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  • Writer's pictureMr S. Jones

Headteacher's Weekly Update - 25th February 2022

I hope this letter finds you and your families well. A Friday update for you, following the first week

of the spring half term.


One of the many good things about working in schools, is that we have plentiful opportunities for a

fresh start. The start of a new school year, a new calendar year or indeed a new term or half term.

This week has seen us get off to a great start in school, with fantastic lessons taking place, as well

as a number of really exciting co-curricular opportunities.


Our Year 9 Ancient Greek students joined Dr Michael Loy for a fantastic workshop on the archaeology of ancient theatres, which was part of UCL's production of Electra. The students were really pleased to have Dr Michael guide them through the exciting journey of the play, it was a really positive experience for all involved.


A group of Year 10 students had a workshop this week, led by Mike Milan - Co-Founder and Director of International Career and Entrepreneur Events (ICEE), supported by Noel Robinson - Musician. Students worked on a number of important character traits such as resilience and what it means to have a growth mind-set. The facilitators were very impressed with our students’ attitude and commitment. Another Year 10 group had the privilege of visiting St Peter’s College, Oxford

University this week. This gave them a real flavour of what university life can be like and, hopefully,

inspired them to apply and attend some of the best universities in the country, when the time comes.


A small group of Year 11s attended the London Guildhall this week for the 35th Annual Tacitus

Lecture, Finance and the City in the Age of Historical Reckoning, delivered by Professor David

Olusoga, OBE. Following the lecture, Kelmscott students were given the opportunity to speak to

David directly. He answered their questions and gave them advice on their future endeavours; the

students gained so much from this fantastic experience.


Year 7 had their inter-form basketball competition, taking place across two afternoons, after school.

Approximately seventy boys and girls in the year group took part, which was wonderful to see. 7L

pipped 7K in the final to take the honours. Siku Tunkara Tarawally impressed with his sharp shooting in the final. Well done to all involved.


It feels like we are building some momentum with regard to co-curricular opportunities, as we

emerge from the pandemic. I know many more opportunities will follow for students, in all year

groups. We keep a close record of what opportunities we provide and carefully track who takes up

those opportunities too.


At the start of this half term, can I please ask families to check your son and daughter have the

correct equipment required, for each school day. As you know we check every child's

equipment every morning to ensure that we can maintain ‘Disruption Free Learning’ (DFL) in lessons.

All students should have a black pen, pencil, ruler, journal, and reading book in school with them.

Our strong advice, in addition to this, is that they have a full pencil case, with highlighters, colouring pencils etc. to further support their learning.


Following the success of our new cashless catering system, we will be phasing-in cashless payments for trips, over the next half term. This means that if you have not already connected to your cashless account, you will need to do so as soon as possible. Simply open the MyEd app, navigate to the Student section and tap the Payments button. If you have any difficulties with this, please contact us at info@kelmscott.waltham.sch.uk


News this week, nationally and internationally, has been dominated by two things, the government’s ‘Living with Covid’ announcements, and the growing tension and conflict between Russia and Ukraine.


I know opinion will be split in our community around the relaxation of Covid restrictions. Some of us

will be very happy that more of our freedoms have returned, some of us will be feeling very anxious. Both positions are of course perfectly justifiable. Wednesday saw us move away from the mandatory wearing of masks in school, but with an option to wear a mask for those who feel more comfortable doing so. We will continue to take a flexible approach, to ensure that all of our community feel comfortable to be in school. Of course, if there is an outbreak of Covid-19 in school, we may need to return to mask-wearing for all.


At the time of writing, there have been zero cases of Covid 19 in students this week, which is

pleasing. A reminder of the advice from Public-Health England; if your child displays symptoms,

please take an LFD or PCR test. If a child tests positive, they are to remain at home for at least five

days but can return thereafter, following two negative Covid LFD tests on consecutive days, e.g. on

days six and seven.


We are still being asked to report all positive Covid cases to the Waltham Forest public health team and, would be grateful if you could continue to report any positive cases to us to facilitate this. If a household member of a student tests positive, with your permission, we will continue to test that student, in school, daily for five days as we have been doing throughout this academic year. Our Student Health Manager and trained paediatric nurse, Tracy Stoffell, will facilitate this.


The tension between Russia and Ukraine this week, and reported invasion, has been alarming

for all of us to see unfold and develop. Of course, we have a number of students from both Russia

and Ukraine here in school. Whilst we haven't seen any issues, we hope that our community values

as a school will come to the fore at times such as these. Namely, that we all belong to the same

community here in school and, more widely, East London and, that regardless of our background or

ethnicity, we share so much. We will keep an eye on the situation closely and consider any

messaging we may want to share with students as a school.


I know the news may make students feel sad, anxious, worried or confused. I think it is important

that we remember that upsetting stories are in the news because they are rare and happen

infrequently. It is normal to feel upset in such circumstances, whether you are an adult or a child.

Hopefully, you can have some conversations with your child over the weekend and try to provide

some reassurance, as difficult as that is sometimes.


Next Thursday, 3rd of March, is a non-uniform day for all students. Students will be expected

to pay £2 for the privilege of wearing their own clothes. Money raised will go to charity.


Next Thursday is also the Year 9 Parents’ Evening. As Year 9 are yet to have a parents’ evening,

in the three years they have been with us, this evening will be an in-person event, on-site here

at Kelmscott. A separate letter has been sent to Year 9 families informing them of the details of

this. Families are asked to sign up for the evening on Eventbrite, this allows us to ensure we space

out our visitors’ arrival times that evening. Families will have an opportunity to speak to their child’s

subject teachers to find out how they are getting on. We look forward to welcoming you, and

meeting you, for this important event.


Yesterday afternoon was our Inset Afternoon with students finishing school at lunchtime. For your

information, teaching staff spent the afternoon moderating Year 11 exam papers, further developing their expertise around assessment, teaching and learning, and our ability to best prepare students for their GCSE exams.


Finally, congratulations to Sufyan Hadj-Cherif in 8L who amassed the most rewards points in

the week before half term, with a noteworthy twenty-six - keep up the good work.


Yours sincerely


Mr Sam Jones

Headteacher

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