5th September 2021
I hope you’ve had a relaxing and much deserved summer, despite only having the best weather at the start of our break. As we approach the new academic year, I wish to set out the actions that we have taken to do our upmost to safeguard the educational provision and well-being of students as we are still very much in the grip of COVID-19.
We have been living in a period of uncertainty and it is difficult for us to give full confidence during a time when the guidance for schools is often at odds with that in industry and society, or where it changes with such pace that we are constantly in a state of adjustment. New guidance for schools was published at the end of August. This guidance allows a more flexible and local response for schools to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, alongside the experts at public health and the local authority.
The main elements of this guidance are:
· To enable education to operate as close to normality as far as possible.
· To continue to strive for the best outcomes for all in our community, being mindful of their needs but also the impact on their well-being over the past two years.
· To manage and mitigate as far as possible any risks associated with COVID-19 or indeed any other element that would interrupt school.
We will continue to work with the local authority and have updated our risk assessment following their advice, looking at additional measures of control at the start of the year. The main measures remain:
· Staff and learners must not attend school if they have any Covid symptoms.
· We will continue to promote regular hand washing and the highest standards of respiratory etiquette, reminding all to “Catch it, Bin it, Kill it.”
· Where the building will allow and safety is not at risk, nor the temperatures compromised to an extent that it would make it difficult to carry out lessons, windows and doors will be open for added ventilation.
· We continue to ask the building facilities management to enhance their cleaning operations.
· We will continue to request that staff and students carry out to lateral flow tests a week.
· Seating plans will remain in place and students will be forward facing.
· Face coverings will not be routinely used in school, unless it is the wish of the individual to do so or advice from public-health or the local authority suggests that this is an important step for our school.
he best way to manage the risks is to take up the opportunity of a vaccination and we encourage those eligible to take this offer. Should a member of staff or student test positive for COVID-19, they must self-isolate and not attend school. Contacts of that case who are under the age of 18 or those who are fully vaccinated no longer have to self-isolate unless they themselves start to show symptoms. I know that this, will be of much relief to parents following the disruption of last year.
I would also like to take this opportunity to remind you of the arrangements for the staggered return of students, following the Staff only INSET day on Monday 6th September. The staggered return is in place to allow for the college to offer two on-site lateral flow device tests, 3 to 5 days apart, in line with the Department for Education ‘Schools Covid-19 Operational Guidance’.
The table below summarises arrangements for each year group.
* For students that have given consent for Covid-19 testing ONLY. Students will be invited in by appointment on their set day and then return home.
Disruption Free Learning & Mobile Phones
To ensure that students always remain focussed on their learning and progress the college have taken the decision to insist that mobile devices are not seen at any time whilst on the premises. Students must switch their devices off upon entry to the site and keep them in their bags out of reach throughout the day including social times.
Should your child be in breach of this expectation then they will be asked to hand their device to the member of staff for safe keeping until the end of the day. Parents and guardians will be informed of the resolved breach via MyEd.
Should your child fail to cooperate with requests to hand their device in for safe keeping, then your support will be sought to resolve the matter amicably and steps put in place to avoid a repeat. Your support to achieve our goal of disruption free learning is essential and very much appreciated.
Below is a reminder of the important information shared with parents and carers in my end of year letter, July 2021.
College day times
Monday to Friday the College doors will be open at 8:30am.
The timings of the day have changed slightly, so that all students are now expected to be in their Form Room no later than 8:50am when the attendance register will be taken.
For Years 7 to 10, the College day ends at 3:15pm, except on Wednesday when all students finish at 1:45pm.
For Year 11, the College day will now include revision sessions (3:15- 4:00pm), and therefore the Year 11 College day will end at 4:00pm, except on Wednesday when all students finish at 1:45pm.
As a college we continue to insist on the highest standards of uniform. Parents have been very supportive of our drive to maintain the highest of standards in this area. The college continues to monitor uniform standards to ensure that our students are smart and dressed in a manner appropriate for a formal learning environment. As such, in addition to wearing compulsory items of uniform we would like to make explicit the following expectations from September 2021:
· Trainer type shoes, canvas pumps, or boots of any kind are NOT permitted.
· Trousers must be ‘Tailored’, NOT skinny fit.
· College issued skirts with the Newman logo MUST be worn. To ensure dignity whilst moving around the college, skirts must not be turned over at the waistband and the logo must always be clearly visible. The Newman skirt is available from our uniform suppliers in two lengths. Please choose the appropriate length for your child. Girls may choose to wear black tailored trousers as an alternative.
· Plain black ankle socks only for girls and boys. Knee high, over the knee socks and socks with a frill/lace are NOT permitted, nor are socks of any other colour.
· Plain black tights are the only acceptable alternative to black ankle socks.
· False tan, false eyelashes, false nails, nail varnish, make up and jewellery are NOT permitted.
· Body piercings, retainers or covering plasters must NOT be worn (even when not visible).
Equipment for learning
It is essential that all students carry the basic equipment for learning on a daily basis. From September the following items of equipment are compulsory for all students:
· Pencil case containing pen, pencil, ruler, calculator
· School bag
· Reading book
· Full Newman College PE kit
Equipment will be checked daily by form tutors. Where students do not have the compulsory equipment for learning they will be asked to borrow and sign for college issued equipment.
Full PE kit is required for college even if for medical reasons your child is not permitted to partake as they will be assigned other appropriate duties as part of their PE lesson in this case.
Attendance and punctuality
We know that excellent attendance is essential for all our students so that they gain the most from the education we provide. There are clearly documented links between good attendance and academic achievement. We insist that parents work with the college to ensure their child meets the expected standard of 100% attendance by:
· ensuring your child attends every day unless they are genuinely too sick to attend. ensuring your child arrives in college each day for 8.50am at the latest.
· contacting college on the first day of absence when your child is genuinely too sick to attend.
· arranging medical appointments outside of college hours. Where this is not possible ensuring your child does not miss a full day of learning for one appointment. Evidence of appointments will be required.
· not making a request to take a holiday during term time as this will be declined, and a financial penalty imposed should the holiday be taken without authorisation.
MyEd is our parental app, and our preferred form of communication with parents. It is the fastest way of ensuring that you receive all the information you need in a timely way, including information and consent for trips. The app can be downloaded onto both Apple and android devices, and provides a wealth of information about the college, and your child’s attendance, behaviour, timetable, and more. Please also ensure that you have provided us with your current email address.
Bus timetables & information
We have now received confirmation of bus timetables from Transport for Greater Manchester (Transport for Greater Manchester (tfgm.com) for September and these are on our website: Transport | Newman RC College
Drop off and collection of students
I must ask for your continued support regarding the safeguarding of children and staff at the start and end of the college day. The college site has space designated for staff parking, a small number of disabled parking spaces, and a one-way system which is essential for the safe arrival and departure of buses. We will continue with the current system in September which is the use of the car park at San Rocco to drop off and collect students. Vehicles without a pass will not be allowed entry onto site at the end of the school day, to protect the safety of staff and children. I am grateful for your continued co-operation.
Thank you for your continued support as we do our best to navigate this difficult period, placing the needs of students and the safety of all as our primary objective.
Mr G R Potts DL