23rd October 2020
As we reach the end of this half term, can I thank you again for your continued support of the school in what has been such unusual circumstances. It is impressive that, self-isolation aside, our attendance remains as high as it did last year, which shows the importance that the school community places on education, and the trust you have put in our systems. Thank you.
Letting us know if your daughter or son tests positive
Although it is half-term, it is still important to let us know if your daughter or son falls ill with coronavirus-like symptoms or tests positive for coronavirus over the half term in the usual way by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling the school number and leaving a message. This is important because it may be we still need to track close contacts from the days before the half-term break and ask people to self-isolate as a result. We hope this won't be necessary, but can't assume it won't be. Also, we need to know during the holidays as all schools in the city have been asked to inform the local authority and Public Health England of any confirmed case; they want to be able to get quick information about possible outbreaks. To be clear, we do not share any identifiable information, just general information to allow them to spot trends.
Keep checking emails
We would really appreciate it if you keep checking emails over the half term in case we need to send you a message about your daughter or son being a close contact in the final few days of the this half-term. We also may need to give updates about the start of the new half term if we have to make quick re-arrangements due to staff being off, for example. Again, this is worst-case scenario planning rather than a likelihood.
Our virtual open evening!
Sadly, we've not been able to conduct open evenings for lower school or sixth form this year, but we have made some great videos as an alternative. If you have younger daughters in primary school, or older children considering their next steps beyond year 11, these will be of interest to you. We're very proud of them!
You can see round the school for the main open evening at: https://map.st-annes.uk.com/
Our latest sixth form video can be found at: St Anne's Sixth Form
Although we have not had any parents query it, some parents may have seen and been alarmed by a story in the Daily Echo that families of children waiting for parents in our "school car park" were being fined for being in groups larger than six. As I am sure you will have seen from my earlier communications and from knowing the school, this is completely incorrect. There were no fines given out, we don't have a school car park that pupils can wait in (if only we did!), and we have had no contact from the Daily Echo to check the basics of the story. As you will have seen from earlier communications, on Wednesday, we were informed by local PCSOs that they had come across a number of students some distance from the school in a city park on their way home. They were asked to ensure they were in groups no larger than six. The PCSOs then contacted the school to let us know this. It was not serious enough for them to give us the names of the students. They wanted us to simply remind parents and students of the rule of 6 and that there was always the risk of fines for people congregating in a group larger than that. There was some initial misunderstanding and communication by us that fines had been given, whereas it was quickly understood that, in fact, they had not. We then corrected that with you the next morning. I apologise if that initial miscommunication caused any concerns for anyone.
As you will know, teachers are allowing pupils to wear outside coats on occasions in lessons if it is a bit cold due to ventilation. We have allowed hoodies to take the place of outside coats if they do not have one. However, on occasions, pupils are wearing a hoodie instead of school jumper. I'd like to remind families that the St Anne’s school jumper is a required part of the school uniform and girls must be wearing them in school. In summary: Hoodies are a permitted replacement for a coat, NOT a permitted replacement for a school jumper.
Staying safe over half term
As we enter half term, it is inevitable that children will want to get out and about and see friends. Never more so after having so many restrictions placed on them this half term. It's important that we all keep obeying the rules of hands, face, space and the rule of 6 when out and about to make sure the hard work we've all been putting in this half term isn't undone over the next week. If we all play our part, we can help to keep Southampton cases low.
I wish you all a happy and healthy half term
Headteacher, St Anne’s Catholic School
Chair of Southampton’s Secondary Heads Forum (2019-2021)
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