12 March 2021

This week:  Return to school; Masks; Testing; Years 11, 10 and 9 updates; Werneth School supporting families who are struggling through the pandemic


I am very pleased that we decided to get all students straight back into school on Monday. They clearly needed and wanted to be back, and for the most part have responded with enthusiasm for learning.  It’s been nice to have a full school back in again, and all of the energy that this brings with it!  I am sure that this weekend - like us - they will be exhausted after readjusting back into the routines of school life.


Thank you to everyone for wearing the masks around school and in lessons: we really appreciate your support in helping us protect against the spread of the virus, and hopefully it will mean we can minimise any future sending home of groups of students. The wearing of masks is currently better than it was before Christmas, and we need to maintain that so that we protect everyone’s place in school.  Thankfully, most students do now arrive with their own mask … It would be really helpful if everyone brought their mask every day!  Of course we recognise that some students have medical reasons why they cannot wear masks - these students can collect a yellow badge for their blazer from their year inclusion manager and it means they won’t be repeatedly questioned by staff as they move around school.


We know that wearing masks in lessons isn’t ideal for anyone: we hope that the government review of masks in a few weeks’ time will mean we can change that in your classrooms.   The local picture in our Stockport secondary schools has been that this first week has been generally successful.  Very few positive cases have been identified: we are all keen to keep that going for everyone’s sake so that lockdown can be lifted as soon as possible. 


So masks and testing reduce the further spread of the virus.  Short term discomfort for long term gain.


Frustratingly, this morning, we have had a child who was completely asymptomatic in Year 10 who tested positive.  This is the short term frustration in action.  After consultation with the NHS and following the tracing procedures, we have had to isolate 90 of our Year 10 students as a result: they have been in lessons with this young person over the past 48 hours.  These students will return on Tuesday 23rd, and we will activate remote learning in the meantime: further details to come on the remote learning.  We are sending them home with home testing kits to complete at home and before they return, but they still must isolate for 10 days.  This is why we need to do the testing in school and via the home kits: because 1 in 3 people who are positive for Coronavirus are asymptomatic.  Fingers crossed we continue to minimise the disruption.


Just over 95% attendance in school this week - fantastic!  We will reach the end of Friday ( today ) with all of our students having completed 2 out of their 3 COVID tests in school … but Year 10 and 11 have completed all three.  That’s fantastic going by our testing team in school, and they now have the process down to a fine art.  We will have tested everyone with the in-school tests by the middle of next week.  The next phase then is to roll out the home testing kits, and your child will be provided with these if they have completed their 3 tests in school.  We will let you know when your child receives these.


If your child hasn’t completed the full set of three tests due to absence, that will happen when we can make it happen if you have given consent.  If you haven’t given consent, but you now wish to do so, you can contact megan.rothwell@wernethschool.com and we can organise that. Please can you ensure that all your contact details are up to date.


Two more school weeks until the Easter break, and then we are beginning to plan for as “normal” a summer term as we can possibly have.  We are currently looking to arrange internal examinations, assessments, year 6 into 7 transition and so many other things that we need to do to move forward positively.


I spoke to all of our Year 11 students on Monday, to explain where we are with the GCSE grades.  A few key confirmation messages for Year 11 parents and carers …

  • Year 11 have approximately 9 weeks remaining in school up to the May half term.  We are anticipating that they will be leaving us in early June.  Parents should not book any holidays for them until after 18th June, when exam boards will receive our recommended grades and evidence.  When I have firm dates for leaving, I will send them.
  • Unlike other years, when year 11 leave they will not then return for examinations.  Examination results day will still take place in August - it’s on August 12th this year.
  • Attendance and hard work is essential over the 9 remaining weeks: we need to gain evidence of your best work and achievement, to pass to the examination boards.  Year 11 seem very much up for the challenge.  I won’t tolerate any student “spoiling it” for other Year 11 students in this period, and the consequences of that would mean individuals missing their final weeks in school.
  • We will be conducting ongoing in-school assessments through this period, and some tests towards the end of May, to help us form our grades.  These will be in line with the examination board expectations.
  • Year 11 Parents’ Evening will be on the first Thursday of the summer term: Thursday 15th April.
  • We don’t yet know about celebration end-of-term events for Year 11.  We want to have them obviously, but we will need to see how the progression out of lockdown rolls out over the weeks and months ahead.


Year 10.  We need to now think about putting everything in place to support you to achieve your GCSEs moving forward from next term, and we have started to plan for this.  We expect the exam boards to make some special arrangements for our current Year 10s, but GCSE examinations are likely to take place next summer.  I have set up a meeting after Easter with senior members of staff to put plans in place to ensure Year 10 are ready to begin their final year with confidence.


Thanks to parents for your attendance at Year 9 Parents’ Evening this week.  A reminder that your Options forms should be in by Friday 19th.  We will then look at the information that we have in school, and start to plan for your GCSE courses starting in September.


We continue to support families who are struggling financially through this period … our Manchester United hampers are still going out every week to over 50 families, and this will continue for the next two weeks.  We have also responded to families who would not normally receive free school meals but have identified that they are struggling as a result of losing jobs etc during the COVID period.  These families are receiving a one-off food grant from us in the coming days.  I would also like to thank our friends at St Chads Church in Romiley, who have donated £300 in food vouchers to Werneth School, to aid our support of families in need.  Morrisons in Bredbury should also be mentioned for their support during this period.


Have a good weekend!


Posted by cmurphy

Category: Parental Update