On Friday there was widespread support for Christmas Jumper Day. Lots of students and staff wore a jumper or other item with a Christmas theme to raise money for Save the Children. Today students were able to wear the shoes of their choice to raise money for the LATCH homeless charity. The latter led to quite a few students initially being asked by staff (including the Head Teacher) why they were wearing trainers and not their school shoes. After many years of asking such questions it can be hard to switch off! Thank you for everyone for their efforts with these two initiatives. We look forward to sharing how much was raised in due course. If you have not yet made a contribution and would like to, this can be done via the relevant link in ParentPay.
Assemblies last week provided the opportunity to start to take on board that Christmas is not too far away and included a reflection on what passed as exciting Christmas presents back in the 1980s and the thought that whilst nostalgia and looking to the future can both be fun, living in the moment can support more positive mental health. As students came into assembly the Music Department provided some lovely Christmas themed music. We look forward to their Christmas Recital on 15th December, in place of our usual Carol Service although having to be held with COVID-19 restrictions in place.
Assemblies this week continue with a Christmas theme and Christmas music but with a reflection on the Christian origins of what can sometimes seem an overly commercial time of year. We are also awarding certificates for subject achievements and highest house points for the term.
End of term arrangements
There will be lessons as usual until 12.30pm on Friday. All year groups will then be with their Form Tutors before being dismissed by our pastoral leaders from around 12.45pm onwards.
The number of cases of COVID-19 has dropped slightly potentially as a result of the re-introduction of face masks in interior communal areas. However, we are aware of cases of the Omicron variant in Bromley schools (not yet at Darrick Wood) and that whilst cases have dropped, there have still been 34 cases in the last 10 days at Darrick Wood and we are still having to remind some students to bring a mask with them and to wear it around school. Our thoughts are with all families currently affected by COVID-19. Students who are well enough to do so, should look on Microsoft Teams for learning resources for each lesson during their period of isolation.
Asymptomatic Testing at the start of the new term
The government has asked schools to re-open their Asymptomatic Test Sites at the start of the next term. All students are recommended to take a Lateral Flow Device test at school on their return. The levels of control in our Test Site mean that, if the whole school completes just one test, we will be doing all we can to ensure COVID-19 does not enter our classrooms at the start of the new term. Like the start of autumn term we plan to facilitate this by staggering the return to school by year group as follows:
|Attendance at school for LFD testing only||Attend school for lessons|
|Tuesday, 4th January||Years 7, 12 and 13|
|Wednesday, 5th January||Years 8 and 11||Years 7, 12 and 13|
|Thursday, 6th January||Year 9 and 10||Years 7, 8, 11, 12 and 13|
|Friday, 7th January||All year groups|
We have prioritised our youngest students and those with upcoming assessments. We will send more details later this week so that each student knows when to attend for their tests. If you previously consented for your child to be tested, we do not need to regain your consent. We have written to anyone whose child started after September to request consent. The link below will take you to the COVID area of our website including where you can withdraw consent if required:
Until they return for on-site lessons, students will be expected to complete work set on Teams by their teachers following their usual timetable.
COVID-19 on the return from Christmas
We do not yet know how things will develop in the weeks ahead but we ask for your ongoing support in ensuring your child regularly tests at home and does not attend if their LFD is positive or if they have symptoms of COVID-19. Please follow the national guidance and arrange a PCR test to be completed in either of these cases.
Severe weather (e.g. snow)
In the event of weather that is so severe that the School has to close, we propose to use Teams to set work for students in the same way as home learning is organised during lockdowns. Please be aware that teachers may not always be in a position to teach ‘live lessons’ as they themselves may have their own children at home. It is likely there would be a combination of pre-recorded PowerPoints, live teaching and other resources all accessed via Teams.
Thank you to all who entered the Big PTA raffle. This has now closed and we await news of any big wins! Thank you also to those who purchased Christmas trees via the PSFA link. 40 trees were sold meaning £400 was raised.
We thought we just had to share this picture of a puppet seal in a miniature Darrick Wood uniform. We have some very talented parents as well as students!
Bromley’s Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) Winter Programme
We draw your attention to Bromley’s programme of bookable events over the holidays. Please take a look at what is available via the link here – Free Holiday Provision Available To Children and Young People Eligible For Benefits Related Free School Meals (FSM).
We have been asked to share information about NHS Cadets. NHS Cadets is a new scheme created by St John Ambulance in partnership with the NHS, providing opportunities to explore skills, knowledge and volunteering roles within healthcare. It is aimed at young people aged 14 to 18 who are from communities currently under-represented within the NHS and St John Ambulance.
The programme offers young people health awareness sessions, courses to develop their leadership and communication skills and an insight or experience in volunteering within the NHS.
It is a free programme, consisting of weekly, 2-hour sessions for 11 months. Cadets will be supported throughout their volunteering journey by the NHS Cadets Team.
The initiative is seeking young people who might not have previously considered volunteering in healthcare. This includes, but is not limited to:
• Young people living with learning difficulties and / or disabilities (we will need to discuss if we have the support network to help you participate)
• Young people in the care system, or recent care leavers
• Refugees or Asylum Seekers
• Young Carers
• Homeless young people
• Those not in education, employment or training, or those with school results lower than you hoped/need
• Those living with mental health concerns (same principle as anyone with a learning difficulty or disability)
• Those who identify as being part of the LGBTQI+ community (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex+)
• Those coming from low-income families / young people in receipt of free school meals
• Young people from ethnic minority communities
To find out more information and to apply, please visit: NHS Cadets Homepage | St John Ambulance (sja.org.uk)