Headteacher Update for Parents/Carers - Thursday 1st April 2021
I write to you as we approach the end of the spring term here in school and a half-term in which students returned back to us from March 8th following a period of lockdown and working remotely.
Return to school
Our students must be congratulated and commended for the manner in which they have returned to school and for their mature approach towards conforming to the whole school risk assessment document in order to keep everyone as safe as possible here on site. Our students have ensured that they have maintained safe distancing within their individual year group bubbles and have also made correct use of PPE and conducted regular handwashing. We are also very pleased with how every student who is not medically exempt from wearing a face covering has met our school expectation for them to be worn in all classrooms. This is not how we would ideally like learning within the school to take place and we await an update in relation to the need for the continued wearing of face coverings in lessons from the DfE over the Easter holiday. Please monitor the school website for updates during the Easter break.
As part of our induction days at the start of the month students were introduced to our new system of the 3 R’s: RESPECT, RESPONSIBILITY and RESILIENCE. Over the past month I am pleased to say that this is becoming more evident in lessons and around the school and we are all working to embed these principles more fully and reward those students demonstrating these qualities during the remainder of the current academic year.
COVID has meant that all students have faced huge disruptions to their education, well-being and extra-curricular and enrichment experiences. A number of students in various year groups have been unable to experience school as it normally runs and have not had access to science laboratories or ICT classrooms due to the location of different year group bubbles.
As a school, we are very aware that the summer term is hugely important for every student and our planning in relation to the curriculum and personal development and well-being provision has been designed to continue to support students and offer a continued broad and balanced experience. Further information will be issued about how the summer term will look and operate for each individual year group at the start of next term.
In addition to this we will be providing details as to how Benfield Summer School will take place during the holidays and how the Transition experience will operate for students currently in Year 6 who will be joining Benfield in Year 7 in September.
Year 11 and Year 13 assessment
Students in Years 11 and 13 are currently working with their teachers to prepare for a range of assessment tasks that will add to the evidence staff will use when producing this year’s centre-assessed GCSE, BTEC and A-Level grades. Year 11 and 13 have begun working on these assessments with energy and enthusiasm, which promises well for the summer.
The grades awarded this summer will be based upon a range of assessments which students have completed since returning to school, the autumn term and last year. These judgements are not made by individual staff, but are produced by subject teams and will be checked and validated by Benfield’s senior leaders in accordance with the guidance we received at the beginning of this week from the Department for Education.
The extensive guidance for awarding GCSE, BTEC and A level grades which we received last weekend is currently being analysed by SLT, and further information for parents and students will be published after Easter.
Lateral Flow Testing
Lateral flow testing has proved a huge success here on site with over 90% of students consenting to testing. Alongside all adults on site being tested, Benfield has been able to monitor COVID-19 outbreaks closely. Where we have had a very small number of positive cases reported to school our effective track and trace procedures linked to our set seating plans for students has ensured that a very small number of students have been affected and have been required to self-isolate. To support learning to take place off site we continue to operate our remote learning resources and blended learning.
Lateral flow testing is now taking place for consenting students and staff at home and I would like to thank parents and carers for your support in the continuation of this.
Students this year have been good at wearing the correct uniform and we expect this to continue next term. Appropriate sanctions will be in place for those students who do not meet school expectations. This also includes our PE kit. Please see details on the school website for our school uniform expectations.
Unless there are changes to current guidance from the DfE, students next term should continue to attend school in their PE kit on days where they are timetabled to have a PE lesson.
You can also help us by reminding your child of the school’s expectations regarding appearance and conduct, particularly taking note of the fact that and that only a single pair of sleeper earrings are an appropriate piercing set for students to wear whilst on the school premises. All other piercings are not permitted.
Mobile phones must not be used in school and only permitted during social times by students in outdoor areas.
You must contact school on the day of every absence. Support is available for parents/carers of students whose absence has become a concern. Please contact the appropriate Year Leader here in school.
May I please request that doctor or dental appointments are made after 2:00pm wherever possible, ensuring that you provide medical evidence (letter or appointment card) for any medical related absences. I must also stress that in line with DfE guidelines that students must not be taken out of school during term time for holidays as permission cannot be given.
Arrangements for the start of summer term
Monday 19th April – School re-opens to students in all year groups with current arrival times
and entrances as are currently in operation
With your appreciated and on-going partnership, I look forward to sharing further successes and updates with you throughout the coming months.
I hope you have a safe and enjoyable Easter break and we look forward to students returning in the summer term.
Mr R Carr