St John Plessington Catholic College

Message from the Head Teacher - Yr 7, 8 & 9

Dear Parents and Carers

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for your patience and support throughout this difficult time.  We are extremely proud of our students and the way they have adjusted to remote and independent learning.  I do appreciate that this is not an easy time and lockdown will have presented with many different pressures along the way.  It has been a year like no other and I’m sure we’ll emerge into a different sense of normal when we get through it.  The time has given us the opportunity to reflect on many things but hopefully we will all value the importance of education that much more and not take it for granted.  The ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement also gives us a reminder that part of our job as educators is to lift the blindness and ignorance that still exists in our world today.

We have just a few weeks to go before the end of the academic year.  We’ve been able to open our doors at last to our Year 10 and 12 pupils in small numbers and they have displayed an overwhelming sense of relief (if not joy!) at being back in the building.  It is very frustrating that we’ve not been able to do that for our Year 7, 8 and 9 pupils.  Any steps forward have had to be carefully planned to follow DFE and robust risk assessment guidelines.  To facilitate this, it has been necessary to create several pods to accommodate limited numbers of students and ensure clear social distancing.  I am pleased to report that this has been very positive thus far and it has been lovely to see these students.

I am keen to ensure that pupils in Years 7-9 have some face to face time with their teachers before the summer break. The feedback we are getting is that they are really missing their friends and their teachers. Therefore, beginning next week, I have asked our Pastoral teams to invite all of the children in your child’s Form Class to participate in an Academic Review ‘Zoom meeting’ lasting half an hour.  We’ll split the numbers in half to make it more manageable but it will give pupils the chance to meet face to face with their Form Tutor and with their classmates.  We will do this on Tuesday and Thursday for the rest of the term.  We’ll reflect on the issues above and give them an opportunity to come together.  Hopefully it’s the only time in their school career when the teachers can officially mute them!  We will also be holding some individual face to face zoom meetings for a smaller number of children who have found the lockdown time more difficult than most.  I’m hoping we can extend this to more pupils over the last few weeks.  Either way we’ll be in touch with you shortly to give you details of when the meetings are taking place and how to access them online.  We feel that this would be of great benefit and will allow students the chance to engage with a familiar face to explain what learning needs to take place over the summer holiday period and inform you of the extra resources we are providing to support learning. 

The term dates for the next academic year have been approved by Governors and now appear on our website.  Given the circumstances, please be aware that the arrangements for the beginning of the year may change.  Who knows where we’ll be up to by then?  As you know, I will be leaving SJP at the end of this academic year and I will write to you before I go to sign off.  Mrs Sharratt, our new Head Teacher, will also write to you before the end of term as she prepares to take up her new role in September.  A reminder that school will finish at the earlier time of 3.10pm in the next academic year following the consultation we had.

Keep safe everyone and it will be great to see our pupils in Years 7 to 9 engaging face to face again soon.


Kind regards

Simon Rylance

Head Teacher