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Parent Bulletin 11/06/21

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

Dear UCC families,

I wrote to you earlier in the week about face coverings, PE kit and ties, so I wasn't planning to bombard you with a long bulletin today. However, I do want to articulate my reflections on what has been a busy week in school. I received a lot of feedback at the start of the week regarding face coverings, most of it falling into two distinct camps. On the one hand there were parents writing in to express their concerns that we were not following the government recommendations regarding face coverings, and on the other, just as many messages praising our balanced and nuanced approach, which gives students to option of wearing them in classrooms and corridors. I have always known that when serving a large and diverse community, I will never be able to please everyone; this is unrealistic. However, I do hope to achieve the trust of everyone who is a UCC stakeholder. I have always aimed to achieve this trust through regular communication that is honest and transparent, alongside always modelling and reinforcing our school values. These approaches are so important to me, and I will always make decisions and steer the school based on our values and what I believe is the right thing to do. Reflection is a key process for me as a school leader, and my reflection this week is that my communication could have been clearer and more detailed, explaining the rationale behind our decision regarding face coverings being optional for students. To briefly give you an additional reason of why we are asking students to wear face coverings, but giving them the option not to, is that the SAGE group and the Independent SAGE group did not recommend the removal of face coverings from secondary schools from May 17th. The government did not follow this scientific advice (a link here to the British Medical Journal explains this) and this places schools in a very difficult position. Whilst Rutland levels are low, the levels in Leicester and Leicestershire, where many colleagues and students live, is higher, and therefore we have to consider this in our decision making. Ultimately, I am confident that we have taken a sensible and balanced approach, which we will continue to review throughout the remainder of the term.

I am sure that the low light of the week for most students is the process of swabbing themselves with the Lateral Flow home test kits on a Monday and Friday evening. Although the process will have become more autonomous for us all, it hasn't got any less unpleasant, but it is playing a significant role in helping us keep our school community safe. We have really high levels of compliance across colleagues and our students, which shows the collective effort from our school community. As more of the adult population receive our second vaccination, it is important that we do not become complacent and that we all continue to be vigilant with our key safety measures.  I am very grateful for the professional and responsible way my colleagues and our students are adopting these practices and it is important for us to keep these measures, alongside our twice weekly home testing, operating consistently throughout the remainder of the term. 

Finally, I have spent time this week visiting our local feeder primary schools to speak with pupils in Year 5. The purpose of these talks is to reassure them about the process of starting secondary school (they will make their decisions by October 31st 2021) and tell them a little about UCC. On each visit I have taken a couple of former students from each school, all of whom have been magnificent ambassadors for our school, speaking articulately and passionately about their experiences here. I would like to give a personal and public thanks to George, Penny, Archie, Rebecca, Oliver and Felicity, who have all represented UCC superbly whilst visiting their old primary schools.

I hope you all have a great weekend
Mr Solly.