Headteachers Letter – 18th June 2021
Dear parents and carers,
Thank you for your continuing support this week, and we have had to cope with both baking heat and now the cold and heavy rain. There is probably a metaphor in there for the need for continued adaptability to circumstances beyond our control! Following the Government guidance and the decision to delay Stage 4 of the roadmap out of lockdown, we have had to make a number of key decisions and so apologies in advance for a fair amount of information below.
Covid -19 Positive Case and Testing Arrangements
A member of staff has tested positive for Covid-19 on a Lateral Flow Test. We are now awaiting the result from the confirmatory PCR test. No close contacts have been identified and therefore there are no further self- isolations required. Thanks to all students and staff for following the social distancing guidance so carefully which does minimise disruption and the need for further close contact isolations. I will update again when we have the confirmatory PCR test result and have sent best wishes to the member of staff affected. Please let me know if any concerns which you would like to discuss.
We are also aware of a number of students who whilst not positive themselves, are self -isolating with household members who have tested positive. It is clear that community transmissions are increasing locally as they are nationally, so best wishes to any members of the wider community who are unwell and a reminder to us all that we must follow all restrictions and guidance carefully.
As part of the control measures, it remains of vital importance that we maintain close adherence to all Covid testing policies and please read the detail below to ensure that you are aware of the requirements in any given situation.
If you or any member of your household has any coronavirus symptoms, you must isolate as a household immediately and take a PCR test at a testing site as soon as possible. You can book PCR tests here: https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test
Please do not use Lateral Flow Tests as an alternative to this. They are not suitable for testing individuals who have symptoms.
All students and staff should take regular LFT tests, ideally on a Wednesday and Sunday evening. LFT tests are for asymptomatic testing. Please log all test results with the NHS here: https://www.gov.uk/report-covid19-result . National data indicates that the number of reported tests from the schools has been falling in recent weeks. This could be because tests are being taken but not reported to the NHS or it may indicate an actual reduction in the number of tests taken.
Please do help to make Wollaston School as safe as possible by testing twice weekly and reporting all results to the NHS on the link above. If you need further test kits in advance of routine deliveries, please contact Louisa Nixon firstname.lastname@example.org . Thank you for your support.
Today is the final sign off for all qualifications and we will be uploading all data to the exam board portals. This has again been an unprecedented and significant undertaking. Thank you to students staff and parents for the calm, methodical and positive way in which you have all approached this process. This has been enormously appreciated by the entire school community: students; parents; staff and Governors. Whilst of course no-one would ever design a system in this way in normal circumstances– we should take great pride in how we have coped with fulfilling every function in the awarding process. We also aimed to do so in a way which ensured as little additional stress and concern to students, parents and staff, who have been working so hard in such unusual circumstances.
Thanks to Mrs Thacker, Mrs Bolton, Mr Mills, Mrs Lydon, Mr Stevenson and Mrs Walker who have led on this process – and to everyone in the Wollaston School Community for their hard work and support in ensuring that our students receive the qualifications that they deserve this summer.
Sixth Form Transition
A reminder that after the “false start” of this week – Sixth Form transition for current Year 11 students begins on Monday, although students who were self-isolating following the positive case, do not return until Tuesday. We have also been pleased to note that as yet, we have no notification of any school related onwards transmission following the positive case.
Please contact any member of the Sixth Form team for any questions regarding the transition week. EMAIL ADDRESSES***
Year 10 and 12 Internal Examinations
We have been modelling various approaches to these examinations to ensure that there is no conflict with current operational guidance for schools. There has been significant logistical work involved which has ensured that we are able to run a programme which includes some use of formal examination venues. We think that this experience will be crucial for Year 10 and 12 students as we prepare for what will hopefully be a more normal examinations series in 2022 and we look forward to working with these Year groups to resume our mission to achieve record breaking examination outcomes! The process will be led by the relevant year teams who will be providing further information to students as well as day to day support.
Year 6 / 7 Transition
Following the Government’s announcement to delay Stage 4 of the road map out of lockdown, we have been seeking further advice on our ability to run Transition Days for students in Year 6. The Government’s national guidance is fairly vague. We have however consulted in some more detail with the Local Authority and Public Health Northamptonshire. They have advised that Year 6 students should be kept in primary school bubbles for any on site transition work, including at break and lunchtime. This is to minimise the risk of transmission through greater social mixing once students return to their Primary Schools.
Our 2021 Year 7 cohort comprises of students from 30 different primary schools, making this requirement a practical impossibility. We have therefore taken the decision to cancel the Year 6 Transition Days on the 5th and 6th July 2021. We have written to all Year 6 parents and primary schools to inform them of the decision. However, we will still hold the virtual parent information sessions as planned during the evenings.
In order to ensure that students are supported with effective transition for the new academic year, we will again operate a staggered start to term in September. Full details to follow next week and this will include transition activities for our current Year 7s as we hopefully prepare to resume full access of the entire school site for all year groups.
Year 13 Final Day
We have also had to amend the plan for a final day for Year 13 which was due to take place on the 25th June 2021. As restrictions will not be eased by this date – we have had to curtail these plans significantly. We do however feel that it is important for Year 13 students to have a formal ending to their time at Wollaston, as for most of our students this has been a 7 year journey in fairly unprecedented circumstances! The final day will now be outdoors, socially distanced and will take place at 3.15pm on the 25th June. Further details to follow from the Sixth Form Team.
Uniform and Self Sufficiency
It feels a strange day to write about arrangements for very hot weather when it is pouring with rain. Nevertheless, if we do experience another spell of very hot weather, we will look at making some adjustments to uniform requirements in order that students do not suffer in some classrooms – as in some bubbles these can become very hot. IN the meantime, thanks for your support in ensuring that all students have full uniform including a tie at all times. Please also note that where possible we encourage students to be self sufficient with water and refreshments for the day ahead. We do have water available for all students, but because of the bubble system, capacity is reduced and if students are able to bring with them everything that they need for the day, this is incredibly helpful.
Additional Learning Resources in English and Maths
In light of the COVID enforced school closures, our English and maths departments have prepared some short curriculum videos for KS3 and KS4 students. The aim of these is to prepare students for their next school year and to ensure that there are no gaps in their learning. These videos are best consumed in bitesize chunks, before next year, and ideally with a parent or carer sat alongside! To access these videos, please follow the following instructions:
- Students should login to their school email account and find the email that has been sent, titled ‘English and maths videos.’ They should click on the link.
- The link will take students to Stream. This works in a similar way to You Tube and students will be able to access the videos made by Wollaston staff. Please note that students can only access Stream if they are logged into their student account. By logging into their school email they will automatically be logging into their school account.
- Once in Stream, students should be able to see the English and maths channels and this is where the videos are found. If not, click on ‘discover’ and then ‘channels.’ From here you can search for ‘Wollaston English’ or ‘Wollaston Maths.’
It is our aim to make these more easily accessible next year, via Teams, but we felt that many parents and carers would appreciate the videos before the summer so that they can help support their child in achieving academic success.
Thank you for your ongoing support and please do not hesitate to get in touch if there is anything which you would like to discuss.
Mr James Birkett