I am writing to provide you with an update about how Newhaven is doing and give you some reminders and details about arrangements for the end of term and start of next term.
It’s been a tough term for everyone concerned with all families carrying the burdens of lockdown, financial worries and worries for vulnerable friends and family. Your children continue to surprise me with the level of resilience they have shown and the school has generally run well with lots of engaged learning going on.
We currently have no positive cases of Covid-19 in the school population as staff and students generally continue to follow our risk assessments well. Attendance overall is slightly down on this time last year but is significantly up when compared to school averages across the country and much higher than similar schools.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the staff on your behalf for the hard work they are putting in developing new styles of teaching and learning and covering for isolating colleagues. We have lost 218 staff days to Covid related factors so far this term affecting 40 staff across the schools. This is around twice as much as for all other reasons put together and puts a massive burden on those who are in school. It is rarely worthwhile for us to use supply staff in our school as the relationships between students and staff are so important to what we do yet despite all this extra work, I have yet to hear any grumbles (well nearly!).
On another matter, the government has agreed to provide extra funding for students entitled to free school meals over the Christmas break and the February half term. We will also be providing food vouchers for families who we think are finding it hard to make ends meet in this difficult time. Details will follow but please get in touch with your child’s tutor, mentor or pastoral manager if you are struggling and we’ll see what we can do.
Finally, the end of term arrangements and other details. You have had most of this before:
Monday December 14th: INSET day – students not in school.
Wednesday December 16th: Christmas Dinner (Gardens/NEST) – students go home at about 2pm
Thursday December 17th: Christmas Dinner (King’s Park)
Friday December 18th: Last day of term – school finishes at 12.30
Monday January 4th: INSET day – students not in school.
Tuesday January 5th: Term begins – normal start at 9am
Please continue to keep up the good work in getting your children ready and into school and the support you offer them in completing their work. Let’s all hope that next term will bring vaccines, daylight and some kind of return to normal. In the meantime, if I don’t see you before, enjoy the break and a happy New Year to all of you.
Jon Kelly (Headteacher)