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End of Term Letter - December 2021

Dear Parents/Carers,

As we edge nearer to the end of term, I just wanted to write to say how much we appreciate your ongoing support during what continue to be uncertain times.

Despite periods of time throughout the term when pupils have been affected by Covid-19, they, and we, have made progress on a number of fronts.

The focus in the classroom across all year groups has been on addressing any learning deficits or gaps which emerged following periods of lockdown, and I have to say, I have been really encouraged by what I routinely see during my daily drop-ins.  Even at the end of a long term when tiredness can creep in the work rate and behaviour for learning has been pleasing.

Y7’s have settled in very well and I hope parents of children in this year group found the feedback from the recent parents’ evenings helpful and informative.  At the other end of the school, Year 11 have been fully focused on their mock exams.  Having exams in all subjects over a two week period in the sports hall is quite a daunting challenge, but the vast majority have risen to it exceptionally well.  This process will also invariably help them to prepare for the demands of next summer’s GCSEs and get a useful indication of what they need to focus on in the New Year.  I am very proud of how they have coped with this additional pressure so far, and we will do all we can to support them after the Christmas break.

For all other year groups, we have been trying to establish a sense of normality where possible.  Sporting fixtures and practices have returned and we seem to be doing quite well on that front!

I was also glad that we could hold our annual Presentation Evening for last year’s Y11 as they also worked incredibly hard in very difficult circumstances and deserved the recognition for it.  Open Evening also proved to be a very successful event for our school and has resulted in very high numbers applying for a place at St Mary’s again.

As you may have seen on our website, our pupils have been busy raising much needed funds for charities such as ‘Cafod’ and ‘Save the Children’ through our Christmas Jumper day amongst other fun activities.  Unfortunately, we are unable to hold our annual Carol Concert at St Mary’s but we will be recording some of our pupils playing Carols and sharing readings and prayers – details of how you can access this to follow.

By now you will have probably seen the plans that we have in place for the testing of all pupils prior to their return to classrooms at the start of next term.

We have arranged things in such a way to try to minimize disruption to learning and would like to thank you in advance for your cooperation with this.  Please do refer to the previous parentmail (also available on our website) for specific dates/times of the Covid testing.

Just a reminder that term ends on Friday 17th December at 1.15pm – if you are collecting your child in a car, please could you wait for the buses to depart in the usual way first before coming on site from approximately 1.25pm.

Finally, I would like to wish you a very happy Christmas and I look forward to working with you and your children again in the New Year.

Yours faithfully

Stuart Wetson