Head Teachers’ Blog – 28th March 2022
I am finding it really hard to believe that we are nearing the end of my first term as Headteacher! It has certainly been a busy one with OFSTED and COVID dominating some of the time. I had hoped to update you more regularly with all the great things that are happening in school but we are still being challenged by high levels of staff absence which keeps us all busy!
COVID Contingency Plan
As the numbers of COVID cases are rising, we are monitoring the situation daily to ensure that we are able to operate safely and minimise any negative impact on teaching and learning.
Please be aware that it is a possibility that we may again need to put in place contingency measures during this week.
These measures would involve reducing the number of students in school by one year group each day. This would allow us to ensure quality teaching for year groups still attending school. Staff have prepared for this and have planned work for any students who have to work from home in this eventuality.
Our contingency plans prioritise keeping face to face teaching for students who are closest to their exams; Y11 and 13. Our contingency plans also avoid Y9 and 10 working from home on days when they would miss their GCSE option.
Should we need to put our contingency plans in place, we would be asking the following year groups to work from home.
Should it be necessary to put contingency plans in place Mr Coats, (Director of School Improvement), will notify you the evening before at the latest, via the school website and email. We will also include a reminder with this as to how students working from home should access home learning.
Despite COVID, so many exciting things have happened in school over the last few weeks. It certainly feels like we are getting back to some normality, particularly in relation to being able to offer enrichment activities for students.
It is fantastic to see Sports tournaments getting off the ground again and our students have been incredibly successful, the rest must have done them good!
Our Year 7 boys football team managed to beat Silverdale 9-1 in the semi-final of the Y7 Sheffield cup and got through to the final on Saturday 26th March, cheered on by many staff and students. Unfortunately, they were beaten by High Storrs, but Mr O’Sullivan said they all played with a fantastic attitude and they possess a very high level of natural ability. In the team are; Noah Brennin, George Hackwell, Yebel Musie, Tyrone Bishawu, Isaac Turner, Jean Amber-Frou, Harry Kirkman, Walt Goddard, Charlie Machon, Caolan Pickering, Kene Ufondu, Max Monfredi and Sam Owen.
Our Year 9 team also played in the final on Saturday and although unsuccessful, Mr Downs said that they represented our school with positive teamwork and great determination and resilience.
On the weekend of the 19th March, our students were involved in the Sheffield Schools trampoline competition. The Y7 team became Sheffield Champions with the following individual podiums;
Lucy Poirrier WINNER
Daisy Leadley – 2nd place
Sophie Russell – 3rd place
The Y10/11 team came 2nd with Aisling Dennis coming 3rd.
Many congratulations to all of these students.
On Friday 18 March, Miss Tazzyman and Miss White, took 6 students (2 teams of 3) to compete in the England Boccia event at the EIS. The students were competing against schools from Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham. They came 2nd and 3rd and have got through to the next round of tournament which is happening in coming months. It was a really good day and all our students enjoyed taking part in the event. They met students from other schools, and it was a great opportunity for them to make new friendships, especially with students from Wickersley School.
World Book Day 2022
Moving away from sporting achievements, as always, we celebrated World Book Day in school. The English department did a fabulous job, as always, organising the event. Many staff and students got involved in dressing up; Mrs Yuste, (Maths teacher), looked particularly good in her penguin outfit! The English Department held a book swap which was really successful and hugely appreciated by students. They plan to hold a book swap more regularly as a result of this, and will publicise this each time in advance. As part of that day, a treasure Hunt took place and the worthy winner was Nikola Szczegielniak in 7JJ.
And on a more personal note, I would like to thank all the staff who provide these wonderful enrichment activities for our students, it is greatly appreciated.
MCAS -My Child at School App – Countdown to End of May Half term begins
I would also like to remind you about the My Child At School App (MCAS) and to encourage you to download it if you haven’t done so already. We have over 1000 parents now using the App, which allows you to access Bromcom, which is our information management system. This allows you to see things like rewards and comments made by teachers about your child, receive messages, top up their school meals account and make payments for trips all in one place. While being helpful for parents, it also helps us in school for as many parents as possible to use the App. One of the reasons for this is when we send messages out to all parents, they go to the App free of charge to school, whereas they go by text to parents not on the App which does cost money. Therefore, every extra person who is able to use the App helps us to free up money to spend on other things in school. For that reason, we will shortly only be sending out information through the APP. We anticipate that all parents will download the App but if you are unable to do so please inform school so that we are aware of which parents this affects. We would like all parents to have downloaded the App by the end of May Half term which is Monday 6th June.
We appreciate it is an extra thing to remember to do, so for convenience we will shortly resend to anyone who isn’t using the App a link with instructions about how to download and set it up.
We will be having form competitions to encourage a swift sign up with House points and prizes for winning forms!
My favourite part of the week is Friday morning during form time, when I meet with a group of students at my Breakfast club. A different group of students are invited every week, and it usually entails meeting those who have been involved in sporting or other enrichment activities outside school, or those who deserve community recognition.
So far, I have invited the Senior Girls Badminton Team, Y10s and Y11s involved in the Trampolining competition, the Y12s who helped pack supplies that went to the Ukraine (more on that below), and the Y7 Football team. Students get drinks and biscuits as a treat and my Hot Chocolate has proved to be very popular. However, the 6th form said I made it too weak – I have rectified that! The Y7s were very excited about being in the Headteacher’s office and asked me all sorts of questions about what was in the room. They cleared me out completely of all my biscuits- I am not sure whether this affected their match fitness!
It is also a good opportunity to ask students about their experience of school, as well as hearing about what they have been doing. It is really encouraging to hear how positive students are about their experiences, the Year 7s in particular are loving it!
The war in Ukraine
Of course, the event that has dominated the last weeks, has been the conflict in the Ukraine. Staff have been talking to the students about this and it has been the focus of our prayers.
We have also helped in more practical ways, with some of our Y12 students helping on two occasions to help pack up lorries, taking supplies to the Ukraine. They went with our School Chaplain Suzanne Gomes who was so proud of how they worked. They started work at around 10am and did not stop until 2.30pm, with only a short break in between.
Students had time at the end of the first day to write messages to the people of Ukraine and they placed them in the cellophane wrapping, so that when the pallets arrive the people will be greeted with messages of kindness from our wonderful young people. I know that many found this a particularly moving experience.
Our students worked so well with the volunteers at the Centre’s and with the other students from All Saints school. One volunteer (an ex policeman) said it was a real pleasure to work with our young people and Agnieszka, one of the adults behind this project, was overwhelmed with the support and hard work the students provided. She was very emotional when goodbyes were said. This project has been set up free of charge and all items, time, lorry drivers, lorries, warehouses have been donated, free of charge. No money has passed through the hands of any of these volunteers. It is inspiring to know that despite such pain and misery, there is so much good in this God given world.
The students involved were; Liam Sigg, Dylan Thraves, James Childs, Nye Roberts, Francis Cooper, Will Jones, Vanessa Oji, Beth Norris, Tom Smith, Isaac Senior, Hattie Borthwick, Htee Ku Htoo, Isaac Warburton and Steven Pritchett.
Of course, the events in the Ukraine may be causing our young people anxiety and distress. The psychology department at the Children’s Hospital, have put together resources and links to help parents/adults talking to their children about the war in Ukraine, which may be of interest to you.
To end, I share a prayer from CAFOD with you for all those affected by the war in Ukraine which we are using in school, so that those of you who want to, can join in with our prayers at home.
We pray for the people of Ukraine,
for all those suffering or afraid,
that you will be close to them and protect them.
We pray for world leaders,
for compassion, strength and wisdom to guide their choices.
We pray for the world
that in this moment of crisis,
we may reach out in solidarity
to our brothers and sisters in need.
May we walk in your ways
so that peace and justice
become a reality for the people of Ukraine
and for all the world