Notes from Mr Devenney
I hope your daughter has had a peaceful, relaxing break and is enthused about returning on Monday as we embark on the next half-term.
It has been an eventful 2 weeks to say the least! On the positive, we have had a large number of Year 11 and 13 students attend the additional revisions sessions that staff ran over the full 2-week break. It was fantastic to see so many girls positively enthused and determined to be successful this year – my thanks to both the staff for running the session and the students for their hard work and engagement. I wouldn’t have expected anything else from them. Our Year 11 and 13 students know this is a partnership; when they commit, they will excel at our School.
On the slightly less positive we had 3 confirmed cases of Covid-19. It seems that the availability of tests and the delay for results to be returned is once again having a major detrimental impact on our community. I have made these opinions known to the appropriate authorities, but I do not believe we are unique in this. We can only act swiftly when we are given the information. Having now gone through this on a number of occasions I am confident that our communication lines are effective and robust and that our cleaning routines and ability to mobilise the cleaners quickly is intact, should we need them again in the future. It is important that we have the correct contact details for all parents/carers so please do keep us up to date should you change your phone number or e-mail address.
As we are putting our final plans together for the next half-term I wanted to also take the opportunity to remind and update you on some changes that will be in place when we return on Monday.
As outlined by Jen Smith (CEO) in her recent correspondence, it is now compulsory for students to wear masks in communal areas and corridors unless there is a genuine reason why they cannot to do so. As Sutton is now at Tier 2 (High Level) this is in line with the Department for Education guidance for Schools. You will no doubt have seen and heard about the sustained increase in Covid cases across the country and particularly in the South, in the news today (29th October). Having now dealt with 3 cases in the past 2 weeks I have seen first-hand the impact that a positive case can have on an individual, class and even an entire year group.
In the instance where students forget their mask we will have a small supply available each morning however we do not receive any further budget for this expenditure so I urge you to buy masks for your daughter. If there is a genuine reason why your daughter cannot wear a mask ie they are exempt then please contact their Head of Year in the first instance. If students are not wearing a mask we will check that you have spoken to their Head of Year to inform them of the genuine reason why they are not wearing a mask. We will only allow exemption when we know there is a genuine reason; we need to work together on this for the good of everybody. We will continue to provide the girls with hand sanitiser and they will need to be guided on how best to use both the sanitiser and the face mask together at the beginning and end of each lesson.
I am not making a political statement here, I will leave that to others. However, if wearing a mask means that there is a greater chance that the year groups that are about to sit their examinations can stay in School and continue their studies with their teacher, then we must do that for their benefit.
Please check the guidance here for further information about masks and mask wearing. ('Masks' - page 8)
As part of our Covid-19 Health and Safety principles we must keep ventilation in rooms ongoing throughout which means windows and doors will remain open. Therefore we will allow students to wear a white or navy t-shirt or vest under their blouse for the foreseeable future. We will also allow students to keep their coats on in lessons. Mr James has written to you prior to the half-term break with a reminder of the appropriate coats students should be wearing.
I would also encourage you to purchase a pair of plain, navy or black tracksuit bottoms that can be worn on PE days. Alternatively, students can wear their skirt over their shorts but the tracksuit bottoms will be warmer. Students are currently wearing leggings on days they have Dance lessons but these will not keep them warm in the coming months.
The updated guidance from us as a School and our leaflet on what to do in a wide number of scenarios is available at the bottom of this page. Please be reassured that a lot of protocols remain the same. A few points I would like to highlight though are:
Students MUST NOT come to school if they have symptoms of Covid-19. If students feel unwell do not send them to school, do not risk it.
I agree that your daughter’s learning is important however if she comes to School with Covid-19 it could have a severe impact on everyone else’s learning too. We put the use of booklets in for this very reason – learning can and will continue at home if she is unwell.
- everyone using public transport must be wearing a mask
- students will only be allowed on site at the relevant time in the morning and will need to leave promptly at the end of the day
- parents cannot drop items off at the school office
- students should be wearing their lanyard at all times
- on PE/Dance days students should wear their PE kit
- we will continue with students staying in their ‘bubbles’
- break and lunch times will remain separated into each year group
Wallets, whiteboards and markers
All students will be given their own individual wallet to help keep their booklets neat and tidy. In addition, we will be providing each student with their own A4 whiteboard and marker for use in lessons to evaluate learning so there will be no need to share these resources.
These new procedures are being put into place to ensure our students’ education can continue and continue safely. It is important that we maintain the high standards that we set in September but we also want to develop and refine our practices to ensure everyone in our School feels safe.
We must keep the focus on the provision in the classroom and the girls’ education and therefore I thank you in advance for your support with these changes.