Message from the headteacher

Dear Parents and Carers, please find enclosed updated information relevant to the return of all students (Years 7 – 13) to school on Monday coming, September 7th. It is essential that you spend time reading through the information enclosed and discussing the importance of following each aspect of it with your child. This will help us greatly in ensuring that in these very demanding times our school community will continue to operate as a school and everyone who is part of it will remain well and safe.

Before school:

* All students Years 7-13 are expected to wear full and correct school uniform. Please contact your child’s Head of Year should there be a practical reason as to why this might not be so and we will endeavour to support you in ensuring that this expectation is followed.

* Please check your child’s school bag to ensure that all books and equipment needed for the following day are packed and ready.

* To avoid having to share equipment it is important that your child brings basic equipment with them each day eg pens, pencils, a ruler and an eraser. This should  include a calculator for their Maths lessons. It would be of help if colouring pencils and a prit stick could be included also.

*Please check your Show My Homework (SMH) account each day to support and assist your child in ensuring that tasks are completed and submitted punctually. Please alert us to any concerns or problems that may affect this.

* Given the amount of time that our children have been away from regular classroom directed and focussed learning, it is absolutely the case that teaching must be allowed to take place without disruption from any student. There is a great deal to catch up on and current schemes of learning must be followed also. Therefore, please impress upon your child that they must comply with all classroom expectations.

* In compliance with ongoing guidance children will spend time in Year bubbles in their Learning Hubs. These are discreetly zones areas of school. Again, it is important that your child clearly understands the need to be punctual both to school in accordance with their designated staggered start time and in returning from their supervised breaks and lunchtimes. We will not tolerate any unnecessary ‘wandering’ or disruption to lessons.

During school:

* In accordance with the guidance issued, children should sit in the seating plans put in place. This is a non-negotiable and will be implemented in each classroom within each Learning Hub regardless of the year group.

* We will continue to expect our children to work hard, engage with the activities organised, respect their peers and their teachers and to speak politely and kindly to each other. This is all the more important at present as it supports the progress made by each and every child in every lesson after such a long time away from school.

* Students’ breaks and lunches will be staggered across the day. Designated yards and areas of the canteen and assembly hall will be assigned to specific year groups and as such students must remain in the yard/area assigned during breaks and lunchtimes.

* The guidance issued recognises that schools might not be able to provide discreetly designated toilets for specific year groups and so children can use any toilet as relevant. However, it essential that STM students understand that all guidance regarding hand washing and correct sanitising must be adhered to and that whilst using the toilets there should be no silliness or stupidity which may in turn hinder the use of the toilets for other students in our community.

* At present whole school detentions will cease and so will not take place after school. However, behaviour which contravenes our behaviour code or disrupts learning or undermines the wellbeing and safety of others will be sanctioned and Parents and Carers will be contacted.

* In the event of a child causing such disruption in class, during breaks or lunchtimes or around the school building that teaching and learning and the wellbeing and safety of others is seriously hindered, Parents and Carers must be advised that we will contact you  and request your immediate presence in school. Please note that this may require your child being asked to leave our school for a period of time to be decided at our discretion and in compliance with our school policies.

Additional information:

* On the days when students may have PE, students are to wear their PE kit to school. Being mindful of students who may need to either walk home or catch the school or public buses , in addition to their shorts or skorts students are to wear black joggers.

* As PE kit is considered to be an essential item of school uniform it is non-negotiable as to whether students wear their kit or not. Equally so, should a student forget their kit, it will be provided by school on that occasion and will need to be worn that lesson. Please remember also that all items of jewellery must be removed prior to lesson. Again this is non-negotiable for reasons of Health and Safety.

* Both Breakfast Club and after school provision in our school library will run and in compliance with current guidance.

* To support our Bursar and her team at this time Parents and Carers are invited to make all payments re school dinners etc. using our online service. Details were issued via our school website and social media but are also available via our school reception.

* As Year 12 and 13 may not have the usual use of their previously designated study rooms and areas, they are invited to bring their personal laptops or tablets to school under the following understanding: doing so is at the discretion of yourselves as Parents and Carers and school will take no responsibility for these items whilst in school. These items must be sanitised before being brought into school and across the day by the student in question. These items are not for communal use and so cannot be shared amongst friends or peers. If used for any use other than personal study further use will be prohibited. As Parents and Carers you must be happy to receive these items back into your home after having been in school all day.

* Our school buses are running as normal both morning and afternoon. Guidance issued clarified that ‘school buses’ as opposed to ‘public buses’ are in effect a bubble in themselves ie all children travelling on them are going to the same place and belong to the same school. Whilst seating children in ‘Year bubbles’ might be preferable this might not always be possible. We continue to communicate with the relevant bodies in our endeavours to secure additional transport. In the meantime we would advise that students follow the practice used on public transport and wear a mask whilst travelling both to and from school. Again, any form of silliness, stupidity or non-compliance whilst travelling on our school buses will not be tolerated and may result in students being banned from their use for some time.

* During lock down we did not allow visitors or Parents and Carers to bring their vehicles onto our school site during the day. Given the ongoing need to minimise travel on and off our school site we will continue the same practice. Our school gates will close at 8.40 am. The small pedestrian gate at the front of school will remain open for children arriving in accordance with their ‘staggered start time’. Students will be met by staff. Our school gate will remain closed until 2.50 pm and will be opened in time to allow our school buses only on to our school site.

* Parents and Carers are reminded, with specific reference to the current need for vigilance, that unannounced visits and requests to see staff will not be met. We will continue to welcome you to school but would ask that as is our usual practice, appointments are made in advance. Social distancing will be adhered to both in our school reception and during any meetings held.

After school:

  • Once students are dismissed at the end of the school day it is important that they return home as quickly and as safely as possible. It is as important that  if using public transport that they comply with all regulations regarding the wearing of masks and social distancing. It travelling on our school buses it is as important that behaviour is calm and sensible and that masks are worn should the bus be busy.
  • To ensure that school remains as safe and healthy an environment as possible I would respectfully ask that Parents and  Carers encourage students to behave in a sensible manner and again observe correct social distancing.

I appreciate that there is a great deal of detail enclosed above and that I have been quite direct in my delivery and wording but I hope that as Parents and Carers you will not only appreciate my reasons for being so but will actively support my intentions, which are, to ensure a safe, happy, calm and purposeful school environment where good quality teaching and learning is the expectation.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any concerns or queries.

Take care and God bless, Mrs Bowen  

Headteacher | + posts

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