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Parent Bulletin 03/09/21

Please see the first bulletin of this academic year from Mr Solly below...

Dear UCC Families,

I hope your child has enjoyed their first week of the 2021-22 academic year. It has been truly wonderful welcoming students back to school and in particular, we have enjoyed integrating our new year 7 students into the UCC family. I have spent a lot of time throughout the week, speaking to students during break, lunch and lesson change overs and I have been really impressed with their positive attitudes and modelling of the UCC values.

Last night we hosted the Prom for the 2021 Y11 leavers and it was a fantastic event. It was great to see our class of 21 enjoying themselves after the difficult year they had. We will upload photos next week and I really hope our current Year 11 get to experience their GCSE examinations and prom during the summer of 2022 in less complicated circumstances. 

As well as welcoming our new Year 7 students this week, we have also welcomed a number of new colleagues into Team UCC. These people have also made a brilliant start in their new roles, which has been great to see. 

We host our open evening on Thursday 16th September 6-8pm, which is aimed at families with children in Year 6. We are seeking student volunteers to support us in showcasing UCC to these prospective families. If your child would like to represent UCC at this event, they will bring home a consent form next week for you to complete. Our students are always our best advocates, so we hope that lots of our young people will volunteer at this important event. 

Our rebuilding project has been delayed for a number of reasons, but we are almost at the finishing line. A mixture of Covid and Brexit related issues have detrimentally affected the supply of materials and workforce throughout July and August, but the team have worked extremely hard to ensure the Humanities classrooms were ready for this first week back. The new classrooms are superb and I know students will benefit hugely from these amazing new learning spaces. The fitness suite is still a couple of weeks away from completion, as the concrete floor is still not dry enough to lay the flooring; the huge ingress of rain water during the period of time when all the structural repairs were taking place has meant that we have to be patient until the moisture readings are at an acceptable level. It will really be a showcase facility for us when it is completed though, and I cannot wait to see students making the most of it in PE lessons and clubs. 

Year 7 parents will be given information next week on how to set up on Satchel:One - our on-line homework portal and remote learning facility. Year 7 students will be given instruction and set up on the system from next Thursday.

The Covid lateral flow testing site in The Drama Studio has now closed for business once more. A massive thank you to everyone for their support of this process. It all ran very smoothly. We did pick up some positive cases and were able to ensure that those students were not circulating and potentially infecting others. The process has also served as a reminder to all our students and parents of the importance of twice weekly testing. I would also like to particularly thank Jo Wood and Helen Bennett, our Team Leaders, who enabled it all to happen, along with Mr Anderson who oversaw the whole process.

Finally, I wanted to clarify a few Covid related topics that are important for you to be aware of:

  • we have updated our risk assessment in line with new government guidelines. The major headlines are keeping classrooms well ventilated and encouraging good hand and respiratory hygiene. Some colleagues and students are choosing to continue wearing face coverings, which is understandable.
  • we have also written an Outbreak Management Plan, which will be implemented if Public Health England advise us to. This would be in circumstances where the school or local community recorded high levels of Covid and would result in many of the additional safety measures we had in place last year being re-introduced.
  • if your child has symptoms they should not come to school and should take a PCR test. 
  • for people who are 'double jabbed' and for under 18s, there is no need to self isolate if someone you live with has Covid symptoms or tests positive.
  • we would still like all students to complete 2 Lateral Flow Tests per week at home. We have changed the days of the week for this now though, based on the new isolation and track and trace expectations for schools (which have been removed) - so after today's home test, we are asking students to test at home on Sunday and Wednesday evenings and continue logging the outcome with UCC and the government website. If the LFT records a positive test then your child should not come to school and should take a PCR test to confirm the result. 
  • Year 7 students will not have completed home tests before, so here is a helpful video to support families with this.

The start of term is always a time for optimism and hope. I really hope we can continue working in circumstances that are as normal as possible for our young people, because I have seen the positive impact this is having on them whilst they are at school. 

Please take the time to read through the rest of our newsletter.

Have a great weekend
Mr Solly.