Parent Bulletin 24/09/21

Parent Bulletin 24/09/21

This week

We held assemblies for Years 7 to 9 this week. These focused on the School’s Thought for the Week of Forgiveness. The lyrics from the film Frozen served as a reminder of how important it is in life to sometimes just “Let it Go” and not dwell too heavily on the past.

School photographs for Years 7, 9 and 12 ran very smoothly on Thursday. We hope to be able to share these photos with parents/carers soon.

Also on Thursday we became one of the first schools to be used as a venue for the COVID-19 vaccinations. The short period of time from the original notification to parents and the visit by the vaccination team to the School was unprecedented. However, most of those eligible who consented were able to have their vaccine on the day. We will notify parents as soon as we know whether the team will return or of any other opportunities that become available.

This week parents of Year 7 were able to speak with their child’s tutor in an online Meet the Tutor appointment. If you missed this opportunity or have anything you need to speak to your child’s tutor about please contact them via the School Office.

It has been a busy week for extra-curricular opportunities. Last weekend students in Year 11 were able to complete their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award expedition. This had been postponed last year due to the pandemic. We are really pleased this first weekend of two was a great success.

It has been great to hear that our after school sport has been so well supported. On one evening there were nearly 150 children all doing one sport or another and this will grow as new clubs continue to be established. We also have a number of other clubs and societies about to be launched. We will provide a full timetable of these once confirmed.

Auditions for Grease were held last week and the show has now been cast! We wish to extend our thanks and congratulations to all who came along to the auditions. There are 70 students from all year groups taking part in the production which is planned for February 2022. If your child is one of those taking part please remind them to check the Drama board for rehearsal times.

PE kit/changing rooms

Last year and for the first part of this year PE kit has been worn to school on days students have PE lessons. This was a decision many schools took as part of a series of control measures relating to COVID-19. Guidance to schools has since changed. Despite this, at Darrick Wood we took a cautious approach to the start of this year and did not want to remove all of the controls we had in place at once. We also recognised some aspects of school life that had been changed had at least some advantages regardless of COVID-19 restrictions. For example, with students already wearing their PE kit we could have more time for activity in PE lessons without the usual time spent getting changed.

A major disadvantage, however, was that the PE curriculum had to be restricted to ensure students did not have to spend up to four or five hours in wet/muddy/sweaty kit. Schools are encouraged this year to ensure that the curriculum in PE and all subjects returns to normal. This is so important after the disruption of the past two years. For PE this means that we need to return to using the changing rooms and then we can introduce the full range of sporting activities that can be accessed if students are not then expected to remain in their kit for the rest of the day.

Our students in Years 7 and 8 have not yet experienced using the changing rooms at school. We took the opportunity to introduce changing to Year 7 on Thursday and it was largely successful. Like year groups before them, it takes time for them to get used to this and get changed quickly but we know from experience they will become quicker. We are also aware that all students in the School previously had access to a locker. In practice this often meant dirty kit being left in a locker during the week, although for the more organised it meant that they had somewhere to keep their PE kit during the day until it was needed for PE. It could then be brought home for washing before their next PE lesson. The important factors under consideration are therefore the offer of a high quality PE curriculum, the effective use of learning time, as well as comfort and hygiene. The use of changing rooms allows for a better balance of these factors.

From Monday, 27th September Year 7 will therefore wear their uniform every day and use the changing rooms for their PE lessons or if they have a sports club after school. We will look into the provision of lockers for those who would like one. These will not be available immediately but we hope to be able to provide them very soon.

It is likely we will follow this change back to using the changing rooms for all year groups eventually but we will stagger it over the coming weeks. We will write to parents again soon on this matter.

Reminders

All students must follow the School’s uniform policy at all times including to and from school. Please be aware that coats must be plain black or plain dark brown. They should be proper coats and not gilets and other variations. We are grateful for parents’ cooperation and support of our high standards.

Please see the email that has been sent regarding the early closure of the School on Wednesday, 6th October (12.30pm) and the slightly later start on Thursday, 7th October (9am). This is to support the School’s Open Evening plans.

All parents of Years 11 students will have received an email about the Information Evening at school next week. Please sign up to attend using SchoolCloud. Please contact the Office if you need any information about this.

Events for your diaries

29th September 2021 – Year 11 Information Evening

23rd September – Years 7, 9 12 School Photographs

4th October 2021 – PSFA AGM (7pm)

6th October 2021 – Open Evening (4.30-8pm). Further details on school website.

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