Creating a Future

After a challenging seven months rife with upended plans, changing regulatory guidance and continuing uncertainty, I would like to congratulate parents, pupils and staff on the successful re-opening of school at the start of the new academic year. The pupils have been especially respectful of the new rules that we have had to deploy and this has certainly made the staff’s lives easier!

As the pandemic ebbs and flows (and as of Monday 14th September, the tightening of national restrictions on gatherings) I am very well aware of the need for sound leadership from our Senior Management Team, excellence in regulatory practices such as safeguarding as well as efficient staff and pupil management processes.  Given what has come before, I am sure that we will continue to rise to the challenge and ensure that the pupils’ educational experience at Tower College continues to thrive.

I say this with some confidence as we have recently experienced an unprecedented surge in ‘showround requests’ and almost all Open Day places have been booked for Saturday, September 26th. The flattering feedback from prospective parents convinces me beyond any doubt that our hopes for a very bright future are not misplaced.

Along with the ‘new normal’, we have an exceptional group of new, enthusiastic and innovative staff who have all settled in nicely. I am delighted to welcome: Mr J Southward – Teacher of PE, Mr J Glover – Teacher of ICT & Computer Science, Mr S Thorn – Teacher of Physics & Maths, Miss A Porter – Year 1 Teacher, Miss B Deane – Year 3 Teacher and Miss A Midgley – Year 4 Teacher.

In the Early Years, we had a wonderful first week at school. We have played games, familiarised ourselves with our new environment and the classroom rules and routines. The children have settled in well, made lots of new friends and have embraced school life after having such a long time off. Our staff are very proud of them all.

Miss Nugent – EYFS Lead

Coronavirus Management

I am pleased to report that, although we have had several parents informing us that their child is displaying symptoms of the coronavirus, we have not had one reported confirmed case. Please open the toggle below to find out what to do if your child displays symptoms. The information is from Public Heath England.

What to do if a pupil is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19)

If anyone in your school becomes unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, or has a loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia), they must be sent home and be advised to follow the guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection. This sets out that they must:

Action list

  1. In an emergency, call 999 if they are seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk. Do not visit the GP, pharmacy, urgent care centre or a hospital except in an emergency.
  1. Call parents/legal guardian to collect pupil and take them home. Advise them that all household members will need to isolate and refer them to the guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.
  1. While the pupil is awaiting collection, move them to an isolated room and open a window for ventilation. If it is not possible to isolate them, move them to an area which is at least 2 metres away from other people
  1. Staff caring for a pupil while they are awaiting collection should maintain 2 metre distancing. If not possible, for example with a young child, they should wear suitable PPE1:

  1. If the pupil needs to go to the bathroom while waiting to be collected, they should use a separate bathroom if possible. The bathroom should be cleaned and disinfected using standard cleaning products before being used by anyone
  1. From 26 August, all schools and FE providers will have received an initial supply of 10 home test kits. Home test kits should only be offered to individuals in the exceptional circumstance that you believe an individual may have barriers to accessing testing
  1. Staff/other pupils who have had contact with the symptomatic pupil must wash their hands thoroughly for 20
  1. When parents/legal guardian pick up the pupil, advise them to get the pupil tested and notify you of the
  1. Once the pupil has left the premises, thoroughly disinfect/clean all surfaces and contact points they came into contact with (including the bathroom if used).

1 More information on PPE use can be found in the Safe working in education, childcare and children’s social care settings, including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) guidance.

What to do if a pupil tests positive for coronavirus (COVID-19)

  1. Notify your local health protection team (HPT) immediately when you become aware that a pupil or a member of staff who has attended has tested positive for coronavirus. Find contact details for your local health protection team.
  1. The HPT will work with you to carry out a rapid risk assessment and identify appropriate next steps
  1. With HPT advice, identify close contacts of the symptomatic individual. Contact tracers will inform contacts that they need to self-isolate for 14 days in line with guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.
  1. For pupils who are isolating, ensure access to remote provision so that they can continue to learn remotely
  1. A template letter will be provided to schools, on the advice of the health protection team, to send to parents and staff if needed
  1. Schools must not share the names of people with coronavirus (COVID-19) unless essential to protect others

Lower School have thoroughly enjoyed their first week back. They have adapted well to the changes around school, learnt about their new class rules and routines. They have had some lovely lessons, getting to know their new class teachers, listening to their friends talk about their time away from school and discussing what they are going to be learning through the year. All of our Lower School pupils have settled so well and are showing such enthusiasm for new learning. We are looking forward to a brilliant school year!

Mrs Wright, Head of Prep-Prep and Assistant Vice-Principal

Lunches

It’s a bit quicker but not quick enough!

So said Chef James … The lunch time arrangements have been reviewed on a daily basis with the aim of giving the children the best possible dining experience in the shortest amount of time thereby limiting the impact on lesson time. The pupils have adapted well to the new one-way system and the changes that we have had to make. We will be soon introducing the Jubilee Hall to serve food which will dramatically improve the whole process. Years 5, 6, 7 will use the Jubilee Hall when Years 8 & 9 are using the Diner. Year 11 will use the Jubilee Hall when Year 10 are using the Diner.

WATER BOTTLES MUST BE BROUGHT IN EACH DAY

Safeguarding

All our staff have completed training in: Our Responsibilities under KCSIE 2020 and Reintegrating Pupils Following Closure. Our Safeguarding Team have been busily preparing the next wave of safeguarding training.

Wellbeing

Latest Findings

A survey by Parentkind asked parents and carers to prioritise three things schools should focus on in autumn — mental wellbeing came top of the list with 70% of parents and carers prioritising this — above curriculum learning with 57%.

In addition, a recent report by BarnardosTime for a Clean Slate: Children’s Mental Health at the Heart of Education identified the importance of putting wellbeing at the heart of the learning environment.

However, as stated earlier, it is important not to assume that all pupils have found recent events traumatic or negative– pupils will have had different experiences of the pandemic’s impact and may have developed new skills and coping strategies.

Recognizing and Responding to Anxiety

The children have now fully returned to school and initial signs of the pupils’ wellbeing are very good indeed. However, we are still mindful of the fact that being around others may be daunting after the experience of lockdown. Some, whether adult, teenager or child, may have spent extended periods shielding, isolating from their friends and family. Even those who outwardly appear ‘fine’ may still have underlying fears about safety. Anxiety is not always easy to spot and can be masked by other emotions and behaviours and we may not recognise the fears that sit beneath.

Our PSHE strategy led by Mrs Davies is one component of our school-wide strategy to address mental health. As part of this, Mrs Davies has provided the following resource on some common things to look out for …

Pupil Wellbeing Survey

As part of our commitment to our children’s wellbeing, we have designed a short survey to help us to gauge our pupils’ current mental health status. The survey is designed from the children’s point of view, but please do feel free to help them to complete.

Wellbeing Survey (opens in a new tab)

Reading at Home

Several parents have requested information about reading at home. Mrs Wright made the video below during ‘lockdown’. It’s a step-by step guide to helping parents with this sometimes difficult task. The video also contains links to free reading resources.

Image Consent Forms

Please can parents complete the Image Consent Form. Please click on the button below.

Image Consent Form (opens in a new tab)

Yours sincerely

Ms A C Bingley (Principal)

We are delighted to welcome back our Middle and Upper School pupils. We send a very warm welcome to all new pupils and our new year 5s. Pupils and staff have all now settled into our new system and cleaning regimes. They have displayed maturity and have been supportive of the new rules. It has been lovely to see smiles back on their faces and hearing them discussing last minute holidays! Most of all, I am delighted to see so many new friendships being forged. I really do have a great sense of the school moving in to a new and highly successful era – the staff’s commitment and the pupils’ resilience throughout lockdown is a magnificent platform on which to build in the ‘new normal’.

Mr Wells – Head of Middle & Upper School and Vice-Principal