CoronaVirus – IMPORTANT UPDATE 13th July

END OF YEAR HEADTEACHER’S LETTER AND UPDATE W/B 13TH JULY 2020

Dear Parents and Students;

I am writing with my final letter of the term and academic year.  It is also my final summer term letter to you as Headteacher of this wonderful school. It is hard to believe how quickly the past seven years have passed.  They have been the most enjoyable years of my time working in education and that is down to the exceptional students, staff and, of course, the highly supportive parent body and community.  The Romsey School is an amazing educational establishment to be part of and will continue to be so, ably led by Annie Eagle from September 2020.  I have been particularly grateful for all the messages of support over the past few months which have been very challenging for all of us.

The school will continue to be open in the final week beginning 13th July for children of key workers, children who have vulnerable status (receiving support from the Early Help Hub, Children’s Services or with an allocated Social Worker including Looked After Children) or have an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP).  Year 10 pupils may attend by appointment only with Option subject teachers.  School will close for the summer holidays on Friday 17th July 2020 at 1.00pm for all children. This last day will be a non-uniform day for any pupils including Year 10 pupils who happen to be attending on that day.

From 20th July 2020 and throughout the summer holidays, parents are able to sign up for the Connect4summer programme should they be interested in the Family Fun days or for childcare arrangements, the 360 degree website. Details of these programmes can be found by following these links;

 https://connect4.org.uk/  or  https://www.360degreesportscoaching.co.uk/

Year 10 w/b 13th July 2020: Each of the three cohorts will return for one final day of core lessons (English, Maths and Science) during the week beginning 13th July.  Cohort 1 will attend on Monday 13th July, cohort 2 on Tuesday 14th July and cohort 3 will attend on Wednesday 15th July.   All other practical information remains the same as before in terms of transport, uniform and catering arrangements.  There is no transport for Year 10 pupils on the Thursday and Friday for the appointment only sessions with Option subject teachers.

Year 11 GCSE results: Pupils in our current Year 11 will shortly receive information about how to collect results.  Results day is 20th August 2020 and we do plan to be open for Year 11s to come in on that day.  There will however be staggered arrival and departure times for pupils and the collection point will be the main hall.

Return to school in September 2020: Details of the first day back are at the end of this letter. The most recent Government guidance is that there will be a full return to school in September for all pupils.  However, this situation can change quickly so please look on our website for regular updates throughout the summer break. Schools received very detailed guidance about how a return to school should be managed and senior staff have drafted a plan which meets the requirements of the Department of Education in terms of a full return to school.

We plan to continue with many of the measures in place such as the one-way system, additional cleaning, hand gels in every classroom etc. There will of course be some logistical changes in terms of pupil movement around the school.  It is the expectation that schools where possible, keep different year groups from socialising with each other to restrict transmission of Coronavirus. Departure and arrival times will be staggered as will break and lunch-times for pupils.   Pupils will not be able to arrive on site until 8.30am in the morning as there is no supervisory capacity to ensure that they are socially distanced from other year groups.   Lesson departures will also be staggered.

The guidance has also indicated that our dedicated bus services from Southampton and Landford can return to normal. We will also be running a Mini-bus from Totton.  We are planning to update the video we had for Year 10 pupils so that you are fully informed about the changes in place to minimise the risks of infection.  It is anticipated that all pupils will return to school and that it is compulsory from September 2020.  We are however aware that some pupils will be living with a family member who are classified as extremely vulnerable and therefore shielding.  We will therefore look at absence on a case by case basis in line with our usual absence policy. All pupils are expected to return in full school uniform.

Parental visits to the site and communications with pupils:   The guidance from the Department for Education is that Schools should limit the external visitors to the school during school hours. Parents should come into school buildings only when strictly necessary and by appointment only. This policy will continue into next academic year.  In view of this, we have taken the decision that all appointments regarding pupils, unless absolutely necessary and agreed by the Senior Team will take place via telephone or on-line.

Parents will be unable to drop off forgotten items to pupils – lunches, books etc cannot be passed on. We will be unable to pass on messages to pupils during the day other than via email to teachers unless in an absolute emergency.

Parents will be unable to drop off or pick up their children on the school site by car.  We ask that you drop pupils some distance from the school or encourage them to cycle or walk if feasible. Please can you drop off either at the Abbey or at the car park next to Waitrose.  There are safe walking routes to the school from these points.  This helps to stagger the arrival of pupils. Pupils may arrive together as sibling groups but should not arrive together on site in large mixed year groups nor will they be allowed to depart the site in this way.

Staffing information:  A number of other staff, are also leaving at the end of this academic year. We wish all our leavers all the very best for the future and I would like to thank them for their excellent contributions whilst at The Romsey School. Details of the staff who are leaving us and joining in September are in the tables below.

Staff leaving the school at the end of the term

Colm McKavanagh HT
Susan Cadd D&T
Maddison Paine LSA
Jo Millard English
Katherine Musselwhite English
Maria Valle Alvarez MFL
Manpreet Kaur English
Shannon Butcher English
Sarah-Louise Clarke D&T
Kim Fitzgerald English
Dionne Lockyear Cover Supervisor
Susanna Groom Finance
Ed Coulson LSA
Rosie Banks LSA
Sarah Mitchell LSA

Staff joining the school in September 2020

Name Department
Annie Eagle HT
Daniel Wyatt Deputy HT
Chloe Elsbury Maths
Rebecca Deveau English
Amy Herbert D&T
Gemma Hanson English
Joanna Seaby Music
Sarah Stewart History
Stefanie Weilgart-Whitehead Science
Carlene Cook English
Anna Doran English
Karen McCormack LSA
Paisley Cliffe LSA

There have been a number of changes to the Pastoral Team into the next academic year which reflect the changes in staff above. I’m sure that you join me in thanking your child’s pastoral staff for the superb care that they have provided this year and wishing them well in the future. Please see the appropriate section below for your child/children. Where appropriate, please remind your child about these tutor and room changes at the beginning of September so that they are prepared for the start of term.

Year 7 into 8 – There have been no changes to the tutor team for Year 7 into 8.  Mrs C Cook who is new to the school will join Mr Nesan with 8S.

Year 8 into 9 – Mrs Dupuis returns to the school after maternity leave and will be taking over 8A in Room W20. Mrs Mohsni will take over 8B from Dr Cherryson in Room W22.  Mrs Brice will take over 9T from Miss Cadd in C30

Year 9 into 10 – There have been no changes to the tutor team for Year 9 into 10.  Miss Fargher will join Mrs Duell with 10M in M8.

Year 10 into 11 – Mrs Willcocks in the Progress leader for Year 11 whilst Miss Lloyd is on maternity leave. Miss Harper and Mr Eason will take over her duties with 11M in Room S2.  Mrs Champion will take over 11S in A13 whilst Miss Boden is on maternity leave and Mr Hunt will cover 11Y in Room E45 whilst Mrs Hossain is on maternity leave. Mrs Thomas will continue with 11L and will be joined by Mrs Herbert. In Room W29.

School uniform 2020-21: You will be aware that we have been aiming to move our Year 7-10 into the new uniform by September 2020 for some time now and we’d like to continue with this aspiration. We believe in the importance of all students feeling smart and united in their uniform so that they have a sense of pride in themselves and in being part of their school. Please follow the link to the website for further details.

 https://sites.google.com/romsey.hants.sch.uk/parentzone/uniform

We appreciate that this is an additional cost for some families and that there will be families who may be facing challenging times financially. Therefore, our Governors have increased the uniform grant to £80 with immediate effect. This is to cover the essential clothing or footwear needed to attend our school. This applies to parents of children in receipt of Free School Meals. However, any parent who is experiencing financial difficulties is welcome to apply for the grant even though your child might not be in receipt of FSM. This is applicable to pupils going into Yr7, 9 and 10 in September but any families in year 8 and 11 in September who are facing difficulties, who didn’t claim during this year are also welcome to put in a claim.  We look forward to welcoming all of our students back in September looking smart and ready for their learning.

Parent support: please do get in touch if you are finding circumstances difficult given that many vital services are closed. You can be assured of our discretion and support.  I have retained the information below from last week’s letter about opening times for the school office, and the Food Delivery service. Please email the school directly, including information about who you wish to speak to.

School office: reception is open from 8.30 – 3.00pm daily until the end of term but will be closed in the early part of the school holidays.  Although parents are not able to visit site at the moment phone calls and emails will be dealt with as promptly as possible. Queries can be emailed to adminoffice@romsey.hants.sch.uk.  All messages will be passed on to the relevant person so that they can get back to you.  The office will be open again from Tuesday 18 August.

Community Pantry: People who have been receiving free school meal parcels will move onto the voucher system for the holiday period – parents have been emailed about this separately.  We do now have a Community Pantry onsite and if people are experiencing shortages of food they can come along and pay £5 membership fee and get goods to the value of at least £15. The pantry is open on Mondays and Fridays from 10.00am-2.00pm. For more information email the community office community@romsey.hants.sch.uk

We understand that circumstances can change rapidly and we do wish to support all of our community whether you live in Romsey or further afield.

The new term begins for pupils on Monday 7th September 2020 for Year 7 and Tuesday 8th September 2020 for all other pupils.  The first three days of term, 2nd to 4th September 2020 are staff training days and therefore closed to pupils.  The end of the Academic year is Thursday 22nd July 2021.

I would like to wish all of the school community the very best going forward as I head towards retirement.  I will treasure my time at Romsey and could not have realised how special it would become when I first took up the position of Headteacher.

Yours sincerely

C McKavanagh

Headteacher