Head Teacher’s Blog 28th May 2021
This week, following the feast of Pentecost on Sunday, I share with you a Pentecost prayer from CAFOD.
Come, Holy Spirit, come.
Flowing and glowing,
brightness in my darkness,
power in my weakness,
peace in times of trouble in my life.
Spirit of Wisdom,
guide our actions so they tell of God’s love.
Spirit of Truth,
open our eyes to see the world as it really is.
Spirit of Power,
enthuse us to work for justice throughout the world.
Spirit of Love,
inspire us to respect the dignity of each person.
Come, Holy Spirit, fill our hearts.
This prayer feels particularly appropriate as I think about our Y11 and Y13 students, who have gathered over the last two days to celebrate their time in school and to as they gathered for the last time as a full year group. We know that for the majority of our Y11 students we are not saying goodbye, as they will be here in September to start their A Level study. We also hope that we will see as many of our Y11 and Y13 students as possible in the Autumn term for our Prize Nights.
For now, however, I would like to take this opportunity once more to recognise students for the way in which they have responded to such an unprecedented set of changes to their last two years in school. There are of course lots of individual stories of success and things that haven’t gone well, but the overall impression given by both Y13 and Y11 has been one of resilience, adaptability and self-sufficiency in the face of change and uncertainty. It has been remarkable how little teachers have had to change the curriculum and how students have managed so well the impact on their education and their lives of the disruption caused by Covid. I hope that all students can look back with happiness on their time at Notre Dame and that they carry lessons learned in and out of the classroom with them. I hope that they can draw confidence from their achievements, not least how they have navigated these last 18 months. I can certainly say that each individual has left their mark on our community and we are blessed that they are part of the story of this school and our lives.
A message from Ms Parke about students who entered a poetry competition during lockdown:
During Lockdown earlier on this year, when most of us were teaching or learning remotely, some of our students submitted poetry entries to a competition run by Thornberry Animal Sanctuary.
This week Isla Reynard (9WE) heard that she had been awarded second place for her wonderful poem 'Cat and Mouse'. She will receive a trophy, along with having her poem printed in the "Winners' Section" of the poetry collection that the charity is creating. Alongside Isla's poem will be all of the other entrants to the competition. We will definitely be ordering a copy of the book for school once it has been compiled and is on sale and will give details of how to purchase the collection, when we have them, so that others can support both our students and the charity.
Well done Isla along with all other students who entered the competition!
After the half term break, we will be switching over from E-Portal to Bromcom. Bromcom is a newer system that will give parents access to the same information that you have got through e-portal up until now. Because it is a newer system, we hope that you will find it easier to use than e-portal. One of the advantages, for example, is that Bromcom comes with an App that you will be able to download if you wish, giving you easier access in one place to information about how your child is getting on in school.
We will send more information after the half term break and thank you in advance for your patience should we see any teething problems with the move over to the new system. We hope to see the benefits of the newer system as we all gain experience with it.
If you have a child who is joining us in Y7 next year, you will shortly be receiving a letter from me updating you on plans for the remaining induction programme over the summer term. Unfortunately, in line with public health advice, we are not going to be able to run the live induction day and induction evening as we had hoped. We will be running virtual equivalents, however. We have experience from last year that we will be drawing on.
We are also able to access some new government funding so that we can run an induction summer school, providing an opportunity for students who can attend to get the benefit of gathering with new classmates in the school building before they start in September. There is information about this in the letter that you will be receiving along with a link to a survey which we ask you to complete so that we know the number of students that would be interested in the induction summer school.
BBC Bitesize filming at Notre Dame
We have been approached by the BBC who want to come and film some of our students and teachers demonstrating practical Science experiments as part of the BBC Bitesize package of resources. They will be coming in after the half term and we have some teachers and students lined up and ready to be involved. It is exciting to have something a bit different to look forward to and it feels good that we can contribute to a national remote learning resource that has been such a support for so many this year.
I am sure we will be able to share something about the experience in a future Blog.
Covid testing and contact tracing over the half term break
Unfortunately, this week we have had a couple of positive Covid cases in two different year groups, leading to some students having to isolate. I certainly feel for those who are isolating, particularly those who have had to do so multiple times.
We have seen very few positive cases this half term, with these being the first in weeks, which as encouraging sign that all the measures everyone has been taking are having an effect. However, these cases are a reminder that the virus is still with us and can still be disruptive.
It is timely then to remind everyone that students should continue with self testing over the half term break. It is really helpful to continue with this as it minimises the chance of someone who has Covid with no symptoms coming into school and passing it to others. Also, by testing over the half term break, it can help to identify cases before students have mixed with others in school, which reduces the numbers who need to isolate.
I also want to remind you that if your child tests positive on a LFD test, or develops symptoms and tests positive, you should notify school if the symptoms started or the positive LFD test came less than 2 days since they were in school. This allows us to support track and trace teams by identifying close contacts in school
To notify school of a positive test, it the test or symptoms are within 2 days of your child being in school, please ring the school number (0114 2302536) and select the option to report a positive Covid case. You will be asked to leave a message. Members of staff are monitoring the messages each day and someone will contact you when they pick the message up. They will want to ask some questions to help us to identify any potential in school contacts.
Many thanks for your continued support.
Mr S Davies