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Headteacher's blog 4-12-20

The Salvation Army came to collect the over 700 donations made by our school community to their annual gift drive

The second lockdown has now ended and thankfully, there appears to be a slowing down in the rate of infection both nationally and locally. Whilst schools across the county continue to be affected by positive cases, the number is beginning to fall. I am enormously thankful that so far we have escaped the worst of the impacts. I have everything crossed in the hope that continues to be the case.

Despite the end of the lockdown, key restrictions do remain in place. One of the restrictions that remains in place relates to face masks. Face masks are still a statutory requirement for all students (except those with exemptions) in secondary schools. This will remain the case as long as Gloucestershire is placed in either in Tier 2 or 3.

The vast majority of students are complying with this requirement. However, we do have a small number of students who are persistently choosing to fail to wear their masks and need constant reminders to this effect. We have been and will be speaking to those students to make clear the legal requirement for wearing face masks and our expectations. If this does not have the desired effect then we will have to consider alternative arrangements for these students as they pose a potential risk to the health and welfare of other students and staff. I would ask you to speak to your child to ensure they understand the seriousness of this situation. Thank you in advance for your support.

This week the DfE finally published their updated plans for the summer exams. I have always felt that their declaration that exams would go ahead as normal was naïve; I have also acknowledged that the task of planning for alternatives was herculean. There are still many issues with their plan but at least now, we have some clarity as teachers and can communicate this to our Year 11 students. Whilst we don’t have all of the details yet, we will be able to discuss the plans with the parents of Year 11 students at their parents evening next Thursday.

On Monday, the Salvation Army came to collect the gifts kindly donated by the school community to their annual gift drive.  It would be fair to say that the Salvation Army were overwhelmed by the response which saw in excess of 700 gifts donated. This would be an amazing response at any time. In the current circumstances when we know so many families are struggling themselves makes it even more amazing. The Salvation Army will now distribute those gifts to families in need to help ensure that children who may otherwise have missed out at Christmas do receive some gifts. A huge thank you to Mr Hockaday for organising this and to you for your generous support.

You will also be aware from previous communication that Year 10 student Molly-May Newman was collecting selection boxes as part of her DofE volunteering work supporting the Gloucester Foodbank. Again, thanks to your generosity she was able to collect a fantastic number of selection boxes which she was able to deliver to the Gloucester Foodbank this week. Molly-May did ask me to pass on her thanks for the support she received from the school community

I am delighted to report that the school has been nominated in the Mitsubishi Motors Volunteer of the Year 2020! The Mitsubishi Motors Volunteer of the Year is a nationwide initiative that gives anyone involved in rugby the opportunity to nominate a volunteer at a grassroots rugby club, or wider rugby family, who they think deserves recognition for their commitment to the game over the last 12 months. This is fabulous recognition for the PE department generally and Mr Rogers in particular for their long-standing commitment to developing rugby at Severn Vale.  

I have spoken to students this week about road safety and the need to be far more aware of dangers of ignoring key messages regarding road safety. I have witnessed first-hand students cross the road without looking both ways and demonstrating a cavalier attitude to their own safety. There is nothing more important to us than the safety of our students. I will ensure that key safety messages are regularly delivered to the students. I know you will also take the opportunity to remind your child about the importance of road safety. In addition, a reminder that all students riding to school must wear a cycle helmet. Any student ignoring this will lose the privilege of riding to school.

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 hope you and your family have a great weekend.

Richard Johnson