Headteacher’s notice – 3 July 2020

Taken from the current issue of More News:

Hello, I hope you are all well. Isn’t it unbelievable to think that we are now two weeks away from the closing of school for our summer holidays? I think apart from the usual feeling that time moves faster and faster each year, arriving at this point seems all the more unbelievable because we have not been together as a community of teachers, support staff, children and parents as we usually would be. We have, and as Head I certainly have, missed gathering together for our traditional summer festivities and celebrations such as, our End of Year Masses, our Year 11 and 13 Leaving Masses and Assemblies, our KS 3 Celebration Evening, our whole school production, Sports Day, Year 7 and 12 Induction Days, our Year 5 Primary School Retreats and of course, those all important day trips to Drayton Manor and Alton Towers. We could dwell on the fact that these all important events have not happened or we can look forward to next year and commit ourselves to ensuring that they are more joyous in their reason for celebration, which I am sure on the basis that, ‘we are STM’ this is exactly what we shall do.

I do hope that if you are a Parent or Carer of a new Year 7 or Year 12, you enjoyed our ‘Virtual Induction Days’ on Tuesday and Wednesday. Not as good as the real thing I know and certainly not our first preference but nonetheless effective I hope in providing a taste of daily life at STM. Our communication and engagement with both Year groups continues. We communicate weekly by post with our incoming students in both Year groups, we are in touch with students and Parents and Carers by telephone to answer any concerns or queries, I am in touch via email with our new Year 7 who are sending in tasks being set and also with our new Year 11 with respects to Sixth Form dress code, transition tasks and work and a range of other issues, we are going in teams this coming week to deliver reading materials and summer work for our incoming Year 7 students and are welcoming a variety of students and a Parent or Carer into school for a face to face meeting.

I would draw all Parents or Carer’s attention to my notice later on in this edition regarding school’s September opening. Additional guidance was issued on Thursday just, July 2nd. As I am sure you will appreciate, this will take time to digest and co-ordinate into a sensible, safe and workable plan with the needs of our children at heart. It is our intention to communicate the outline of this plan with you as soon as is possible, with a further and final update post August 11th, when the final and most definitive guidance will be issued by both central government and the DfE.

In addition to the above, details concerning the distribution of both GCSE and A Level examination results will be issued shortly. Again, whatever plans are put in place must allow for and adhere to current social distancing regulations. With that in mind and knowing that both days are exceptionally important for the students and families involved, we are working towards a plan that will facilitate face to face meetings and support for those who will need it.

We have just concluded our second week of Master Class/ Tutorial sessions with our Year 10 students. To say that I, and all staff who engaged with them, are proud of them is an understatement. Without exception, each and every one of those attending approached all sessions provided with positivity, maturity, resilience and a professionalism beyond their years. The coming week will maintain our usual busy atmosphere and productivity as over a period of three days we welcome Parents or Carers from Years 7-9 with their child to discuss progress made whilst engaging with remote learning and how best to fill gaps and further support learning.

As is often the case we say goodbye to members of staff who are moving on to pastures new. This year is no exception. Enclosed within are those staff to whom we need to say goodbye and ask that God will keep them in his prayers. However, amongst these summer leavers are Mr Burns and Miss McPhee. Both members of staff are long standing, greatly respected and much loved members of staff by both colleagues and students who hold 60 years teaching experience between them. Their presence, guidance and wisdom will be greatly missed, especially by myself.

As is often the case when we reach the end of an academic year we have need to recognise the contribution of different members of staff to the wider life of our school community, either because they are moving on to pastures new or are taking on a new role within school. This year is no exception. Enclosed within are those staff to whom we need to say goodbye and ask that God will keep them in his prayers. However, amongst these and in particular because of their long years of service to our school are Mr Burns, Miss Fisher and Miss McPhee. All three members of staff are long standing, greatly respected and much loved members of staff by both colleagues and students who hold in excess of 100 years of teaching and leadership teaching between them. Both Miss Fisher and Miss McPhee have decide to relinquish their leadership roles as Heads of Department but will remain with us within school, Miss Fisher within the Art Department and Miss McPhee as our new Lay Chaplain.

So, as I conclude I must tell you how exceptionally appreciative I am of each and every one of you. Your kindness, support, encouragement, resilience and forbearance throughout the year but most certainly since we entered lockdown has not gone unnoticed. You have and will remain in my prayers and I truly look forward to meeting with you all in the usual manner without a restriction in sight, hopefully before long!

Headteacher | + posts

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