From the Headmaster - 6 November 2020

Posted by MM - Friday 6 November 2020

It has been good to welcome students back in to school this week, and I am sure this term will be as busy and productive as ever. Our virtual Christmas Concert is something to look forward to; more details will follow over the next few weeks. Also I wish Year 12 students sitting exams from now until 11 November the very best of luck – I am sure their hard work will pay off.

Well done to Charlie Rule in Year 11, who competed in the Bath Duathlon last weekend and came third in his category. No mean feat as the event took place in very poor weather conditions, with many top competitors taking part in one of just a few events available this year. Charlie has had to train hard over lockdown for the event, often on his own, and his focus and determination bore results; a true Richian.

Update on face coverings
You may be aware that this week the Government has issued further statutory guidance on the wearing of face coverings in education settings. As a result, we are now asking students and staff (unless they are exempt) to wear face coverings when moving around all areas of the School. This now includes the corridor in the Veale Block, the corridor in the new block and the corridor in the Sixth Form Block. We will also ask Sixth Formers to wear face coverings in the Year 12 supervised study space and the LRC. Face coverings will not be required in the Hall, Old Gym and Year 12 Private study space during break and lunchtimes* as these areas are primarily used for eating and drinking (*at this time).

For the avoidance of doubt, from Monday 9 November:

Unless they are exempt, students must wear a face covering when:

  • entering and exiting the school premises at the start and end of the day
  • moving to different classrooms within their year group bubble or inside school corridors
  • queuing for food in the cafeteria or other food outlets.

Face coverings are not required:

  • in lessons (including tutor time)
  • when eating (including inside the cafeteria and Sixth Form Cafe)
  • if using an outdoor route to move around the school site
  • when outdoors during social times.

I would be grateful if parents could reinforce to students that face coverings must be worn on school buses, on public transport and in shops, to ensure we keep everyone safe in both our immediate and wider communities.

Remote learning offer
A number of our students and staff have been self-isolating and I would like to take this opportunity to clarify our remote learning offer. The Senior Management Team, Heads of Department and subject teachers have been working hard over the last few weeks to ensure that classwork and homework is posted regularly on Satchel One in order that students who are absent from school due to Covid-19 can access their learning online. In addition, teachers are offering Teams sessions for class groups.

  • Where a year group or class bubble is isolating, students will be asked to follow their usual school timetable and teachers will set work and aim to deliver Teams sessions from the classroom. Students will take part in these Teams sessions from home, as a whole class.
  • Where a teacher is isolating, work will be set on Satchel One and the teacher will also deliver Teams sessions from home if they feel well enough to do so.

Mental health and well-being
A reminder that there is a CAMHS helpline available for children, young people and families who may require support and advice from the NHS: Telephone 01452 894300 (9am-5pm Monday to Friday). Additionally, TiC+ counselling services can offer counselling remotely, details at www.ticplus.org.uk.

We are fortunate to be part of the Young Minds Matters (the name for the Mental Health Support Team in Gloucestershire), and we have been supported this term by mental health professionals Catrin and Marienne, who have been able to help a number of our students. The team have now launched a free, confidential text chat service for students – I would encourage them to use this service: YMM Chat 07480 635723

Ventilation and extra layers of clothes
As I am sure you will know, increased ventilation is a key control measure in schools for reducing the risk of transmission of Covid-19. Classrooms may be colder than usual as we enter the winter months, so we are advising parents and students that extra layers of clothing would be a sensible precaution to avoid becoming cold in lessons.

In practice this means:

  • wearing school jumpers under blazers
  • wearing a white vest or white t-shirt under school shirts.

Non-uniform hoodies or jumpers are not permitted to be worn under blazers. Students should also make sure they bring a waterproof, warm coat to school every day. Additionally, coats may be worn in the classroom when a member of staff assesses that this is appropriate.

NHS consultation
The NHS is currently running two public consultations in Gloucestershire, which parents and students may be interested in taking part in. Running until 17 December, one consultation focuses on hospital services at Gloucester Royal and Cheltenham General hospitals, and the other on a planned new community hospital for the Forest of Dean.

You can access more information and respond at: https://getinvolved.glos.nhs.uk. The NHS has also produced a short video about the consultations: www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYwaqb-e3lU.

House Art Competition
A reminder the House Art Competition is still open; students can enter artworks until 13 November. Please contact Miss Parry for further details: cnp@strs.org.uk

Careers webinars and virtual lectures
Mrs Morris has a number of careers activities planned which students in Years 12 and 13, as well as other year groups, may find of interest:

Careers survey
The Education and Skills Team, Gloucestershire, would like students’ help in finding out what your wishes and concerns are about Careers Education and your future career. If students have a spare few minutes, they can complete the survey here: www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/3JPHL9S

Latest issue of The Richian
The latest issue of the school magazine, The Richian, is now available online at https://strschool.co.uk/parents/newsletters/2020-11-Autumn%202020.pdf.

To avoid unnecessary handling of materials in school we haven’t printed our usual number of copies, but all pupils in Year 7 will receive a copy in the post over the next week or so, mailed directly from our printers. I do hope you enjoy reading the issue, as there is much to celebrate about our achievements over the last few months.

As ever, if you require any assistance or further clarification about our COVID-19 protocols, please don’t hesitate to contact Heads of Year or Key Stage, details below.

With best wishes for the weekend

M SR Morgan

Matthew Morgan,
Headmaster

Facebook: www.facebook.com/SirThomasRichsSchool
Twitter: @strsglos
Instagram: @sirthomasrichs

Contact details for Heads of Year
Year 7 Mrs Jennifer Robinson jrr@strs.org.uk
Year 8 Mr Zak Hinds zfh@strs.org.uk
Year 9 Mr Nick O’Neil no@strs.org.uk
Year 10 Mr David Tilley dpt@strs.org.uk
Year 11 Mr Neil Stewart njs@strs.org.uk
Year 12 Miss Ellen Jauncey elj@strs.org.uk
Year 13 Mr Barry O’Neill bjo@strs.org.uk

Contact details for Heads of Key Stage
Head of Key Stage 3 Rhys Davies rmd@strs.org.uk
Head of Upper School Peter Daniell pmd@strs.org.uk
Head of Sixth Form Matthew Lynch mtl@strs.org.uk