Letter from Headteacher Mr Brophy 18th June 2021

Coronavirus restrictions are being eased across the UK

Please remember Hands – Face – Space – Fresh Air

Dear Parents and Carers,

Being in school at the moment is a wonderful experience as students continue to be fully engaged in their learning and the wider experiences we offer. The standards that students have been displaying over recent weeks have been outstanding and this is being strengthened by our year group assemblies which are focused on celebrating all our students who continue to meet our high standards and expectations in these challenging times.

COVID Lateral Flow Testing at Home.        PLEASE DO TEST AT HOME

Over recent weeks we have seen an increase in the number of positive coronavirus cases in school which has resulted in a number of students needing to self-isolate, this increase in cases is a pattern that is unfortunately being replicated across wider society.

When we began the COVID home testing programme we had a high number of families regularly taking their tests and reporting the results (positive or negative) to the school and the NHS.

It is with great regret that I must now inform you that in the last two weeks the number of tests that have been completed and reported at home has dropped significantly.

The reduction in the rate of home testing is unfortunately potentially putting the education of all students at the school at great risk because if we have a large outbreak that goes undetected in its early stages then the school might need to isolate significant numbers of students or switch to remote education to whole year groups to manage any significant outbreak of the new Delta variant.

As a Headteacher and a father myself, I would like to try to do all that we can to avoid any further disruption to our children’s education, so I would implore all families who have recently ceased home testing, to restart again this weekend with renewed purpose until the end of term.

Students should have been provided with enough tests to last them until the last week of this term but if for any reason students have run out of testing kits more packs are available from the office each day at lunchtime and students have been instructed to collect kits today if they need them.

I have provided reminders of the information about home-testing below for your convenience.

If the rates of testing at home do not increase we may then also be in a position where we need to urgently re-introduce testing within school during the school day. As you are aware in school testing has a detrimental effect on teaching and learning as our students will need to leave class for extended periods to complete their testing in school twice a week. This would not be the preferred situation when testing can be done relatively easily at home.

So that we can reduce any possible disruption to children’s education could I again please ask all students who have provided consent to fully engage with regular COVID testing at home. I do understand the difficulties of committing to testing at home in the busy nature of our lives, but the benefits of a majority of students regularly testing is hugely positive! Please do test at home!

Thank you to all families who have continued to test at home and report their result to school, your support in our collective efforts is much appreciated.

Home Testing Reminders

The following video is a helpful guide for those self-testing at home: 

Step by step guide to COVID-19 self-testing - YouTube

Instructions are also available online at the following website:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/instructions-for-covid-19-self-test?utm_source=10%20March%202021%20C19&utm_medium=Daily%20Email%20C19&utm_campaign=DfE%20C19

Testing Schedule 

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)

Packs have been handed out in school to students for the rest of the term but if any families need additional kits they can be collected from the office each day at lunchtime.

Reporting the result

When they have tested you must register your results [negative or positive] in two online systems  

  1.  The NHS online system www.gov.uk/report-covid19-result

and 

  1.  The School Online System - The link to this has been emailed out to all participants, please contact the school if you need the link to be resent to you.

If you have issues with the NHS website please make sure you record your result on the schools online system as a priority.

College Taster Days

With the increasing numbers of positive coronavirus cases in Tameside and the North West I have today received notification that the Year 10 College Taster Days at both Tameside College and Clarendon Sixth Form College scheduled for the 6th July have now understandably been cancelled by the colleges. I am sorry for any disappointment this will cause for students who I know were looking forward to the event.

Year 6 Transition Days 1st 2nd July

Following a meeting with other Tameside Headteachers and the Local Authority the decision has also been taken to unfortunately cancel the Year 6 Transition days due to the increasing prevalence of Coronavirus in the community due to Health and Safety concerns. As the event has now been cancelled we will send additional transition materials to our primary schools for our new year 7 students to help welcome them to our school. New students will also have the opportunity to attend our Year 6 Summer School and we intend to once again reserve the first day of the new term in September for a smaller number of students so that Year 7 have the opportunity to focus on settling into their new school. I must say that all staff are very much looking forward to welcoming our new Year 7 Students.

Class of 2021: School Prom Update: Cancellation

It is with a heavy heart and great regret that I must inform our Year 11 Leavers that due to the Government’s pausing of the releasing of lockdown we have been advised along with all other Tameside Secondary Schools that we should cancel our School Prom as it would contravene current COVID guidance. I have included the information I have received from Tameside with the letter.

I would like to apologise to all students and families affected by this situation as I do understand how this terrible pandemic is continuing to negatively affect young people who have already had to give up so much.

We booked the school Prom in good faith believing that it had a good chance of successfully going ahead in line with the Governments original roadmap for unlocking all restrictions by 21st June, we were always mindful however in our discussions with students and communications with families that the viability of holding the Prom was dependent on the current restrictions in place at the time. With the decision to delay the final release of all measures until the 19th July we have been left with no choice but to cancel the Prom, as the school will have broken up for the end of term by this date.

Please rest assured that all students will receive a full refund of monies paid for their Prom ticket

I truly am sorry for these circumstances.

Finally…

I am sorry that so many of the messages this week have been about the negative outcomes of the Coronavirus Pandemic. Please rest assured that day to day there is a great sense of hope in school. Even though nationally we have taken a small step back in recent weeks, certainly overall we are moving back towards a much greater sense of normality. Students and staff that I talk to in school are certainly upbeat and there is a feeling of positivity and this is evidenced by our community of happy smiling staff and students.

Thank you for your ongoing support and please remember that you can contact school each weekday Monday to Friday either by calling 0161 336 2743 or emailing admin@stmcollege.org.uk during normal school hours

God bless and stay well.

H Brophy

Headteacher

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.

 

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