End of Term letter – December 2020

Dear parents,

As we approach the end of the most unusual term of my 28 years in teaching, we can reflect back on all we have achieved as a school community with tremendous pride!

Your children have adapted brilliantly to all of the changes that we have made here to ensure that the school environment is as Covid-secure as possible and have worked productively with their teachers over the past term, making very pleasing progress indeed.

In particular, we are immensely proud of our Year 11 students who completed two weeks of mock exams in November and demonstrated that they are in a good position to go on to be very successful in their exams this year, despite having had such great disruption to their education during the first national lockdown. We are so impressed by their resilience and determination to succeed in the face of the current challenges to their education, they are excellent role models for our school community!

2021 GCSE & BTEC Exams update

Regarding Year 11 exams, the government has announced that there will be a 3 week delay this year to give students more time to prepare; this means that exams will take place from the end of May right into early July.

Additionally, there has been a reduction in the content that will be tested in the exams in some subjects, so we will have more time to revise in lessons during the spring and summer terms in some subjects. Exam boards will provide advance notice of topics covered on the exam papers to help focus revision. Exam aids, such as formula sheets to help reduce the amount of information to memorise. Grading will be more generous and in line with last year’s results which means that more students will get higher grades than before the Coronavirus pandemic.

There are now some additional exam papers that students can sit at the end of the exam period if they miss any exams because of illness or self-isolation. An expert group is looking at further ways to reduce the impact on those children who have been more disadvantaged than others by the Covid pandemic.

Notifying the School of positive Covid test results during the Christmas holiday

If your child receives a positive Covid test result at any time then please let us know immediately, using the email address [email protected].

This term, we have been really pleased that attendance at school has been so high and that we have been fortunate that we have had very few cases that have resulted in students having to work at home and self-isolate.

It is really important that parents are cautious and do not send their children to school if they are at all unwell and especially if they have any of the 3 mains symptoms of Covid (high temperature; persistent cough; loss of taste or smell).

If anyone in your household or support bubble has any of the Covid symptoms, it is absolutely essential that everyone in the household self-isolates until a negative test result is received by the person affected.

As we embark on the last week of this term, students and staff are now looking forward to the prospect of enjoying the partial relaxation of restrictions between 23rd and 27th December and spending time with family or close friends in our extended bubbles.

If the school is notified of a positive Covid case within our school community up to 23rd December and your child is identified through contact tracing as being a close contact of the affected individual, then we will advise you of the need for your child to self-isolate for 10 days from the last point of potential close contact.

We are now at the stage where we would be advising students (and staff) to self-isolate during the period of time between 23rd and 27th December and this could then affect your family’s ability to safely visit with relatives and friends during this period of time.

It is, therefore, more important than ever over the next 4 days in school that all of our students (and our staff) are extra vigilant so that we can minimize the risk of disruption to our holiday plans.

Everyone should ensure that they follow the Hands, Face, Space approach rigorously. Not only should we all be handwashing and sanitizing regularly; face-masks must be worn whenever moving around communal areas at breaks and between lessons but most importantly a social distance of more than 2 metres should be maintained whenever students are not in lessons.

Please would you ensure that you reinforce to your child, the importance of being extra vigilant with the Hands, Face, Space approach for the rest of this term, to protect everyone’s ability to spend time with their loved ones between 23rd and 27th December.

If you do have to notify the school of a positive test result for your child during the Christmas holidays, then please do so immediately using the email address [email protected] right up until mid-day on 23rd December. We need to know the date your child was last in school, the date the test was taken, the first date that your child experienced Covid.

Mr Hutton and I will monitor the email address and we will be in touch with you (either the same day or the following morning, depending on the time of notification) to undertake any contact tracing required.

Retirement of Trust CEO, Steve Labedz

It is with pleasure, pride and a little sadness that I need to write to you about our Trust CEO, Steve Labedz. Steve was one of the founding members of Admiral Lord Nelson School in 1995. He was the first Deputy Headteacher of our school and then our second Headteacher from 2006, when I became his Deputy.

In 2014, he led our school as it formed Salterns Academy Trust which then took responsibility for Trafalgar School, which was in need of considerable support at that time. Steve then became CEO of our Trust and was responsible for the continued growth and development of both schools. He was also the education partner in the steering group responsible for the establishment of UTC Portsmouth in 2017, located on the Trafalgar School site.

Steve’s principled approach to children’s entitlements in education have led to the development of 3 thriving secondaries in Portsmouth and he retires after 25 years of phenomenal service to our city leaving a strong legacy.
Steve has been my boss for the past 22 years and it is with great admiration and respect that I am thanking him on behalf of our whole school community for all he has done to create this wonderful Admiral Lord Nelson School community over the past quarter of a century. We wish him every happiness in his next adventures in life and hope that he has the relaxing, enjoyable retirement that he so richly deserves!

We hope to be able to hold a Retirement party in the summer term to celebrate Steve’s contribution to education in Portsmouth over the past quarter of a century, combined with celebrating the 25 year anniversary of the founding of Admiral Lord Nelson School too.

Future Leadership of Salterns Trust

In terms of the future leadership of our Trust, earlier this year we appointed a Trust Chief Financial and Operating officer, Caroline Corcoran, who has taken on a great deal of the work that Steve did for our Trust.

From January, I will be taking on the Chief Executive Officer role of our Trust alongside my role as Headteacher of Admiral Lord Nelson School, sharing this leadership responsibility jointly with the Headteacher of Trafalgar School, Claire Copeland.

We are all looking forward to working closely to grow and develop our Trust together in the coming years.

Return to School in January

I would like to end by thanking you all for your incredible support over the past year. Your kind messages have sustained me and my colleagues during some very demanding times, reminding us of what a privilege it is for us to lead this fantastic community.

I wish you all a restful holiday and hope that you are able to share many moments of joy with your loved ones. One positive from this pandemic is that it has reminded us all of the importance of fellowship and community, of kindness and caring for one another and of the need to cherish and appreciate the time that we can spend together!

I look forward to seeing you all again in 2021 when school re-opens for staff on Monday 4th January 2021 and we welcome all students back to school on Tuesday 5th January 2021.

Festive greetings to you and your family!

Yours sincerely,

Nys Hardingham