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Headteacher's Blog 7-1-22

A Happy New Year to you all

Our first week after the Christmas break is complete and it has been a pleasure to see the students again. The reintroduction of masks and the general uncertainty regarding the current Covid situation have been unsettling but overwhelmingly the students have responded positively. I think they, like us, are just glad that school is open and that we are not in the situation we experienced last year at this time.

The Covid situation at the moment is challenging and is likely to remain so for a few weeks yet. I have my fingers crossed that some of the more positive noises around the likely speed of the fall in the current Omicron spike materialise and that we are nearing the end of this dreadful period.

I thought it would be useful to reiterate some of the guidance from the DfE which is being updated regularly:

  • Face Masks are now needed in lessons as well as during transitions and in communal areas inside the school building. Please do ensure your child has a mask with them every day.
  • Ventilation is a key mitigation against transmission. We now have a number of CO2 monitors in school which will help us identify areas where ventilation is poor.
  • Testing is a second key mitigation against asymptomatic transmission. If your child is not part of the current testing programme and you would like them to be then please do email the school
  • Vaccination is a third mitigation. We are awaiting news of a booster programme of vaccinations for our students following the JCVI’s recommendation that 12-16 year olds should be offered a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at a minimum of 12 weeks from the first dose.
  • Self-isolation following a positive test is now for 7, not 10 days. LFD tests need to be taken on days 6 and 7 and if these are negative then the student can return to school.
  • Close contacts of Covid positive cases can continue to attend school as long as they complete LFD tests for 7 days and these tests remain negative.
  • The need for a PCR test following a positive LFD test is to be temporarily suspended from 11 January. This will mean that anyone who receives a positive LFD test result will be required to self-isolate immediately and will not need to take a confirmatory PCR test. This will help reduce further the length of self-isolation as you will not need to wait for a PCR test to be booked and the result returned before the period of self-isolation begins.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Medekit for generously donating several thousand face masks to be used in school.

In non Covid news, at the end of last term an old LRC tradition was revived and the annual ‘Ghost Story’ writing competition was launched. Students in year 7 were guided and encouraged to use their writing skills to produce a ghost story that was genuinely creepy rather than a horror story. They were read examples of stories by well-known authors Susan Hill and Alan Gibbons to inspire the imagination. Both the number and the standard of the entries was high which was really pleasing as the students had to work on their stories in their own time. After reading through all of the entries there emerged a clear winner: Hunter Longden-Thurgood with his entry entitled ‘Frozen Frights’. The ending of this story was marvellous! Congratulations Hunter!

I was really please to receive confirmation from Gloucestershire Music and Make Music Gloucestershire that they have successfully nominated Severn Vale to become a Music Mark school for the 2021/22 academic year. Music Mark is the UK Association for Music Education, championing and supporting access to music for all children and young people.  They work across various sectors to advocate for and support high-quality music education for all children and young people.  In making the nomination, Gloucestershire Music and Make Music Gloucestershire recognised the school’s commitment to a broad and balanced curriculum and the value that we place on music. I would like to congratulate the Music department for this award and to thank the students who have wholeheartedly taken advantage of the many opportunities offered to them. I look forward to seeing this work develop even further in the coming months and years.

As always, I include 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.

Finally a reminder to parents of Year 11 students that the Year 11 parent evening takes place virtually next Thursday 13th January. Full details have been circulated. If you are having issues making appointments please do contact Ryan Jordan-Steele who will be able to guide you through the process.

Have a great weekend.

Kind regards

Richard Johnson