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COVID-19 and School Update w/c 23 November

As we enter the last four weeks of this term, it is important that the school continues to share further COVID-19 and Key Stage updates. Despite the obvious challenges we are facing as a community I continue to be proud of the response from students, staff and parent/carers. We all know the benefits of your child regularly attending school and therefore it is particularly encouraging that our daily attendance continues to be higher than the daily average in Bexley. I encourage you to continue sending your child to school each day unless they are required to self-isolate, are displaying Covid-19 related symptoms or are genuinely unwell.

COVID-19 Update

Since Monday 16 November we have had nine student cases. There have been three cases in Year 8, one case in Year 9, three cases in Year 10, one case in Year 11 and one case in Year 12. In some incidences this has not led to students needing to self-isolate, either because in the case of Year 10 the whole year group were at home last week or because a student had not been in school during the period of time they are considered to be infectious. As a school our well-established systems mean that we are able to respond to COVID-19 cases quickly. Please can I remind all parent/carers that you must inform the school immediately in the event that your child tests positive for COVID-19. Since Monday 16 November we have also had one further staff case. This has not had a further impact on the school as the member of staff was already self-isolating. The school has established strong links with the Local Health Protection Team and Local Authority meaning that we are able to access up-to-date and relevant advice when required.

Key Stage 3

Before the end of this term, KS3 students will be sitting the first of their two yearly formal assessments in each subject, results of which will be shared with parent/carers when we return in January. It has also been a busy few weeks for students outside of the classroom with students raising £209 for Young Minds and over £1600 for Children in Need. Our KS3 Art Scholars have been working hard redeveloping the school garden and the gallery has been filled with charcoal portraits as well as an exhibition celebrating Black History Month. Our Anti-bullying work has picked up where it left off before the school closures with our student-written anti-bullying policy shared with all students and the introduction of our anti-bullying website and Twitter page where students can report bullying and find out more about how they can support our Diana Award campaign. We are also pleased to be working with Safer Schools and a new app will be launched for all students which will help them stay safe in school, at home, online and in the wider community; further details to follow. Instrumental music lessons have also resumed with students receiving high quality 1:1 tuition once a week over a 10 week period to develop their skills and a lifelong passion for music.

Key Stage 4

It has been great to welcome back Year 10 this week after the year group was required to self-isolate. Year 11 students continue to be active and ambitious in their Pre Public Exams (PPEs) preparations. In particular there have been impressive numbers of Year 11s attending intervention both before and after school. PPEs for Year 11 have started this week and a separate letter has gone home to Year 11 parent/carers with further information. This set of PPEs will form the basis of updated predictions which will be shared with parent/carers in January. They are also an important piece of evidence that the school may need to use in the event of any changes to national exams in the summer.

Key Stage 5

The 6th Form has maintained excellent attendance this term, averaging 97% which is an outstanding achievement in the current circumstances. We continue to drive forward with preparation for exams. Year 13 are already producing final exam components in Drama, Fine Art and Photography. Vocational subjects are preparing for exams in January that will count towards their final grades and A level subjects are currently sitting PPE internal assessments which will generate a final predicted grade for the summer. These will be reported to parent/carers in January. The UCAS application process is underway and students are in the process of finalising their applications to universities - the deadline this year is 15 January 2021. We have begun 6th Form recruitment for next academic year and so far we have received over 100 applications, including 30 from students from other schools. Given that the deadline for 6th Form applications is the end of this term, this number is really encouraging and supports our desire for the 6th Form to grow. Further information about our subject offer and an application form are on our website. In addition to the hard work going on in lessons we have also had Fine Art students taking part in the virtual judging of a local Art competition as part of the Woolwich Print Fair. Finally, the 6th Form centre is currently closing at 12.30 daily and lesson 5 has been suspended; these are measures we have put in place to limit any large social grouping of students.

The school remains committed to working with all our parent/carers and I encourage you to contact relevant staff directly or via if there is anything we can help with. Our school reception is also now reopen and able to receive incoming phone calls.

With very best wishes,

Yours faithfully

Mr R Pett