I have put the most important and urgent part of this newsletter at the very beginning and that is simply a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to every single person in every single household in our community. Without the support we have benefited from and the understanding and generosity we have encountered, these last 6 weeks of remote schooling would have been extremely testing. As things currently stand, I don’t think I have ever felt more proud of our school - bizarre, I know, considering the remote and isolated circumstances! We constantly espouse the virtues of honour, industry and resilience here at NGA and never has there been a more pressing reminder of how important these things are in life.
Our staff have also worked tirelessly in doing their very best to support everyone at home and I feel especially proud of the quality of the work that has been set, completed and fed back on. Live sessions have been successfully trialled and are now expanding throughout the school and throughout many subjects. We have had lots of really positive feedback from students and families who have really enjoyed the variety in the provision we offer and we hope that this continues. We have put fantastic examples of outstanding lockdown work on our twitter feed at @northgosforthac and on some of our Instagram platforms @mr_f_english, @litoracle, @nga_be_rich and @northgosforthfood! I am delighted to say that the vast majority of our students have engaged with their learning brilliantly and are in a fantastic position to really ‘kick on’ and prosper when we return in the coming weeks.
Last week was Children’s Mental Health Week and, during this period of time in particular, mental health has never been more important. The mental health of our students is, at present, our highest priority. This is why we are ensuring that we are keeping in regular contact with parents and families through our well-being calls and making sure that nobody feels isolated or forgotten about at home. The contact we have maintained between school and the community has been fantastic. We thank all of our parents/carers for the support they have offered, they really have gone above and beyond in supporting the school in its efforts with remote education and the monitoring of their child’s well-being. These calls will continue throughout the whole lockdown period.
This week we have been running form tutor assemblies focusing on the importance of internet safety and well-being. Safer internet day was observed on Tuesday 9th February 2021 with this year’s theme focusing on ‘An internet we trust: exploring reliability in the online world’. There has been no greater time to stress the importance of internet safety when our students are using the internet every day to receive their education. It is important at this time of isolation that we can bring our community together however and whenever we can.
Testing is up and running and we are very pleased with our set up and how it is all working. Staff are getting routinely tested each week and students that have been attending school and have given consent have also been tested. We have had no positive cases so far which is good news.
We are still waiting for confirmation from the government about when schools will reopen. As things stand, the plan is still to test students on their return to school and a consent form has been emailed out today in anticipation of this.
Covid reporting over Half Term
The DfE have confirmed that contact tracing during February half term when schools are closed is required in the continued national effort to limit the spread of the virus. Senior staff will therefore be on call to deal with track and trace. Of course, this will just be focussed on those students who have been attending school. If your son or daughter receives a positive COVID-19 test during the half term week, having developed symptoms within 48 hours of having attended school, please contact the school immediately on email@example.com and provide the following information:
- Name of child
- Class/year group
- Date of the COVID-19 test
- Does the child have symptoms? Yes or No
- What date did the symptoms start?
- What date did the child last attend school?
It is very important that you provide this information so we can identify any close contacts that your son or daughter may have had in school during their infectious period. The school will then follow up close contacts and request that they isolate for 10 days to prevent further transmission of COVID-19.
Please note that you should also report any close contacts that your child has had outside the school setting through NHS Test and Trace.
Schools still have not been told of any firm details about school reopening. We know that this will not be before 8th March and that there may well be a staggered approach to the opening of secondary schools. There is an important meeting within the government on 22nd February and we are hoping that further details will be released at this point. Rest assured that I will update parents as soon as firm details are released.
I wish you all a safe and happy half term week and I hope that you have some quality time with your family.