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Headteacher Update – 5.3.21

16.07.2020

Dear Parent/Carer

I should like nothing more than to be able to thank each and every one of you personally for your monumental efforts over the last few months. As I am unable to do so, I hope this letter will suffice.  That said, the way our testing has gone this week, it feels as though we could manage anything at the moment.  I am delighted to report that we have tested 1,167 pupils in 3 days on site, with further pupils being tested at home. This brings our percentage of pupils tested, all with a negative result, to 92%.  In addition, all staff have been tested twice this week and all found to be negative.  Therefore, we should all be reasonably reassured that Swanmore College will be Covid free when pupils return to us next week.  I am acutely aware that the testing programme would not have gone so smoothly if you hadn’t made the effort to get your children to us at their allotted time.  Thank you for doing so – I hope these figures reassure you that your efforts were not in vain.

Return to Swanmore College

Next week, pupils return to on site teaching as follows:

Mon 8 March 2021 – Year 7 & Year 11

Tues 9 March 2020 – Year 7, Year 8, Year 10 and Year 11

Wed 10 March 2021 – All pupils on site

To help with the testing programme whilst your children are back on site next week, we have 26 trained volunteers from the Swanmore College community who will be helping us. This should alleviate any potential operational issues for the college.  This is a massive bonus to us and I cannot thank our volunteers enough. Indeed, we were fortunate enough to have double that number who offered to help us which just goes to show what a ‘can-do’ community we have.

Pupil testing

One of our volunteers, who had to undergo some training this week, is a Swanmore College Governor also.  She wrote to tell me how impressed she was by the maturity and positivity shown by pupils during their swab testing.  Some were nervous yet they approached the experience with a great attitude, enabling us to test so many in such a short period of time.  What a credit they have been to us all.

Masks in lessons

A question that I have had from a few parents is about the wearing of face masks in lessons.  The recommendation in the guidance is clear. Where social distancing cannot be maintained, everyone should wear a face mask in the classroom.  This is why we have asked the pupils to do so.  To date, nobody I have met enjoys wearing a mask – we do it to protect others.  It is a moral decision and the more of us that do this, the safer the environment for everyone.

There are some cases where people cannot wear a mask but these are very few and far between.  If a pupil is unable to wear a mask then I have directed staff to move those children to the front of their classes and preferably to the end of a row.  As long as those children are not turning round then they are not breathing directly on any other pupils.  With the ventilation requirements that we have in each classroom and the cleaning procedures in place, I am confident that will make classrooms as safe as possible.  Please be aware that teachers are not required to wear a mask whilst they are teaching as they are able to socially distance at the front of the classroom.  However, should they need to venture into the class in order to help pupils, then they have been instructed to wear a mask.

We understand that the government will update the guidance at Easter.  We are recommending that pupils go outside at break and lunch and enjoy the beauty of breathing fresh air as no masks are required outside.

Late Bus

The late bus will be operating Monday – Thursday with effect from Monday 8 March 2021.

And finally….

We are all hoping that we can get back to some sort of normality now.  Whilst I am sure there will be one or two bumps along the way, I am hopeful that our regular testing programme will ensure that Swanmore College will be able to address any Covid related issues swiftly.  As soon as I have further information on home testing for pupils I will contact you. The aim is for pupils to self-test at home from Monday 15 March 2021.

Other than that, I would like to thank you all for supporting us so well during the home learning experience.

My final thanks go to my incredible staff, all of whom have made my role as Headteacher so much easier over the last few months by their professional and selfless approach to their jobs at Swanmore.  I am so very proud of them all.

Kind regards

R K Jonathan
Headteacher

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