We are very much looking forward to welcoming back all our students on Monday 8th March. I hope families have found the information in the bulletins this week helpful in terms of preparing for this. The key thing to remember is that young people are returning to the same arrangements that they left all be it with further enhanced safety measures in terms of the increased wearing of face coverings, the introduction of a one way system in places and the added security of having had two tests before returning to school.

Indeed the second round of testing begins today and once again I appreciate the support from families with this.

Please do not hesitate to contact school if you have any questions regarding either testing or the return on Monday.

Return to school
When students return we have (until Easter) tried to keep the same routines as when they left.  Key reminders are:

  • Students must wear masks on buses
  • Before school is Breakfast club, this is held in the Main Hall between 8.00am and 8.30am.  Everyone is welcome.
  • We are asking that students arrive between 8.30 and 8.45, washing their hands on arrival before going directly to their form rooms, to complete ‘Wellbeing activities’.
  • Anyone arriving after 8.45 will be classified as late and receive an after school detention.
  • Breaks and lunchtimes are staggered as before.

We have however tweaked the school day (please see the attached).  The key points are:

The School Day V3 (pre-Easter)

  • Period 4 is now 1 hour (10 minutes shorter, but the same length as all the other lessons)
  • Lunch is now 35 minutes (5 minutes longer). This will feel longer than this with only one year group having lunch at a time in a venue and thus moving through very quickly
  • PM registration is now from 1.45 to 2.05
  • Period 5 is now 2.05 to 3.05
  • Years 7, 9 and 6th Form finish at 3.00
  • Years 8, 10 and 11 finish at 3.05

All students will be expected to be in full school uniform.

The biggest difference to students on their return is that they will have to wear masks in all lessons (except PE).

The government has said “…face coverings should be worn by adults and pupils when moving around the premises, outside of classrooms, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing cannot easily be maintained. In addition, we now also recommend in those schools, that face coverings should be worn in classrooms…”

 We are expecting that the wearing of face coverings in lessons will be a temporary arrangement until Easter.

Thank you to all parents for providing their child with a face covering.  It is recommended they have  a clean face covering each day.  We will be enforcing the wearing of face coverings at all times in the school building and during the transitions between lessons.

Food Corner
We are excited to announce our new menu starting in time for the children’s return on Monday 8 March, we are anticipating their return as much as you are.
For the next three weeks we will be trialling our new menu and speaking to students to see what they like and dislike.  Please be assured that although the menu simply states pizza, there are plenty of hidden vegetables in the sauce to ensure they get some of their 5-a-day. Lockdown has been hard on us all, but our focus for the rest of the term is “healthy food-healthy mind”.  In terms of healthy mind for us as parents, we realise how lonely lockdown has been for children, that is why we are making lunchtime an experience for students to meet and chat with friends in a welcoming environment.  As much as we will still be Covid-safe, we would like to encourage them to have a hot meal and sit with their friends in a relaxed atmosphere.  It has been scientifically proven that eating healthier promotes feel-good hormones. All our staff wear face coverings at all times, and as hard as it is, please reassure your child we really are smiling behind our masks and are looking forward to seeing them on Monday. If any parent has any concerns with regards to the new menu we will also be offering jacket potatoes, cold sandwiches, a hot snack, homemade cakes and biscuits.  We also have an allergen file located in the main kitchen, please do not hesitate to email the kitchen dcalvert1@archbishopholgates.org with any queries or concerns.

Week 1 menu

Head of Year update – Miss Turvey and Year 10
This is a screen shot of my final Y10 google classroom online lesson and I am so pleased online learning is over and your children will return to us in the flesh on Monday. Don’t get me wrong I have hugely enjoyed learning new skills, having a voyeuristic peek into your homes and meeting various cats, dogs, younger siblings but part of me is so relieved that we will return to being able to discuss without having to unmute, see people without the screen and even though social distance and masks are still in place it will be delightful to have Y10 back in the Harris block. There are only fifteen school days from return until Easter and I am sure the time will fly by.

Please thank your young person for the first lateral flow test day on Tuesday as the efficiency, courtesy and positivity as they came into school, many of them for the first time in twelve weeks, was a joy. I hope to catch up with a few more of them on Friday for their second test ~ again the only test they are allowed to fail by getting a negative result.

 There are a few habits which may need to be worked on in the next few days before the return on Monday, such as making sure they are up with the alarm, dressed in their school uniform and focussed on their learning in the classroom rather than looking at their mobile phone. I know that many Y10 students have been in their live lessons AND at the same time in a group chat with other students in the same live lesson over their mobile phones. Or they have been in a live lesson listening to the teacher through the earphones while watching something on YouTube or playing a video game. Obviously this cannot happen in school. Ideally mobile phones need to stay at home (or be switched off in the bottom of a school bag). If we see the phone then we will ask for it to be handed over. Excuses such as “I was checking what the time was” will not be accepted. Let’s work together now to avoid this potential conflict.

 Y10 will be working in the Harris block in their Y10 bubble, as they were prior to this latest (and last?) lockdown. Life in school has not changed. Rules in school have not changed. Expectations in school have not changed. Aspirations in school have not changed. Y10 are continuing on their AHS journey and our roadmap takes us through a route of resilience and responsibility. So, remember to wear correct uniform, remember your mask, remember your equipment, remember your indoor PE kit (those who have PE period 1 on Monday need to arrive in their PE kit and have their school clothes in their bag). Remember that we are #teamten.

 As ever if you have any concerns, issues, suggestions or just fancy a chat please do contact us by phone 01904 411341 or email. Miss T.

 Student Wellbeing – Thankful Thursday

Collective Worship
As we move through this half term and the Christian season of Lent we are continuing with our Pilgrim Pathways theme.
Going on a journey can be a great transforming experience, but it can also be difficult. It can be physically tough and sometimes even difficult mentally and emotionally. The key item on our pilgrimage this week is a first aid kit.

Thursday – “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go.” – The Bible, Proverbs 3: 5-6