October Update

Dear Parent(s),

I hope this email finds you well.

I am writing in advance of the half term break to thank you for your support since September, provide you with an update in regard to the academy’s handling of coronavirus measures, and outline some information about the impending half term.

As you are aware, and in spite of a huge effort by the whole learning community to minimise transmission, we have had cases of coronavirus amongst both students and staff.

Initially, and in line with Public Health England guidance, I sent whole year groups home to self isolate. However, Public Health England guidance changed quickly as rates of transmission rose regionally. It became apparent that sending whole year groups home would become unsustainable. We have subsequently contact traced and are only sending home students who have come into contact with positive cases.

Unfortunately, students across year groups have had to self isolate, and some students have had two periods of self isolation. We have tried to ensure that their digital offer is excellent and colleagues continue to develop their expertise using platforms such as Google Classroom. We are also trying to ensure that, as far as possible, lessons are live streamed in line with student timetables and my hope is that beyond half term, most lessons will be available live and online.

At this point, I have to pay tribute to the students and staff at Hall Cross.

The students’ have had to put up with a one-way system, wearing masks and socially distanced lessons. Their learning experience has changed hugely and their resilience and patience has been hugely impressive. I know many will be stressed about the ongoing situation and it is especially stressful for exam year groups who are concerned about what will happen in the summer. Let me reassure you that, with a daughter in our Year 13, I am acutely aware of how anxious some students are and we will do all we can to continue supporting students through this difficult time.

In terms of my staff, they have been heroic and I am inspired by their dedication on a daily basis. Staff face a very strange reality; they spend their working days in rooms of 30 people from different households, but outside work they are not allowed to see extended family, friends or loved ones. It has therefore been a very stressful time and I am hugely grateful for their commitment to our young people.

If you have any questions or comments about our handling of coronavirus, I have set up and email address: coronavirus@hallcrossacademy.co.uk

Having dealt with the challenges we have faced so far, we are well prepared for next half term. It is a relatively short term and there are three training days on November 6th and 16th, and December 4th.

I hope your son/daughter has a restful half term. Importantly, they should follow the government’s guidance in relation to regional lockdown measures and avoid mixing with other students over the break. This will help break transmission and make it less likely that we will have to require more students to self isolate.

With kind regards,

Simon Swain