News Update

Dear Parents, Carers and Families,

We have been back at school for almost 2 weeks and I cannot tell you how good this has felt. I am so proud of our students for how well they have coped with the change and how well they have settled back into school life. It has been a real joy to see them together, enjoying each other's company and enjoying being back in the classroom.

Of course, the return to school has come with a renewed focus on the individual and collective responsibility to keep each other safe. I totally understand the fears that many of you had (and perhaps still have) about face masks, but it is a testament to the resilience and maturity of our students that they are handling this new requirement so well.

As you can imagine, the testing programme has been a major operation. Your part in helping this programme run so smoothly is massively appreciated. We are close to being in a position where students will have received 3 tests in school- a total of around 3600 tests involving just over 90% of the school population. Again, I cannot speak highly enough of how students have conducted themselves during this process. They have been polite, co-operative and cheerful and the adults involved in the testing process have spoken very highly of the conduct and good humour of our students.

From next week, we will be asking that testing is completed at home using the testing kits that we will supply to students this week. We know that this may be slightly daunting in the first instance but the tests come with comprehensive instructions and the students will be very familiar with the swabbing elements of the test. We are asking that:

  • Tests are taken twice a week, including during the Easter holidays
  • We would strongly suggest that tests are completed on a Sunday night and a Wednesday night. Commencing from Wednesday 24th March.
  • The results of the test need to be recorded on the government website (details included in the pack). This includes if the test is positive, negative or void.
  • As normal, we would ask that you let us know as soon as possible if your child has a positive test result. At this point you can get a PCR Test to validate the result but your child and other household members must self-isolate
  • The tests that we provide will be for student use only. However, you will be able to get home tests for other members of your household. These are obtained by contacting a local test centres

We will be initially giving students 6 tests which will take you to the end of the Easter holiday. We will then distribute further tests when we are back in school.

Please use the link below to record your results https://www.gov.uk/report-covid19-result

To assist you with the testing process, please click on the link below for further guidance
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLvaBZskxS7tzQYlVg7lwH5uxAD9UrSzGJ

As we start thinking ahead to after Easter, we are keen to start getting back to as much normality as possible. We will be starting to look at what events and extra-curricular activities we can start opening up again- albeit in year group bubbles. We believe passionately in the needs of the whole child, so whilst academic catch up is important, we will also be wanting to look at ways to re-engage students in the fun, cultural things that promote things like teamwork, kindness and an interest in the wider world. We are already looking at how we might run some sports days this year, as well as some work experience for Y10- albeit in a scaled down way. This Friday we will be having a non-uniform day to celebrate Red Nose Day.

In the next few weeks, we will be starting to look at some aspects of our academic catch up programme. One aspect of this is our participation in the National Tutoring Programme and we are due to start our first round of tutoring next week with targeted students. As a school, we have mapped out what our plans to help support learning with missed learning look like and we are confident that we have a programme that is comprehensive but also subtle and not overwhelming to students.

We fully understand that this is a potentially particularly challenging time for our Y11 and Y13 students as they start to undertake additional assessments to help us to determine and evidence Teacher Assessed Grades. We want you to be reassured that whilst we will be doing this in a methodical, rigorous and fair way to provide up to date information, we will also be doing it in a way that is mindful of what students have been through and does not place them under undue pressure. We will already have a wealth of evidence and we will be seeking to reinforce that. The message to students must be to trust us and to just keep going- this is their chance to show us what they can do. Please continue to support students at home during this time.

You may have seen some information in the news last week about a potential new build at the school. This is currently at the planning permission stage but we are really excited about the opportunities that this will give to our students.

If the plans go ahead, we will have an additional 14 classroom block which will include a state of the art library and resource centre. We will also have some new Multi-Use Games Areas which will add resources for use by our students and our exceptional PE department for both lessons and fixtures. We are really proud that the school is significantly oversubscribed for the second year running and we are determined to be the “best version of Sprowston that we can be”.

As always, can I thank you for your support. Despite the external difficulties and challenges we have faced over the last 2 years, we are still very much on a journey of sustained school improvement and we are really proud of where we are. We have no doubt that the strong partnership working that we have with our families and local community is a major part of that success.

Take care and stay safe,
Liz