Parent Bulletin 05/03/21

Parent Bulletin 05/03/21

World Book Day – Thursday, 4th March

We are grateful to Mrs Millar who arranged some brilliant ways to celebrate World Book Day on Thursday, even though most students are not in school. Students had the opportunity to take part in a game where they viewed piles of books or books on a shelf (‘shelfies’) and tried to work out which teachers they belonged to. It was a fascinating insight into teachers’ reading habits.

Here’s one for parents to guess. Answer next bulletin.

There was also another book quiz to take part in and finally, we were really honoured that award winning author Anthony McGowan gave up time to talk to Darrick Wood students. 

Asymptomatic testing – Year 7

We were so proud of Year 7 today. The vast majority came in to have their first asymptomatic test. Being asked to scale up our Test Site to this level was always going to lead to a few teething problems, but overall the day went very smoothly and Year 7 were impeccably behaved and we are really looking forward to seeing them again on Monday. The key objective of the day was achieved in that all who were tested received negative results. 

We became aware later today that the NHS site where parents register the tests and then receive the result by email/text was not coping as well. This is out of our hands and potentially the result of thousands of tests being recorded nationally as schools begin to roll out their testing programmes. Please continue to try to register the tests as this plays an important role in national statistics. We will always contact you if we know your child has tested positive in school. None of Year 7 did today, so unless they have symptoms over the weekend all should return to school and normal lessons on Monday.

Further testing information

We have now sent information about the timings for tests for Years 11, 12 and 13. Arrangements for Years 8, 9 and 10 will be sent early next week.

It is really important for us all to remember that a recent negative test is not a green light to stop observing the usual rules. Remember – Hands, Face, Space. Please speak to your child about this.

Please also be aware that even if someone has had the vaccine then it is recommended that they can still be tested.

If anyone has tested positive in the last 90 days, they should not complete an LFD asymptomatic test as it may then show as a false positive. If however someone tested positive more than 90 days ago they are encouraged to be LFD tested.

Home testing update

After the opportunity of three tests in school we will supply your child with a home testing kit so that they can continue testing twice weekly at home. We will write to you again about this nearer the time.

You may also have heard an announcement by NHS Test and Trace that all adults in households with school and college aged children without symptoms can now access regular rapid coronavirus (COVID-19) testing.

Test kits can either be collected or ordered online, as set out below. Schools have been told not to give out test kits to parents, carers or household members. School test kits will only be for our students to use.

Undertaking regular, rapid coronavirus (COVID-19) testing helps reduce transmission of the virus.

Tests are fast, easy and completely free. There are different ways for a household, childcare or support bubble to collect their test to take at home, twice-weekly:

  • through your employer, if they offer testing to employees
  • by collecting a home test kit from a local test site – anyone aged 18 or over can collect 2 packs of 7 tests
  • by ordering a home test kit online – please do not order online if you can access testing through other routes, this frees up home delivery for those who need it most

If you have any queries about the tests, and you live in England, please call 119 (free from mobiles and landlines). Lines are open every day from 7am to 11pm.

Children of primary school age (and below) without symptoms are not being asked to take a test.

Testing is voluntary, but strongly recommended to all who are eligible. Alongside the vaccine, washing hands, wearing face coverings, and maintaining social distancing, rapid testing plays a vital role in reducing transmission rates. Getting into the habit of regular testing as part of our everyday lives will help us all to play our part and do what we can to protect each other.

Years 11 and 13

There has been a lot of media coverage on grades for students in 2021, not all of it helpful from the perspective of students who may be feeling anxious. We want to reassure students by sharing with them a simple summary of what we know about the awarding process. We have sent out a video of ’10 things we do, and 10 things we don’t yet know about grading 2021′ to all of Year 11 and Year 13, and the link is in their school email inbox. We will be working from exam board guidance as soon as it becomes available and the School will be putting in place processes to make sure that grades across a department are moderated so that grades are given with proper oversight.

When students return to school, our focus will be on teaching the curriculum. We think that what matters most next week is that students get the opportunity to enjoy being back in school, being taught the curriculum whilst reviewing their learning with their teachers. There will almost certainly need to be formal assessments in school before the end of the academic year to help inform the evidence base for grades. However, we are liaising with Heads of Department to design consistent approaches to how our teachers will award these grades and continue to await more information from each exam board.

PE kit reminder

Please remember your child needs to wear their PE kit on days they will have PE. Our uniform suppliers can provide this if you order online.

Traffic light warning

We think that temporary traffic lights could be placed on the junction of Crofton Lane and Crofton Road as part of the current works towards cycle lane construction. Please be prepared for delays if this is the case.

DWS Audio needs help from students!

DWS Audio is looking for some new composers to share their work on its audio blog. It’s been a while since any new music was posted and they would love to showcase more pieces. If your child has composed and recorded some original music of their own (using any instrument) then Mr Chappell would like to hear from them. We will then showcase music in any style or from any genre – all we ask is that the work is original and not a cover of any existing music (to comply with copywrite regulations). If your child would like to get involved and share their music then they should contact Mr Chappell via his email:

Or how about writing a 20-second audio play? That’s right, 20 seconds! If so, your child may want to participate in an exciting new initiative. During the week of 22-26 March DWS Audio hopes to create some 20-second audio plays to submit to this year’s UK International Audio Drama Festival. More details to follow but if your child is interested in taking part then please ask them to contact Mr Chappell.

Finally, episodes 28-32 of ROUGH DIAMONDS are now available to listen to in an omnibus format. You can listen here: DWS Audio (

You can also follow DWS Audio on Twitter: DWS AUDIO (@dwsaudio) / Twitter

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