WEEK 32 - Friday 28 May 2021
Keeping children and young people safe in school is the most important responsibility that we hold as adults working in schools. Parents do care about exam results but mostly you want to know that your child is safe and that they will be taken care of during the day. You want to believe that your child is happy and is enjoying school, that they are making friends, sometimes new ones, and gaining an understanding of the differences between themselves and others and learning to live amongst, and celebrate those differences. Importantly, you want to know that if something happens to your child, we will know about it and take care of them, and keep you informed along the way. You also want to know that we will find the talent in your child and find a way to nurture it. These, and much more besides, are the expectations that we place on ourselves every day.
In order to do that, we constantly review the way that we work and, being part of a Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) offers us even more ways to review that work than if we were just a stand-alone Academy. This week, we welcomed some fellow leaders from our Trust to our school to undertake a Safeguarding Review. Over a day and a half at the High School and at Penshurst, they spoke to pupils, students and staff to ask about how we keep our learners safe; they observed our procedures at first-hand, reviewed documentation and discussed our systems with leaders. They watched student movement around the site in the morning, at lunch, at the end of the day and between lessons and they spoke to visitors, parents and contractors. The report that they have provided us with, I am pleased to say, found no concerns and indeed offers many positives and, in a number of areas, highlights some exceptional practice. As it should, it also suggests some ways that we can develop even further; these suggestions are based on the evidence that the team have found from studying other schools in our Trust. Likewise, some of the practice seen at Hessle and at Penshurst will also now be shared with other schools, to the benefit of all of our learners. This kind of collaboration across Academies is a really important benefit of the MAT structure and we are seeing gains from this on a regular basis.
Finally, we arrive at the end of yet another half term. I am delighted that we have managed to avoid any significant disruption caused by Covid since Easter. School is beginning to return to something more normal although we continue to keep the majority of our protective measures in place, such as bubbles and year group zones. We await the Government announcement about the next stage of the roadmap and will, as ever, communicate our response fully as soon as possible.
In the meantime, enjoy what promises to be a warm period whilst the children are on half-term and we look forward to welcoming them back to school on Monday 7 June.
Take care and stay safe
Mr V Groak
We have made it to half term intact with all bubbles remaining in school-fantastic! It really has been brilliant to have the children in school and return to some semblance of normality, structure and routine. Fingers crossed that we have seen the back of multiple isolations, however I must point out that schools in our locality are still sending bubbles home so we must remain vigilant in terms of masks inside, following one way systems,allowing only essential visitors to school, forward facing desks, hand sanitising and minimising transitions across the school.
After the half term break we are happy to allow wearing masks outside to be optional for both staff and parents. In addition, we will be allowing year group bubbles to play outside together and staff will have more freedom to move across their year group to take interventions. Learning inside will still take place in class bubbles to minimise the risk of a whole year group being sent home in the event of an identified positive case.
These are not decisions we take lightly however we are aware that children can mix outside school and so we feel that the outside mixing at lunch and break is low risk and that it fits in with the national guidelines. Also, we would really like the children to enjoy their Summer term (the final one for Year 6) playing with all of their friends. We will of course review all procedures weekly to ensure they are still keeping us all safe and make you aware of any changes in this weekly blog.
Finally, I would like to say thank you for your support over this half term in following procedures and I hope that you and your family have a restful and enjoyable half term.
Mrs J Spencer
Head of School