Headteacher’s Notice – 1 April 2021

Taken from the latest issue of More News:

Hello, I hope you are all well. May I take this opportunity to wish you and your families a very happy and blessed Easter. I do hope that in keeping with our continued but somewhat lessening restrictions that you manage to enjoy time with each other and also to draw breath after what has been a very busy term both as families and as a school. As always you will see from the wonderful contributions enclosed in this edition of More News just how busy we have been and all that lies ahead of us on our return. It has been a great boost to our spirits as a staff to welcome our children back into school and to support them as they have settled back in to the demands of face to face learning. IT has also been uplifting to be able to resume our traditional Lenten practices of fund raising, participating in our Easter Service as a school community on site and preparing for the celebration of Easter as a community. Of course it is quite apt that as we close for our Easter holidays our monthly Church devotion is The Eucharist as this will encourage us even more so on our return to continue with our intentions to consider how best we might consider and support the needs of others by giving of ourselves in the same way as Jesus gave of himself for us.

Whilst restrictions are lessening in a managed and coordinated manner it is important that as a school we continue to comply with all those that keep us safe and well but also allow us to operate as a school. It is therefore essential that our students maintain their current practice of testing at home on both Sunday and Wednesday. It is also important that all guidance is followed in registering these results both with the NHS website and school. This is especially so if a test is returned as positive. All guidance is included on our website and Face Book page. Further to this, I attended a meeting Public Health Walsall earlier today and one of the key pieces of guidance that I must make you aware of is as follows: If a Lateral Flow Test returns a positive result, regardless of where this test is taken, it is essential and expected that a follow up PCR test is taken. Equally as important is a reminder from school that upon our return:

  • masks will remain necessary in all areas including our school buses and public transport,
  • hand sanitising will remain in place,
  • students will still remain at 2 metres distance in lessons and staff will do so likewise with regards to their proximity to our students,
  • staff will continue to wear masks,
  • our students will continue to enter and exit the school premises using allocated gates and doors,
  • students will continue to have separate break and lunchtimes and areas to mix during these times.

However above all it is absolutely essential that students are not sent in to school if they are exhibiting any of the symptoms associated with Covid. To do puts other children and staff at risk of contracting the illness and means we will have need to send children home to self-isolate who would otherwise be able to attend school and engage with their learning as normal.

As Parents and Carers you are now very used to me addressing certain issues that might arise in school which is not in keeping with our ethos or indeed our expectations and certainly might not reflect the manner in which we encourage our children to be whilst with us. I believe it is important that I am open and honest with you about such matters and so I am very saddened to say that over recent weeks we have had a small but nonetheless significant number of instances when a small minority of our students have engaged in ways of behaving, speaking and referring to others that is less than appropriate and cannot be blamed on the pandemic or any other Covid like excuse. As a school we do not tolerate name calling, the use of derogatory terminology when referring to others, any form of racially charged language or speech or actions which devalues the dignity of another person. We have had need to address such matters recently and are exceptionally appreciative of the acceptance of all involved as to their culpability, especially of the support of their Parents and Carers, in addressing these matters. In addition to this we will not accept or tolerate the use of mobile phones to capture r record any form of behaviour and fine the placing of these materials on social media to be reprehensible. In all cases, we will not only utilise sanctions in place in school to address our concerns but will also refer to and call upon the support and guidance of a variety of outside agencies, including our local Police Hub, to further ensure that such matters are taken seriously by the perpetrators of these actions. As a school and as a Head teacher, we work exceptionally hard to ensure that our children understand the difference between right and wrong and the significant impact our words and actions may have on the wellbeing of others. I am so very proud of the inclusive nature of our school, especially as someone who herself is not ‘local’ to the area and find it to be one of the most special aspects of who we are as a Catholic school and community.

Further to the above, I must address a short but nonetheless concerning spate of deliberate and wilful damage that has occurred in school over recent days. This has been dealt with both swiftly and effectively. All Parents and Carers have been informed and again, I am extremely grateful for their unswerving support. I must make it clear however that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated, families and have and will be billed for the damage caused and payment requested.  

And so as we close may I ask for your prayers for all of our students as they finish for their Easter holidays but may I ask for your prayers in a very special way for our Year 11 and 13 students who continue to work towards evidencing their endeavours and preparing for their mini assessments which will continue to take place on their return after Easter.

Headteacher | + posts

Mrs S Bowen is the Headteacher of St Thomas More Catholic School.