It has been a wonderful start to the academic year and students in Year 7 through to Year 11 have begun the term with outstanding attitudes to their learning. Students all look smart in the correct uniform and all the signs point to a very successful and hopefully uninterrupted academic year. It has been a pleasure to visit classrooms this week to see our students settling back into their positive routines and our new year 7 have made a very impressive start to their St Thomas More journey.
Welcome to new staff
The following members of staff have joined our community on long term posts this year; Mr Marsh in PE, Mr Goodstadt in History, Ms Murray in Science and Mr Shaw, Ms Nolan and Ms Hammond-Price in learning support. I know that our new staff have enjoyed the start to the term immensely and they will all be invaluable additions to our highly qualified and motivated staff.
The Resource Base also welcomes a new Teacher in Charge this academic year, Miss Grey.
Miss Grey has worked with vulnerable children with SEN for over 20 years in various roles and settings, including Youth work; Behaviour support; Family Intervention work and most recently teaching in the Primary ASC resource base.
She has been employed by Tameside for almost 14 years and has enjoyed the flexibility of working in different roles within the council. Although initially trained to teach Psychology in further education she soon began working with children including Secondary age pupils. Miss Grey is aware of the amazing privilege it is to be a part of a young person’s growth and development towards being a happy and healthy adult with goals for the future.
I know she is looking forward to working collaboratively with school staff, families and most importantly our pupils to ensure that we are providing them with the best support that will enable them to achieve their full potential and gradually become more independent young people, with fond memories of their time at St Thomas More RC College!
Standards and Expectations
This week I am welcoming all students back to school in assemblies and discussing with them the high standards and expectations that I have for them so that they can all do well in their studies and reach their full potential. Our school is a happy, respectful and calm place to be and I have been thanking the students in assembly for moving around the school quietly and politely so that everything runs smoothly and safely. All students have returned to school knowing that our students don’t wear make-up or any kind of jewellery (including clear plastic jewellery) and I have asked all of them to wear their uniform with pride as they should be pleased to be a student at our wonderful school. As I am sure you are aware 461 students applied for just 160 places in Year 7 last year which is a testament to how popular our school is year after year, and how many parents think that the high standards and expectations that we have, are the correct environment for their child.
I have reminded students that because they can be a great distraction to teaching and learning mobile phones should never been seen or heard in school, if a mobile phone is seen or heard by a member of staff it will be confiscated.
The school gates open for arrival of pupils at 8:35am each day, students should then go straight to their form room to wait until 8:45am when form time begins. Students can arrive at school at any time between 8:35am and 8:45am but students arriving after 8:45am are classed as late for school. It is very important that students arrive by 8:45am so they are on time, punctuality is a sign of engagement, politeness and respect, it is also a vital skill for the world of work. I am so grateful for the support of parents and carers in ensuring that the overwhelming majority of our students are on time for school every single day. Please note that students don’t need to arrive to school before 8:35am.
Over the last three years we have done a huge amount of work with the students on respecting their school and the environment and this has included strategies to reduce the amount of litter seen in school. I am very pleased to report that the students hard work and dedication has paid off and very often we now get to the end of break and lunchtime without a single piece of litter being visible outside which is a fantastic achievement for a school of nearly 800 pupils.
Most importantly I have talked with students about making sure that they are arriving at lessons on time and ready to learn, in the right frame of mind to; listen carefully, work quietly, show resilience, and to do their best. I am so pleased to report that I have seen all students doing these things when I have visited lessons this week.
Well done to everyone!
Coronavirus Pandemic Restrictions
Thankfully many of the restrictions that were imposed on all schools across the country have been lifted and school has felt more normal in these first days of term. We have completed the in-school testing of all pupils who made themselves available and provided consent and it was pleasing that of over 900 tests completed only one returned a positive result.
I am sure however that you are aware that the pandemic has not simply disappeared and there is much that we still need to do together to keep everyone safe and well.
Please take note and remember the following guidance over the next few weeks if possible.
Testing at Home
It is important that students continue to use the Lateral Flow Devices provided by school or the NHS to test at home and then report their result. Testing kits have been handed out to all pupils who took part in the school testing system but more kits are always available to pupils from the office at break or lunchtime.
Students must self-test 2 times per week.
Once at the start of the week (Sunday Evening/Monday Morning), and once in the middle of the week (Wednesday Evening/Thursday Morning)
Reporting the result
When they have tested you must register your results [negative or positive] in two online systems
The NHS online system www.gov.uk/report-covid19-result
The School Online System (a link has been emailed out to all participants)
Positive Test Results and Isolation Instructions
Anyone who is displaying coronavirus symptoms should self-isolate and not attend school they should then arrange to take a PCR test as soon as possible.
Likewise anyone who tests positive for Coronavirus should self-isolate and not attend school.
Close contacts of individuals who test positive for coronavirus no longer need to self-isolate providing they are either under 18 or are double vaccinated.
Over 18s who are not vaccinated still need to self-isolate for 10 days if they are a close contact of a positive case.
Hand Washing and Good Respiratory Hygiene
Students should continue to wash their hands regularly and observe good respiratory hygiene by making sure that all used tissues are put in the bin using a “Catch it, Bin it, Kill it” approach.
Social Distancing and Wearing of Masks.
Although rules on social distancing and mask wearing have ceased we will still encourage students and staff to socially distance when possible and all students and staff have permission to wear a mask in school if they wish.
With our school day students within different year groups are on lunches at different times so this is helping us in reducing the chance of transmission between large number of pupils.
We are also continuing with an enhanced cleaning regime to make sure that frequently touched surfaces like door handles are sanitised regularly
Classrooms are also being ventilated as much as possible in line with the latest guidance so there is a regular supply of fresh air into the building.
I am extremely proud to lead the school community of St Thomas More RC College and it is a privilege to be able to provide your sons and daughter with the opportunity to gain an outstanding education. I look forward to your support and working with all parents/carers this academic year.
Please remember that you can contact school each weekday Monday to Friday either by calling 0161 336 2743 or emailing email@example.com during normal school hours, if you do want to visit school to talk to a member of staff that can of course be arranged but do please contact school prior to your journey so that mutually convenient time and date can be arranged for an appointment.
God bless and stay well