20 November 2020

Headteacher Update: 19/11/20


Impact of Coronavirus ; Year 11 mock examinations ; Free School Meals; Shoebox Challenge; Author Visit; Werneth School Academisation


It’s been a strange week in school!  All is calm and school continues to operate as we would like it to - in terms of learning and a generally positive atmosphere.  However, I share the concerns of educationalists and parents across the country in terms of the disruption to learning at the moment.  Isolating groups and individuals - both students and teachers - disrupt the quality of learning that schools can offer every day.  We have seen another surge this week locally, and at Werneth we have significant numbers of students isolating, particularly in Years 9 and 10 at the moment. Our detailed investigations of cases show that - in the vast majority of cases across every school - the virus is not being transmitted within schools, and therefore it gives us cause for optimism that schools remain as safe as they can possibly be within the risk assessments that we have in place.


It’s encouraging that our young people really don’t want to be sent home in many cases, but of course we must follow government and NHS guidelines.  If students are sent home, it’s very important that they follow the work that has been set online or on paper where they can’t work online.  Any problems, please let us know via our Remote Learning Co-ordinator kersty.smith@wernethschool.com.


Our teachers are being split between providing work for students isolating at home and those in school, and this is unhelpful when students return from isolation and we have to regroup and refocus on learning together as one group.  It’s a frustration for us all in every school, but I think we are coping well with the challenges at Werneth.   I want to thank all Werneth staff and parents for working together to maximise opportunities for our young people.


Year 11 start their mock examinations next week, and this creates additional challenges for us to carry out such an important task under the current circumstances.  We will do our best to manage that as best we can.  A reminder that Year 11 parents have received a special letter about their arrangements for this period.  Mrs Chantler - Assistant Headteacher, Year 11 - gave an assembly to those in school today about the mock examinations as well.  All of the information about mock examinations can be accessed on our website https://www.wernethschool.com/staff-students/exam-information.  We understand that Year 11 are anxious about the importance of their mock examinations, and what they could mean after Christmas.  I want to be clear about this …. mock examinations are always very important because we don’t have many opportunities to give young people a true flavour of the exam hall.  But they will not be the sole opportunity to show ability.  We don’t want our Year 11s to crumble under the stress, and so parental support to manage that balance between the stress of school and the support from home will be crucial between now and the summer.  A reminder of course that the government are still insistent that GCSE examinations will go ahead.


In other matters:

  • You will be aware that the government are now aiming to provide Free School Meal vouchers to children at Christmas, which is welcome news.  However, we are also working with our partner The Manchester United Foundation to provide food hampers at Christmas for those families who are most at need and would benefit from our support.  We will be contacting you soon if we think you would benefit, but by all means speak to your Year Inclusion Manager at school if you are worried about providing food for your family at Christmas.  More details to come on this.
  • We are also running a “Shoebox Project” challenge for every form group in school, to support the “Cherry Tree Project” - a youth-led community group based in Romiley.  I look forward to our young people once again showing how much they care for their local community.  Contact Mr McGrath in school if you would like to support in any way.  
  • Headteachers across Stockport are currently looking together with Stockport Council at how we manage the Christmas break in all sorts of different ways.  The aim is to provide a circuit breaker for our school communities, so expect an update on that very soon.
  • Reminder to contact attendance@wernethschool.com for attendance queries, or megan.rothwell@wernethschool.com as a first point of contact for Coronavirus notification.  Mrs Rothwell is our Medical Needs Officer and you contact her at school on 0161 494 1222.
  • We wish Mrs Aspinall well as she has started her maternity leave this week, and Mr Bennett will take over as temporary Year Achievement Leader for Year 10, working alongside Miss Hunt.
  • On Thursday, we had the pleasure of a virtual author visit in the library. Joseph Coelho read from his new book Zombierella and talked to the students about his poetry, how he began writing, his inspirations and gave us top tips on how to become a good writer. He even spent time answering some of our questions. Mrs Taylor told me that she was “extremely proud of 7S who were enthralled and behaved immaculately.” 
  • REMINDERS: it is vital that we have up-to-date contact details for your childYear 7 nasal flu vaccinations will take place on Thursday 10th December by Intrahealth.  Please complete the E-consent form asap - the link will close on 27th November. www.nhsimms.uk/FLU/information?Id=106136&Type=FLU
  • We have a vacancy on our website for a fixed term contract non-teaching Year Inclusion Manager position.  https://www.wernethschool.com/job-vacancies


And finally, some positive news for our next steps as a school in terms of looking forward into the future.  Whilst we manage the challenges of Coronavirus, there has been another significant challenge for me to manage “behind the scenes” at the same time.  You may remember from January this year that OFSTED required the school to join a multi academy trust.  Whilst this could possibly have been an uncomfortable period, I am delighted that the school will join a local multi academy trust with whom we have started to work extremely positively to improve our school.  We have already started working with the trust and leaders from other schools within the trust: it’s been pleasing to show off our school and receive positive feedback about our school as well in all sorts of ways.  Lots of exciting developments to come!


Staff have been aware of this, but I must follow a legal framework in informing other people about it.  However, I can now inform parents about it, and you can read about it in this letter https://www.wernethschool.com/news/2020-11-20-academisation-letter-for-parents There is a link in the letter, should you have any questions about it.   Again, I believe it will be a positive next step for our school community and I look forward to sharing some of the new opportunities this presents in the new year.


Have a good weekend!


Posted by cmurphy

Category: Headteacher's Blog