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Getting back to normality

Extra-curricular sport gets back under way

The third week of term is drawing to a close and at school we are settling into our “new normal”. Our students are responding superbly and are now overwhelmingly at ease with the operation of school in the current climate. Attendance remains high and is significantly above the figures quoted for national attendance. As far as possible, our minds can now focus on our core business of teaching and learning.

One significant cause of frustration for many at the moment is the apparent breakdown in the operation of the national testing system. We have had many conversations with parents deeply frustrated by the delay in accessing tests and the consequent need for extended self-isolation for them and their children. It has also affected a number of our staff causing them to be absent from school for far longer than necessary. For the full reopening of schools to be the success we all want it to be, it is essential that this is addressed promptly.

Whilst we are getting back to our core business, we do need to be very mindful of the potential for some form of partial closure over the coming months. We know that the first secondary school in the county has already had to send a year group home to self-isolate for two weeks following a positive test. We are finalising our plans for how we would deal with this scenario and how teaching and learning would continue for those students required to self-isolate.  A significant part of these plans will be based upon students having effective IT access at home. We know this may be a challenge for a number of our students. If you feel that this is likely to affect your child, please do contact the school. Full details of our plans will be sent to parents before the end of the month.

One great sign of a return to normality was the start of extra-curricular sports clubs after school this week. Every evening there is a range of sport on offer with each year group getting a dedicated night. This means our year group bubbles are maintained. It has been a real pleasure seeing the students enjoying their sport. Full details of the days and sports are available via the severnvalepe Instagram page. We are hopeful that other extra-curricular provision will be able to begin shortly.

Some final points:

  1. Uniform - whilst the vast majority of our students are looking smart and wearing their uniform with pride, there are a small number of students who are not meeting our uniform expectations. These students have been spoken to. Full details about our uniform are available on the website here and have been sent to parents on numerous occasions. Thank you in advance for your support in ensuring our students are looking smart and ready to learn.
  2. Bike helmets – all students riding books or scooters to school need to wear a bike helmet. Students floating this rule will be prevented from cycling to school.
  3. Face masks – we have been contacted by Tesco to say that a small number of students have been in their store without a face mask. Please can you remind your child that they must wear a face covering when they enter any shop. In school, we are still following the Government guidance on the use of face coverings, as outlined in my message last week. This is a situation we are constantly monitoring.
  4. 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.

I do hope that you and your family enjoy a great weekend.


Richard Johnson