It has been fantastic welcoming back our students after the summer break and the ending of lockdown. The students look incredibly smart and the amendments to the uniform from last year have made a real difference. Seeing children in lessons learning and watching them safely interacting socially at break and lunch has been something we have all missed. The new classrooms and corridor have also been an excellent addition to the school site.
At the start of term some of our procedures have had to obviously change to ensure that we have created a Covid safe learning environment and we have been reviewing its impact at the end of each day to ensure we maintain our high standards. While students have been impeccable in their approach around school, with the rise in infections in the North West, we have begun to implement additional steps to minimise any disruption or breaks in learning. This includes making our two bridges one way, asking students to always wear their face masks unless they are in lessons or eating their lunch. Additional zoning at break and lunch is also being considered and staff are taking enhanced levels of precautions during lessons. In the dining rooms, I am pleased to report that our new lunch routines are working well and we plan to introduce hot grab bags at lunch time and toast at break in the coming weeks.
Furthermore, could I remind parents that students should not arrive before 8.05am and at the end of the day we are now asking Year 7, 12 & 13 to leave school at 2.35pm; Year 8 at 2.38; Year 9 and 11 at 2.40 and Year 10 at 2.42 while continuing to use multiple exits to help keep year group bubbles apart. We have also been asked by the Local Authority bus team to ask parents to remind students to continue wearing their face masks while travelling on buses. Behaviour expectations remain high and some amendments have been introduced to policies to reflect the change in school protocols around keeping the school Covid safe for staff and students and this will be made available shortly.
We are, understandably trying to reduce the number of visitors into school and if parents wish to arrange any discussions with staff we are implementing a three tier approach. Phone calls being the first phase, followed by online meetings and then, where absolutely necessary, pre-arranged in-school meetings. We are also currently exploring how best to provide feedback on learning which would have normally been done at parents’ evenings and I am pleased to confirm that following the extremely positive feedback during lockdown we will ensure tutors make phone calls home to families this term to touch based from a pastoral perspective.
With regard to supporting children with any anxiety or mental health concerns as a result of lockdown, in addition to our regular provision, we have secured additional counselling support from the ADHD foundation to work with vulnerable students.
Our risk assessments, which have been validated by the trust and our external risk assessment consultant, and school reopening plans are available on our website and if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us. Rest assured we will not hesitate to implement further measures to ensure learning continues safely and effectively.
A strength of Great Sankey High has always been the myriad of enrichments and extra- curricular activities we offer. From our early morning use of the library or picking up an early breakfast to sporting fixtures, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award or peripatetic music lessons. Once school routines are embedded we will look to gradually and safely re-introduce activities and opportunities in a controlled and measured way.
If parents do have any other concerns these, in the first instance, should be directed to the house teams’ email address for each house please:
Following on from the launch of our successful knowledge organisers for Year 7 and 8 last year, for 2020/21 we have now introduced a version for year 9. These now also include a write-on white board so students can respond to classroom questions and activities on the back. During lockdown we piloted a knowledge retrieval project with regular reviews and quizzes being set for students to complete on google classroom. For this academic year we are going to set fortnightly homework google quizzes based on each subject area in the knowledge organiser for all of Key Stage 3 and we will monitor results and ensure students complete their quizzes which will support the learning taking place in the classroom.
The Google Classroom codes for these are:
Year 7: al6ie5y (Year 7 are currently having their introduction to Google Classroom and OneDrive in their early IT lessons)
Year 8: bvfnfga
Year 9: cje6lni
For Year 10 and 11 we have issued a new termly Learning Organiser and for all year groups these now replace the planner we have previously used and they contain a useful communication log for parents / carers and staff to share any issues.
In addition to this, as you may be aware, schools are going to be allocated additional funding from the DFE to help students make up for missed learning. We are currently awaiting confirmation of the exact amount we will receive but are already developing plans to support our students to ensure they are able to secure the results and success of which they are capable and remove any barriers that have occurred as a result of being away from school for so long.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank families for their continued support, staff for their hard work in preparing for our return to school and most importantly our students for their inspiring approach in returning to school so positively and their desire and thirst to learn. They are a credit to their families and their community.
Mr J Shannon