The Head of School Reports
16th July 2021
The end of academic year 2020-21 has arrived, whilst yet again this hasn’t been the year any of us could have expected, we are all looking forward with great anticipation to the start of the new academic year in September, welcoming our students back to school. We are very excited about meeting our new Year 7 students.
Overall, since we returned to school in early March, our students have been amazing. They have shown real resilience and have been a joy to have back in the classrooms, all eager to engage with their education. This is a testament to you as families, supporting and encouraging your child(ren) through the lockdowns with home learning, and as a school we would like to sincerely thank you for your positive approach to this during such challenging times.
Bringing our thoughts back to the start of the 2021-22 academic year, it is important to note that both the 1st and 2nd September are non-pupil days. Following this, Friday, 3rd September is dedicated to settling the new Year 7 into school and making sure they are completely familiar with the school site and expectations. The new Year 12 students also begin the next stage of their educational journey at Sigma Sixth College on Friday, 3rd September.
Following DfE guidance, it is extremely important to note that although the first 2 days are designated as non-pupil days, we are organising in-school Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests for all students prior to their return to school.
A programme of timings for the testing can be found here. Students will be tested in their form groups. Please make a note in your diaries of the time and day when your child needs to be in school for their LFD test. Testing will take place in the school gym. All Sigma Sixth students will come to CCHS for their first pre-return to school test on Thursday, 2nd September and would have also received in advance a specific time slot to attend.
Finally, it looks as though the weather is going to pick up just in time for the holidays and I hope that you all have a lovely summer. Although restrictions are lifting on Monday, 19th July please continue to stay alert and stay safe and I look forward to seeing all of our students when they return to school in September.
Chris Taylor, Head of School
3rd May 2021
When the full lockdown ended at the beginning of March and following the subsequent return to school, we were determined to ensure that our students’ attention was focused on learning back in the classroom setting, rather than remote learning. As ever, our students, your children, responded positively and it has been a pleasure to see them all settled and working hard in their lessons. This past year has proved to be an amazing example of children’s resilience and their ability to adapt to ever-changing circumstances.
Now that we are all settled back into school life, and as we begin to move forward, it is really important that our high standards of expectations are re-established. Parental engagement is key to ensuring that we maintain our high standards and I would personally like to thank you for your ongoing assistance and support with all of these matters.
As a school, our families and local community are very important to us. If we can assist any of our families in any way, whether this be with financial support for uniform or with any advice or guidance, please do not hesitate to contact us. Likewise, we are happy to help with any appropriate community projects, so please let us know and we will see what we can do.
Extra-curricular Clubs are back! Although still currently limited in what we can offer, some clubs and activities are now beginning to recommence. How these will operate will be dependent on any government guidance and restrictions, whilst some clubs are ‘sign-up’ only for others students can just arrive on the day. For each club or activity, students should talk to a member of staff from the department organising the session or from students’ subject tutors. More activities will be able added as we progress through the summer term – check our clubs webpage for more details.
Clacton County High School is always planning for the future, aiming to continually drive up standards and improve outcomes for all of the children in the local area, this includes improvements to the school site and environment. With this in mind, expansion and re-modelling of parts of the Walton Road site has finally begun. This is a very exciting opportunity for the school and if all goes to plan, the work is scheduled for completion during the autumn term. The plans include a new module build which will provide our students with a four-court sports hall and six additional classrooms. If you walk across the Leisure Centre field you will notice that our contractor, Morgan Sindall, has established their compound and will shortly begin the groundwork. Improvements to the current areas in school will also take place; students will then have use of a new fully canopied area adjacent to the drama quad which they can use at social times and for a range of other activities.
Continuing with our thoughts on the future, it is worth parents and students taking a look at our Careers & Aspirations Hub, which is continually being updated. There is a wealth of information available to assist in choosing the right individual career pathway, whether this be university, apprenticeship or employment. Through the Careers Hub micro-website students can book an individual appointment to meet with a careers advisor for any help and advice. The careers team are continually seeking to develop links with businesses and further education establishments and are on hand to help students build and establish relationships which could open many doors of opportunity for life after CCHS. Whatever year group, it is seriously worth looking at the Careers Hub to begin to build a vision for the future.
Chris Taylor, Head of School
26th March 2021
It has been the most amazing and challenging past three weeks, welcoming the students back on 8th March was long overdue and seeing them back in their classrooms learning with their peers has been a gratifying experience for everyone.
The biggest challenge of the reopening was undoubtedly setting up the Asymptomatic Test Centre in the main hall and completing approximately 4500 tests in nine school days whilst keeping the rest of the school running smoothly. During the testing, the students were a real credit to themselves and to the school and we received some very complimentary emails about your children from the testing volunteers. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr Winterford, Mr Graves and Mrs Reynolds for their monumental effort in coordinating the entire testing programme as well as all the other staff who were redeployed into the testing centre. I would also like to acknowledge the efforts of six volunteers from our local community who came in and gave up an incredible amount of their time to support with the testing and processing. To parents, thank you too, for your support and for ensuring that your child’s test results have been registered.
Face masks have been a necessary feature since the re-opening and in line with government guidance we have recommended that students and staff wear face coverings in classrooms as well as communal areas and we have been delighted with the response. The guidance is due to be reviewed over Easter and we will respond accordingly in line with required directives. Without doubt, over the past 12 months, our young people have been exceptional, they have taken on board all that has been asked of them and adapted with great versatility and an abundance of resilience, this latest advice has been no exception. We are extremely proud of our students and your support has been at the heart of their positive attitude to all of the adaptations implemented. If your child is exempt from wearing a face covering, they should have been issued with a card or a badge and if this is not yet the case, they should see their year leader.
By now students will have received an additional box of home test kits as government guidance changed yesterday and students are being asked to test twice weekly in the Easter holidays. A powerpoint/video has been shared with students, in form time and via email, showing how to perform the tests at home. During the Easter break students should continue to test on Sundays and Wednesdays with the first test being on the evening of Sunday 28th March and then subsequent Wednesday and Sundays, with the final test on the evening of Sunday 11th April (before we return for the summer term).
It is important that the test results continue to be registered via testregister.co.uk/login - all of the instructions are within the letter which has been given to the students but also on the videos we have shared with the students, one includes when to perform the tests and the other is the instructional video produced by the government - Home testing video. The purpose of home testing is to continue to protect our staff, students and the local community by identifying any asymptomatic cases and to limit the transmission of the virus. Yet again, this will only be achieved by home and school working together, and this is when we are at our most successful; your support is vital. Please rest assured that all school staff will be home testing at the same intervals as your children.
Uniform is a very important part of our school identity and understandably it has been difficult for parents to obtain new items with non-essential shops being closed, but even so students should all be wearing their school uniform as required. If your child has any issues with their uniform they should let their year leader know in the first instance.
Information on uniform expectations on the days when students have practical PE lessons can be found within this link.
Happy Easter to all of our families and students, let’s hope we are able to enjoy some lovely spring weather over the school break and we look forward to welcoming all of our students back on Monday, 12th April.
Chris Taylor, Head of School
14th January 2021
Remote learning continues for all of our students. We have put together a comprehensive timetable for every year group of students which should mean for your child, whether KS3 or KS4, they will be receiving a blend of learning each day for a minimum of 5 hours.
We have received many emails and phone calls over the past week, especially in regard to Year 7 logins for remote learning, and I hope by now all of your questions have been answered and all of our students are able to access their online programme of lessons. Some will be live and some will be recorded, but teachers will always be available to help and support students and will answer any questions they may have in regard to their work.
We have expanded our online offer to include daily sessions based on either a physical or mindfulness activity and additionally all year group assemblies will be followed by a PSHE activity for students to complete, which should take around 35-40 minutes.
Our PROUD reward programme will continue and students will be able to receive weekly recognition for their remote learning work and those with the most PROUD rewards achieved each week across the year groups will receive a £5 Amazon voucher. Winners will be notified and their success celebrated in our Weekly News bulletin.
Every morning, we are asking students to register in their year group Google classroom and we will be keeping a live lesson attendance log. Staff are completely committed to remaining in contact and accessible to their students. Any questions on any lessons, anything not understood, students should not hesitate to contact their teacher via email. Teachers will get back to them as soon as possible. Likewise if any parent needs any help or support to facilitate their child’s home learning, please contact the member of staff via - email@example.com
For all students, attitude to learning is key to academic success. Excellent attitude to learning at all times is important, but excellent attitude to remote learning is vital to remaining engaged with education. Home and school working in partnership is now more important than ever and with parents and school in collaboration, we are confident that we can keep your children motivated and working hard to achieve the best outcomes that they can.
Year 11 students and sixth form students expecting to take summer examinations, will no doubt be aware that these exams have now been officially cancelled. Grades will be awarded based on a form of centre assessed grades produced using teacher assessments. Some students would have received results from recent mocks, but other subjects have yet to complete internal assessments. If any students were disappointed with their recent grades, it is really important to realise that this is not the final grade and can be improved upon. Students will continue to be assessed via remote learning engagement, short in class/online assessments and through more formal assessments. The current plan for when we do return to school, is that Year 11 students will sit a formal assessment in all of their subjects. All of the evidence will then be collated and used to inform the final summer examination grade. Examination students need to continue to work hard, remain focussed and motivated and make the most of all of the help and support available to them. Mrs Loosley has put together a Year 11 assembly, which aims to answer some of the questions that you may have and also gives some important advice, please take 5 minutes to watch this assembly.
To all of our school community, I have been so proud of everyone. To our staff, who with such short notice of closure really stepped up to the mark, organising a comprehensive remote learning experience and providing daily in-school learning for the children of critical workers and vulnerable children, a massive thank you. To our students who have shown so much resilience this year; a year like no other we have known, but have managed to adapt and remain engaged. Finally, to all parents and carers, your continued support of both school and your children has been remarkable, your messages of gratitude are so gratefully received and I sincerely thank you as well.
STAY SAFE AND WELL.
Chris Taylor, Head of School