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Headteacher's Update

Dear Parents/Carers

Firstly, I would like to start by re-iterating how much we are looking forward to seeing our pupils again starting from next week, and the purpose of this communication is just to issue final key information and reminders in readiness for the week commencing March 8th.

Monday 8th March 2021: Return of Years 10 & 11 pupils (school open for vulnerable pupils and children of key workers). Pupils in years 7, 8 and 9 learning remotely from home.

Tuesday 9th March 2021: Return of Years 8 & 9 pupils.  School open for Years 8, 9, 10 & 11 (vulnerable pupils and children of key workers). Pupils in year 7 continue to learn remotely from home.

Wednesday 10th March 2021: Return of Year 7.  School open for all pupils.

Testing will commence for all pupils (where consent has been given) prior to them attending lessons.  I can confirm that the second round of Covid tests will commence for Year 10 & Year 11 on Thursday 11th March, Friday 12th March for Years 8 and 9 and Monday 15th March for Year 7.

If you have not done so already, please can I ask you to complete the consent form by clicking ‘here’.

Details relating to school transport and buses has been sent out separately – if you have any queries relating to this, please contact who will be able to assist you.

Our canteen facilities will operate as previously and in order to reduce the handling of cash, we would ask that as many catering accounts as possible are topped up electronically using the online payment system.  If you are unable to use Parentmail you can top up your child’s/children’s account by cash, but cash must be handed to the catering staff in a sealed envelope with your child’s/children’s names, form(s) and the amount of cash contained in the envelope, written on the front.

Face Coverings – it is essential that all children travelling to school via bus wear a face covering at all times – failure to do so, will result in them being prevented from travel.

In accordance with the latest Department for Education guidance, from March 8th 2021, all pupils will be required to wear face masks in classrooms in addition to their use in indoor communal areas such as corridors and the school hall.  Staff and pupils will not be required to wear face coverings when outside, eating or taking part in physical education.

The measure above will be in place until Easter and is an additional precautionary measure which will be held under review.  I should add that Herefordshire Council are following national guidance in schools across the country stipulating that pupils and staff should wear face coverings in the areas outlined above unless they have a health related dispensation.  Any pupils who rely on visual signals for communication are currently exempt.  (Face Coverings in Education March 2021 – Department for Education).

On arrival on their designated day of return your child will be met by members of staff on duty and directed as to where to report for registration and to await testing.  We have extended our testing workforce and capacity and hope that this will mean we can conduct tests swiftly and safely before moving pupil to their lessons.

Pupils in all year groups should expect to follow their Week 2 timetable during week commencing 8th March.

If you have any specific queries regarding your child’s return to school, please contact the relevant Head of Year, who will assist you:

Head of Year 7

Head of Year 8

Head of Year 9

Head of Year 10

Head of Year 11

Everything we have put in place is with a view to prioritising the safety of our pupils and staff at St Mary’s.  My team of teachers and support staff will be on hand to reassure your son/daughter and to look after them in the coming days and weeks.

It will be really good to have lessons taking place and other aspects of school life returning in the near future.

As learning at home nears its end, I just want to thank you again for your support and cooperation.

Best wishes

Stuart Wetson