Headteacher's letter - December 2021

Dear Parents/Carers,

As we reach the end of the autumn term, it is a time to reflect on the significant challenges we have faced as a school community this year amidst a global pandemic, as well as all the achievements and successes of our students. A particular highlight for me this term was the Year 7 trip to The Kings Theatre to see their pantomime! They all threw themselves into the experience, singing and dancing throughout the show and it was wonderful to see them just being children and enjoying the magic of Christmas.

2022 GCSE and BTEC Exams update
Exams are still scheduled to go ahead this summer so we are preparing our students for these. GCSE exams in England this summer will be adapted to maximise fairness and help students reach their potential. Following a public consultation, the government and Ofqual (30 September) confirmed changes such as a choice of topics in some GCSE exams like English literature and history; advance information on the focus of exams to focus students’ revision in subjects, where there is not a choice of topics; and support materials like formulae sheets in maths. If exams are cancelled, Year 11 students will receive TAG grades from their teachers based on assessments they have completed in school. Assessments from October half term onwards can be included; students will be informed which assessments might count towards their TAG grade and be given the same amount of time that they would receive in the exam. Every lesson, every day really does count so it is vital your child is in school if they are not self-Isolating.

January return
As you may be aware, the Department for Education has announced that all students will need to complete one COVID-19 test on the school site as part of their return to school process in January. Therefore, we will be testing on Tuesday 4th and Wednesday 5th January 2022. Years 10 and 11 will then begin school on Wednesday 5th January 2022, with all other year groups back in school on Thursday 6th January 2022. This will help ensure the safety of our school community and lead to a positive start to term. They have also asked that all children continue to do twice weekly lateral flow testing over the Christmas break.

Can I take this opportunity to remind you not to send your children to school before 8.30am as they will be unsupervised before this time, unless they attend our breakfast club. The gates will be opened at 8.30am, the time our staff start their duties.

Free School Meals over the Christmas holiday
If your child qualifies for free school meal vouchers, you will be sent a voucher on Monday 20th December for £30 per child to cover the two-week period. If you believe we may not have your current email address please contact our student services team urgently so we can rectify this.

Foreign Travel and Activities Week
Many of you have signed your children up for the trips abroad for Activities Week this year. Restrictions are changing daily at the moment but our travel companies are still confident at this stage that our summer residentials will go ahead. We will share further information with you as and when we receive it.

Staffing updates
I am really excited to share with you that we have been asked by the local authority to lead the work on Relational Practice across all schools in the city over the next three years. This is because of the innovative work we do around Inclusion and I’m thrilled this has been recognised locally and nationally. We have hosted visits from many Headteachers, local counsellors, and Directors at PCC representing a broad range of agencies this term and their feedback has been incredible. My favourite quote is:
“I loved how the school felt; the emotional safety was palpable, a calm learning environment and delightful young people”.

In order to support other schools with this important work, Mrs Argyle has been promoted to the position of ‘Director of Relational Practice’ from January and will no longer be Head of Victory House. We have appointed Mr Stokes as the new Head of House who is an experienced pastoral leader and we look forward to him starting with us in January.

Mrs Hammond, our Student Services Manager is retiring today. We are all very sad to see her go but she has lots of exciting plans for her retirement that we are all a bit jealous of! I would like to take this opportunity to thank her for all her hard work over the years and wish her all the best for a wonderful retirement. Mrs Moore has
been promoted to this position from January and we have recruited a new Student Services Assistant, Miss Love to support this team. We are also delighted to welcome Mrs Lyons to our admin team from January, too.

Thank you so much for your continued support this year. The autumn term has been particularly challenging but we have pulled together in true Team Trafalgar style to keep the school open to all year groups, despite periods of high staff absence due to Covid.

School re-opens for staff on Tuesday 4th January 2022 and we welcome all students back to school on Thursday 6th January 2022 after their testing.

I wish you all a wonderful, safe and very happy Christmas with your loved ones.

Claire Copeland
Executive Headteacher