10th September 2020

Dear Parents and Carers

As I write, we have now welcomed all year groups back to school. I am pleased to report that the return has gone very well so far. Can I thank you for the significant part you have played in that; it is very much appreciated. School now feels, looks and sounds like a school again and we are getting back to the business of learning. Pupils have adapted quickly and without fuss to a whole raft of new routines and procedures in school, designed to keep them and staff safe. I have been very proud of how our whole school community has responded to the message of ‘Stay Safe, Stay Positive’.

A few reminders and updates:

  • All pupils have been given a guide to returning to school. Can I encourage you to go through this with them and ensure they fully understand all the new routines and why they are important. Please also remind them to follow the government guidelines about social distancing outside of school.
  • Within school, we expect all pupils to follow all COVID-19 related rules. The government has given schools the power to issue Fixed Term Exclusions for ‘Wilful and repeated transgression of protective measures in place to protect public health.’ (DFE 09/09/2020.)
  •  There are a lot of nonsense stories circulating on social media nationally about the return to school. These are usually aimed at alarming and distressing parents and children by playing on their fears. Some of them are highlighted in this BBC news article. The government has updated its guidance for parents and carers and this can be found here.
  • If you have any concerns or queries, please contact your child’s Head of Year. This is a much better way of resolving concerns than posting on social media. Please be patient; staff will get back to you as soon as they can but do not expect an immediate response.
  • Whilst the vast majority of communications between home and school are positive and constructive, I am sad to report that the language and tone of some of the emails and calls that staff have taken over the last few days has been completely unacceptable. Abusive and inflammatory language towards staff will not be tolerated.
  • We are currently reviewing all the new systems we have put in place to keep year group bubbles as separate as possible. One of the issues is lunchtime and bad weather contingencies. We recognise that this is a genuine concern for parents. We have invested in new outdoor canopies in two year group areas and many new picnic tables but we are limited in space and facilities, especially if year groups are not to mix. Unfortunately, when the school was designed little thought was given to large indoor spaces and we only have one canteen. At this stage, can I just reassure you that we are looking actively at a wide range of options to improve provision for pupils at lunchtime whilst maintaining safety and separation between year group bubbles.
  • I am pleased to inform you that the bus companies have put on more buses (sometimes coaches) on most major routes into and out of Wigan in the morning and afternoon. They tend to arrive 5 minutes after the original service, or at least that is the intention. Full details of the routes and times can be found at www.tgfm.com
  •  Could all pupils please be sent into school with a coat. On days when pupils have PE, they are to come to school in their kit. They should wear their normal school coat or their blazer to keep them warm on the way to and from school. They may also wear navy blue leggings/ tracksuit bottoms. Pupils who study GCSE PE and GCSE dance should come into school in kit on days where they have practical PE lessons.
  • All washable facemasks need to be washed each evening so they can be worn clean the next day. It is much better if pupils bring their facemask in a sealable plastic bag, such as a sandwich bag. Please also make sure that your child leaves the house with their year group lanyard.
  • Please do not park on Frog Lane at the start and end of the day to drop off/pick up children. It is not safe for pupils and causes traffic chaos. Likewise, the staff car park must not be used for picking up/dropping off.

Click here to view the ‘Quick guide for Parents’ regarding COVID-19 related absences, produced by Greater Manchester Health Authority.

I have now spoken to each year group to welcome them back. As part of that I have reflected with pupils on a passage from 1 Joshua 9: ‘Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go’. As we move forwards together, let us keep those words in mind and may God continue to bless our school.

Yours faithfully
Mr M Wood