we can pass it on to students that may need it.
Finally, we are still experiencing issues with cars stopping dangerously on the main roads next to the school, when dropping off students. Often this is because the student is close to being late.
Accepting that traffic in the local area can be challenging, please try to allow enough time to drop off your child safely, or consider another means of transport e.g. walking, to ensure students get to
school on time and safely. Many thanks for your support here.
I’m sorry the tone of this letter is not as upbeat as usual, but hope you can see the importance of
the messages around the social media issues.
As always, please get in contact if we can be of any further help regarding your child’s education.
Mr Sam Jones