Dear Parents and Students
Almsgiving in Lent
It has been lovely to see students in non-uniform today as we raise money for our Lent Charity: CAFOD. This year CAFOD is working hard to ensure that those who are denied basic access to fresh water near to their home are helped to create a sustainable source. Speaking in Rome last week, about the annual observance of World Water Day, Pope Francis said:
“Tomorrow is World Water Day, which invites us to reflect on the value of this wonderful and irreplaceable gift of God. For us believers ‘sister’ water is not a commodity: it is a universal symbol and a source of life and health, Highlighting the fact that so many people across the world have little access to water, which is perhaps even polluted, the Pope said: “It is necessary to ensure drinking water and sanitation to all.”
Reflecting on the week
A very big thank you to all of our students on much hard work in lessons this week. I have visited many lessons and have been very impressed with students dedication and diligence.
The Covid home testing programme is working well as it has shown up some asymptomatic covid cases. Unfortunately for students who have been in the same lessons as the infected person this means that they have had to self-isolate at home. I realise that this can be very frustrating and worrying, especially for our Year 11 students, but it is of course necessary for the common good. I have waited with all the students whilst they have been signing out and I would like to make a special thanks to these students for their understanding and maturity about this situation. You are all a great credit to your families and to the school.
Thanks to the staff
Thank you to our teachers and all staff for everything that has happened so far this year. It has been another extraordinary term and required all our staff to undertake new tasks which have not previously been part of their professional roles - notably on-line live teaching and planning and operating a large covid testing centre.
Former student launched at NASA
Congratulations to former student, Daniel Watters, who left the Sixth Form in 2013, Daniel has recently received a prestigious post-doctoral research fellowship at NASA. Daniel studied Physics, Mathematics and Psychology A levels, before reading Physics with Astrophysics at the University of Leicester where he graduated with the ‘May Prize’ for outstanding performance in the final year of any undergraduate Physics course.
Currently finishing his PhD, Daniel will move to NASA in Alabama later this year. He writes: “I am very grateful to English Martyrs’ School for the excellent education that they provided to me and for enabling me to progress onto new academic ventures. In particular, I would like to note the high standard of teaching that I received from my teachers including Mr Boston (Physics), Mr Owen and Mr Parmar (Maths), Mr Lines (Psychology), Mrs Sheehan (Form Tutor) and Mr Wilson (Sixth form tutor). I hope that my story can be inspirational to the next generation of students at the school.” https://le.ac.uk/news/2021/february/nasa-fellowship
Roadworks Anstey Lane and Buckminster Road
Leicester City Council was recently awarded funds from the Department for Transport’s Transforming Cities Fund to deliver a series of pedestrian, cycling and public transport improvements in the north west and south west of the city. As part of this programme, work is planned for Anstey Lane and Buckminster Road. If you wish to comment on the proposals please contact the council. Ongoing transport projects (leicester.gov.uk)
Covid - Home test kits: Lateral Flow Tests
We have now distributed all the home Test Kits sent by the NHS to the school, and you are asked to use them twice each week, as explained in the booklet. Many people are now doing these on Sunday and Wednesday, however this is your decision as a family.
Public Health Leicester have issued the following updated advice yesterday.
If a student tests positive using a home kit test (a Lateral Flow test - LFT) then their parents must inform the school and the family should self-isolate. The school will then contact trace other students who have been in ‘close proximity’, ie group(s) who were in class over the preceding two days or face to face within one metre or in an enclosed transport space, and that group will have to self-isolate immediately.
The student who has received the positive test result will then also book a second (PCR) test at an NHS centre.
If the second (PCR) test, conducted at an NHS centre, is negative, the student can return to school and the group that were sent home to self-isolate can return to school. This group do not need to do an extra LFT but should continue with their normal twice a week testing routine.
If a student or member of staff has a positive PCR, then they must self-isolate for 10 days. Close contacts must also self-isolate for 10 days, with day 1 being the day after the last contact.
Obviously you can see that should these circumstances occur, we will tell those who are contact traced that they must self-isolate. Should that change because of the situation outlined above, we will let parents know at the earliest opportunity. We will only contact families should the advice not to self-isolate change.
Holy Week Reflections
Next week is Holy Week during which we commemorate Our Lord’s Entry to Jerusalem, the Last Supper, the Crucifixion and Resurrection. There are many online reflections available. You may find the Bible Meditations and videos from the Taize community interesting and helpful. Their Lent message this year is: “Not simply to endure events but, in God, to build with them.” Message from Brother Alois - Taizé (taize.fr)
Holy Week and Easter Liturgies
The current restrictions have reduced the capacity of our church buildings, so the diocese has put in place a way of booking seats at Mass so that you can be sure of a place when you arrive. Many churches are using this system to take bookings for Mass - for those that are not, there are links to parish websites which should contain details of Masses and how to book. Mass Booking - Welcome
An Easter Prayer
Father, by this Easter mystery you touch our lives
with the healing power of your love.
You have given us the freedom of the children of God.
May we who now celebrate your gift
find joy in it for ever in heaven.
The Pentecost Term begins for all students on Monday 12th April.
Dear Parents and Carers
I hope that you, your families and friends are well. Our reopening of schools has gone as well as we could possibly have expected. It has been wonderful to hear about the joy with which our young people have returned and the way in which our staff have enabled them to return to learning in school so quickly. As we now head into the Easter holidays, I wanted to remind you of the process we have in place for our schools should your child test positive for COVID-19 over the school Easter holiday period.
The number to call should your child test positive is 07934 582009. When you call please have the following information ready to share -
Your child’s name
Their date of birth
The school they attend and where it is (we have four pairs of schools with the same name within our Trust)
The date on which they first showed symptoms, and the date on which they tested positive
In the regrettable situation of us needing to contact you to let you know that your child needs to isolate, we will do so by email and/or text message.
I would also like to give you maximum notice of a slight change to next year’s school calendar. We will be holding a staff training day on Friday 19 November 2021 which will involve two simultaneous conferences for all of our staff at our two city secondary schools. As such, all of our schools will be closed to pupils on that day. This will replace the training day currently scheduled for Wednesday 5 January 2022, which will now be a normal school day for all pupils.
Finally, as we approach Easter, the most important festival we have as Christians, we pray that the joy, renewal and hope that it represents is reflected in our world – especially in terms of a return to normality after the pandemic.
Chief Executive Officer, St Thomas Aquinas Catholic Multi-Academy Trust