We’ve been back a month already!
I cannot quite believe it’s October. In the summer none of us knew what lay ahead, but our community has been amazing in the manner they have approached the new way of operating. A very special thank you to staff, students, parents and carers for the support you have each given us to facilitate a return to learning and a little more normality.
We had a Fire Alarm test on Tuesday this week. Why on earth am I telling you about that? Well, for me, this event is always a real test of the culture that exists within a school and for some reason, no matter which school I work in, I always get slightly anxious beforehand. I had little to worry about because our students were incredible in the way they calmly and silently vacated the building and followed all instructions. I was both humbled and grateful for how we all worked together to make it a safe and very smooth exercise. It is quite something to watch 1700 young people and the staff emerge from the school as they did. Really special to see!
I am sure many of you will be wondering how we intend to communicate with you when it comes to parents’ evenings and I am happy to say we have a plan. After conversations with several of you, we have decided to carry out virtual face to face meetings with teachers. Each meeting will last 5 minutes to maximise the number of parents/carers a member of staff can see. The technology we will use will end the meeting on exactly 5 minutes and move the member of staff on to the next appointment automatically. Appointments will be made on a first come first served basis and, although not everyone will get every appointment they require, it is a much more personal way to operate these evenings. As always, we will ask for your feedback after the first evening to see how we can further improve. This will be a first for us, so your patience and support will be greatly appreciated.
You are aware that we, like most schools across the UK, have had a few confirmed cases of Covid 19. We have followed the guidance as set out by the DfE and PHE. We are immediately asked to identify ‘Close’ contacts and ‘Social’ contacts and we use our classroom seating plans software to support that process. Once we are clear which students are potentially at risk, and therefore need to self-isolate, we ensure all families affected are spoken to personally about the situation, how to access work from home and when they can return. The support we have had from families of those affected and more widely has been phenomenal. For those that have ongoing concerns I have tried to ring each individually to provide reassurance. These are the times we are living and working in and I hope the communications are helpful. I know it can be frustrating that the exact details cannot always be shared.
I cannot pass on the opportunity to remind you of our Health and Safety obligations. We require all staff and students to wear a face covering in communal areas. We ask that hand sanitiser is applied on entry to school and each lesson and we also ask that the 2-metre rule is observed wherever possible. We ask students not to mingle in groups of more than six at social times and when walking to and from school. We ask students to wear face coverings on school and public transport too. All these measures help to minimise risk, so I feel they are reasonable requests. Your support in reinforcing this message is appreciated.
Finally, I was delighted to welcome to school on Monday, Mr. and Mrs. Taylor, parents of Emma Taylor who sadly passed away over the summer. We had a lovely chat about lots of things but mainly about Emma. They very generously presented me with a cheque for £5000 in her memory. We have agreed to spend the money in several ways. We intend to purchase a bench to be placed at the front of school so staff, students and visitors can remember her every day. We will purchase an award, to be presented annually to a deserving Post 16 student who contributes so much to our school.
Some of the money will be used to support any young people who need help to pursue their dream of studying medicine beyond Beckfoot and, for those that gain a place at university, the money will also fund their first stethoscope. Emma, as many of you know, was an incredible young lady who loved Beckfoot and spent seven very happy years with us. She was due to study medicine at Liverpool and we want her memory to live with us in the years ahead. I am incredibly grateful to her family.