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Headteacher's Update - Friday 28 May

The following update from the Headteacher was emailed to parents and carers on Friday 28 May:

Dear Parents and Carers

Our students have been a credit to the school throughout this exceptional period. All have adapted well to new ways of learning and have consistently adhered to site modifications, including working in year group 'bubbles'. As I walk around the school, I continue to be impressed by the calm atmosphere both in and out of lessons.

We have been proud of the resilience and flexibility shown by our students following the period of lockdown and the positive way in which they have engaged with their face-to-face lessons. Students have responded well to the measures we have put in place due to the pandemic and transmission rates have remained extremely low. We must however remain vigilant and ensure we constantly monitor the very latest guidance, in both local and national contexts.

As we approach Step 4 of the roadmap out of lockdown, we are now planning for the safe transition back to our established and more familiar daily routines. To assist this process, we will be making a number of changes for the final half-term of the academic year. The departure of our Year 11 and Year 13 students has provided greater flexibility in terms of rooming. Although year group bubbles will be maintained for the time being, this will enable increased access to specialist teaching rooms for some of our students. Further details will be communicated to students in due course.

We will be continuing our phased return to the wearing of full school uniform. After half-term, our Year 9 students, along with Year 7 and 8 pupils, will be expected to wear full uniform every day, including their PE days. Year 10 students will return to full school uniform over the next few weeks.

Catering arrangements will also change slightly. The full cohort of Year 8s will now dine in the Main Hall with Year 7s in discrete sittings and older students (Year 9 and Year 10) will dine in the Drama Hall. Year 12 students will be able to access the Drama Hall for lunch after half-term.

As we look towards the future, we will reflect upon the changes we have made over the period of the pandemic and consider which of our measures should be adopted, adapted or abandoned.

We have received highly positive feedback regarding the format of our virtual parents' evenings, for example, and this is an area we will be reviewing soon as we plan next year's school calendar.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate our Year 11 and post-16 students who have worked so committedly to complete their summer assessments. A reminder that results days this year are on Tuesday 10 August (post-16) and Thursday 12 August (Year 11). Further information will be provided after half-term.

We are delighted so many of our Year 11 students have opted to return to the Sixth Form at Lady Manners and look forward to welcoming them to our Induction Week after half-term (scheduled for the week beginning Monday 21 June 2021).

On a final point, I would like to acknowledge the work of teaching and support staff who have worked extremely hard throughout the year to keep students safe, deliver high quality lessons and maintain a focussed approach to learning. It has undoubtedly been a challenging time for all staff, particularly during the recent assessment period, but they have addressed these challenges in a resolute and proactive manner. Thank you also to parents and carers who have supported our school so positively during this time. Your constructive feedback has been appreciated.

We all look forward to the future with anticipation and excitement. As we move towards a more familiar learning environment, we will learn lessons from the experiences gained during the past twelve months or so, and will come back an even stronger school.

Regards

Gary Peat
Headteacher