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Coronavirus Update

posted - 27/03/20

Dear Parents / Carers,

 

Perhaps a slightly more sombre message from me to you today.  It continues to be really important we keep our children upbeat, positive, engaged and as well connected as possible with their friends, family and school community.

 

I did however want to contact you about two very genuine concerns which will sadly affect us all to some extent over the coming weeks and months; suffering loss and anxiety.

 

Anxiety

Many of us will experience some anxiety over this period of time.  It is important we recognise this and ask for help when we need it.  There was a useful video on the BBC website which, if you haven’t seen it, might be worth you viewing on this matter;

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/health-52044339/coping-with-coronavirus-anxiety.  Please to tell us if you need support for your children on this front.  Tutors, Heads of Year and the Leadership Team will be phoning home as regularly as possible (we hope once a fortnight as a minimum), so this would be a good time to talk.

 

Loss

When anyone suffers any loss in their lives, we come together as a school community, offering support and prayers.  Despite being physically apart from one another, you are definitely not alone and we are still very much ‘connected’. Please let us know if you are going through hard times, if you have suffered any loss or bereavement, if you need our help or prayers.  We have set up an email for you to contact us on:

prayer@sphcs.co.uk

 

This will go to the Leadership Team, including myself and our Chaplain, Theresa.  There is also a new website, including videos from our chaplaincy team for the students (accessible via MySPH).  https://www.schooltools.org.uk/chaplaincy/

 

We are of course contactable on our normal email addresses and I’d be very happy to call anyone who wishes to talk.  Just let me know (dcarter@sphcs.co.uk).

 

Timetable and Emails

This week has been a long one as we all try to settle into some sort of routine.  Please do speak with your children to review how things have gone and what they wish to focus on next week.  I’ve included all my messages to them in the last week below.  Having spoken to some families this morning, it appears that some students are not accessing their emails each day and from the survey responses, one or two of you still weren’t aware of the remote-learning timetable for each year group (on website https://www.sphcs.co.uk/?page=our_school&select=online_timetable and again attached).  Students in Year 7-9 should be following their usual school timetable (albeit with less work set than usual via MySPH).  It is imperative that students access their emails so do please tell them (even if it is just to laugh at my awful dancing!)

 

Switch off

However this week has gone work-wise for your children (and you!), please do switch off entirely at the weekend.  It is really important that a clear distinction is made between the working week, weekends and holidays.

 

Thank you for all your continued support, love and positive feedback.

God Bless

 

David Carter

Headteacher



posted - 23/03/20

Dear Parents and Carers,

 

Well I hope you have not just ‘survived’ but actually ‘thrived’ on Day 1 of your home learning experience.  I’ve been sent some great pictures and stories of what all your children have been up to.  They were certainly busy with their lessons as we had to buy more server capacity to cope with the demand!  By tomorrow, the system should be a bit smoother.  Getting your kids into a good routine is really important and I’m pleased to see so many have designed timetables and set up special work spaces.

 

Thank you so much for doing all you can to keep your children and others safe and well; keeping them at home and ensuring they aren’t meeting with others.  I know this is particularly tough for our teenagers so it is important they stay well-connected to school, their friends and their family.  This doesn’t have to mean, more screen-time and social media, so do be mindful of how long they spend on their phones.

 

We’ll continue to send you ideas for activities at home, in addition to the learning set online.  If you have any brainwaves, do please let me know so I can pass them on.

 

Art Activities

The Art Department are setting Creative challenges to be done at home and submitted via the Department Instagram page.   Do get your children to follow the page – you are welcome too!  @art_at_sph.  The Art teachers would love to see what is created by you and your children.  Just upload work with the tag @art_­­at_sph or email it through to their Art teacher.

 

Exercise

A great way to start the day is with the daily online fitness/PE lessons being offered by Joe Wicks at 9am (you can view them back later if needed). https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAxW1XT0iEJo0TYlRfn6rYQ

 

 

Journal

These unprecedented times provide an ideal opportunity for children to reflect on their experiences.  Writing a journal or blog now will be something they read back over in many years to come; something their children and even grandchildren may one day read.

 

Board Games

How long has it been since you got Twister, Cluedo, Monopoly or Scrabble out?  Why don’t you build in a time each week for family games? 

 

Household chores (we can but hope!)

My kids have sorted out a ‘Tuck Shop’, bagging up various treats and earning rewards for tasks completed.  Not sure how long this will last with 2 of the 3 being teenagers and always hungry!

 

Prayer

As a school community we pray each and every day.  The Chaplaincy team will send out resources to help continue to nurture your child’s spiritual development.  In the meantime this link is useful as there is a specific reflection for each day of the week.  https://www.prayingeachday.org/reflectmarch.html

 

Finally, thank you for your kind words of support and encouragement over the last week – it means a lot.  We’ve got a wonderful school community to be very proud of.

 

God Bless

 

David Carter



posted - 22/03/20

Dear Parents and Carers,

 

I hope you are well on this beautiful Sunday morning and you are feeling a bit more prepared for the coming weeks.  Please do look after yourselves.  I know this is a very anxious time for all, so we need to do as much as we can to support each other in as remote a way as possible.

 

We cannot stress enough just how important it is to STAY AT HOME.  We can only beat this virus if we work together and isolate ourselves and our families.  This protects not just our nearest and dearest but those who are here to look after us; particularly the doctors, nurses and carers of the NHS.

 

Please keep your children at home.  As much as they’d wish to be with their friends in the sunshine at this time, it is not the responsible thing to do.  We need to learn our lessons from those countries who are already experiencing terrible suffering.  If you need anymore convincing the following link is a powerful message from a frontline NHS Doctor who is already seeing hospital wards at capacity.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KpfStJ9qa70

 

With all this in mind, please could those who have registered their children to attend school on Monday, only send their child to school if it is entirely necessary; there is no other childcare available, leaving them at home is not possible; and that your own work is absolutely critical to the national effort to fight this virus. 

 

We currently have 100 registered to attend on Monday and keeping them at a distance from one another will be challenging.  School is very definitely ‘closed’ and whilst working from home is inevitably going to be challenging for some, the provision next week is not about ensuring they are focused on their learning, rather than being distracted at home.

 

On a more positive note, it has been wonderful seeing all the kindness and support of one another in local communities, online and between friends.  There are so many resources available to keep us entertained, fit and healthy.  I will be emailing the students each day, so do please make sure they login to check their emails from their teachers, to access the work being set and to attend the virtual lessons being taught.  I am sure they’ll be some initial technical issues but we’ll work it out in the end.

 

Your first scheduled activity (and to start everyday at 9am) is some PE – so get those trainers on!

https://www.thebodycoach.com/blog/pe-with-joe-1254.html

 

God Bless

 

David Carter

Headteacher



posted - 20/03/20 - 19:00PM

Dear Parents and Carers,

 

My last message of this week (I hope!).  It’s been an interesting and emotional week to say the least.  I just wanted to say an enormous thank you for your continued support, prayers and kind messages during this time.  We managed to have Part 1 of our Year 11 and 13 Celebrations this afternoon, recognising all they’ve achieved to date this year and praying that we’ll be back together before too long.  We are determined that Part 2 of our celebrations will be a real ‘knees up’ once we are through the other side.

 

Three things have particularly struck me this week

 

Firstly, incredible attitude of our students throughout (90%+ attendance, many still attending after school revision, all working hard) and the team spirit of the staff, who have provided constant reassurance, positivity and care.

 

Secondly, there are people all over the world, living with this same level or anxiety and fear (or indeed worse) every day of their lives, whether in war-torn or poverty-ridden countries.  Whilst we witness panic buying in the UK, let’s reach out to others near and far during this time; having a greater sense of compassion and kindness for those in need.

 

Finally, having read the government list of ‘key-workers’, how important it is that we pay tribute to those rightfully considered crucial to the fabric and operation of our country; those who man check-outs in supermarkets, deliver our fuel, work in our hospitals, care for our elderly and many other jobs we often take for granted.  Let us all keep them in our thoughts and prayers at this time and do whatever we can to relieve their load.

 

I will be in touch regularly, as will your children’s teachers.  Let’s find ways to support one another remotely.  Educating from home is going to either be the make or break of us (and I’ve got 3 son’s to keep an eye on!)

 

Thank you to those who filled in the survey today requesting support with school provision next week and beyond.  Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this time, particularly those on the frontline.  Please do let us know if there is anything we can do to help.

 

God Bless

 

David Carter

Headteacher



posted - 20/03/20

Dear Parents and Carers

This is an important message about school provision next week.

Schools have been closed by the Government in an attempt to contain the spread of Covid19 and keep people safe through social distancing and self-isolation. As upsetting as it is for everyone concerned to close the school mid-year at such short notice and with no definitive date to open again, it is important we take these measures seriously and prioritise everyone’s health at this time (knowing that one day this will all be over and we will be back together again). When at home your children really do need to avoid meeting with others. They’ll have plenty of work to do and support from us too, however, they mustn’t think they can continue to socialise as they might have done before.

With all that in mind, I would urge you not to send your children to school unless it is entirely necessary. The Government have rightly asked us to stay open for as long as we can (or are allowed) for those who are more vulnerable and need school most; those on free school meals, those who are looked after, those with an EHCP. We will also be open next week for those children whose parents are key workers and where no other appropriate childcare is available (i.e. not with elderly relatives or those in at risk groups).

There is no definite list from the Department for Education of who constitutes a ‘key worker’, however, you know that we would never turn away any child or parent in real need.


Where parent works in:

·                     Health and Social Care

·                     Education and Childcare

·                     Key public services

·                     Local and National Government

·                     Food and other necessary goods

·                     Public safety and national security

·                     Transport

·                     Utilities, communication and financial services


For full guidance please read: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision

It is not compulsory that your child attends school if considered in any of these qualifying categories, but we would ask you to urgently complete and submit the following survey as soon as possible, so that we can plan staffing and logistics accordingly.

Link to survey:  https://forms.gle/fGUkyjDMzfY8CJnt7

My usual thanks, prayers and best wishes

David Carter

Headteacher



posted - 19/03/20

Dear Parents and Carers

As promised (and as in as succinct a way as possible) please find below as much information as we are able to provide at present. We will regularly keep you posted as we learn more ourselves. Just to say thank you so much for all your supportive and kind messages, love and prayers. We are a strong community and we will get through this together.


Friday

Please only send your child to school if they are fit and well and have not come into contact with anyone exhibiting the signs of Covid19. The English and Maths mock exams which had previously been planned for Friday will not be going ahead. A short liturgy and celebration will take place after lunch for our Year 11 and 13 students before they depart school this week.


School Closure

From Friday afternoon, school will be closed until further notice for all children other than those outlined by the Government. The remote learning timetable has now been set through to you and your children to use from Monday 23rd March onwards.

School will remain open for as long as we can for the following children:

·                     Children of keyworkers (list to be published by the government today).

·                     Those considered to be vulnerable – those who are looked after, those with an Educational Health Care Plan (EHCP) and those in receipt of free school meals.


It is not compulsory for these children to attend school and will certainly become problematic when travel restrictions are in place or staff cannot attend. Attendance should be considered in the instances where alternative and appropriate (i.e. not being placed with ‘at risk groups’) childcare arrangements are not available. Schools are to be open to these groups where closure would prevent key workers from going to work.

As much as we would like to, we cannot be open for all children or those not desperately in need. This is a national school closure and this decision wouldn’t have been taken if it wasn’t in the best interests of the nation and the public health of all concerned.


WE WILL SEND AN EMAIL LATER TODAY OR TOMORROW REQUESTING INFORMATION FROM RELEVANT PARENTS/CARERS AS TO WHETHER THEY EXPECT THEIR CHILDREN TO BE IN SCHOOL NEXT WEEK.


Examinations

Year 11 and Year 13 students. More specific details will be sent directly to all concerned as information emerges but some important messages to convey now:

·                     Public examinations – however important they might feel are such a small part of any child’s education. No one can take away from our children the people they have become in the years of learning acquired, skills developed, friends they have made and characters they’ve formed. We are so proud of all of them and know they will make a great success of life. Education is not just about a piece of paper handed over in August and tells us nothing of the wonderful individuals they’ve become.

·                     Whilst examinations have been cancelled this year (it is projected that the virus will be at a peak in May/June), there is a commitment by all concerned; schools, exam-boards, Department for Education, Universities UK, Sixth Forms and Colleges, that no student will lose out and all will leave with the necessary qualifications to access the next chapter in their journey.

·                     How this will be worked out is yet to be confirmed however school teachers are professionals and we assume we will have a role to play in advising those concerned about the ability of each individual. Without public examinations, continuing to complete coursework, submitting practice papers set by teachers and building a body of evidence to help with assessing the progress and projected outcomes for each student will be helpful. It is not a time for any student to ‘give up’, down tools or stop learning. Please try your very hardest to keep your child motivated and as positive as possible in these uncertain times.


Home-learning

Please refer to my previous email and timetable sent out. This applies to all students. Staff are also preparing a range of other activities, online clubs (Virtual Running Club for examples!) and Chaplaincy feeds… watch this space!


Finally…

Stay positive. We are a faith community and are a people of HOPE. This time will pass, however tough it may be, we pray that we will emerge stronger, kinder, more compassionate and appreciative of the wonder of life. A prayer shared with me by a priest my mum met in Lourdes is one I’d like you to have too…

God Bless

Mr Carter



posted - 18/03/20

Dear Parents and Carers,

 

You will no doubt have heard already that the government have announced that schools are to close on Friday afternoon for an unspecified period of time.  They have also stated that there will be no exams in May or June (this is different from stating that they are cancelled!)  First and foremost – please don’t panic!  In the next 24 hours more will become clear and details of how children are to be assessed and leave with meaningful qualifications will emerge.  This is definitely not a moment to ‘down tools’! 

 

I will be in direct communication with you tomorrow and will email your children as well tonight to reassure them.  School continues as normal tomorrow and Friday and the contingency plan we already have in place (and have previously outlined to you) will kick in to ensure that we support your children with their learning and pastoral welfare whilst they are at home.  We hope that the school will remain open for children and parents who most need us – those who are vulnerable and children of key workers.  We aren’t abandoning anyone so please do try to reassure your children as best you can.

 

This is a time to stick together, look after one another and say a few prayers.

 

Speak to you tomorrow.  God Bless.

 

 

David Carter

Headteacher

 



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