Headteacher - School Information Updates

Headteacher Update - Friday 9th January 2022

 

Dear Parent/Carer,

 

I would like to start by extending my thanks to you all for your on-going support to the school and for your feedback last term as students return after the Christmas break.

 

Tuesday of this week saw high numbers of students taking Lateral Flow Tests on site before school began on Wednesday and I am very pleased with how students have returned to school and are contributing to our calm corridors and purposeful classrooms.  They are following well our expectations of:

 

  • Be prepared
  • Follow instructions
  • Look the part

We have returned to school after the holidays with new guidance from government in relation to measures to combat COVID-19. Can I remind you to speak with your child to continue to support the school in the requirements that all students who are not medically exempt should wear a face covering in classrooms and in all communal areas whilst on-site.  Benfield continues to have an effective risk assessment in place.  Due to COVID-19 staff absence remains an issue but I would like to reassure parents/carers that we prioritise keeping all students on-site and experiencing face-to-face teaching in the current climate, but also have on-line subject resources available to support any student who is unable to attend school via the remote learning section of the website.

 

Last half-term all students in key stage 3 undertook baseline tests in subjects and changes have taken place this week to sets in Years 7, 8 and 9 in all subjects with students being placed in groups based upon ability.  These groupings will continue to be reviewed across the remainder of the year following half-termly assessments.

 

Homework has been restructured for this term for all year groups and will now operate over a full half- term with a common theme across a number of subject areas so that student skills, learning and understanding of key links is interleaved.  Further details will follow in the coming week.

 

Activities that take place outside of the academic curriculum- clubs, games, societies are a high priority for us at Benfield- they develop social skills and new experiences as well as opportunities for leadership and interaction with a wide range of young people whilst learning new skills revealing hidden talents.  I would like every student at Benfield to participate in at least one – please look at our offer on the school website and encourage your child to choose and participate this New Year.

 

We continue to work with students to engage with quality first teaching and make sure that attitudes towards learning meet school expectations.  This term we have developed our student behaviour support provision further so that any student who needs support with their learning or behaviour will be supported by our behaviour team in an alternative calm learning environment.  Students will be required to hand over their mobile telephones for safekeeping which will be returned at the end of the session.  This provision aims to avoid suspension and is therefore mandatory.  This will happen in response to serious acts of inappropriate behaviour which hinders the learning of others or whose attitude towards staff is unacceptable.  Senior staff and Year leads will apply an agreed referral process before a referral is made and parents/carers will always be informed.  Targeted intervention and support will be put into place before students are placed back in to lessons.

 

We have welcomed a number of new staff to Benfield this week and there have also been some changes to the pastoral team.  Year 9 will be led by Mr Lawson following Miss Thackray leaving this role and Miss Liddle-McGhee will be taking lead of Year 11 from next week as Miss Bullock leaves us to take up a new post in another school.  Mrs Hall will be taking lead of our sixth form students from next week.

 

I continue to prioritise improving communication between home and school this term and I will be seeking further feedback from yourselves on this and other areas of the school as I release an on-line parent/carer survey this half-term.

 

I look forward to sharing the successes of our students and Benfield with you across the Spring term.

 

Richard Carr, Headteacher