School Latest News
Headteacher Christmas Update17/12/2021
Dear Parents and Carers,
As we come to the close of 2021, I just wanted to update you on the situation in school. In my regular discussions with local Headteachers, it is clear that this has been a very challenging term at the end of a very tough year for staff and students.
As I reflect on the past year, on many occasions the strong sense of community spirit and that desire to go the extra mile has kept the school moving forward. I am extremely proud of the sense of family I get from everyone in the wider school community, something that Ofsted picked up on when they visited a few weeks ago.
January always brings a chance to look forward and I can assure you that everyone at the school will return rested and ready to face the challenges ahead and support our students and their families.
Ofsted Inspection and Report
We are eagerly awaiting the final report and this will be published as soon as it is available. Thank you to those parents and students who contributed to the surveys that Ofsted use to gather evidence. The Lead Inspector commented on the volume of positive comments that came through from the surveys from students and parents. Thank you for taking the time to support us.
The latest round of guidance from the Department for Education allows us to have a phased return to complete some in school testing before students return to the classroom.
Tuesday 4th January 2022 is an INSET Day for staff and school will open for a phased return for students from Wednesday 5th January 2022.
As per the latest Department for Education guidance, we will be completing one lateral flow test on site for all students as follows to ensure we can open safely;
Tuesday 4th January 2022 testing for Years 7, 10, 11 and Sixth Form.
Wednesday 5th January 2022 testing for Years 8 and 9.
Years 7, 10, 11 and Sixth Form will return to face to face learning on Wednesday 5th January 2022.
Years 8 and 9 will return to face to face learning on Thursday 6th January 2022.
All students must complete a one lateral flow test on site before returning to the classroom. Your support is appreciated in this matter. Christmas brings with it the chance to see family and friends and we want to ensure everyone returns free from the virus, especially in light of the recent discovery of the new Omicron variant.
We will send you further details of the timing of your lateral flow test on the above days shortly.
Vaccinations and boosters
Many students and parents took up the opportunity to receive a vaccination at school before half term. The recent Government announcement has opened up the possibility of students getting either a second jab or a booster. I would encourage everyone, including those that have not had a vaccination to take up this opportunity as we continue to maintain face to face learning. The link below will enable you to do this;
The students have responded so well to the changing guidance, especially around mask wearing. If there are any further updates we will let you know, but it looks certain that masks will be here to stay in communal areas and on transport to and from school. Please ensure your child comes to school with a mask. We do hand them out but students should always have a mask with them at school at all times.
We will continue to limit our face-to-face gatherings such as assemblies and are reviewing trips and visits as necessary, particularly overseas travel.
Please continue to test regularly and report these to the NHS website as normal. This will give us an indication of the impact of the holiday period on our case numbers which at the moment is low.
Naturally attendance is considerably down on ‘normal’ levels. Typically we are above the national average with an operational attendance of around 96% on a daily basis. Currently we are fluctuating on a daily basis from around high 80 to low 90% depending on each year group.
Please consider carefully any absence for appointments and where possible take them outside of school hours or at the very least try to reduce the number of sessions missed. We appreciate that appointments for GP’s and dentists have been hard to come by, but we have seen a rise in the number of students missing sessions for appointments.
Safeguarding over Christmas
Christmas is not always a time of happiness for everyone. I wanted to thank all the staff, students and parents who have supported our local charity work in the run up to the festive period. The generosity of the school community has been very heartwarming.
If you have a concern about a child over the holidays please contact Buckinghamshire Social care First Response Team on 01296 383962 or out of hours on 0800 999 7677.
Parking and drop off
Just a reminder about parking and school drop off and collection. We ask parents not to use Church Street and the area at the front of school as the coach park is open at the start and end of school. This makes it much safer for our students, local residents and our neighbours at Overstone Combined School. I recently had several complaints from members of the public who were concerned over congestion and driving in Church Street. Pick up time at the end of school is from 3:15pm and we still have a number of parents regularly trying to access the site before this and blocking the main roundabout.
I would appreciate everyone following the guidance we issue.
Finally, I wish you all a restful and safe Christmas and New Year period. I hope you get time to relax and spend time with family and friends which has been in short supply in recent months.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.