I hope this letter finds you and your loved ones well as we come to the end of a most extraordinary academic year. Whilst we have managed periods of self-isolation, lockdowns, cancellation of exams, the process of teacher assessed grades and much more, I have been pleased to see how this crisis has brought many of us closer together and I thank you for the support you have given the school throughout the year. As a school community, we have worked incredibly hard to provide home learning opportunities and I know that many of you have risen to the considerable challenge of home schooling to ensure that our students, your children, have continued to make progress.
First and foremost, I would like to pay tribute to our students, your children, who have willingly sacrificed many different milestones in their school journeys to ensure that the more vulnerable in our communities were protected. In many ways, we will look back on this period of time and recognise the contribution that this generation of young people has made to the world we live in. So, let's not talk about lost learning, catch up, extra lessons, learning deficit and instead let’s seize the opportunities and create better learning opportunities – both academically and socially, junior leaders, a love of learning and a sense of fun. It has been inspiring to see our students’ resilience and determination and how they have risen to the challenges of remote learning, blended learning, face to face teaching, GCSEs and A Levels, not to mention the social and emotional learning that is occurring continuously. Our core purpose as a school is to tackle disadvantage and support your children to become self-respecting, global citizens and we are committed to this. We do this best when we can work directly with the students, role modelling our principles of respect, ready and safe.
This year, we introduced a new behaviour policy at SJP. All staff and governors are committed to creating an environment where exemplary behaviour is at the heart of productive learning. Everyone is expected to maintain the highest standards of personal conduct, to accept responsibility for their behaviour and encourage others to do the same.
Our behaviour policy guides staff to teach self-discipline not blind compliance. It echoes our core values with a heavy emphasis on respectful behaviour, a partnership approach to managing poor conduct and dynamic interventions that support staff and students.
We are trauma informed, attachment aware and strive for the best relational practice at all times. This means that we strive for excellence and believe that through a culture of support and guidance, which is fair and restorative, pupils will develop and reach their full potential. It is the belief that every child is made in the image of God and should be supported to recognise and self regulate their behaviour. There is a need for rules in order to keep boundaries firm, fair and understood by all. Our school rules or indeed rules for life, are very simple; we should always be ready, respectful and safe. Some examples of what that might look like can be found in the attachment.
We make our expectations clear, we have high standards and aspirations for every member of our school community and we are relentless in our pursuit of developing the whole person. We recognisethat people make mistakes and that children are on a journey to adulthood. When things go wrong, there are a range of consequences that we will apply. We also recognise that more than 95% of our students make a positive contribution to our school community all of the time and as well as the intrinsic reward that this brings, we celebrate our students' achievements in a range of ways; some of your children may have been involved in Hot Chocolate Friday when students from each year group are treated to a delicious hot chocolate and some time with me! These are students who have been recognised by staff for going over and above in their attitude to learning and in their contribution to the school community - it is always a difficult choice to make for year teams.
Can I ask you to spend some time familiarising yourself with our Behaviour Policy by following the link below:
Junior Leadership at SJP
I am pleased to be able to announce just this week alone that we have appointed a number of junior leaders across the school; students from Years 7 to 12 have been trained to be anti-bullying ambassadors. The Anti-Bullying Ambassador Programme equips students and staff with the tools needed to tackle bullying behaviour head on, transform our school’s approach to anti-bullying and create a safer, kinder school community. The Diana Award Programme is youth-led, with our students leading their anti-bullying campaign as Anti-Bullying Ambassadors.
I have been privileged to interview our Year 12 students who applied to lead our Junior Leadership Team as they go into Year 13. You can see the structure of our junior leadership in the attached table.
School will start with a carefully phased return for all pupils in September 2021. We will begin by inviting Year 7 initially to allow them to have the transition experience that they have missed during these lockdowns. Year 11 will then join them and each year group will have dedicated transition sessions, which allows them to return to school in a controlled manner, experiencing the new norms and expectations and having the dedicated pastoral care that they will need after the summer break. Students will receive their timetable, planner and key expectations and information to enable them to start the school year successfully.
Here are the expected days of attendance for year groups commencing on Friday 3rd September:
Year 7 Friday 3 September at 08:30
Year 12 Friday 3 September at 12:30
Year 11 Monday 6 September 2021 at 08:30
Year 13 Monday 6 September 2021 at 10:30
Year 10 Monday 6 September 2021 at 12:30
Year 8 Tuesday 7 September 2021 at 08:30
Year 9 Tuesday 7 September 2021 at 11:00
From Wednesday 8 September 2021 all year groups will be in school.
The government guidance for the return of students in September has been released this week as part of step 4 of the roadmap. As a response to this, we will be testing all students twice over a five-day period as they return to school. If you have not previously provided consent for testing and would like to do so please complete this form. Please ensure that we have up to date consent for your son/daughter. It would also be good practice if your child were to bring their own paper tissues and a small hand sanitiser with them to minimise risk of spreading any bacteria. Can you please check that your son/daughter has all the necessary equipment on a daily basis to ensure that they are ready to learn and that they minimise the risk to themselves and others.
All students will be expected to attend school fully in September. If your child is absent through illness, please notify the school in the normal way. If your child has the symptoms of coronavirus, (persistent cough, fever, loss of smell) please do not send them to school and seek a coronavirus test immediately. If a student receives a positive coronavirus test, the school must be informed immediately. Failure to do so would put all members of our community at risk.
Students should return in full uniform in September. The uniform also clearly outlines expectations on footwear, which must be plain black shoes of a polishable material and with no sports logos. A reminder of our uniform list and PE kit list can be found here. Our uniform policy also clearly states that there should be no false nails, no false eyelashes, nose rings or earrings. Thank you for your support in ensuring that our high standards of uniform and appearance are maintained and allow us to remove barriers to learning.
In the words of Malala Yousafzai, ‘Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.’ At SJP, we continue to promote a love and enjoyment of reading and we are committed to prioritising the reading journey of every child at SJP. If you read for twenty minutes a day, you pick up 1.8 million words per year, which is equivalent to sixty extra school days per year. As well as having an academic advantage, reading is also known for reducing stress, developing empathy and deepening our understanding of literature and the world around us and generally having fun. We would appreciate your support over the summer in encouraging your child to read for thirty minutes every day, which will prepare them well for the return to school in September and beyond.
As you will be aware, the closure of schools due to Covid-19 has had a significant impact on all young people’s learning and development. In order to support a successful transition for the newest members of our college community, we decided to run a transition summer school.
Summer schools play an important role in supporting young people’s learning, building new relationships and supporting young people’s wellbeing. Our summer school has a clear focus on literacy, numeracy and wellbeing. We hope that every child makes many happy memories and enjoys new experiences. We have had a fantastic uptake, with nearly 200 pupils registering their interest to attend and we are looking forward to welcoming them into our community during the summer.
The end of the school year always sees valued staff members leaving SJP to pursue the next step of their careers. I am sure you join me in thanking staff for their service to our SJP community and in wishing them well as they move on.
I would like to mention two members of staff in particular who between them have more than 50 years’ service to SJP; Mrs Jones and Mrs Clarke. Mrs Clarke has worked at SJP for 31 years. During this time she has had a number of senior roles and we thank her for her dedication to SJP and SMCC. Mrs Jones has served SJP loyally and faithfully for 30 years. She has always gone over and above in her dedication to the school and she will be sorely missed. Finally, thank you again for your support in an incredibly eventful year, my first year as Headteacher of SJP.
I hope next year is a little bit quieter!
Have a great summer.
Ms Maria Sharratt