I hope you are well and had some quality time with family over the summer holidays.
We are now in the second week of term so I thought you would like an update on our progress and the term ahead. I will be sending you regular updates during the course of the term so you feel well informed of the work of LCT, and keep you up to date of local and national developments.
We have had a great start to the new school year and thank you, as the children and students look incredibly smart in their uniform. All our schools are at capacity and we are constantly under pressure to take more children which we manage very carefully. I would like to welcome all new parents to LCT and I do hope your child has settled in well into their new school. We have welcomed new staff to all our schools and therefore the Trust, I want to extend a very warm welcome to Brian Thomas, the new Principal of Severndale who took up his post on the 1st September.
Basic operations in school – the great news is we are operating our schools as normally as possible for our children and young people but, still maintaining high levels of cleaning and being vigilant around any potential Covid cases. It is very clear that the Department of Education expects all pupils to be in school and we are working hard to make sure that this is the case. The guidance for schools has changed quite significantly for the start of term and we no longer operate bubbles or close bubbles if there is a Covid case so children stay in school.
The process we now follow is:-
• If your child has any symptoms (high temperature, new and continuous cough, loss of taste/smell) they should still isolate, please keep them at home and take them for a PCR test – please inform school
• If your child tests positive then they have to self-isolate for 10 days and stay off school – please inform school
• If your child has a negative test they return to school – please inform school
• Your school will notify you if there has been a case in your child’s class or year group so you can be aware if they present with any symptoms
• All staff and secondary students are doing LFTs twice a week until the end of September – this may well change and continue through this term
Vaccinations – the announcement this week of the roll out of the vaccination programme to 12-15 year olds is good news and this will be administered by NHS staff on school premises as happens with other vaccination programmes. This will be a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine. We are awaiting the details on this but please be assured parents will have to give consent. It is another strategy to keep young people in school and to prevent further disruption to children’s education. We have high numbers of staff double vaccinated now and continue to support staff to be vaccinated.
Open Evenings 2021 – the recommendation from Health Protection is that we hold “virtual” open evenings for Y6 children and parents again this year. We are disappointed that we cannot invite prospective parents and children into our three secondary academies, but I am sure parents understand the challenge of holding large events when we are trying to ensure that we do not trigger the spread of infection, which impacts on our staff and students and then disrupts education. We are determined to hold some mini-events and visits later this term when it is safe to do so.
Ofsted – this term has seen a return to Ofsted inspections and a number of our schools are in an inspection window. If your child’s school is being inspected you will receive communication regarding the inspection. We are only informed the day before inspectors arrive in school so we have very little notice!
I do not want to send out too much information, but I hope this helps you understand the current position. Our focus is on making sure our children and young people are happy and safe in school, but we have a real drive in making sure we address the gaps in learning, that they quickly catch up and make great progress during this year.
As always, thank you for your support and my best wishes to you and your family.
Dr Gill Eatough