Principals Update – 7th December

 

Dear Parents/ Carers,

 

This should be my final letter of this term.  I just want to update you on a few key events and dates coming up and make you aware of some of our plans and hopes for 2021.

 

 

FUND RAISING

 

It is ‘Christmas jumper day’ this coming Friday, 11th December.  This is a ‘mufti’ day but it would be great to see everyone in a festive top of some kind!  Please could your sons/daughters bring in £1 to donate.  Money raised will go to Save the Children and to our newly formed Parent and Community Association (PACA).

 

PACA have been busy and have started a number of initiatives to raise money for our school.  Please do join the PACA Facebook group for more details and to get involved.  One initiative is a photo calendar competition which invites students to submit a photograph of Teignmouth each month to enable us to create a TCS Exeter Road calendar for 2022.  We hope many of you might purchase this, this time next year.

 

You may also have seen the opportunity to subscribe to the ‘small lottery’ which gives you a chance to win substantial financial prizes whilst some of the profits go to our school association.  I would also encourage you to join ‘Easy Fundraising’ and sign up to donate to TCS Exeter Road when you buy from large online retailers.  These donations can significantly make a difference and it’s completely free for you – it only costs a couple of extra clicks on the internet.  All of the funds PACA raise will ultimately be spent on our students, your children.  The provision of more and better outdoor seating and covered areas is a first focus for these funds and I will continue to discuss with students how any money raised may best be spent:

https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/tcsexeterroad/

 

 

YEAR 11 PARENTS’ EVENING

 

Monday 14th December is Year 11 Parents’ Evening.  Students will be receiving the results from their recent PPEs (mocks) on this day.  We hope that all Year 11 parents will be signing up for digital appointments, which can be booked by clicking HERE .

We have found the online parents evening meetings (as well as our digital booking system) really helpful and many parents have commented positively on this.

On this Monday 14th December, we will finish period 5 and dismiss students early, at 2.45, to enable the meetings to start from 3.30 and to be able to fit in as many appointments as possible.

 

If you are having issues with the digital booking system please refer to our parent guide below in the first instance. If this does not solve the issue please contact us directly.

 

Parent Guide – Year 11 Virtual Parents Evening

 

 

 

 

 

 

NATIONAL EXAMS

 

After a lot of speculation and long delays, the Department for Education has just released some headlines concerning the national exams in summer 2021.  There continues to be a lot of discussion about how to make any exams this summer ‘fair’, and the honest truth is that fairness is always elusive and that the current situation continues to pose huge challenges.  However, we know that exam boards will adapt the grade boundaries to reflect the situation and impact of the pandemic.  Students will also get some extra prompts and guidance about the exams to help them prepare in some subjects.  This takes account of the fact that students have had less time in school over the A level, GCSE and vocational courses and we can be quite confident that students in summer 2021 won’t be disadvantaged against previous years.  Speaking as a parent of sons in Years 11 and 13, I would suggest that this is good news and a cause for optimism.  It’s tough for schools where students may already have had several weeks studying from home this academic year, but we have been fortunate in this respect.  I therefore suggest that students in Years 11, 12 and 13 should be particularly positive about their chances and what lies ahead!  The lesson 6 timetable and tips and materials to help students revise are on our website.  Students don’t need to panic or work all the time, but it isn’t too soon to begin carefully planning and preparing for the summer exams.

 

 

LOOKING AHEAD

 

With hopefully the vaccine not too far off, there is again reason for us all to be positive about 2021.  We are looking forward to gradually and carefully restoring school to normality in the coming year.  Students will be returning to school after the holiday on Tuesday 5th January and we will be continuing to review our risk assessment.  We will consider resuming actual assemblies within bubbles (in year groups) in our auditorium if we can do so safely.  We will also be looking at whether we can safely ensure students can change for PE within school (so that they don’t need to be in PE kit all day) and our PE Faculty are already resuming our extra-curricular sports offer.  We will hopefully begin to be able to offer more and wider after-school clubs soon.  We have missed all this this term and our community is definitely lesser for not being able to gather together.  We are looking forward to streaming our Christmas concert online in the next week, but it will be really good to be able to get students to perform and celebrate music, drama and dance together properly again next year!

 

Although the vast majority of students have adapted to the pandemic well and continue to behave well and work hard, we have seen a spike in more challenging and disruptive behaviours.  We have had too many incidents of students being unpleasant to each other or defiant to staff.  The extra tensions produced by demands such as masks and one-way systems have created more conflict than we want in our community.  I am looking forward to a return to normality and this will be helped by our raising and clarifying our expectations of behaviour and standards.  We will continue our ‘warm-strict’ approach and will work hard to support all, but we will not tolerate bigotry or prejudice towards any in our community, or defiance or rudeness of any kind to staff.  We will be addressing this from January with a revised behaviour system by clarifying sanctions.  At the same time, we will continue to recognise the many students getting things right as much as we can!

 

 

 

 

FREE SCHOOL MEALS OVER CHRISTMAS

 

Devon County Council have now put in place arrangements to provide supermarket vouchers to children across Devon who currently receive free school meals, to help families buy groceries over the Christmas holidays.  Full details are advertised on the DCC website.

 

 

COVID -19

 

Please do let us know if you come into contact with a positive Covid-19 case and particularly if your son/daughter who attend our school has a positive test.  In term time and school hours please ring Reception or email Student Services.  If you are unlucky enough to have a positive test in the holiday, please email me direct: james.oconnell@teignmouth.devon.sch.uk.

 

 

END OF TERM AND NEW TERM

 

Following the government’s ‘strong advice’ that Friday 18th December should be taken as an inset day, TCS – Exeter Road have made the decision that the last day of term for students will be THURSDAY 17TH DECEMBER.
This will be a full day for students, and the day will end at 3.15pm as normal.
Picture attached has been updated to reflect this change.

 

 

I do hope that you will all be able to enjoy this Christmas and stay safe over the break.  Thank you again for your support and take care.

 

 

Best wishes,

James O’Connell

Principal