26 Feb

Update for parents and carers: Friday 26th February 2021


We continue to operate within full national lockdown guidelines.

School remains operational throughout this period of lockdown, with all available staff without the appropriate exemptions, in school and carrying on with essential work to support our school and wider community. Colleagues, who cannot be in work through exemption, will be following their full working patterns from home.

Our thoughts and prayers are with all who are unwell with Covid 19. We pray for the families of those who have lost their lives. We pray for our NHS and Social Care workers, who are battling hard to preserve life and to keep us all safe.

Further to Government and updated Public Health England announcements during this week:

It is fair to say that progress is being made and that light at the end of the tunnel is getting closer.  There is cautious optimism but this should not equate to cautious abandonment. Although cases, hospitalisations and deaths are decreasing, they are still at a high level.  The huge success of the vaccine rollout and positive initial results on its efficacy is being balanced against the continued risk posed by the virus and new variants.

The Government have set out four steps to easing restrictions, with a gap of five weeks between each step, with progress determined against four key tests:

First test: vaccine deployment programme continues successfully

Second test: that evidence shows that the vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths. 

Third test: infections do not risk a surge in hospitalisations that would put a strain on the NHS. 

Fourth test: assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new variants of COVID that cause concern. 

Step one: From the March 8th: Schools reopen fully to pupils and staff. This does not mean that all youngsters return to school on the 8th March.

We are determined to have all youngsters back in school when it is safe to do so following all statutory expectations having been met.

We are excited about having all of our wonderful children back with us again very soon. 

The only exemptions are staff and pupils who are certified as clinically vulnerable and must therefore remain shielded. This information to be obtained from a GP with a full list of the clinically vulnerable criteria provided on Gov.uk website.

It is universally accepted that school is essential for the health, well-being, education and development of all young people.

School leaders to decide upon a phased return for Secondary pupils from 8th March. It is expected that all learners be back in school from 15th March where possible. This will depend upon effectiveness in carrying out mass Covid testing on a huge scale. I can reveal that it is our ambition to have all learners back in classrooms by Thursday 11th March.

Upon a staggered return, pupils to have a lateral flow test in school and two additional tests 3-5 days apart. Tests are voluntary and non-mandatory. Consent must be obtained from home. This opportunity for testing will provide us with an additional layer of safety in school for pupils, parents and staff.

After this time-period is completed, pupils are to access two weekly tests that are administered from home. School will provide tests to families with support and training.

Staff to continue access two lateral flow tests in school per week but will move to administering tests twice weekly from home from w/c 8th March. Again, this is non- mandatory but it is advised.

Use of face coverings to become more widespread including being worn by pupils during lessons and at times where maintaining a 2 metre distance is not possible.

Physical activity and sport activity, is the only exception applied to where a facemask is not recommended.

Face visors / shields not to be worn as an alternative to a face covering.

Strong practice regarding indoor ventilation, hand sanitising and hygiene, social distancing and limiting interaction to where it is essential, to all remain in place.

Better weather and less transmissibility outdoors will be elements that will be in our favour.

First line of defence around isolating and booking a test when displaying main symptoms of Covid, to remain firmly in place.

Pupils to follow a broad and balanced curriculum in school. School can suspend some subjects in exceptional circumstances for some children.

GCSE grades to be awarded by Teacher Assessment, with professionals supported to reach judgements by guidance and training received from 66 different Examination Boards. More details to follow on this in the coming days.

All safety measures in place to be reviewed at Easter.

Parents will receive a letter w/c 1st March, which will outline the plans for phased return and timings for when testing takes place.   

I very much enjoyed my virtual assembly with Year 11 via ‘Microsoft Teams’ today! We are delighted that a large number of pupils tuned into the assembly. The assembly was based upon the simple message that youngsters remain focussed on their studies and highlighted initial thinking on plans for phased reopening and the summer awarding of grades. I have no doubt that our Year 11 youngsters are on course to achieve outstanding outcomes again this year.

I look forward to delivering a virtual assembly to all other pupils via ‘Microsoft Teams’ on Friday 5th March during the following times:

Year 7 & Year 8: 10.45 – 11.15

Year 9 & Year 10: 11.30 – 12.00

By this point, we will be even clearer as a school regarding all plans for phased reopening.

Thank you to all who attended school to collect paper based resources and guidance for online learning programme during this past week.  A very strong turnout for work collected. It is important reiterate our rationale for home and remote learning is to provide a ‘mix’ of learning opportunities to ensure that all children are supported. Through providing a ’mix’ and range of learning opportunities, we are determined to ensure that no child is left behind academically, socially and emotionally because of this latest lockdown.

If for whatever circumstance, has not been collected such as your family is isolating, please contact School Reception and we will arrange postage or delivery. It is vitally important that these resources be obtained, in order to ensure that no child at Holy Trinity is left behind.

We are delighted with the implementation of our ambition to equip all pupils with their own laptop device to support with remote and home learning. We are closing to achieving this ambition. I am very proud to announce that we have now distributed 350 laptop devices to our pupils since September!  Please contact school should your child require a device.

As we progress through these challenging times together, we must be mindful that our continued collaboration and strong working partnership is the only way in which we can overcome the challenges that are faced.

Our school mission has been strengthened during this pandemic, which is to provide all of our pupils with an excellent education, to support them in achieving absolutely anything that they set their ambition for. There are ‘no limits’ to what can be achieved in our school.

We must continue to take all proactive and preventative measures to ensure the safety of all. Thank you for your continued diligence in wearing a face covering and maintaining social distance when you visit school.

If your child or any of the household are displaying any of the main symptoms of Covid19, such as a new or continuous cough, a high temperature or fever, a loss or change to taste or smell, you are expected to stay at home, isolate and to seek a test.

Please look out for further information via text message, pupil email, ‘Microsoft Teams’ messages, updates to this website, or letters posted to your homes.

Thank you for your continued support.

With every best wish.

Mr Crehan