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Letter To Parents 16th December 2021

16th December 2021

Dear Parents and Carers,

Our Ofsted Visit

May I thank you all for your kind feedback via the Parent View and may I also thank the students for their excellent behaviour while Ofsted was with us.
We had a Section 8 Ofsted, which means we were not graded and it was more of a health check to ensure that standards are still high, and I am delighted to inform you that we passed with flying colours. So we do not receive new scores, instead Ofsted will write a letter to parents about the school, which I will forward on to you as soon as I have it. The highlights from the feedback were how engaged our students were in lessons, how good our teachers and their resources were and how outstanding the opportunities for the students in the school are.
This graph is very representative of what you fed back and we are delighted that over 90% of you are very happy and we will continue to strive to increase this result to 100%.

Sorry for the Cover

It has been very difficult to continue operating the school as normal over the last fortnight as we have had a large amount of staff off school due to COVID. There were fourteen staff off on Thursday and it has meant that the students have received more cover lessons than we would have liked and at times we have had to group classes together. May I apologise for this disruption but our only other option would have been to shut to certain year groups and we wanted to avoid this possibility at all costs.

Return to School Testing 4th January

I apologise that we had to change the date from the 5th to the 4th, if you have made other arrangements it is quite acceptable for the students to take a test themselves that day and to email the school@fernup.dorset.sch.uk with the result. This is also the case for those students who cannot get to school as there are no school buses running that day. The reason we have chosen the Tuesday is to minimise lost lessons. A reminder of the timetable is below:

The government has also advised that pupils and staff in all educational settings, should take one self-test at home either the evening or morning before they return in January in addition to the on-site test. Following this the students should continue to test twice each week in line with government guidelines.

School Survey

Thank you for your feedback and I am happy to update you over the changes that we have already made as a result of it. We have changed the rules so that coats and scarves may be worn in the school’s communal areas while it is cold (as we are keeping the windows open as a COVID preventative measure). Teachers have already been permitted to allow this in their classrooms. We have also made some adjustments to 6th form expectations when they are not in lessons and we are re-considering whether we allow mobile phones in the school as we are the last remaining local school to allow them.

Possible Plan B

After the Prime Minister announced Plan B measures for England on 8th December, schools have been asked to put contingency plans together. These plans would be put in place if there was another national lockdown that included school closures like last January OR if the number of staff absent with COVID after the Christmas break makes running the school impossible.

We will update you as soon as possible if this does occur and switch to remote live lessons straight away.

New Government Guidance

From 14th December, a new national approach to daily testing for contacts of COVID has been introduced. All adults who are fully vaccinated and children aged 5 to18 years and 6 months, identified as a contact of someone with COVID-19 – whether Omicron or not – should take an LFD test every day for 7 days instead of self-isolating.

Uniform

I have noticed that recently the students are trying to wear trainers or ‘vans’ style footwear and this is a fairness issue. When 99% of the student body are conforming to the rules it is not fair on them for the school to allow a few to break the rules. So from January we will be conducting uniform checks. If you are unsure whether a shoe is a trainer, the sole usually gives it away and leather style ‘vans’ have a strip of rubber running around the bottom of the shoe.

Have a great Christmas and stay safe.

Yours faithfully,

Philip Jones