Parents’ Newsletter #3

Welcome to our third newsletter of the academic year.

Over the last few weeks, we have all been facing the challenge of the latest, national lockdown in England, together with a rise in coronavirus cases across the local area. Despite all of the restrictions on everyday life, I hope that you and your families are managing to keep well during these uncertain times.

Thank you so much for the support you continue to give us here at Caedmon College and Whitby Sixth Form. At the time of writing, we have only had to deal with four cases of covid-19 illness that have required us to take action in school. After careful investigation in school, and detailed discussions with experts at Public Health England, in each of the cases to date, we have had to ask a small number of students to self-isolate. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the families concerned for the manner in which they have cooperated with us with regard to these matters.

If your child is feeling unwell overnight, or in the morning before setting off to school, please do not send them in immediately and instead contact our Attendance line for advice and further information. Their symptoms may or may not be those of Covid-19 but we would prefer that you err on the side of caution. Of course, at this time of year, it can be difficult to distinguish between different illnesses. This and other issues are covered in four recent communications from NYCC that we have been asked to share with you and which are attached to this newsletter.

Face coverings

Thank you for your ongoing help to ensure that your son/daughter arrives at school each day with a face mask that they can wear in our communal areas. When I last wrote to you in mid-October, we were just on the point of recommending their use in corridors and other communal areas. Recent changes in the law accompanying the latest national lockdown measures in England mean that wearing a facial covering in indoor communal areas in secondary schools is now mandatory. This is beginning to become ‘second nature’ for students as they leave a classroom and our teaching staff are routinely reminding them to don a face mask at the end of each lesson. Your help in reinforcing this message would be greatly appreciated.

Classroom ventilation and school uniform

As we move into the winter months, maintaining a good circulation of fresh air inside classrooms and communal spaces is recognised as being one of the ways in which we can further reduce the transmission of the coronavirus.  Inevitably this will lower the temperature inside classrooms. Recognising that students may well feel colder, we are relaxing our uniform requirements over the winter to allow students to wear either a CCW branded jumper or a plain black sweatshirt underneath their blazer. This relaxation of our uniform code does not extend to hoodies or tops with logos on. We have looked at different suppliers and if there is sufficient demand, we would be happy to place a bulk order on some plain black ‘Fruit of the Loom’ sweatshirts that we hope to source for about £6 each. If you are interested in purchasing one or more sweatshirts, we will send out a separate communication about this in the next few days.

On the issue of school uniform, our heads of year – Ms Fleetwood, Ms Charters, Ms Ruberry and Mrs Gordon – have asked me to point out that many of the girls are wearing skirts that are far too short. Can I once again ask you to please ensure that your daughter is wearing the correct skirt length, as specified in our uniform code, in College.  

Whitby Sixth Form Open Evening

The ongoing public health situation has meant that we have not able to hold an open evening on the Whitby Sixth Form site this autumn. Instead, we have posted our prospectus to all students in Year 11 and invited them and their parents to an online presentation about the courses we offer, as well as academic and pastoral support programmes we provide for our sixth form students. If you are interested in finding out more about Whitby Sixth Form, please visit our dedicated Open Evening website page at http://sixthformwhitby.org/news/sixth-form-open-evening/ where you can find out more detailed information about all of our courses and make an application to begin Post 16 studies with us in September 2021. Once the current national lockdown restrictions are lifted, we will resume individual tours of the site for Year 10 and 11 students and their parents. Please contact us using enquiries@sixthfomwhitby.org to arrange a visit.

Year 11 Mock Exams

I am sure that you will join me in wishing our Year 11 students every success in their forthcoming GCSE trial examinations that begin on Monday 30 November and finish on Tuesday 8 December. This will be an intensive period for our students and will be their first chance to experience proper examination conditions in preparation for the examinations planned for June 2021. At time of writing, despite announcements to changes in assessment at age 16 in both Scotland and Wales, the Department for Education in England is still asking schools to prepare for a full suite of GCSE, A-level and other examinations next summer. Apart from the first GCSE English and GCSE Mathematics papers in the last week in May, the start of this examination season has been moved from the usual time in mid-May to the start of June. Despite criticism of these proposals and speculation about how they may, in time, need to change, we have to plan our year assuming that our GCSE and A-level students will be required to sit the full set of examination papers in the summer.

Parents Evenings

Thank you to all Year 11 parents who booked phone calls before half term in lieu of the calendared parents’ evening that we could not run in its usual form. Feedback has been very positive about this, with parents really valuing the opportunity to have an in-depth conversation about their child’s progress with one of our teachers. For the foreseeable future, all of our parents’ consultation evenings will be running along similar lines. Although the exact dates may be subject to change, below is a revised calendar showing the weeks that we intend to contact the parents of students in different year groups.

  • Year 7 - week beginning Monday 15 March 2021
  • Year 8 - week beginning Monday 1 March 2021
  • Year 9 - week beginning Monday 9 December 2021
  • Year 10 - week beginning Monday 25 March 2021
  • Year 11 - week beginning Monday 25 January 2021
  • Post 16  - weeks beginning Monday 1 February 2021 and Monday 26 March 2021.

Parents of students in Years 8 and 9 should also be aware that in late January/early February we will be sharing some key information about the ‘Year 9 Choices’ and ‘KS4 Options’ that students in these year groups will need to make about the subjects they will specialise in next year. As it is likely that social distancing measures will still be in place, we will send home information booklets to help your child with their decisions and invite you along to an online presentation that will explain in more detail some of the features of our Year 9 and KS4 curriculum offer.  The provisional dates for these online presentations are:

  • Year 8 into 9 Choices - Wednesday 10 February
  • Year 9 into 10 KS4 Options - Thursday 11 February

We will write to parents in the New Year to confirm times/dates and provide you with more detailed information about the process.

Dropping off students in the morning/collecting students from College

As you will be aware, access to the main Normanby site is very tight and constricted. Therefore, we ask that parents please do not come down the College driveway in vehicles to drop off or pick up your son or daughter, unless you have made prior arrangements to do so because of medical or other circumstances. 

As the weather has turned this autumn and our fields have become too wet for use by students at lunchtime, we have created additional hard-standing areas for students to use by sectioning off one of our car parks. This is inevitably putting even more pressure on the car parking spaces at the top of our drive, which in turn further limits the spaces we have for parental drop-offs and pickups. Therefore, if at all possible, please can you delay picking up your son or daughter from the College until 3.35pm or 3.40pm, by which time most of our students have safely walked off site and the school taxis should also have departed.

Finally, being mindful of Beevers furniture shop and the residents of Stakesby Vale, can I ask that you do not park in this area whilst waiting for school to finish. This is causing significant disruption to our neighbours. 

Once again, thank you in anticipation of your help with these matters.

School transport

Can I remind you that face coverings continue to be compulsory for those students who travel into school on the train and inform you that, during this period of national lockdown in England, facial coverings have also become compulsory on our dedicated school buses.   

PHSE lessons

Our PHSE programme is being organised in a different way this year. The usual timetable is suspended for one period each week - this week it will be Wednesday Period 1; next week Wednesday Period 2, etc – which will roll through the timetable over the course of the year. With everyone focusing on PHSE at the same time, it will be easier for staff to deliver dedicated sessions and, in time, for us to welcome in guest speakers on a more regular basis to enhance our teaching. If you would like more information about this programme, please contact Mr Graham by emailing him via s.graham@ccwhitby.org.

Students at Whitby Sixth Form will be expected to attend the College, regardless of whether or not they have timetabled lessons during each week’s designated lesson, in order to participate in a programme of guidance and careers activities.

Finally…

A reminder that the College is closed to students this Friday.

School Closure Day – Friday 27 November

Thank you for your continuing support

Yours faithfully
Simon Riley
Principal

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