WEEKLY EMAIL Friday 11 December 2020

Important: School Closing for Christmas on Thursday 17 December

This year Millthorpe will be closing for Christmas on Thursday 17 December. School will end at the normal time on that day and full uniform should be worn. We have made this decision in line with the Government’s suggestion that schools make Friday 18 December a non-teaching day in response to the pressures of remaining open during the COVID-19 pandemic. We apologise for the timing of this decision but the guidance from the government was only released on Tuesday.

This will allow staff and students to get a good break after a very challenging term. In the run up to Christmas, it also brings forward by a day the point at which there is no longer any risk of picking up the virus in school or being identified as a close contact of someone in school who has tested positive. In the circumstances, we have decided to disaggregate the training day for staff so they will not be required to work on the Friday. Instead, they will complete training outside of teaching time at a later point in the year.

The DFE have indicated that they expect schools to assist with track and trace for six days following the last day of opening. Closing a day early means that, should there be a positive case that comes to light after term has ended, school will be able to let families know sooner. If school had remained open until Friday, this may have resulted in staff having to contact families on Christmas Eve to advise children to self-isolate.

Confirmation of the arrangements regarding positive cases, as provided by the DfE, is given below:

  • Where a pupil or staff member tests positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), having developed symptoms more than 48 hours since being in school, the school should not be contacted. Parents and carers should follow contact tracing instructions provided by NHS Test and Trace.
  • For the first 6 days after teaching ends, if a pupil or staff member tests positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), having developed symptoms within 48 hours of being in school, the school is asked to assist in identifying close contacts and advising self-isolation, as the individual may have been infectious whilst in school

During the holidays, to report a positive case, parents/carers should only use the following email: urgentcontact@millthorpe.southbank.academy. Safeguarding concerns should continue to be reported via safeguarding@millthorpe.southbank.academy. Other email addresses and phone numbers will not be monitored.
We would urge anyone developing symptoms after school has ended to get tested straight away so that staff can identify contacts and notify them as early as possible.

The school will provide an extra days’ worth of vouchers for each child eligible for free school meals on top of the vouchers for the two-week holiday that the Government has eventually agreed to fund.

Christmas Dinner

A reminder that Christmas Dinner will be on Wednesday 16 December. Whatever your child chooses will be charged as normal through his/her school meals account.

Christmas Jumpers

There were some fantastically sparkly Christmas jumpers on show today: we haven’t totted up all the donations but we’ve definitely raised a good sum of money for SASH.

NSPCC’s Young People’s Board for Change

The NSPCC is looking for 15 young people, aged between 13-16, from across the UK to join its Young People’s Board for Change (YPBC).

The YPBC will place children and young people at the very heart of steering, advising and influencing the NSPCC’s work. Members will share their views and ideas with decision-makers like NSPCC trustees, staff and politicians. Members will also get involved in fun projects and travel across the country to take part in residentials, meetings, and workshops.

To apply, the first step is to fill out an online application form and a parent/carer consent form. Applications should be made by 11 January 2021 and you will need to be available for a virtual interview between 18 – 21 January 2021. 

Full information about the scheme can be found on the NSPCC website.

TikTok Update Parental Controls with Family Pairing Feature

TikTok is used by many teenagers and sometimes children younger than 13, despite its terms and conditions. Using the new Family Pairing feature can allow parents to guide their child’s TikTok experience in a safer way. Features include:

  • Search: Decide what can be searched for. This includes content, users, hashtags, or sounds.
  • Screen Time Management: Sets how long your teen can spend on TikTok each day.
  • Discoverability: Decide on the account being private (you decide who can see their content) or public (anyone can search and view content).

To find out more information about TikTok’s Family Pairing feature and to download a helpful poster please click here.


If you have significant concerns for the welfare of a child, in addition to being able to contact Sophie Johnson 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.