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Easter Update01/04/2021

Before we break for Easter I wanted to take the opportunity to update you on how the return to school has gone. It has been so refreshing to see face to face teaching and support being given to our students over the last few weeks. The students have brought a real energy with them and school has been a thriving environment. I have spoken to many students and they have almost without exception, spoken positively about the return to school. They have clearly missed their friends and their teachers and the day to day interactions of the classroom.

Testing at Home
Thank you to everyone for their engagement with regular home testing with Lateral Flow Devices. Students will be bringing home kits to be used over the holiday and we would encourage them to continue to test twice a week and record the results. This will be particularly important on our return and we ask that you test your child(ren) either the night before or the morning of their return. 
It is really important that we all still take responsibility for keeping the virus under control, especially as society begins to open up and students start to socialise outdoors during the holiday period. We want to ensure that everybody returns healthy and safely after the holiday period.
There has been a recent change in guidance from the Government on positive Lateral Flow test results and confirmatory PCR results. The key change is in bold below.
Students and staff who conduct a lateral flow test at home or receive a supervised school/college-based lateral flow test as part of the rapid asymptomatic testing programme, and receive a positive result, should isolate immediately along with close contacts and other household members, in line with NHS Test and Trace guidance.
All positive results from rapid tests, whether conducted at home or at a school or college need to be confirmed with a PCR test within two days of the positive lateral flow test. Following a positive lateral flow test, a confirmatory PCR test should be booked immediately either online or by calling 119. Whilst awaiting the PCR result, pupils, students and staff and close contacts should continue to self-isolate. If the PCR test is negative, provided it was taken within two days of the positive LFT, it overrides the lateral flow test and pupils, students and staff can return to school or college, and close contacts and other household members can stop self-isolating.

The Department for Education has reviewed the use of masks in schools and currently there will be no change after Easter. Students and staff should continue to wear masks at all times indoors, including in classrooms. The students have been amazing at this and the level of compliance has had a positive impact on making everyone feel safe. We appreciate that it is not an ideal situation, but it is a necessity. 

Teacher Assessed Grading update for Year 11 and 13 (and a small number of Year 12)
Further detailed guidance has been released this week by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ). We have digested this and will be sharing some key documentation with you shortly after Easter that outlines our Centre Policy. There is still a considerable amount of work to do regarding Teacher Assessed Grading and the SLT, teaching and support staff have a clear plan of action which we are very confident will deliver accurate, fair and robust teacher assessments. 
As has been previously communicated, students in Year 11, 13 and a small number of Year 12 who are taking AS Levels or some resit GCSE will be sitting assessments in May to help with the grading process. We have also clearly communicated the content that has been taught, will be assessed and the range of evidence we will be using for every subject.

Students have been asked to inform either Mr Peel or Mr Youngs if they have any concerns over the above in order that nobody is disadvantaged before the point at which we submit the final teacher assessed grades.

After Easter we will be sharing with you the final timetable for the May assessments and the timeline for the remainder of Year 11 and 13 and how we plan to support students transitioning into their next steps.

Uniform and Piercings
As non essential shops and hair and beauty industries begin to open up over Easter, I wanted to remind all parents of the expectations we have around uniform and piercings. After the holiday we expect any uniform infringements or irregularities to be rectified. If there is a problem with purchasing items please contact your child’s form tutor to seek support to get this resolved. New piercings should be completed in the extended summer holiday so they can be removed for school. Can I remind all parents that cartilage and facial piercings are not permitted. Please consult our School Uniform Policy on our website for clarification.

Despite a further period of school closure, the SLT have continued to move the school forward. This week a further group of Year 7 students have received their new Chromebooks. This is an exciting time for staff and students as we continue our journey, building upon the successful switch to Google Classroom during last year's school closure. The remainder of this year will see Year 7 leading the way in the development of the use of technology to support teaching and learning. 
We have now re-opened the portal for the last few remaining students in Year 7 to join our purchasing scheme before we widen the option to other year groups. I would like to thank the students and parents for their patience with the delays we faced. Nobody could have foreseen the global impact on demand for devices triggered by the COVID pandemic. It is our long term vision that every student at The Cottesloe School will own a Chromebook and use it both in school and at home to support their learning.

Yours Sincerely
Mr S Jones

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