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Headteacher's Update - October

Dear Parent(s)/Carer(s)

At the time of writing it is the penultimate week of what has been an unusual start to the new academic year.

As I have said previously, your children have been wonderful at adapting to new rules, systems and processes.  Their flexibility, maturity and cooperation has meant that we have so far experienced very few problems despite the challenging circumstances we have been presented with.

Thank you also for your patience and understanding, especially where your child’s absence/attendance is concerned.  We understand fully any frustrations around periods of extended absence due to Covid related symptoms and whilst awaiting the outcome of tests, but equally it is vital that we all follow the correct procedures and try to protect our school community.  Safety, must remain out number one priority and this is why I am so pleased that our pupils are taking the new measures seriously and remaining in their bubbles at school.  Should any further restrictions or changes be necessary in the days immediately before or after half-term, I will be in touch in due course.

Please may I remind you that if your child is isolating or absent from school for any period of time, they can access work across all of their subjects by visiting:


This work, wherever possible, should mirror what is being covered in school and prevent your child from falling behind.  This provision will be monitored carefully by a member of my senior leadership team and regularly updated by Heads of Department.  We will, also complement our remote provision where possible with Microsoft Teams; especially in the event of any necessary year group isolation, partial closure or whole school closure.

As I am sure you will have seen in the media, the proposal for the GCSEs in 2021 is to delay the majority of them by 3 weeks with the exception of one Maths and English exam to be sat in May.  To that end, we will be adding extra provision for Year 11 after half-term and more details will follow about study skills sessions and specific subject revision classes.  We have not been able to run these thus far, but I will be doing additional risk assessments to ensure that we can do so safely.

Since starting back in September, many planned events have had to be cancelled, postponed or have had to become ‘virtual’.  At the time of writing, it is highly probable that parents’ evenings, certainly those in the Autumn and early Spring, will not follow the same format as previously.  Further details will follow in due course, but I wanted to give you advance warning that these evenings will not be the ‘norm’, where you come into school to meet all of the teachers.

In recent weeks, we were finally able to appoint a number of Prefects in our current Year 11 in recognition for their service to our school during the last 4 years.  I was also delighted to announce Alice Burdsall as Head Girl and Dominic Smedley as Head Boy.  The prefects have already helped enormously as guides during open morning and afternoon tours and they will shortly be carrying out daily duties to help the smooth running of our school.

Next half term promises to be a productive one as the Year 11s will be preparing in earnest for their mock exams and all other year groups will be focused on plugging gaps which arose due to lockdown.  With senior leaders and Heads of Department, I have been devising a strategic plan to support all of our pupils now that teaching staff have had the opportunity to identify gaps or weaknesses in knowledge or particular areas of the curriculum.

Despite restrictions and changes to the way we have to do things, we are determined to make 2020-21 a happy and positive one for the pupils at St. Mary’s.  When and where it is safe to do so, we will re-introduce further pastoral and spiritual enrichment and try to give them the ‘fullest’ experience possible.

I hope you and your family have a safe and restful half-term break and I look forward to working with you and your children again after the holiday.

Thank you for your ongoing support.

Stuart Wetson