Headteacher's Weekly Update - 1st October 2021
I hope this email finds you and your families well. A Friday update for you, as always, after week four proper.
We have had a spike in Covid cases this week with eight positive cases at the time of writing. Six of those were from the same tutor group. Whilst this is somewhat alarming, I am reassured as our processes stood up well to this outbreak that, I believe, has reduced the outbreak spreading further. We were alerted to the first case late last week. As always, we tracked and traced close contacts and sent home a letter encouraging families to test their children and keep a close eye on developing symptoms. The families did this and five other positive cases came to light over the course of the week. None of those children were in school this week as a result, preventing the spread of the virus further. All families from the tutor group affected, have been contacted to ask them to remain vigilant to symptoms, as well as recommending families carry out a PCR test.
Unfortunately, this spike highlights the need to return to mandatory face coverings for staff and students inside our buildings, including classrooms, from Monday. Students, weather permitting, should line up in their tutor groups in the following areas on Monday morning to be given a face mask before proceeding, in an orderly fashion, to their tutor base:
Yr 7 - outside mobile classrooms
Yrs 8 & 10 - on the Red playground
Yrs 9 & 11 - on the Blue Playground
We hope that this measure will reduce the spread of the virus, as well as reduce any potential absence from school, for both students and staff alike. We thank families for their support and understanding here.
This cements in my mind, the importance of regular testing at home, even if you and your children are asymptomatic. I myself test twice weekly on a Sunday and a Wednesday, the routine has helped to ensure I don’t forget during a busy week. Can I also remind families not to send your children into school if they are displaying Covid-19 symptoms. The most common symptoms we found this week in positive tests were; a cough, sore throat, becoming hoarse, muscle aches, runny nose, persistent headache, vomiting and diarrhoea. We would strongly recommend that you organise a PCR test for your child if they experience these symptoms, and not send them back into school until a negative result is returned. Please keep us updated on the results of those tests.
We have tentatively booked in the first week in November for the Covid-19 vaccination programme to take place at Kelmscott, for those families that consent to this. Once the day is confirmed we will inform you. E-consent forms, organised by the Waltham Forest Public Health team and NHS, will be shared with you too in due course.
I was pleased to hear from Ofqual this week, with some clarity about exams adaptations for GCSEs this summer, but am a little frustrated it has taken this long. Year 11s will sit their exams, but with some concessions made to take into account the challenges this cohort has faced, these past two years. Students may have a choice of topics in certain exams and formulae will be provided in exams, in certain subjects too, which is helpful. I think they are a sensible set of measures which should ensure students are assessed as fairly as possible in the summer, following the huge educational disruption caused by the pandemic.
A vacancy has arisen for a co-opted governor to sit on our Full Governing Body. A co-opted governor, is an individual from the community who has the skills and experience that would benefit the school. We are fortunate to have a very intelligent and diverse (in every sense of the word) set of governors at the moment who support and challenge my running of the school, in equal measure. If you, or someone you know, have the skills and experience to contribute to that support and challenge for the school, please get in contact with us to find out more, and express an interest in the role.
Finally, you may be aware that there is an additional bank holiday next year as a result of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. As this falls on Friday June 3rd which is during our half term holiday, we are able to have it elsewhere so that our community can feel the benefit of the bank holiday. This additional day will be Friday 22nd July 2022 meaning that we will break up for the summer holiday, a day earlier, on Thursday 21st July at lunch time. Although this is a long way away now, I know we will all feel the benefit of this day when it reaches us next summer.
As always, please get in contact with us if you have any questions or queries about your child’s education. Wishing you all a lovely weekend when it gets here.
Mr Sam Jones