Skip to content ↓

Headteacher's blog 13-11-20

We will remember them...

This last week has brought the reality of living with a pandemic home to many schools across the county. As I write, we are one of 14 secondary schools who have had a positive case and have had to send students home. The cases in the local community have increased massively and that is always likely to impact upon schools. Clearly, it is enormously frustrating to have to send students home,  but we will always act in line with the advice from the health professionals. The safety and well-being of the students and staff will always remain our primary consideration at this time

Yesterday evening we held our first virtual parents evening. Having spoken to the Year 7 tutor team everything seemed to operate pretty smoothly. As always when relying on technology there were some teething issues. It was the first time we used Microsoft Teams for an event of this kind. I hope parents found that easy to use. I am keen to hear feedback from parents as we have other parents evenings coming up in December. If there are changes you feel we can make to improve the running of virtual events we would like to hear from you. Please email

As I mentioned last week, our Key Stage 3 students will be taking their order assessments in Maths and Science next week.  Work has been set on Show My Homework by their maths and science teachers to help the students prepare for these exams. If your son / daughter is to perform to their best of their ability, it is important that these tasks are complete. On the day of their exam every students will need two black pens, a pencil, a pencil sharpener, a rubber, a ruler, a protractor and a scientific calculator. Full details of these exams and the content to be tested has been sent separately by Mr Ball. He is also the best point of contact if you have questions about these exams. Thank you in advance for helping your child to prepare for these exams. NB tests for students in Year 8 will be postponed until later this term. Details will be sent separately.

This week saw the nation commemorate Armistice Day. In normal years, we work with many of our partner primary schools on a remembrance project which includes a visit to the war memorial at St James’. This year this wasn’t possible. However, a small number of Severn Vale students representing the uniformed cadets did participate in a small, social distanced remembrance service, laying a wreath at the War Memorial to commemorate those who have fallen in the service of their country. I am grateful to the staff and students involved for the mature and thoughtful way they represented the school.

You will know from my blog last week that initial guidance from the Government implemented a ban on schools running after-school sports clubs unless they were for childcare. Thankfully, it would appear that common sense has triumphed and this nonsensical guidance is being ditched. Whilst official guidance has still not been updated, the Youth Sports Trust is now advising that schools “should continue to provide extra-curricular sport as long as they can do so in a way which maintains the integrity of schools’ COVID 19 protocols such as their approach to bubbles, staffing and social distancing and is subject to appropriate risk assessment.” We are confident that our provision meets these criteria so we will be re-starting provision on Monday 16th November. Full details have been sent out by the PE department. They are also available on the PE Department Instagram / Twitter pages @SevernValePE

Unfortunately we were unable to take part in any of the normal activities we would have for Children in Need this year. I do want to reassure you that we are looking at ways we can support various charity initiatives both locally and nationally. I know Mr Hockaday has written to parents with details of his plan to support the Salvation Army with their annual gift drive. This is such a worthwhile project. We know that we are living through unprecedented times and that there are so many families struggling both emotionally and financially. If you are able to support this project, we know it will make a real difference to the recipients. If you do have any questions about this, please do contact Mr Hockaday.

In terms of supporting others, Molly-May Newman in Year 10 has been working on a project to support Gloucester Foodbank as part of her DofE volunteering work. She has been collecting selection boxes to pass on to the foodbank so these can be distributed to families in the run up to Christmas. If you think you could support this fantastic cause, we will have a collection point in our reception. She will also be supporting Mr Hockaday after Christmas when the school organises its annual Foodbank collection.

Finally, my weekly reminder about Free School Meals eligibility. 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 you and your family have a good weekend.

Richard Johnson