A great start to 2020-21

I just wanted to take this opportunity to write to you at the end of our first full week of school, to tell you how impressed I have been by how our whole school community has worked together this week.

It has been a joy for me (and all of our staff) to see your children all back at school and learning together again. We have been so impressed by how well they have adapted to our ‘new normal’ and I have had really positive feedback from staff about the way your children have thrown themselves enthusiastically back into their learning in lessons again. There has been an enormous amount of hard work in devising our new safety procedures and I am delighted that all of our planning seems to be working well so far. As always, we will adapt and tweak as we identify how we can make improvements, in response to your feedback, feedback from our students and feedback from our staff.

A huge thank you to you all for your support, especially at the more challenging times of school arrival and departure, when we try to keep our year group bubbles apart; your children have been really good this week at arriving in their time slot and following all of our staff instructions. I am astounded that we are managing to do handwashing/sanitising for 1100 children from 8am and get lessons started promptly at 8:30am, which is a testament to the excellent teamwork and cooperation between your children and the staff.

Safety around the road at the start and end of the school day has improved too as parents who collect and drop off are almost all now finding ways to do this well away from the school boundary, the bus stop and the school entrances, which makes it unsafe for the vast majority of our children who walk to and from school. The new 20mph signs outside the school are making it feel much safer too as your children enter and leave the school site. Thank you for all of your cooperation in driving and parking with our children’s safety at the forefront of your decision-making, even when under time pressure yourselves!

I think it is very important for us all to recognise that all of this change and a return to being at school full time with our whole school community on site has been very tiring for staff and for your children, most of whom haven’t been at school for the past 6 months. I imagine that it has also been tiring for you as parents too! A lot of the things that we would want to do as part of normal school life, we are having to set aside so that we can focus our energies on our top priority, which is everyone’s safety at school.

This week has been a great start to the year but there is a long and uncertain year ahead for us all so we need to make sure that we are taking time to look after ourselves and one another. Meaning that we all take time to rest at the weekends and in the evenings and acknowledging that ‘our best is always good enough’. This is a message that staff will regularly say to your children this year, that I will be saying repeatedly to staff and that I hope you will say to yourselves as parents, too.

Enjoy a restful weekend and thank you again for all of your support on our successful return to a fully open school this week.

Take care and stay safe!

Nys Hardingham