Wednesday 14th July 2021
The hope was that this year would be ‘normal’, that the effects of Covid were now waning and that we would be able to return to our plans to continue with the developments that have seen the school grow from strength to strength over recent years. What no one saw coming was the extent of the impact of the second wave of Covid, which meant that we once again were plunged into a nationwide school lockdown from 5 January until 8 March this year. This has had a significant impact on our plans as a school. Staff once again had to shift to online learning with little notice. After the first lockdown we were better prepared, with contingency and lessons learnt from the first lockdown, but it was still a challenge, but one that Kingsmeadow staff rose to. As did the vast majority of our community. We know that some students have flourished and some have found the lack of daily interaction in a classroom setting very challenging. I would like to take this opportunity to thank parents for their support in these difficult circumstances.
I am hoping that September 2021 will see a fresh beginning at Kingsmeadow following this year of lockdown and quarantine. We will be returning to full time in school education for all year groups. Following recent guidelines and announcements from the Department for Education, many restrictions will be lifted in school. No more bubbles. No more isolations for close contacts. Students will be in school, unless they are unwell. We will continue to be careful, and we have learnt many lessons that we will continue with in school. For example, the change to our school day, which will bring many opportunities to work on important social and community issues.
Once again we are oversubscribed, with almost 200 students putting Kingsmeadow as their first choice school, and over 420 students naming us amongst their top 3 choices. Year 7 in September will be busy.
I would like to take this opportunity to mention those Year 11 and Year 13 students who are coming to the end of their time at Kingsmeadow. The strange end to their time at school is very difficult to take in. The lack of exams and the opportunity to properly celebrate their time as members of our community has been difficult. We did manage to create a special day for our Year 11, and I know the students enjoyed their marquee day, but it wasn’t the year that they would have wanted. I would like to wish both Year 11 and 13 well on the next stage of their journey. I am looking forward to welcoming those members of our Year 11 who will be returning into our Sixth Form next year. I know that our new students joining us in September 2021 will bring many talents to continue the increased success that the school has enjoyed over the course of the last few years.
Covid restrictions remain in place in school for the last week of term
Although the Government has announced a relaxation of certain restrictions for the general public from Monday 19 July, the Department for Education has made it clear that all restrictions remain in place within schools until the end of the school term. Our last day of term is Friday 23 July, when the children will break up for the summer break at 2:45pm.
Up until Friday 23 July 2021:
All students and staff must wear masks.
All self isolation rules will remain in place.
All staff and students will be expected to continue to self test using the LFD testing kits provided.
Thank you for your support in this. This has been a challenging year, and I hope that from September things will return to normal.
Last day of Term
The last day of term is Friday 23 July. Term will resume in September 2021, as outlined below.
A Level results will be available on Tuesday 10 August. GCSE results will be available from school on Thursday 12 August. Please see the school website for detailed opening times. I look forward to celebrating the success of our students.
For September 2021:
Uniform and Sixth Form Dress Code
Full school uniform will be in place as normal from September 2021. The uniform will be unchanged in September. All students in Years 7 - 11 must follow this. Details are available on the school website. I ask for your continued support in ensuring that your child comes to school in the correct uniform. All students should be wearing a Kingsmeadow tank top and blazer and only plain black polishable shoes are permitted.
We have a Sixth Form dress code in place as outlined to all post-16 students. Please support the school in this by ensuring that your child is appropriately dressed for a working environment.
The wearing of PE Kit
From September 2021 students will no longer be expected to wear PE kit on the days where they have these lessons. Students will be expected to be in full school uniform every day.
At Kingsmeadow School we give high priority to improving school attendance and punctuality. Our aim is to raise student and parent/carer awareness of this issue and the benefits of good attendance for the school and wider community.
As I am sure you are aware, it is important that students maintain regular school attendance, as any absence may interrupt academic progress and may have an effect on maintaining friendships. You should also be aware that regular attendance is a legal requirement. Under the Education Act 1996, parents and carers have a duty to make sure their children regularly attend school. If parents or carers fail to do this, they can be prosecuted.
Recent exceptions due to Covid have made it difficult for families to comply with this, which the Department for Education has acknowledged, though the requirement for full attendance has not changed, other than during lockdown.
From September 2021 we will expect the full attendance of all students unless there is a medical reason. Recent announcements detailing the changes to close contact and self isolation rules mean all students will be expected in school unless they have tested positive via a PCR test..
We will be saying goodbye to a small number of staff and welcoming increasing numbers of new members of staff to Kingsmeadow School in the new academic year. While it is always difficult to see members of our community move on, we wish them all well in the future. I know that our new staff will be both positive and productive additions to our school community. Information about staff will be available on the school website.
Voluntary Asymptomatic Lateral Flow Testing for the start of the Autumn term
As you will no doubt be aware all secondary schools have been asked to offer and support Covid testing for returning students at the start of the Autumn term. The Department for Education has made it clear that testing is voluntary and that there is no requirement for children to be tested for them to be able to return in September 2021. Testing will remain optional to both staff and students. For those families that have opted to take part in the testing, your child will be invited to two testing sessions where your child will be supported in taking a Lateral Flow Test in school. These tests will only be possible if we have received consent in advance. This will not affect the offer of home testing kits, which will be offered through school until the end of September 2021, according to the latest Government guidance.
Details of when the testing will take place will be emailed to individuals.
Arrangements for the start of term
Monday 6 September
Staff training day - school closed to students
Tuesday 7 September
Year 7 Induction Day 1
Yr 12 enrollment
Wednesday 8 September
Year 7 Induction Day 2
Yr 12 & 13 Induction Day
Thursday 9 September
All students in school
Year 12 enrolment will take place on Tuesday 7 September with Yr 12 and Year 13 Induction on Wednesday 8 September. Further details will be issued by Mr Hood, Head of Post 16.
Please keep a close eye on the school website which will have all updates and guidance.
All general updates will be posted on the school website. That should be your first port of call if you have any queries. If you have questions about anything in this latest Headteacher’s Update, please do not hesitate to contact the school.