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Parent Bulletin 14/05/21

Please see the latest bulletin from Mr Solly below...

Dear parents and carers,

I hope this bulletin finds you and your family safe and well. You will have seen or read the government announcement earlier this week regarding face coverings in schools. I have spent time since this announcement reflecting on a number of things, namely the scientific advice that was provided for the government (which hasn't been followed), and the point at which we are currently at in the academic year. Specifically, with 2 weeks until half term and Year 11 in the final stages of their assessment window, I want to give them the best chance possible of completing their assessments without any disruption. Therefore, the school decision on face masks is that for the next 2 weeks we will continue to ask students to wear them in lessons and in corridors, in order to reduce the chance of transmission as much as we can. Whilst this is not in line with the recommendations made by the government, it is the scenario I feel is the most sensible and pragmatic, and the one that prioritises safety at the end of such a crucial half term. After half term face coverings will become optional for students and we will expect colleagues to continue wearing them at times when they are not able to maintain a 2m distance from students or colleagues. In terms of school buses, the rules on face coverings have not changed and students are expected to wear them at all times when using this transport. The issue of face masks does tend to polarise opinion, and I appreciate that not everyone will agree with the decision we have made. However, I can assure you that we have had robust discussions about all possible scenarios and the final decision has been made with the health and safety of everyone in our school community in mind. 

Yesterday was an important day for us in securing a new Director of PE and School Sport. I am delighted to inform you that, following a highly competitive and rigorous process, we appointed Danny Laywood to this crucial role. Danny is a Lead Practitioner in PE and holds a number of other whole school leadership responsibilities at Lutterworth College, where he has worked for 11 years. He is a very talented teacher and leader and I am so pleased we have secured him for September; he will be a superb asset to our school and will take our PE and sport provision to the next level. Mr Sheppard, who has been with us on a temporary contract in PE, leaves at the end of next week, following him securing a senior leadership role at a London school. We wish him all the best and thank him for the work he has done here since January. 

I would like to ask for parental support in ensuring your sons and daughters come to school in the correct uniform each day. I have noticed jumpers and hoodies that are not school uniform creeping in and feel it is worthwhile a reminder that these are not acceptable items of clothing. Students are still allowed to wear PE kit to school on the days they have PE, but it must be UCC PE kit. Students will be reminded of this on Monday and each day by their tutors next week, but the most influential voices come from home, so I greatly appreciate your support in us maintaining high standards and avoiding any unnecessary challenge or conflict when incorrect clothing is worn. 

I love an Eleanor Roosevelt quote, and this one struck me as pertinent this week "if life were predictable it would cease to be life, and be without flavour". We have certainly been living in unpredictable times over the past 18 months, and whilst much of it has been extremely challenging for many people, there have been some positives that we can draw from it. A greater connection with the outdoors, with exercise, and maybe a greater appreciation of the things we have. Gratitude for our friends and family and an opportunity to reflect on what we all want from our lives. People can get stuck on the treadmill of life, unable to step off and take in a broad perspective of what is around us; for many of us the last year and a half has afforded an opportunity to reflect and learn. At UCC we are starting to have discussions about what we have learned and what we will take forward into the next academic year to further enhance our provision. We will be talking to our students about this too, to find out which aspects of school they think should stay as they currently are, and which aspects should revert to previous arrangements. After half term we will conduct surveys with all stakeholders so we can build a rich picture of opinions before making decisions.

I hope you have a great weekend.

Take care and stay safe
Mr Solly