WEEK 26 - Friday 16 April 2021
It is always a joy to reopen the school after an Easter break. The weather is usually milder, the days longer and the field is open for students to play and enjoy space and fresh air. At this time of year, the school site really opens up and spring is most definitely in the air.
Alongside this, the rhythm of the school year goes on and attention turns towards the students in Years 11 and 13, for whom the next seven weeks will be pivotal. Given the unique circumstances this year, staff in school have had to make huge adjustments to what they would normally be doing and are now starting to collate the evidence that will be used to best support the grading decisions that the school will make for each student. This is a mammoth task but I have confidence that my team will perform it with absolute determination and integrity to ensure that the students get the grades that they deserve. Remember that - this year - schools are not predicting what a student would get if exams had taken place; instead, they are seeking to award a grade for the work that students have actually done. For that reason, it is crucial that students in these year groups continue to work hard in every lesson and to prepare for their upcoming assessments to the best of their ability.
I would like to pay tribute to our students in these year groups who have behaved superbly and have shown admirable maturity this year. Too many people find fault with our young people these days but I can only say that, given what they have experienced in the past twelve months and those rites-of-passage moments they have been denied, I am full of admiration for them. And, as their parents, I am sure you are equally proud.
I would also like to thank our premises team - Mark O and Roly H - for the work that they have done to get the sports halls ready for next week’s assessments. In recent weeks, they have turned this space into a canteen, a LFD testing centre, back to a sports hall, and now to an exam hall. And they do it without complaint and (most of the time!) with a smile on their face. Schools could not operate without people like Mark and Roly and, everyday, they also set a great example to young people about the importance of doing a job well. We are lucky to have them.
Finally, the local press has had extensive coverage of the sudden surge in traffic that we have seen across the area since the lifting of lockdown restrictions last Monday and we have seen an element of that in and around the school site too with Heads Lane being busier than normal and our car park also full on most days.
We endeavour to keep our visitors’ car park free of vehicles at 3pm so that as many parents as possible can access the site but it only has space for around 50 cars before it becomes a little gridlocked. If possible, we appreciate where students can walk or cycle to and from school, which not only reduces traffic but is also healthy for the students. Where this is not possible, please try to use the car park as smartly as possible, using the parking spaces available and using the one-way circuit around the car park. This ensures that traffic can move as freely as possible. Thanks also to those of you who now routinely use the car park for morning drop-off and keep the bus spaces free for the EYMS buses and Sixth Form Consortium buses.
I hope that you can enjoy some of the sunshine this weekend.
Continue to take care and stay safe.
Mr V Groak