St John Plessington Catholic College

22-Jan-21 Message from the Headteacher


Dear Families

I hope you are all keeping safe and well. 

I write to update you on a number of matters


Our onsite testing centre is in operation. Please note that updated guidance includes an instruction to

a) pause the daily contact testing element of the Mass Symptomatic Testing in Secondary Schools and Colleges programme  

b) increase workforce testing to twice weekly. 

The wording of this is as follows:

“Both NHS Test and Trace and PHE have now reviewed that advice, and concluded that, in light of the higher prevalence and rates of transmission of the new variant, further evaluation work is required to understand the impact of daily contact testing, instead of self-isolation for those who have been in contact with a case, to make sure it is achieving its aim of breaking chains of transmission and reducing cases of the virus in the community.

In light of that assessment, we are pausing daily contact testing in all but a small number of secondary schools and colleges, where it will continue with detailed evaluation to inform any future resumption and to make sure nobody in the remaining settings is put at any risk. Regular testing of staff should continue and will increase to twice weekly as further reassurance and to break chains of transmission during this period.”

This means that if a pupil/member of staff tests positive and they have been in school, close contacts of that pupil/member of staff will have to self-isolate for 10 days from the date of last contact with the positive case.  School is responsible for identifying those close contacts and informing parents. Please complete the consent form for testing that I have sent via parentmail,  even if your child is not currently attending school.

Remote Learning

We continue to provide online ‘live’ lessons and work set on Google Classroom. It is wonderful to see so many pupils engaged online with their teachers. In order to support pupils and staff, we have amended the timings of the ‘school day’ or online learning day.  We hope that this slight change gives pupils a chance to have a short break, possibly away from the screen, between lessons. Please see the amended timings below:

08:40 - 09:00 Academic Review

09:00 - 09:50 Period 1

10:00 - 10:30 Break

10:30 - 11:20 Period 2

11:30 - 12:20 Period 3

12:30 - 13:00 Lunch

13:00 - 13:50 Period 4

14:00 - 14:50 Period 5

Examinations 2021

As you will be acutely aware,  GCSE and A Level exams will not go ahead as planned in the summer. The Department for Education and Ofqual have launched a consultation seeking views on how to award grades in a way that reflects pupils’ performance accurately, recognising the disruption they have faced this year.

Grades will be based on teacher assessment, with teachers supported in making decisions with guidance and training from exam boards.

The government has been clear that while cancelling exams was a last resort, it remains committed to ensuring that students receive a grade that reflects their hard work throughout the year and supports them to progress through their careers. The consultation closes on 29 January.

What should my child be doing now?

All pupils should continue to work hard and engage fully in online and remote learning.  Please be assured that we will keep you updated as information emerges.

Digital Devices

We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of our College community in response to our plea for laptops. We are currently ensuring that all of our pupils have access to a laptop/Chromebook as well as internet access/data limits. Please do contact us immediately if you require support in this area. Can I ask that you return the consent form for your child to participate in live lessons. A special thank you to those that donated devices, contributed to our Go Fund Me page and to Wirral Laptop Donations.  If you have any devices that you have that we could use please drop them into the College reception. 

Ready Respectful Safe

In my daily message to pupils, I remind them of our rules for life and what that looks like in online learning. I thank you for your support in reinforcing this. Please note that we are using ClassCharts to alert families about attendance to academic review, attendance to online lessons and engagement with the work set – please look out for the positives and we will also be awarding praise cards and achievement certificates regularly. 

Thank you for your continued support and cooperation.

Take care


Ms Maria Sharratt