Letter from Headteacher Mr Brophy 23rd October 2020
Wash Hands – Cover Face – Make Space
Dear Parents and Carers
I am incredibly proud of all the students, the staff and the families in our community because of the optimistic and hopeful way we have supported each other through this first half term during which we have together kept school open for the vast majority of students. I am aware of the challenges that we have all faced in doing this and I know that over the last few weeks we have had occasion to follow Public Health advice and send groups of students home for self-isolation and I would like to apologise again for any disruption caused to parents/carers and to assure you again that these decisions are never taken lightly.
Students have been working incredibly hard in school since September and their assessments are indicating how much progress they are making in getting back on track with their learning which is wonderful to see.
Every member of staff in school has also stepped up and played their part in going above and beyond over the last eight weeks, every department in school from the catering team, the site staff, the Administration group, the teachers and the SEN department have had at some point team members absent or self-isolating, colleagues in these areas have been willing to work doubly hard to cover gaps in their departments so that the school could continue to function effectively. On some days we have had over 20% of the normal school staff absent, yet colleagues have found ways to adapt and continue to deliver safe and enriching onsite education for our students, without the need to close for whole year groups as some schools have needed to.
Please remember that school closes today Friday 23rd October and reopens on Monday 2nd November for the half term break.
As a Catholic community every year, we do a range of outstanding charity work and this year we are supporting ‘The Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child’. Unfortunately, this year we will not be able to make shoeboxes or collect cash donations so we will be supporting this worthy cause by raising money for essential PPE equipment to support communities in need. Please visit our Facebook and Twitter pages to support this worthwhile cause.
As the weather has now turned colder as we move towards winter the school jumper will be compulsory again next half term and until the weather turns milder again in the Spring/Summer. Please can parents/carer ensure that students are wearing their school uniform jumpers on the first Monday back after half-term. Can I also take this opportunity to remind students that hoodies/jackets should not be worn underneath blazers and that when necessary students should have a suitable winter coat that can be worn over their blazer when outdoors.
Can I remind families that if individuals are provided with self-isolation advice following contact with a confirmed positive case that that person must stay at home for the full duration of the isolation period (14 days, unless exclusions apply), other members of the household should not need to self-isolate unless a member of the household then begins to display symptoms or has a positive test result. If individuals take a test they are of course advised to self-isolate until they receive their result.
The Government has restated its guidance that face-coverings are an essential/mandatory item in schools in areas with local restrictions.
Please can all parents/carers take the opportunity over the half-term break to ensure that your son/daughter has a durable mask for use in school alongside spares as required. Masks are required in all communal areas such as corridors and on public/school transport and are a vital part of the school community’s effort to work together to remain open. Unfortunately, in school we are still lending out far too many masks to a relatively small number of students who are often arriving to school without a mask which puts others at risk, this is unfortunately just an unacceptable situation given the current prevalence of the virus across the region. Thank you in advance for your support in this.
Positive Test Results
The school will still be actively involved in the contact tracing program over the half-term break even though the school is shut to pupils. If a student tests positive for Coronavirus during the holiday please email:
This email will be checked regularly each day so that any potential contacts can be followed up with Public Health teams and self-isolation advice issued.
Please include the name of the student, the first date of symptoms, the date the test was taken and the last day that they were in school. If possible also include the names of any potential contacts who are St Thomas More RC College students if contact may have occurred outside of school hours, that the school maybe unaware of.
I am now of the opinion that given the current situation parents evening will be unlikely to be able to proceed as normal during this academic year, the restrictions on large gatherings would not allow parents/carers of over 150 students to freely mix with each other in the school assembly hall. The first parents evening is Year 7 on 3rd December and it is likely that this event will now be a virtual/online meeting. I will send out further information about the Year 7 parents evening and future parents evenings scheduled for the Spring term in due course.
Year 11 Summer GCSEs November Mocks
As you will be aware the Government has indicated its intention to delay the majority of the Summer GCSE’s by three weeks to allow more teaching time for Year 11 students to cover additional work. The Government has been clear that GCSE exams will take place this academic year and all the staff and students are working towards this goal. We are mindful however that the Government are preparing alternative plans for examinations if there is further disruption for some students due to the pandemic, the Plan B for GCSEs may well involve teacher assessment informed by mock examination grades so I would urge all year 11 students to revise carefully in the coming weeks for their upcoming mock GCSE papers.
Tameside Local Authority information
I have been asked to share the following information with all parents by Tameside Local Authority
Tameside has moved into Tier 3 - Very High Alert of the new national system.
You can read more about the new measures on GOV.UK. and you can keep a check on the COVID alert level by using the post code checker here
As always, in order to protect each other, everyone everywhere must continue to:
· Wash hands regularly
· Wear a face covering in enclosed spaces and especially were social distancing is difficult
· Stay at least 2m apart – or 1m if not possible but with a face cover or other precautions
Notification of Local Authority Consultations
Clean Air Plan Consultation
Views are sought by Tameside LA on Greater Manchester’s Clean Air Plans to reduce harmful air pollution on our local roads.
Government has instructed Greater Manchester to introduce a charging Clean Air Zone right across all ten local authority areas, including Tameside. Some vehicles that don’t meet emissions standards will have to pay a daily charge to drive in and around the zone. That includes buses, coaches, heavy goods vehicles, taxis, private hire, vans, and minibuses. Private cars and motorbikes are not affected.
To help local people, businesses and organisations prepare, Greater Manchester is asking for more than £150 million of government funding to support upgrades to cleaner, compliant vehicles. Those who upgrade before the Clean Air Zone is introduced in 2022 would not have to pay a daily charge.
Find out more now and fill out the questionnaire at cleanairgm.com before 23:59 on 3 December.
Minimum Licensing Standards consultation
Minimum Licensing Standards are being proposed for taxi and private hire services in Tameside, as part of Greater Manchester’s plans to make sure every journey is safer and more reliable.
The proposals could help put local operators ahead of out-of-town services as they will help give customers the confidence they are using a high-quality, safer and more reliable service, with high environmental and accessibility standards.
A public consultation runs until midnight on 3 December with passengers’ views sought. Find out more and have your say at: https://bit.ly/32FbuRa.
I hope you all have a wonderful week ahead and as always, I am grateful again for the additional messages of thanks and support I have received this week both by phone and email.
God bless and stay well
COLLEGE MISSION & ETHOS
St Thomas More RC College is a group of believers, united heart and soul in a Community which recognises the worth and dignity of all people. St Thomas More RC College is committed to developing fully the talents of all its members, in Communication of the Gospel values of peace, love, truth and justice; in Communion with Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Aims : There is a friendly and experienced teaching staff in the college that work together to support our Christian Ethos and ensure that each student is enabled to achieve their full potential. Our recent Ofsted report (February 2017) stated that all staff and pupils work harmoniously together to create a calm, purposeful and warm atmosphere. We are listed in the Good Schools Guide . The curriculum management structure in the school supports National Curriculum subject areas, Religious Education and Whole School Development. All staff are supported by a Senior Management team. There is a strong team of support staff including teaching support staff, secretaries, librarian/reprographics assistant, ICT, ADT and Science technicians, caretakers, lunchtime assistants, cleaners and kitchen staff. The collective strength of our staff ensures that the ethos and values in our Mission Statement provide all our pupils with high quality teaching and learning within a supportive environment.