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We're back in business

School is now fully reopen and we're back in business

The second week of term is drawing to a close and all of our year groups are back! It has been an absolute delight to see all the students in school and settling into their new routines. As I have walked around the school, I have been really impressed by the mature way the students have focused on their learning and how quickly they have been able to get back into a working mindset. Personally it has been a delight to start teaching my classes again and to get back to what I love doing. I know this is a sentiment shared by all of the staff. 

We do know there are teething issues as all of our systems are being tested. Whilst we tried to plan for every eventuality there is nothing like having 1270 young people in school to see if they work in reality. We have made changes. We have increased morning break from 15 – 20 minutes. This has made a big difference. We know there have been issues related to our catering provision. Again, we have made changes and are beginning to get on top of this issue. 

The attendance of students has been excellent. We have over 97% of our students in school, compared to national figures of around 90%. I am enormously grateful to parents for the confidence and faith that they have shown in the school. 

All elements of our in school operations have been based on the guidance from the DfE. I do think it important to ensure that discussions are based upon the latest scientific evidence. The Joint Statement from the UK Chief Medical Officers on schools and childcare reopening (link here) is clear: “Very few, if any, children or teenagers will come to long-term harm from COVID-19 due solely to attending school. This has to be set against a certainty of long-term harm to many children and young people from not attending school.” I take reassurance from this message and hope it provides some to you as well. 

Our policy on face-masks has also been informed by the evidence provided to the school by the DfE. Their latest advice is that “children aged 12 and over should wear a mask where social distancing cannot be safely managed and there is widespread transmission in the area”. Fortunately, Gloucestershire is not an area with widespread transmission. In line with that advice, we are not compelling students to wear face-masks. Students can wear face-masks at social times and lesson transitions if they chose to. Face-masks are not to be worn in lessons unless there is a clear medical reason for its use. 

I have been hugely impressed with our Year 11 students and their response to the curriculum changes we have introduced. Period 6 started this week and 96% of the students attended the first English and Maths lessons. As a group, they have accepted the challenge they face and have stepped up to meet it. This positive attitude will stand them in good stead in the coming months. 

At this time of year we would normally be preparing for our Year 6 Open Evening. Obviously, in the current climate this will be an online event this year. It will take place on Thursday 17th September. It will run via Zoom from 6.45pm until 8.00pm. It will consist of mix of live information, a video outlining the school's work and a Q&A section. 

To access the open evening click here:

Meeting ID: 936 9286 8463

Passcode: SVS20

Two final points:

  1. We have had reports of some poor attitudes towards road safety from a small group of students. Please do take the opportunity to speak to your child about the importance of due care and attention regarding road safety. We will include messages to students in year group Line Ups.
  2. Free School Meals eligibility - please remember, if your financial circumstances have changed, your child may be eligible for Free School Meals. If you click on this link you will find guidance on the eligibility criteria and the application process. It's a quick process and we are notified of all FSM entitlements by Gloucestershire County Council each Monday. I would urge you to take a look if you think you may benefit from financial assistance.

All that is left for me to do is to wish you and your family a fabulous weekend. 

Richard Johnson