Headteacher's Newsletter 21/05/21

Dear Parent or Carer,

I hope you are still remaining safe and well as we move with determination through the first
part of this Summer Term.

When I wrote to you at Easter, I mentioned how we as a school were continuing to operate
under the current guidance, working towards Stage 3 of the Governments road map. Now
that Stage 3 has been achieved and currently the country and ourselves are focusing on Stage
4 on 21st June 2021, it is time, under that current guidance, to begin to return to a ‘normal’,
pre-pandemic school. For students in Years 7 to 10 along with Year 12, this will mean a
continuation of their studies here in Gateacre. It will also mean a change to the way we have
proceeded for nearly an academic year.


Whit half term serves as a natural break and a time for all in Gateacre to ‘reset’ the current
Covid School returning part of the way to a normal functioning school; as always ensuring that
we adhere to both DfE and Local Authority guidance. During the last few weeks, I and other
SLT colleagues have been in consultation with Gateacre colleagues, the Local Authority Health
and Safety Team along with Trade union representatives to discuss how we begin to return
to a pre-pandemic school.

This biggest change to school procedures will be the return to lessons in curriculum
areas. Instead of teachers moving to Year Group bubbles to deliver lessons, Year Group
bubbles will move safely to lessons taught in curriculum areas, something that was in place
long before the pandemic. This will certainly be a big change, particularly for students in Year
7 who know nothing other than the current Covid system, and possibly for Year 8 students
who only experienced this ‘normal’ model for less than a term and a half. This Whit holiday
reset will also enable us to once again establish the culture, ethos and standards that are
normally associated with a pre-pandemic Gateacre School. Gateacre School has recently
received another very positive Ofsted report: two visits and two reports in two years. Both
of these highlight and celebrate the journey to good that Gateacre School is currently on.

To continue on our successful journey and a re-establishment of ‘The Gateacre Way’, I am
requiring us all to work together, to provide that support for students and staff alike. This will
mean a reinstatement of our expectations of politeness, honesty and hard work (PH2)
amongst others. On our return after the Whit break colleagues will stringently challenge
students who are not following the school policy in the areas below:

  • fully equipped for learning,
  • outdoor coats will be removed on entering the building,
  • school ties worn smartly with the badge on show,
  • correct school shoes worn,
  • shirts tucked in,
  • skirts of an appropriate length,
  • blazers worn with pride,
  • school bags to be of a size that will fit A4 exercise books to enable books to be taken home and used at home once more,
  • mobile phones will not be seen but removed from students if there is noncompliance after a warning,
  • ear phones or ear buds to be removed on entering the building,
  • chewing gum and fizzy drinks will not be allowed in school,
  • litter placed in the bins provided and not left for others to collect.

When challenged I expect students to respond politely as rudeness is not acceptable from
anyone. Similarly, I expect yourselves to support the action the school takes and not verbally
abuse school staff if you are unhappy with a decision the school has made. All these things
are the foundations of what makes a school good and then better than good. This clear
message, reinforcing our expectations, will be given to all students, by me, through virtual
assemblies starting on Monday next week and repeated in face to face, Year Group
assemblies, once again in the theatre, after the Whit break.

I am well aware that the impact of the lockdown and this pandemic has had on us all,
however, it is time to begin to move on and return once more to a school that prides itself on
high standards, moral fibre and a place where your child continues to receive a fantastic
education. This is my vision for all those who attend Gateacre School.

In order that we may begin this reset process I am allowing all students in Years 7-10, along
with 12, to leave school on Friday 28th May 2021 at the end of period 3 which is 12.35pm. Those
students who would normally receive a school meal will be provided with one before they
leave. School will be closed to all students from that time onwards. All school colleagues will
remain in school so that they may begin the process of returning Gateacre School to what
was present before the outbreak of this pandemic.

This is only the beginning, further changes will occur to procedures and practices, on receipt
of the guidance on the 21st June 2021, in preparation for September. Once again I will share
with you these changes as the second half of the Summer Term unfolds.
I would once again like to thank you for your continued support of the school and look forward
to meeting you all face to face once more in September.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

Gareth Jones

Headteacher