As we approach the end of this half term, I am writing to offer my gratitude for all your support in these trying times. The school year, despite many challenges, has begun very well and teachers have been very impressed with the work undertaken to date. Sadly, a small number of students have been unwell with the coronavirus in the last few weeks, and we all send good wishes to those who are ill together with our prayers for them. I would like to single out for praise those students who have had to self-isolate to protect other people this half term or are doing so currently. These students have worked really well during their isolation and have been very well supported by their families and by their friends in school. I would like to thank our teachers and support staff for adapting school life and providing a lot of new resources on line in addition to their regular lesson preparation and marking.
I am pleased to say that the school’s full formal curriculum has been taught this half term and we are tentatively beginning to reintroduce extra-curricular activities. We have put a number of measures in place during the term to ensure that we can help students to plug any gaps in their knowledge, ensuring that they do not miss vital learning or are disadvantaged in examinations. This work is still on going and students have recently undertaken baseline tests in all subjects. In Year 7 and 8 we will begin a recovery Numeracy project after half term. Students will have 15 minute Numeracy sessions led by Mr McCaughey each week on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Each student will be issued with a personal workbook for these sessions.
Timetable after Half term
It is now clear that the current pattern of education will continue for some time and therefore we must get used to the reality of measures to mitigate the spread of the virus, and occasional disruptions such as instructions to isolate.
With this in mind I have taken the decision to continue with the present timetable until February half term holiday: Friday 12th February. There will be a review of the present arrangements during January and I will update you of any changes at that time. The present timetable is in place to restrict the number of movement points in the school day and to isolate year groups as much as possible.
In practical terms this means that:
Staggered starts, breaks, lunchtime and dismissal will continue as now established.
The present two session day will continue.
Students assemble either in the quadrangle or the top court at the start of the day; the buildings are not available before school.
Students must have a cloth face mask which is worn from the assembly point into school and around the building and they should have a plastic bag in which to store it when not in use.
Students must carry a bottle of hand gel and use this when instructed at the start of each session.
Students are issued with anti-bacterial wipes for their workstation/ desk at the end of session A.
Classrooms will continue to be ventilated with open windows and doors, and will therefore be colder than normal.
Please note that we have now given away all of the face masks issued to us by Leicester City Council at the start of the term. We are now purchasing further masks from the same supplier. Should a student come to school without a mask in future, they will be issued with one of these masks and parents will be charged. The cost of each mask is £1.50. Students in receipt of the Pupil Premium allowance may use their personal allowance (£30) to purchase replacement face masks as well as other items available from the school shop.
Preparing for the winter
Our young people are going to be spending more time outdoors this winter, so a suitable waterproof coat will be needed. When indoors, we will have to keep doors and windows open, so our classrooms will be much cooler than usual. I recommend that students plan to wear more layers over the winter, including base layers, thicker socks and a school black v neck jumper. Outdoor coats are not suitable class-wear so students need to be prepared. Non uniform tops are not permitted in class.
Arrangements for those who have to self-isolate
My thanks to the teachers who have done a great deal of work preparing on-line materials and work packs for those who have to self-isolate. We have also preparing for the possibility of a partial or total site closure of the school. In this situation it is possible that some year groups attend school on alternate weeks to others. Please note that there is no specific plan to do this at this stage, but I need to advise you of the possibility.
Work pack – partial site closure
Accordingly we have prepared a work pack for each student in Year 7 - 11 to cover the event of a partial site closure and we are sending this home with each student this week together with a spare exercise book (Years 7 and 8). This means that there will never be a situation when a student at home has no work. Please note that this pack and all other work for students are displayed on Show my homework. This work is different from the work for self-isolation of a smaller ‘bubble’.
Students need to check that they have access to their school email and, if necessary, request a new password.
Parents need to check that they can access Show my homework.
In the event of another full or partial lockdown, the school will operate a helpline for parents and students re work 07468 672 740 and the email address email@example.com
Our spiritual life has changed its appearance this term as all of our assemblies have been held in classrooms, using MS Teams. Our young people are to be commended on taking part so well, and on their strong leadership in helping James Noakes, our chaplain, in leading assembly. Year 7 students have also made visits to the school Chapel.
Black History Month
This year we are having a very rich celebration of Black History Month and I would like to thank members of the school council for organising an excellent assembly which has been shown over MS Teams.
Parents Consultation Meetings
All Parents’ Consultation Meetings will be held on line this year using the ‘Parent Booking’ system. Thank you to Mr Neville and Mr O’Brien for arranging this new system. Details will be issued to you in advance of each parents’ meeting. Heads of Year created Parents Information videos in September which are still available on the school website.
Thank you to teachers for making presentations for our Sixth Form Open Evening online. These video presentations are available on the school website together with information re applications.
Calendar - Examinations
School Examinations for Year 10, 11, 12 and 13 will take place in November and December. A timetable is being issued to each student. Revision classes for year 11 will be starting week commencing 2nd November.
We are delighted to tell you that every student at English Martyrs' now has access to a virtual library available via their school email logon. The Library, which can be accessed on any digital device, covers a wide range of reading genres, humour, historical fiction, suspense, classic literature, science fiction, mystery, romance, horror as well as a variety of non fiction. The school has paid for the app for everyone so that the library is totally free to all students.
All students have been issued with a helpful bookmark today called “STOPP” (Stop, Take a breath, Observe, Plan, Proceed). Please discuss this with your son/daughter.
Please remember our welfare team is available to support both students in school and those working from home. Should parents have any concerns please contact your child’s tutor or Head of Year in the first instance.
This month Pope Francis has issued a very significant letter to the world, with the title Fratelli Tutti (Brothers All) which is a reflection on the state of the world and our need for human solidarity, human rights, environment justice and compassion for all. He includes several prayers, this is one of them:
A Prayer to the Creator
Lord, Father of our human family, you created all human beings equal in dignity: pour forth into our hearts a fraternal spirit and inspire in us a dream of renewed encounter, dialogue, justice and peace. Move us to create healthier societies
and a more dignified world, a world without hunger, poverty, violence and war.
May our hearts be open to all the peoples and nations of the earth. May we recognize the goodness and beauty that you have sown in each of us, and thus forge bonds of unity, common projects, and shared dreams. Amen.
October Half Term Letter from Mr Lockyer
Dear Parents and Carers
I hope that you and your loved ones are well. As we come to the end of the first half term of
this extraordinary school year, I am writing to update you on a number of aspects of life across our Catholic Multi Academy Trust schools.
I would like to begin by thanking you for the way in which the overwhelming majority of you have quickly and supportively adapted to the new measures we have had to put in place to
make our schools as COVID-secure and safe as they can be. Our school leaders and I fully appreciate that this has caused some, inevitable, inconvenience in relation to things like dropping off and picking up your children at some of our schools; again, thank you for your patience and understanding.
At the time of writing I can report to you that we have had a total of 33 positive cases of
COVID-19 across 14 of our schools. To give you perspective on this, we have a total of just
under 10,000 people – pupils and staff – across our 21 schools. Very thankfully, none of these cases has been serious enough to warrant hospitalisation and, most importantly, there has been no evidence of transmission between pupils in any of our schools; in other words, where we have had to send groups of pupils or “bubbles” home because of a positive case, none of those pupils have then tested positive. This is obviously reassuring from the point of view of our risk assessments and the way in which our staff are managing the situation in the schools but, clearly, we will remain highly vigilant on this issue, taking nothing whatsoever for granted.
Many of you have been kind enough to take the time to express your support for the work of our teachers, support staff and school leaders of late. They are working incredibly hard to
provide high quality learning both for the pupils in front of them, and those isolating at home. It is fair to say that “going the extra mile” has become a standard way of working in our schools. I am sure that you will appreciate that all of this is taking significantly longer to plan and deliver than would normally be the case. To support staff with is, I want to inform you today with as much notice as I can, that we are introducing an additional staff training day on Monday 4 January 2021. All of our schools will be closed for all pupils on this day, but remote learning will be set for them to do at home. This time will be used by all staff to prepare for the term ahead, again ensuring that our schools are ready to provide for pupils should they have to have periods of time at home. Please note that this day is in addition to the training day which is already in the calendar for Friday 29 January. I thank you in advance for your understanding on this.
If your child or any of your children who attend our schools should test positive for COVID-19 over the half term break, please DO NOT call the school as the message may not be picked up. Instead, please call 07934 582009. Please note that this phone number may go straight to answerphone, but it is checked very regularly so leave your contact details clearly as well as –
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
We will share this information with the school concerned, and we will also act as a link for the NHS ‘Test and Trace’ procedure if this is needed.
Finally, in these anxious and uncertain times I would like to close with a line from our Trust
prayer: “Pour forth your light upon our schools, and take away any darkness which covers us”. Let us ask the same for our local communities, our country and our world.
With best wishes
Chief Executive Officer