Heads Weekly Update 11th Sept 2020

Heads Weekly Update 11th Sept 2020

Dear ALS Community,

As we come to the end of the first week back in school, I couldn’t be happier with how the return to site has gone. Like my email from the last week, the core note is the same; children are back to loving being in school, the corridors are full of laughter and there is a lot of learning going on. From Yoga lessons through to Food Technology and core learning in Maths and English, it feels like our children haven’t really been away from site. I must share my gratitude for the amount of support we’ve had from the parent community and to the staff team in school for making our return so successful. It is through the commitment and dedication of the team on site that we can have the school operating as we do. For children, the school day will feel safe and settled but this doesn’t happen without a significant amount of work on behalf of the team in school. There are things that we have to compromise on but compared to what is happening elsewhere, I know pupils at Arnold Lodge are getting a vastly superior education experience.

It is now that we must be our most vigilant in school to keep our measures high. The more successful the return, the easier it is to become lax. This week, we have had a full review of the risk assessment and, on the whole, it seems that the measures are working well. That said, there are things we can improve; we are looking to increase our cleaning team to put some slack in (our rota which hits everywhere twice in the day is working but it’s busy) and we will be flipping the one way system through the Senior School buildings after pupil feedback. We will continue to do this in the weeks to come to ensure we keep everyone in our community as safe as we can. Please note that we do high encourage pupils to wear masks during lesson changeover (though this is not compulsory) in the Senior School. Teachers will continue to encourage this.

This week, our mantra comes from Amicus: Respect everyone and their contribution. In keeping with this theme, I’d like everyone to make the effort to say thank you to someone that helps you out next week. I’ve challenged the staff to do this and I hope you’ll take part, too. In school, we are a whole team and the school doesn’t function without each aspect (Operation, Junior and Senior). I want to particularly reach out to thank the operations team (catering, cleaning, Reception) because they very much keep the school going and have been excellent since we returned children to site. Our new day cleaning team, Wendy and Claire, are working tirelessly to keep children and staff as safe as can be and so they deserve a special mention.

Earlier this week, several Year 10 pupils asked whether they could purchase additional sportswear (such as a varsity jumper, hoodie, leggings or thermal jacket). As we have pupils wearing their sports kit for a full school day (and I recognise the weather is going to get colder), the pupils argued that it makes sense for us to provide a range of options for pupils to purchase. It’s wonderful to be able to respond to pupil voice and so I was happy to acquiesce to the suggestion. The P.E kit as it is will stay that way - we are simply introducing a range of optional items that supplement the existing kit for pupils to purchase should they wish. Today, pupils in Senior have received an information sheet (a copy is attached) and Junior aged pupils can also purchase should they wish.

As you may have guessed, we will not be holding an Open Morning this term. We had planned for an Open Morning on October 10thbut given the rise in cases, it seems unnecessary to run an Open Morning. Even to do so without children (which would be pointless - children are the heartbeat of any school) would still add risk for staff. As we will not be running our usual Open Morning, I’d like to ask a favour of the school community to support our ongoing growth: please tell others about ALS. Our very best marketing is word of mouth. I’m sure you’ll have friends and colleagues looking at independent education for their children for Reception or Year 7 next year. They may be frustrated with their current school or it may be their child is doing ‘ok’ where they are. If so, encourage them to call ALS see how their child could flourish here, too.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend.