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Sum­mer Let­ter July 2021

Dear Par­ents and Carers

It is hard to believe that we are finally com­plet­ing this strange school year. It has been one of chal­lenge but remark­able sto­ries of resilience, team­work, com­mu­nity, learn­ing new ways of work­ing and utter deter­mi­na­tion from our stu­dents, par­ents, car­ers and staff. I com­mend you all.

Stu­dents have hugely impressed us. They have worked with tenac­ity and have adapted to all the rules and sys­tems and remote learn­ing we have had to intro­duce. I have been par­tic­u­larly impressed by how they have looked out for each other and their com­mu­nity with indi­vid­ual com­mu­nity projects such as sewing masks, run­ning allot­ments and small busi­nesses, sup­port­ing vul­ner­a­ble mem­bers of our com­mu­nity and char­i­ties such as our local food bank and vast amounts of vol­un­teer­ing through the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme. Equally impres­sive have been their col­lec­tive projects such as our bril­liant 6th form Busi­ness stu­dents and their work to raise aware­ness and funds for the Young Minds men­tal health char­ity, as well as their events to sup­port stu­dent well­be­ing. Recent pre­fect inter­views with Y10 and Y12 brought home how pas­sion­ately they feel about look­ing after each other in the KES fam­ily and look­ing out for younger stu­dents too; I was so proud of them all. KS3 stu­dents have also been log­ging a vast range of bril­liant evi­dence and activ­i­ties for their LORIC portfolios.

There has also been much to cel­e­brate — stu­dent suc­cess in National Writ­ing com­pe­ti­tions and Inno­va­tion com­pe­ti­tions, Busi­ness of Enter­prise, stu­dents work­ing with the Royal Shake­speare Com­pany in the Vir­tual Play­mak­ing Fes­ti­val, senior stu­dents run­ning writ­ing com­pe­ti­tions and clubs such as debat­ing, for younger stu­dents through lock­down and the amaz­ing end of year KES Fes­ti­val last week with over 140 stu­dents con­tribut­ing through cater­ing, design­ing, music, per­for­mance and hos­pi­tal­ity. It was a truly won­der­ful event for bring­ing us all back together and a huge well done to every­one. I must pay trib­ute to Y11 and Y13 for the way they have responded to the chal­lenges and changes fol­low­ing the can­cel­la­tion of their exams. They have worked so hard and man­aged the asso­ci­ated pres­sures and assess­ments with dig­nity and strength of char­ac­ter — we could not have asked for any more from them. We have also been cel­e­brat­ing some super suc­cess from the Y13 IB results which came through last week and Y13 have some really excit­ing des­ti­na­tion offers from Uni­ver­sity places to high pro­file and sought after appren­tice­ships — more to fol­low when final results come through in August.

Par­ents and Car­ers, I extend a warm thank you for your over­whelm­ing sup­port, help and under­stand­ing with the on site Covid test­ing and with the frus­trat­ing and exhaust­ing iso­la­tion of bub­bles when required. I should also like to say thank you for all the sup­port with remote learn­ing from home. We have had so many heart warm­ing mes­sages of sup­port and won­der­ful com­mu­ni­ca­tions and this has been really appre­ci­ated by all of us.

Lastly, before the impor­tant details and infor­ma­tion for Sep­tem­ber, I must pay trib­ute to our remark­able staff team — both teach­ing and sup­port staff. I am priv­i­leged to work with such an incred­i­ble bunch — they have given so much this year, adapted to new ways of work­ing and remote learn­ing with such exper­tise (I am in awe!), shown unwa­ver­ing energy, ambi­tion and com­pas­sion for our stu­dents and each other, pitched in over their week­ends and evenings to check in with stu­dents or par­ents or carry out track and trace and other addi­tional duties, along­side nav­i­gat­ing their own fam­ily com­mit­ments and some­times chal­lenges. Their tenac­ity, pro­fes­sion­al­ism, com­mit­ment and team spirit hum­bles me and I extend a huge thank them all on behalf of us all.

Best wishes to you all for a rest­ful and won­der­ful summer,

Vicky Willis
Head­teacher

Start of Term and Test­ing Arrange­ments:

Full guid­ance for schools from the DFE is not yet con­firmed until the very end of July/​beginning of August. Based on cur­rent Gov­ern­ment infor­ma­tion, it is likely that stu­dents will be offered 2 lat­eral flow tests on site in school, on their return in Sep­tem­ber and we have made a plan to test all stu­dents twice in the first week of term in line with this. The first test will be prior to stu­dents start­ing back at school and stu­dents will be asked to come to school for their test time slot and return home while this is processed.

Stu­dents will return to school at 8:55am the fol­low­ing school day, sub­ject to a neg­a­tive result. On their first day to school, Y7 will be directed to the Hall and Y12 to the 6th form cen­tre. All other stu­dents will be directed to their new tutor bases by staff on the gates. We look for­ward to return­ing to our pre-​Covid whole school timetable rou­tines in the new term also.
The sec­ond test will be 35 days after that dur­ing school hours. Each tutor group has a spe­cific time slot (we will also send via MyEd) for their 1st test, see below:

Year

Group

Test 1 slot

Return to School

Entrance

7

Thurs 2/​9/​21 10.301.00 pm

Fri­day 3/​9/​21 8:55am

Some Y7s have PE so please bring PE kit!

Main gate

8

Fri 3/​9/​21 8:309:30

Mon­day 6/​9/​21 8:55am

Main gate

9

Fri 3/​9/​21 9:3010:30

Mon­day 6/​9/​21 8:55am

Y9 have PE so please bring PE kit!

Main gate

10

Fri 3/​9/​21 11:0012:00

Mon­day 6/​9/​21 8:55am

Pavil­ion

gate

11

Thurs 2/​9/​21 8.309.30

Fri­day 3/​9/​21 8:55am

Pavil­ion

gate

12&13

Thurs 2/​9/​21 9.3010.30

Fri­day 3/​9/​21 8:55am

Pavil­ion

gate

Please note that test­ing is vol­un­tary but we actively encour­age stu­dents to take part in the test­ing to keep every­one in our com­mu­nity safe. If we already have your con­sent form, you do not need to send it in again but if you have not pre­vi­ously sent this in, please com­plete and return the attached asap. In the event of any change to the cur­rent guid­ance, we will let par­ents know at the ear­li­est opportunity.

Uni­form:
We are really proud of our KES com­mu­nity and we believe that part of the way that we rep­re­sent our­selves links directly with the pride we take in our uni­form. How­ever, we would like to take this oppor­tu­nity to remind you of the uni­form pol­icy so that you can bet­ter pre­pare for Sep­tem­ber. The pol­icy can be found on the school web­site if you seek fur­ther clar­i­fi­ca­tion but some key points are out­lined below:

  • Skirts and Trousers
    A black knee length skirt or tai­lored black trousers are to be worn by stu­dents. This means that we do not per­mit leg­gings, jeans, or stretch fab­ric skirts or trousers. When prepar­ing your uni­form for Sep­tem­ber we ask that you pay par­tic­u­lar atten­tion to the length of skirt as well as the type of mate­r­ial for skirts or trousers. Stu­dents who are wear­ing inap­pro­pri­ate length skirts, or those wear­ing jeans, leg­gings or stretch fab­ric skirts/​trousers will be required to change into the cor­rect uni­form on the day and in this instance we will con­tact home to ask you to bring in the cor­rect cloth­ing so your child can return to lessons as soon as possible..
  • Footwear
    Sen­si­ble plain black leather look shoes with no vis­i­ble logos are per­mit­ted. No coloured can­vas shoes, plim­solls, boots or train­ers are to be worn. Please ensure that your child does not wear any­thing other than the above to avoid us dis­turb­ing you at home or work to bring in the cor­rect footwear for your child.
  • Hood­ies
    Hood­ies and non-​school uni­form jumpers and caps and hats are not per­mit­ted. The King Ethel­bert PE hoody is only per­mit­ted in PE lessons and is not to be worn in the class­room or as a sub­sti­tute for the jumper and blazer.

Phones:
We have had an increas­ing num­ber of inci­dents of learn­ing inter­rupted by mobile phone issues. We will be speak­ing to stu­dents through assem­blies to remind them of our rules in the new term and we wanted to keep you informed and ask for your sup­port by speak­ing to your child also. Please can we also ask that par­ents avoid con­tact­ing their child directly dur­ing the school day. If there is an urgent mes­sage please phone the school and we will pass this on or arrange for them to speak to you if nec­es­sary.
We believe it is impor­tant for stu­dents to be allowed to have their phones with them in school and to learn to man­age appro­pri­ate use of them in their unstruc­tured time and for safety trav­el­ling to and from school. How­ever, learn­ing in the class­room is our pri­or­ity and if your child gets their phone out dur­ing the les­son with­out explicit per­mis­sion, it will be con­fis­cated and a deten­tion issued. Please sup­port us in remind­ing your child of the above.

Atten­dance:
King Ethel­bert School is com­mit­ted to the con­tin­u­ous per­sonal devel­op­ment and rais­ing achieve­ment of all our stu­dents. Reg­u­lar atten­dance is crit­i­cal if our stu­dents are to be suc­cess­ful and ben­e­fit from the oppor­tu­ni­ties pre­sented to them.
One of our basic prin­ci­ples is to cel­e­brate suc­cess. Good atten­dance is fun­da­men­tal to a suc­cess­ful and ful­fill­ing school expe­ri­ence. We actively pro­mote 100% atten­dance for all our stu­dents and use a range of reward strate­gies to cel­e­brate pos­i­tive attendance.

Par­ents have a legal duty to ensure that their chil­dren attend school reg­u­larly and arrive on time. Reg­u­lar atten­dance is essen­tial to the all-​round devel­op­ment of the child and they should be allowed to take full advan­tage of edu­ca­tional oppor­tu­ni­ties avail­able to them in order to make good progress in their learn­ing. Poor atten­dance under­mines their edu­ca­tional attain­ment and can severely impact on their progress. For stu­dents with per­sis­tent low atten­dance we will fol­low the pro­ce­dures given in our school atten­dance pol­icy which can also be found on our school website.

It is the par­ents’ respon­si­bil­ity to con­tact the school if their child is absent via MyEd. This is a safe­guard­ing require­ment so that all par­ties know that your child is safe and their where­abouts is known. Par­ents should reg­u­larly update the school and inform the school when their child is returning.

If a stu­dent feels unwell dur­ing the school day they must go to Pupil Ser­vices to speak to our first aider. Please dis­cour­age your child from ring­ing you directly first before speak­ing to a mem­ber of our staff as this can cause con­fu­sion. If we feel that the stu­dent does need to go home, we will con­tact you directly to arrange for your child to be collected.

Lates and Punc­tu­al­ity
At King Ethel­bert School the reg­is­ter is taken at 9 am and 1.20 pm. Pupils arriv­ing after these times must report to Pupil Ser­vices where their name and the rea­son for late­ness will be recorded. The stu­dent will be marked as late before reg­is­tra­tion has closed (Code ‘L’).
The reg­is­ter will close at 9.10 am and 1.30 pm. Pupils arriv­ing after the reg­is­ter has closed will be marked as late after reg­is­tra­tion (Code ‘U’) and this will count as an unau­tho­rised absence.
Fre­quent late­ness after the reg­is­ter has closed (U) will be dis­cussed with par­ents and could pro­vide grounds for pros­e­cu­tion or a Penalty Notice.