End of Term Update - Sewell Park Academy
Dear Parents, Carers and Students,
I hope that you and your families are safe and well at the end of this autumn term.
During this time we have seen Sewell Park continue to develop within our ethos of “Enriching minds, enabling success”. Despite ever changing arrangements, we have seen superb work produced across the school. This is especially true with Year 11 and their continued efforts given the previous disruption to their GCSE courses.
This has been the first full term with our social curriculum being taught through our form time programme - with students demonstrating our values of calm, engaged, respectful and creative. It has also been really pleasing to see the return of activities such as lunch clubs and trips like the Performing Arts visit to the Theatre Royal and the Y8 Spanish trip to Cinema City to experience a Spanish language film. We have had a number of visitors from the Department of Education, local and regional government and from other local schools comment on the calm, engaged and purposeful atmosphere at Sewell Park, alongside the positive relationships between staff and students.
Since September there have been changes relating to COVID and now, the Omicron variant. Despite this, I want to publicly acknowledge the efforts of parents, students and staff in helping keep the community transmission rates down. Through all members supporting our procedures, we currently continue to have one of the lowest, if not the lowest, COVID rates in Norwich secondary schools.
Moving into the Christmas period and with recent Government announcements, I know that there will be elements of concern for many. I will update you at the start of January, prior to students returning to school, in case there are further updates over the Christmas period, however some current key details are below.
1) COVID-19 Information
i) COVID Testing in January - Wednesday 5th January 2022
The Government has requested that students receive one supervised COVID test at the school’s Assisted Testing Site (ATS) at Sewell Park prior to returning from the Christmas holiday. Therefore on Wednesday 5th January, students will be required to work at home, through remote learning provision on Google Classroom, and attend for one test as per the schedule below.
Year 7 - arrive via St Clements Hill ‘Nursery’ Gate between 9am and 9.30am
Year 8 - arrive via St Clements Hill ‘Nursery’ Gate between 10am and 10.30am
Year 9 - arrive via St Clements Hill ‘Nursery’ Gate between 11am and 11.15am
Year 10 - arrive via St Clements Hill ‘Nursery’ Gate between 11.45am and 12pm
Year 11 - arrive via St Clements Hill ‘Nursery’ Gate between 12.15pm and 12.30pm
We will only test your child if we have previously had consent to do so and your child took part in the in-school testing previously. If, for any reason you have changed your mind regarding consent for your child, please submit a new consent form otherwise, we will refer back to the previous consent. The students should enter the site at the correct time through the St Clements Hill entrance by the Chestnut Nursery. They will then enter the Sports Hall as directed by staff, from the long corridor. Once the students have completed their tests, they must leave the site by the Constitution Hill gates. In the case of a positive LFD test, we will inform parents immediately. Parents will then need to book a PCR test as soon as possible.
There will be a cold packed lunch available for eligible FSM students to collect after their test should they wish. These can be collected from the outside canteen window from 9.15am.
Following the return to school, students will be issued with LFD testing kits to be completed twice a week at home (Sundays and Wednesdays).
ii) Return of all students - Thursday 6th January 2022
Students should return to Sewell Park Academy on Thursday 6th January through their usual Year Group entrance gates at the usual time. The canteen will be open as normal.
iii) Close Contacts
From Tuesday 14 December, a new national approach to daily testing for contacts of COVID-19 was introduced. All adults who are fully vaccinated and children aged 5 to 18 years and 6 months, identified as a contact of someone with COVID-19 – whether Omicron or not – should take a lateral flow device (LFD) test every day for 7 days instead of self-isolating.
Once notified by NHS Test and Trace as a close contact, students should take an LFD each day for 7 days and report the results through the Online Reporting System and to the school via TestRegister. If they test negative, they can continue to attend school.
If they test positive, they should self-isolate and order a PCR test as soon as possible to confirm the result. If the PCR is positive, they must self-isolate for 10 days. If the PCR test is negative, they no longer need to self-isolate but should continue to carry out the remainder of the daily tests.
iv) Supporting our community at Sewell Park over Christmas and the Spring term
The Department of Education asks that schools encourage pupils and individuals to test over the holidays in line with national guidance. This means that they should test if they will be in a high-risk situation that day and before visiting people who are at higher risk of severe illness if they get COVID-19.
At the present time, our practice regarding face coverings and zones will continue in the Spring term, with students entering and leaving the site through year group entrances. I will update you on any changes at the start of January, prior to the return of students. Visitors to Sewell Park should be for essential purposes only, and we would ask that they wear a mask and complete an LFD test before visiting.
v) FSM vouchers
The Free School Meal vouchers to cover the Christmas Holiday were sent out either by email or post on Tuesday 15th December. If you have not received your voucher please email email@example.com as soon as possible. This email address will be checked every few days throughout the holiday.
2) Year 11
Our Year 11 students continue to show amazing levels of effort in their studies - and it is pleasing to see the competitive nature coming out in the two halves competing in progress - the Movers and the Shakers! I have spoken to the year group regarding the Omicron variant and possible impact on their studies. The Government is clear that it is the intention for examinations to continue in the summer, so it is vital they continue in the manner they have. If further information is released at any point, we will of course update everyone immediately.
3) Internet Safety
As part of our pastoral programme, we continue to educate students regarding internet safety and the safe use of social media. As I am sure you are aware, there has been national media coverage of social media accounts being set up in the name of schools by students, with malicious content being created regarding staff, particularly on TikTok and Instagram. As a school, we will continue to take any acts exceptionally seriously and work with PC Proctor, our Safer Schools Police Officer, to take action if necessary and educate students in lessons and form time.
In order to support the safeguarding of students, I would ask all parents to continue to be aware of the use of social media by their children and the legal age to be able to use certain apps. We will be looking to run some sessions for parents in the future to support safe use of technology by young people, but in the interim, if you would like additional support, please do not hesitate to contact the school.
4) Big Norfolk Festive Holiday Fun
The Big Norfolk Festive Holiday Fun activity programme provides holiday activities for children and young people aged 5-16 (or 4 if your child is slightly younger but in school) in Norfolk.
Get your kids active over their holiday break! This winter, the majority of sessions will take place between 20th – 23rd December across the county, with a few exceptions taking place the following week.
All children may take part in Big Norfolk Festive Holiday Fun activities. Some activities are reserved for those with a code, whilst others have a mix of paid spaces and free spaces. The free spaces are reserved for children who are eligible for means-tested free school meals. If you would like your child to take part and they are eligible, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for a code. Children who do not receive means-tested free school meals can still sign up to many exciting activities for a small fee.
See what’s on and book your place here.
5) Staff farewells
At the end of this term, we must say goodbye to two members of staff. Miss Morley in Raising Achievement, who we would like to say thank you to for working with small groups of students over this term. We would also like to say thank you and farewell to Miss Lock. Miss Lock has worked as a Year Leader for Year 9 last academic year and Year 8 in this, and I know will be sorely missed by all of the students she has worked with. She leaves to take up a similar position but has decided to relocate within the country. We know that she will continue to do an excellent job in the role.
My apologies for the length of this email, but it is useful to have all the information in one place for reference. Although we are entering another uncertain period, I am certain that as a community we will continue to thrive. I will update you with any changes in the new year and hope that you all have a safe Christmas holiday with family and friends.
Best wishes for the Christmas break and stay safe.