Dear Parents and Carers,
Thank you for your support in ensuring a safe and well structured return to school. We are now operating at full capacity once again – and it is rather wonderful to have all of our students back at Wollaston School, back with each other and back learning in classrooms. I trust that you fell the same!
I do want to formally register my thanks to parents and families for the way in which you have supported remote learning as well as in person attendance throughout the course of the pandemic. These have been challenging and difficult times, but such times can bring out the best in people and our communities. We feel incredibly proud of our students, our parents and our staff.
You may be relieved to know that this is a slightly shorter update than in previous weeks!
In School Testing
Students in all year groups have demonstrated excellent behaviour and shown high levels of personal responsibility, even those who have been slightly nervous about the process. I would also like to especially recognise the incredible work and effort of our testing team, who have ensured that a complex and challenging operation has worked so smoothly in practice. Another full week of testing will take place next week and then we will conclude in the early part of the week of the 22nd March, when all students will move to a home testing regime.
Most encouragingly, we have had no positive test results and only one single “invalid” outcome, which was re-tested and found to be negative. This latter avoidance of void results is due to the skill of our testing team – as some testing centres are returning a greater number of void or invalid results. The lack of positive results seems to reflect a low prevalence in our immediate area – which is great news for our school and the wider community. Although of course, we do need to be mindful that rates are higher in some surrounding areas. Nevertheless, the testing has returned good news and our aim remains to actively adhere to all control measures as we continue to deliver the best education possible in the safest way possible.
Safety Measures – Reminders
- Thank you for your continuing provision of face coverings – including a spare. Our students have been excellent in wearing in all indoor areas and have coped well with the new national requirement to wear them in lessons.
- A reminder that students should bring coats appropriate to the weather conditions and we also encourage students bringing trainers or outdoor footwear (with a plastic bag) to change into for break and lunchtime. The outdoor breaks are working effectively and we are utilising our large field and site – even in some slightly difficult weather on Wednesday! It has been important to establish a routine in this matter and in line with national guidance, we do believe that it is right to ensure that students have time eating, drinking and socialising outside with no requirement to wear face coverings. As per my previous letter, during lunchtimes students can book individual slots in indoor study spaces, through the relevant Year team.
- We are of course continuing to encourage regular hand sanitisation, and we do have stations in every classroom. Some students choose to bring in personal hand sanitisers, rather than use the communal stations, and of course this is completely permissible.
The key message is for all students to continue working as hard as possible in all subjects. We are of course busy developing our plans for the assessment framework in each subject, but please do note that exam boards are yet to issue full guidance for each specification, so we are unable to give definitive details of exactly how final grades will be arrived at in each subject. The crucial thing to remember is that once we have this guidance, this will then be a teacher and school led process, so in the meantime, students should just continue to follow the curriculum, homework and assessment programmes in each lesson to the best of their abilities.
Year 11 and Year 13 End of Term Dates
I am aware that some parents have been enquiring about end of term dates for Year11 and 13, which traditionally conclude with the final examinations in mid June. Although we are expecting courses and assessment activity to be concluded by a similar date, I cannot yet confirm a finish date for these year groups. I am particularly wary of doing so, as there is a risk of current dates and deadlines moving and we have yet to receive specific information from the Department for Education regarding these year groups. We do not want to be in the position whereby we are caught out by setting a finish date prematurely, then deadlines change and students need to be available for assessment or moderation activity. As soon as we have some definitive information on the above, I will of course schedule a finish date without delay.
Thank you again for your unstinting support of our students and of our school. Have a wonderful weekend and we look forward to having a full school again on Monday!
Mr James Birkett