Rough Notes – September 2020

Welcome to the first edition of Rough Notes for the new academic year. Thank you for taking the time to read our monthly publication.

Last year, my first at the school, was one I could never have imagined. In my five years of headship, I have never experienced anything quite like it and very much hope that this year will see a return to a more normal educational experience for students and staff alike.

Despite the challenges, last year had many highs and I think these were wonderfully encapsulated in our July edition. If you have not yet taken a look, I wholeheartedly recommend you do so, it’s full of fantastic articles about our wonderful school and the activities of our students and staff.

We had a very positive return to school in September and despite the national concerns about student wellbeing and anxiety, our students made a strong return, demonstrating their resilience.

Our students returned in a staggered fashion. The phased return enabled us to support students more effectively whilst ensuring that they were fully up to speed with the changes made to school procedures and processes, designed to keep everyone safe and the school open for as long as is possible.

It was great to see our school alive again, with students learning in classrooms amongst their peers and teachers. Our school was a very strange place during lockdown, despite being open all the way through, it had a very different atmosphere with a significantly reduced number attending each day.

There have been many smiles on the student return. For those who found the transition a little more challenging, our new 'Safeguarding and Wellbeing' team have worked hard to support these students, ensuring that they can return to learning confidently in school as quickly as possible.

Our attendance has been very strong. Nationally 87% of students have returned whilst at Woodroffe our figure has been well above 90% for each of the first three weeks back. Congratulations to our students on a strong return and thanks to our parents and carers who have provided continued support throughout the pandemic.

I would like to thank our staff for what they have done to ensure that we could welcome all students back as soon as possible and for the way that they have supported students in their return. This has been a real team effort.

On Friday 25th September, I met with some local medical practitioners via video call. Not so long ago, this would have been quite unusual, but now it has become much more common practice. During the meeting, they shared with me some data regarding COVID-19 infections. Whilst we have seen the picture change rapidly across the UK, we have been fortunate locally that the situation has remained more stable and the infection rate low. The data shared identified where local infections had arisen. The data shared can be seen below:

  • 46% of local infections resulted from household mixing.
  • 12% of local infections resulted from eating/drinking out.
  • 5% of local infections resulted from education.

We want to ensure that our school stays open, educating our young people for as long as possible, whilst we do what we can to ensure that all stakeholders remain safe. Information has been regularly and consistently shared with students and home about the measures taken by the school to ensure a smooth and safe reopening. Please help us to remain open for as long as is possible by reinforcing these messages at home and ensuring that your children are well prepared and follow the plans in place. I have included below, the core messages shared:

I hope you enjoy our latest edition of ‘Rough Notes’. Should you wish to find out more about our school, news or events, please visit the school website which I am sure you will find useful. For regular updates, why not look at our Twitter feeds.

Best wishes,

Dan Watts