I hope you are all well and managed to have a break during the summer despite the various restrictions and situation.
Firstly, I would like to start by saying how much we are looking forward to having your children back with us and how excited we are to welcome the new Year 7s. There is no doubt that it has been a challenging year for everybody, but the re-opening of schools may just indicate some light at the end of the tunnel.
I thank you for your patience and cooperation during the months of lockdown and ask for your support and understanding as we embark on a new academic year which will feel like no other we have ever experienced.
Your children are so important to us and all the planning we have been doing prior to and during the summer break is geared towards ensuring their safe reintegration to St. Mary’s. To reassure you, the Year 10s who were attending in the weeks prior to the end of term adapted brilliantly to changes in systems and routines and I have no doubt that this will be the case for all year groups.
Equally, I understand that our pupils may well be anxious about returning for a whole host of reasons, not least that in some cases it is over 5 months since they have had a timetable of lessons in school. We are prepared to support them; we are prepared and ready to help them plug any gaps due to time lost in school and we will do everything we can, to ensure they are happy, safe and making progress.
Specific arrangements, details and procedures for keeping them safe will be communicated to your children on arrival on the 3rd September and as I outlined in previous correspondence, their learning environment will be a little unfamiliar due to the year group bubbles. We will, however, do everything possible to minimise uncertainty and our aim is to get the pupils back into the swing of classroom learning again as quickly as possible.
Rest assured we will be following local and central government guidance and all necessary risk assessments have been completed. I am purposefully not including reference to government guidance in this letter, as you will appreciate it can change quite quickly and I don’t want to give you any conflicting information or advice.
One exception to this is the recently much debated issue of face masks. At the time of writing, Scotland and Wales are taking some steps but guidance for schools in England has not been updated. To that end, if your child wishes to wear a face mask whilst attending school, that is absolutely fine but as yet, not compulsory. Should guidance change, we will communicate this to you. A reminder that children travelling to school on buses must wear a face covering.
Changes to routines and practices mean that our pupils may spend increased time outdoors especially at social times. With this in mind, please can I ask that your child is prepared for different weather conditions and bring sun cream/hat if warm and/or an outdoor coat if it is likely to be colder or wet. Clearly, we have contingency plans in place for bad weather but it would be helpful if the children were prepared for all eventualities.
All of our plans and procedures will be held under constant review and I will provide you with regular updates throughout the term.
We are excited about the prospect of having all of our pupils back next week and will try to make 2020-21 a happy, safe and successful one at St. Mary’s.
Thank you for your ongoing support.