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October 2021

Dear Parents/Carers

As the end of this first half-term of the school year approaches, I just wanted to write to thank you for your ongoing support of all that we are doing at St Mary’s. Like many schools in Herefordshire and across the country, our term started with a rise in Covid cases, leading to many of our pupils having to isolate and learn from home again. Thankfully, due to your cooperation and the additional measures that we put in place, these cases have reduced significantly and we are now in the position where the vast majority of pupils from all year groups are back in school. We really hope that this will continue to be the case as we head into the half-term break and thereafter. As you will no doubt be aware, there are also the ‘other’ seasonal illnesses circulating, but we hope the recent flu vaccinations at school will help to keep absence going forward to a minimum.

Despite the challenges of Covid, term has started really well and all year groups have settled quickly into focused work within the classroom. The start made by Year 7 has been particularly impressive and given that their final year of primary school was so disrupted, they have approached the first weeks of St Mary’s with real maturity and a sense of endeavour.

Our Year 11 pupils have begun their final year by seizing opportunities to attend the additional Study Skills sessions and their efforts so far across the curriculum are encouraging. As they build up towards their mock exams at the end of November/start of December, there will be further additional subject support available to complement the work they do during lessons. We have also been supporting the pupils with approaches to revision. If your child is in Year 11, please encourage them to make the most of the additional support available at school and you will receive details shortly of their full mock examination timetable. If you have any queries or questions regarding mock examinations or the extra support available, please contact (Assistant Head) or (Head of Year 11).

On the 14th October, our Y11s took part in the first of our work experience activities the ‘World of Work Workshop’. A number of employers and training providers came to school to work on a carousel with our pupils to discuss the various opportunities they may wish to pursue in the future and the skills, qualifications and attributes that will be required to do so. We were sadly unable to run our usual work experience week due to the pandemic, but we hope that the alternative provision we are putting in place will support Y11 with their next steps in learning training and employment Post-16.

In recent days, we have begun to slowly open up some extra-curricular activities and enrichment for our pupils and we all very much want this to continue in the second half of the Autumn term. Our plan is also to resume opportunities for collective worship and various other year group events, all in accordance with tailored safety measures.

Next week we have our Open Evening, which is an event that I always look forward to. Many of your children have volunteered to help us to promote St Mary’s either as tour guides or by assisting within departments. I would like to thank them and you for enabling this, as our pupils really are excellent ambassadors for this school.

I hope you manage to have a restful break when it arrives and I look forward to updating you on our progress in the coming weeks.

Yours faithfully,

Stuart Wetson