9 October 2020


Headteacher Update: 09/10/20


This week: COVID update; accident and staircases; isolating students in Y9 and Y10; CAT tests; MacMillan coffee morning; Manchester United Streetreds; learning visits to classrooms


Week 6 of 8 completed this half term, and we are all ready for the weekend!  Whilst all has been calm generally, there have been a few occasions where we have been sorely tested.  Tuesday was a particularly challenging day.


It’s clear of course that the COVID situation is escalating at the moment, both nationally, for our region and for Manchester.  I am in daily contact with my colleagues as secondary headteachers across Stockport, and the challenges of dealing with COVID cases quickly and minimising the impact on our young people remains a key daily reality and concern for all of us.  We are doing that to the best of our ability, and the system works in terms of quick contact with the NHS.  When you add in the announcements from Scotland this week about teacher assessment being used at the end of the year, this also adds further unpredictability for our Year 11 students.  We will keep you updated of any developments with this.  Year 11 parents received a full update this week about the plans for the year as they stand.


Occasionally, an event happens in school that shocks and unsettles us.  Tuesday afternoon was a challenge for our whole school community.  I am pleased that Kian is recovering well from his accident, and we have sent him our best wishes.  We know that events like this affect different people in different ways, and we have activated our support network in school to offer counselling support to those young people who have asked for it.  I was pleased with the way both staff and students responded instantly to clear and manage the area, and remain in their bubbles during an extended lunch time.  Managing such an experience for hundreds of people can of course be a real challenge, but everyone appreciated the need to stay calm and our young people stepped up to the mark.  It was a crazy afternoon with a Year 10 COVID case reported to us and the police enhanced presence for the large funeral that took place at Highfields Cemetery!  Thank you to parents and carers for your co-operation with regard to keeping the road clear - it really helped the police.


As a final note on this accident, I understand that parents will have some questions about the staircase.  Stockport local authority lead health and safety officer visited school on Thursday morning as part of the normal procedure when an accident happens.  His findings are:

  • The headteacher closed off the stairway quickly, to ensure that the matter could be investigated correctly by health and safety professionals.
  • The stairway and the bannister are in excellent condition, and conform to all necessary standards
  • The stairs are well lit and signed to show they are for Year 11 only
  • If the stairs are used in the way they are supposed to be used, there is absolutely no danger to anyone.  This is the case with any staircase or high level corridor in any school.
  • This was an accident involving only the student concerned.
  • The school is in no way negligible for this accident.

I thought it was important that parents understood this message from a health and safety professional.


A reminder - as it stands - of those students isolating following instructions from school, and their return dates.

Year 9 isolating students: return to school on Monday 12th October

Year 10 isolating students: return to school on Monday 19th October

I can appreciate that it may appear alarming for two groups of students to be isolating.  My response is that this is a pattern repeated across the Stockport secondary schools and we are all managing the daily escalation in recorded cases across the region.  We hope it will settle, but we all must accept that this is likely to be a pattern for the weeks and possibly months to come.  Thank you to parents for your continued support: we appreciate it.  Our remote learning system is set up, and we can provide work in a number of ways.  We are still learning how to manage this in the best way possible - it was easier with Year 7, but older years are more difficult because of the challenges of some students in classes still in school, whilst others are at home.  It creates an extra challenge for our teachers.  We have appointed a Remote Learning Co-ordinator, and she starts with us after half term.  She will be an invaluable link for parents and carers to manage home learning where it is required.


Masks …. they are going to be with us for a while longer yet!  We are still giving out over 100 masks per day.  It would be great for the environment  if children had their own cloth mask rather than using the disposable ones every day, and we do know of a Year 7 parent who is creating approved masks with a very smart Werneth logo on them.  Thanks Mrs Suzanne Maher!


Our Year 7 students have been completing their CAT tests [ Cognitive Abilities Tests ] this week in our Main Hall, socially distanced.  These are ways of measuring their current academic ability in a range of ways, and help us with both teacher assessments and identifying learning needs to help us provide specialist help.  Year 7 have adapted quickly and well to their tests!  Year 7 have settled in very well now, and we will therefore be extending their day by 5 minutes after half term.  This means they will finish at 3.10pm with the rest of school with effect from 2nd November.

Charities have been hit hard due to the Coronavirus pandemic and this year we have been unable to hold our annual Macmillan Coffee Morning.  However, a group of students from Year 10 decided to organise a cake sale to raise much needed money for the charity.  They sold cakes in their “bubble” and provided cakes on a “click and collect” basis for staff.  The morning was a huge success raising a total of £170.00.  Well done to all involved.



Street Reds has now been back up and running for 3 weeks. It has been a really positive start, considering the limitations put in place due to Covid. The participants have been fantastic, patient and very helpful to ensure a safe and positive restart after Covid. Seeing the young participants enjoying themselves with their friends is great to see again.  If you would like to sign your child up to these Free Street Reds sessions on a Friday evening, please go to https://www.mufoundation.org/en/Projects/Street-Reds and register an interest. This will then be followed up by an email with consent forms to complete and return before participating. Or alternatively, email our MU Foundation Hub Officer at phil.mcgrath@wernethschool.com if you have issues/questions around Street Reds


I enjoyed visiting a number of lessons this week across a number of subjects - Year 9 Dance and Music, Year 10 Geography, Photography and Catering, Year 7 Design Technology, Year 11 Film Studies and IT.  I didn’t see any young person at all who was disengaged from their learning, which makes me very happy!   A really positive experience and further testimony of the determination to learn and succeed that everyone is showing.


Have a good weekend!


Posted by cmurphy

Category: Headteacher's Blog