I hope that you and your families remain safe and well.
It has felt recently as though we have taken two steps forward and three steps back as the country slips once more into the grip of Covid restrictions. In school we continue to see small numbers of positive cases and I hope as we approach the end of term this remains the same. Returning to mask wearing was always going to be difficult for students to adapt to, but we have been generally very pleased by the vast majority who have been getting this right. We do have a number who consistently forget to bring their own mask and whilst we do have a supply of masks in school it has been severely depleted over the last week. We would urge parents to remind their children to bring a mask, particularly if they travel to school on public transport. Additionally, you will know that we have also been instructed to perform on site testing when students return after the Christmas break. We are finalising our plans on this and will have further information to you by the end of next week. I have been very mindful of the disruption already experienced by our students and so on this occasion we have adjusted our testing plans to get students back into the building as quickly as we possibly can. This new method will rely on students self-administering their tests and recording the result on their own phones. We already have consent from previous testing but if this has changed then we ask parents to notify the school office on the firstname.lastname@example.org email. There will be a slightly staggered start to the new term but we should have most students back in lessons on January 5th with the rest on the following day, and Year 13 exams will now commence on Friday 7th January. We would encourage all families to continue lateral flow testing over the Christmas holiday and ask that children also test prior to their return in January. Watch this space for further information on the testing plans for the new year.
On a more positive note, it was gratifying to see so many of our students opt to receive the vaccinations for Covid and flu in recent weeks. Hopefully, this will add to the measures to help keep our school community a safe one. It has also been a real pleasure to see how well our Year 11 students have approached their recent mock exams. They were focused, applied and purposeful in their manner and we were proud of their effort, discipline and maturity. Staff will be busily marking the exam papers and will issue results to students in lessons. Data and interim reports will also be compiled over the coming weeks and issued to parents in the new year. Furthermore, Year 11 students have an interesting day of events planned for Learning Review Day this year, which will help them to focus on their next steps, including some interesting visiting speakers. Our Year 12 exams commence on Monday and run through most of next week. As a reminder, lessons will continue as normal up to and including Wednesday, Thursday is the Learning Review Day, so students may attend in non-uniform for their appointments with tutors, but will only be in school for a short period to discuss their progress and attainment. Friday is a shorter day, with school closing down for the Christmas period from 12.20pm.
If you do get the chance to have a spare 5 minutes at any point over the next few weeks I would really appreciate it if you could offer us some parent feedback using the Ofsted questionnaire. I have provided the link for you below.
On a final note, our recent external review was a rewarding challenge that has given us some feedback which will shape improvements in school life. We look forward to tackling this challenge with enthusiasm and rigour in the new year. Finally, it has been another very busy term at Plantsbrook and I know our students and staff will be looking forward to a relaxing and restful Christmas break with their families, I certainly know I am!
I wish you all a very happy Christmas and a prosperous and healthy New Year.
Stay safe, take care and thank you for your continued support. It is most appreciated