WEEKLY EMAIL Friday 3 July 2020

Message from the Head of School

Dear parents/carers

I hope that you are all keeping well as we move into a new stage of relaxing the restrictions. Many of you will be able to see family and friends that you have been unable to meet physically and some of you may be looking forward to travel and summer holidays.

School opening in September
Last night we also heard the announcements that we can welcome all of our students back to school, full time, in September. The government has informed schools to open fully, but have asked us to consider a variety of different strategies to minimise risks of infection and how to respond to any infection. Whilst we have already spent a significant time planning for the full reopening in September, we are still refining the details of how we will make the necessary adjustments to keep everybody as safe as possible on our return. However, there are some parts of the government guidance that we can confirm immediately:

  • Students will be kept in year group ‘bubbles’; they will only work with students in their own year group and as far as possible will have social times and lunchtimes with their year group only.
  • Students will receive full timetabled lessons of the full curriculum but there may be some small changes to the school day to allow some staggering of entrances and exits.
  • Handwashing/hand sanitising will take place before and after school, before each lesson and before and after lunchtimes and breaks and we will work with the students about good respiratory hygiene: Catch it, Kill it, Bin it.
  • Students will be seated in classrooms facing the front of the classroom and not facing each other.
  • Where possible we will maintain 1 metre social distancing, but this is not possible in classrooms. Teachers will try to maintain 2 metres distancing from the students.
  • There will be a one-way system around school to try to alleviate the challenges of busy corridors.
  • Enhanced cleaning will take place every day and throughout the day.
  • There will be a home-school agreement issued for parents/carers to sign that establishes our expectations of your child in school and our expectations of families where a member of a family may display some symptoms – it is essential that all families comply with this to protect our community.
  • We will engage with the Track and Trace system and work with our local health protection team if there is a confirmed case; and we will communicate any confirmed cases to all parents.
  • We will speak to any parent who has concerns or any parent where there are concerns about vulnerabilities and how we can support you; we have arranged appointments next week with some students who we know will struggle to return to school and for whom, persistent absence may be a problem.
  • All students will return in full school uniform after summer as per government guidance: We would, however, encourage all schools to return to their usual uniform policies in the autumn term. Uniform can play a valuable role in contributing to the ethos of a school and setting an appropriate tone.
School uniform
We had advised delaying the purchase of uniform until we had further information about schools re-opening in September as we didn’t want parents to buy uniform that might not be worn. We have now had confirmation of a full opening so all students should be in full school uniform when they return. The usual expectations and sanctions will apply in September. This includes all mandatory clothing items and ensuring hair and nails meet our uniform regulations. We want to start the year really positively and not managing uniform infringements. Thank you in advance for your understanding.We are aware that shopping is still more challenging than previously, however, there is still more than two months before students return to give you the time to purchase uniform.Eco Laundry uniform donations and sales
All families can use our Eco Laundry to buy, swap or donate items of school uniform as a way of protecting the environment and of keeping uniform costs down for everyone. At a time when many people’s family budgets are being squeezed and we are all trying to reduce the negative impact of our daily lives on the environment, we are keen to collect as much uniform as we can so that everyone is able to buy good quality pre-worn uniform at a very low cost.Thank you to all families who have used our uniform donation points to donate school uniform that no longer fits. The donation points at the front and back gate will be open again 8am-4pm Monday to Friday next week. We are still in particular need of smaller sized uniform to assist parents and carers of our new Year 7 students with the costs of moving to secondary school but donations of school uniform and PE kit of all sizes will be gratefully received. Please ensure all donations are bagged securely by tying the top of the bag shut.We plan to sell our recycled uniform on Monday 13 July on the hockey pitch if the weather is fine or in the canteen if the weather is poor. Social distancing and hygiene measures will be in place. We will give priority to Pupil Premium families (currently receiving Free School Meals or who have received Free School Meals in the past) from 9am-10.30am and then open up sales to everybody 10.30-12.00. If you are not a Pupil Premium family but are keen to access our recycled uniform for financial reasons, please just come along to the early sale. We will confirm these details and stock availability in next week’s Friday email.September start dates
Monday 7 and Tuesday 8 September are INSET days.Year 7 only will start school on Wednesday 9 September and all other year groups will return on Thursday 10 September.We’re all really looking forward to seeing our students and how much they’ve changed and grown; we’ve really missed them!

Good news!
I am really pleased to announce that the work on our new Multi-use games area has begun this week and we should be able to use this excellent outdoor games facility from October half-term. The building of the Applefields Satellite classrooms has also begun this week and we look forward to the opening of those classrooms in October too.

Year 10 study resources
Please remember that Year 10 students who did not attend lessons over the last few weeks can collect their resource packs with lots of subject material and some revision guides from school on Monday 6 July between 2pm-3pm. Please ensure that you come to the Philadelphia Terrace (back gate) entrance to be met by a member of staff.

Anti-social behaviour
There have been a number of reports made to the Police about anti-social behaviour and teenagers not following social distancing on the Little Knavesmire. This behaviour includes littering and some abusive behaviour towards members of the public and the Hamilton Panthers staff. The Police and local councillors are asking all schools to scrutinise the CCTV and address this matter in the first instance with parents to avoid it becoming a police matter. There is no suggestion it involves more than a couple of our current students and the parents of those who we suspect may have been involved have been contacted by the pastoral team, but could you please speak to your children and remind them to always remove their litter and to be respectful to others and social distance?

Best wishes

Miss G Greenhalgh
Virtual assembly

This week’s virtual assembly is presented by Mr Noble and is all about being happy. You can download the assembly here, then just start the slide show.

Student Email accounts

You will have heard that Millthorpe will be moving to Google email accounts for staff and students as part of providing a better infrastructure if we need remote learning again during the 2020-2021 school year. As part of this, at some point after 17 July, all student email accounts will be deleted. If your child has any emails or attachments in their email they would like to keep, they must download them before 17 July. We will introduce students to their new Google Mail accounts in September.

Black Lives Matter
We know that is difficult to know how to approach this topic when children ask about it, and that many of us are afraid to say “the wrong thing”.  We have found this resource for parents which may be able to help if you want advice on how to speak to your children about it.  You can read this webpage or download the pdf file.
Sport survey – we need your input!

In April, we emailed you to tell you about a survey we are taking part in alongside Sport England. The survey responses will give both parties a picture of ‘Behaviour and Attitudes towards Physical Activity’ and will enable the PE department to plan the curriculum more effectively for the future. It will also enable us to help young people to be more engaged with physical activity and improve their mental and physical wellbeing.

We have had a good response so far, but it would really benefit us if we could get some more responses, particularly from our students. Please encourage them to complete the survey here.

Supporting teens during Covid-19 and the summer

Continuing to support your child during lockdown and over the summer may prove tricky. Here are five simple, practical steps for parents and carers from award winning GP and young people’s mental health expert Dr Dominique Thompson.

Wellbeing resources

The Barnardos wellbeing page is a great resource for parents on how to support their child’s wellbeing and has some really clear and accessible information about anxiety and coping skills.

Keeping up with current affairs

Take a look at this week’s edition of The Week Junior here.

Students now need a voucher code to access the magazine – all you need to do is click Login at the bottom of the magazine cover, then scroll down to: Have voucher code? on the right hand side and enter the code sent to you in the weekly email.

If you have significant concerns for the welfare of a child during lockdown, in addition to being able to contact Ruth Cooper during school hours, you may wish to make direct contact with the York MASH (Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub) on T: 01904 551900, option 3. They operate an out-of-hours service so concerns can be raised with them at any time.

For further information please see the safeguarding link on our school website.