Dear Parent/Carer

We are four weeks into the autumn term. Thank you for your support as we have adapted to a very new way of working. I understand the frustrations of parents who have been trying to get tests. Thankfully there have been no positive tests for poorly students or staff and the numbers of cases in the Cherwell district are still very low. Long may this continue.

The vast majority of the students have been very conscious of their role in ensuring that our Covid secure measures have been as successful as they have been so far. We are reviewing what we are currently doing and wanted to summarise the areas where we think we need to tighten up our protocols further with your help.

Face coverings

Whilst our data shows that over 95% of students are bringing their face coverings every day and wearing them sensibly when they are asked to, there are a significant minority of students who haven’t yet accepted that they have a civic responsibility to do the same.

As of today (Tuesday 6th October) anyone who forgets their mask twice or has to be told more than twice to put it on will be placed in IE for a day. It is imperative that we all do what will make us as safe as possible. We are aware that a small proportion of our school community are exempt from wearing face coverings, but it is important that they identify themselves with an appropriate lanyard.

We will not be giving students face coverings any more from Monday 12th October

Pastoral organisation

We have decided to pause the college system completely whilst we are under Covid secure conditions. This means that pastoral conversations with families will be held with the following senior leaders and their deputies

Year 7Miss J Williams and Miss E Barron
Year 8Ms J Irvine and Mr D Lane
Year 9Mme C Foster and Miss K Williams
Year 10Miss S Walsh, Mrs C Graver and Mr D Merrick
Year 11Mrs C Tarring, Mr C Colville and Mrs S Dixon
Year 12/13Mrs C Berry and Mrs L Hanson
FuturesMrs J Ingham and Mrs C Pickup
School Gateway and School Comms

We have over 80% of parents signed up to the new app now and we are working to try to achieve as close to 100% of families as we can. We apologise for the glitches in the food ordering system which we now believe have all been ironed out. Please let Jacs Vigne (Business Manager) know if you are still experiencing problems. The new menu has been created to take into account the change to colder weather conditions. Food will still be delivered to the children in their year group bubbles.

Mobile phones

The school rules on mobile phones have not changed at all this year. If we see or hear a mobile phone we will confiscate it and it will be available for collection from reception once the majority of children have left the site between 3.30 and 4.00 p.m.

More and more children are now owners of Smart Watches. If we see these being used for inappropriate reasons during the school day the same rule will apply to them.

Equipment

This year the vast majority of students have had all of their equipment every day. Thank you for supporting them and us with this. We are unable to loan equipment as you are aware. We have had several instances of very kind students loaning their classmates pens etc which has meant that their learning can continue.

Safety ScissorsWe have had a query from a couple of parents about students bringing scissors to school. My suggestion is that if you do wish your son/daughter to do this you purchase some safety scissors as the only thing they will need to be cutting is paper.

Online learning

We have been working with your children to find out who has access to the technologies they need to work online at home. We have already given out 30 chromebooks to those with significant disadvantage and we are compiling the next list for another batch we have been given by the Government.

As you will be aware all homework is now on Google Classroom and needs to be submitted online. All staff are also uploading each lesson’s powerpoints to their Google Classrooms for each group they teach. This means that if a child is off ill or isolating they can still access the learning that their classmates are doing.

Driving and parking on Ruskin Road

The safety of our students is our primary concern as they walk to and from school every day. We do understand why parents want their children to be dropped off as close to school as possible, especially now the weather has turned more inclement. However, we have recently had to ask for support from TVP because of the dangerous and illegal parking of some cars and the speed at which some drivers have been travelling on Ruskin Road. We ask all drivers to respect the fact that over 900 students are travelling to and from our sites every day, along with families bringing their little ones to Banbury Nursery. We would also ask that drivers don’t do U turns at the end of Wykham Place but drive round in a clockwise direction once they have dropped their children off. We are also conscious of our many neighbours on the roads around the school and ask that you don’t turn in their private driveways please. Of particular concern are the number of cars which are using Stanbridge House’s private driveway.

Staggered starts and finishes

As you are all aware we have a system of staggered starts and ends to the day and we are using both the side gate by the science block and the main front entrance. We have changed the times when we expect staff to be in their rooms to greet their mentor groups. However, we now have the issue that many children are arriving a lot earlier than their designated start time and therefore the year group bubble system that is working very well inside school is being disrupted outside the school gate. We are therefore looking at alternative plans to the start and end of the day for non-examination year groups because of the risk this is posing both in terms of Covid security and road safety. We will have to take any proposed changes to our plan to the Trust to begin with.

Sylvia Thomas
Executive Principal

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