Welcome to St Mary's Catholic High School Leyland
St Mary's Catholic High School, Leyland
St Mary's is open to all pupils who haven’t been contacted by school and told to isolate for 14 days.
St Mary's Catholic High School has gone through a great transformation in a short space of time. The necessity to reflect, innovate and change has brought about high performance, sustained progress and a desire among all stakeholders to become the very best that we can be. Whilst the building presents a wonderful environment for education, we know that what really matters is exciting teaching that delivers progress in learning. We have unequivocal high expectations in terms of behaviour and our focus on spiritual development for children is very beneficial to young people growing up in a rapidly changing world.
Friday 18 September
Friday 18 September
Dear Parents and Carers,
You will be well aware that this week we have had confirmed cases of Covid-19 amongst the school population. Thankfully, those affected are suffering only mild symptoms, and I know you will join me in wishing them all a speedy recovery. Many schools in the North West and throughout the country are experiencing similar scenarios.
We have been very keen to have pupils return to as full a curriculum as possible after enduring such a long time away from school. If lockdown showed us anything, it is that there is no substitute for education within the classroom, and this has been our aim since we knew schools would reopen in September.
It is therefore desperately disappointing that we have had to ask a number of pupils to self-isolate. I know the overwhelming response from parents whose children have been asked to self-isolate is exactly that; disappointment that such a positive return has had to be temporarily halted, yet understanding of the reasons why. However, our decisions have been done on the back of advice and guidance that the school has received from Lancashire County Council and Public Health England. In conversations I have had with officials, they have been satisfied that our response has been appropriate and that we are acting in line with their expectations. However, if cases continue to rise, it may well be that an alternative course of action is required. If this is the case, that will be directed by Public Health England and we will follow their advice.
I understand the concern that parents may well be feeling given the rise in cases nationwide of school-age children, coupled with the well-publicised delays to testing. Although the government said it was fine for children to return to school, it was always stated that no environment can be entirely safe from the virus. That is why every school has been asked to put in a series of measures to help reduce the risk. At St Mary’s, we have increased our cleaning regime markedly, there are hand sanitiser dispensers in all areas of school, and year groups are kept separate from one another all day except at lesson changeover where we have introduced a one-way system and mandatory wearing of masks. I will stress, though, that our risk assessment remains dynamic, meaning that it is constantly under review to look at ways in which our procedures can be enhanced to minimise risk even further.
The pupils have responded very well and show great maturity in their understanding of the situation. Even so, I am asking all parents to continue to encourage their children to engage fully with school systems. Ensuring they leave for school with a mask, reminders about the correct way to wear a mask, the importance of good hand hygiene, encouraging social distancing and not touching one another will benefit the whole school population and reduce the possibility of further outbreaks.
However, these good habits are not only for during school time. Children are at school for roughly 35 hours in a week. Please encourage them to keep these good habits for the other 133 hours, especially when in the company of friends or extended family after school or the weekend, or at the many clubs and activity groups that are once again starting to meet, and this includes observing the government’s new ‘Rule of Six’. This morning, I received a letter from South Ribble Borough Council highlighting this very point and I have been asked to share it with you. Please click here to view.
As we have had confirmation of positive tests and the need for close contacts to self-isolate, I would like to set-out how school will respond to any future cases.
Dealing with and communicating a positive Covid-19 test
Dependent upon when school finds out about a positive test result will determine our approach.
At weekends or in the evening, we will issue an alert through our usual channels that a particular year group will be asked to remain at home on the next school day following the confirmed result. This then allows us to identify and contact any pupil who is seen as a close contact of the positive case. The following day, all pupils who are not close contacts will be allowed to come back into school.
If we are alerted to news of a positive case during school hours, then we will look to send that year group home that day. Again, we will identify close contacts of the positive case and ask them to self-isolate. All other pupils will be allowed to come back in the next day. Please consider this carefully and make contingency plans if we need to send children home. Ensuring they have a key to get in the house, or being able to get home will need to be planned. For year’s 7, 8 or 9, we will not allow pupils to leave unless they can assure us they have contacted a responsible adult and are able to get home. If your child does not have a mobile phone with them, school will make that call for them. Pupils in year’s 10 and 11 should be responsible enough to get home independently however, once again, if school needs to contact home we will do so.
What is a ‘close contact’?
A close contact is someone who has been close to another person with Covid-19. Public Health England’s definition for schools is:
- Has had extended close contact (between 1 and 2 metres for more than 15 minutes) with a case, or
- Has been directly coughed on, or
- Had a face-to-face conversation within 1 metre, or
- Had unprotected skin-to-skin physical contact, or
- Travelled in a small vehicle with the case, or
- Any contact within 1 metre for longer than 1 minute without face-to-face contact
In a school setting, this generally would mean any pupil who has sat close to a positive case in class, or been in close proximity at break or lunchtime. We have set seating plans for every class and lesson, so this will form the bulk of determining who close contacts are.
What does self-isolation mean – does my child have Covid-19?
Self-isolation means that we will ask your child to remain at home for up to 14 days. This means staying in the home/garden and not leaving for any reason. Being asked to self-isolate is a precautionary measure. It DOES NOT mean that we think your child is also positive with Covid-19, neither does it mean that you should seek a test for your child. 14 days is required because it can take this amount of time for any new potential case to become apparent.
Also, the 14 days starts from the last time your child had contact with the positive case. This may lead to a strange situation where, due to delays in tests and results, we may not be aware that your child is a close contact for a number of days. They could easily have been at school or other places for some time before they are asked to self-isolate. Even so, the guidance says the 14 days starts from their last contact and we will stick to this.
No-one else, including brothers and sisters at the same school, will need to self-isolate. The only time other people in the household would need to self-isolate or seek a test would be if they developed symptoms of Covid-19 (symptoms being a new, continuous dry cough, and/or a high temperature, and/or a loss of taste or sense of smell).
Even if your child does have a Covid-19 test and the result is negative, they will still NOT be allowed back into school until their agreed return date.
What if my child is told to self-isolate?
If we ask pupils to stay away from school, even for one day, they MUST remain at home. It is not a day-off or an unexpected holiday. We expect every child to complete the work that will be set for them on ClassCharts. I will not ask nor expect teachers to repeat this work the next day pupils are in, even if the whole year group has been asked to stay off.
The reason every child must stay at home until further notice is that they may also be infectious with Covid-19. Until we can establish whether they are a close contact or not, I must urge caution and ask your child stay at home.
What work will be set? How can I access it?
If your child is off school due to Covid-19 related issues, their work will be uploaded onto ClassCharts.
If all the year group are off - teachers are being asked to upload work in line with timetables. So, for example, if your child has Geography on Period 5, the teacher will be able to upload work between 2pm – 3pm. Five pieces of work will be uploaded for the day
If it is a partial year closure – teachers will still be teaching the children remaining in school. They may not be able to upload work at the time the lesson is being held. Therefore, there may be a short time delay before receiving the work, but I would expect this to have been uploaded at some point on the same day.
All work set will be important and will follow what pupils would have received if in class. Therefore, I repeat that the completion of remote learning is not optional. As a family you need to be prepared for a child to learn at home. They will need a quiet space to work and access to equipment.
If accessing ClassCharts proves a problem at all, please contact school and we will look into the matter. This includes any issues with home IT or Wi-Fi access.
What do I do if my child tests positive for Covid-19?
It is important that you let school know as soon as possible. If this is during usual school hours, please contact us via the regular means. If you receive notification out of school hours, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your child’s details. If possible, please attach a copy of the letter/text informing you of the positive result.
If your child, or anyone in the household, tests positive for Covid-19 then you must follow NHS advice and self-isolate. The message you receive will explain how long you must remain in isolation for, but generally it is 10 days for the person with symptoms, and 14 days for all other household members.
Clearly, Covid-19 is still very much in circulation and we all need to remain vigilant. The start to term has been frustrating and disruptive and I apologise for that but we will continue to be guided by both Government and Public Health England advice. I hope you can understand that the picture is continually changing and thank you for the patience shown in these extremely testing times.
Mr P Thompson
Friday 18 September
Friday 18 September
In the academic year 2020/21, Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education will become statutory in all secondary schools in England. This new subject will build on the non-statutory lessons we have previously taught in PSHCEE lessons.
As a Catholic school, our mission is to support the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of all of our pupils, rooted in the wisdom and teaching of the Church. The education of children in human sexuality is an important, precious and privileged responsibility. The Church teaches us that this is very much a partnership with parents, in which parents are the ‘first educators’ of their children on these matters; ultimately, you confer on us the right to co-educate your children with you.
We have been researching various programmes that are available and have decided to adopt Life to the Full by Ten Ten Resources. Ten Ten is an award-winning Catholic educational organisation that is well-respected and very experienced in this field of work.
Ten Ten have entered into a partnership with the Catholic Education Service and the Department for Education to provide training for teachers in Catholic schools on the subject of the new statutory curriculum. I have undertaken this training and so we are confident that this programme is a very good fit for our school.
Through their programme, Ten Ten understand the foundational role that parents have in educating and nurturing their children on these matters. Within the programme, they have built in resources which will not only keep you informed about what is being taught in school, but will also give you the opportunity to engage your children in discussion, activity and prayer.
We would like to have your feedback on our approach, and particularly on the key decisions that we need to take regarding the teaching of certain topics. To this end, we have opened a consultation period during which we welcome your feedback.
Ten Ten have provided an online Parent Consultation Tool.
This is a simple-to-follow, short online course which:
- Outlines the statutory changes that will take place.
- Articulates a vision for Catholic Relationships and Health Education.
- Explains how Life to the Full aims to help us fulfil the statutory curriculum with a Catholic ethos.
- Provides some information about key decisions we need to make, in consultation with parents.
- Answers some Frequently Asked Questions.
Ten Ten have also provided an Online Parent Portal which will be a tool we can use throughout the year to keep you informed and updated about the work we are doing in school.
To take part in the consultation, please do the following:
- Access the Parent Consultation Tool here:
- You will need the following login credentials for our school:
- Undertake the Parent Consultation course provided.
- Complete the feedback questionnaire by following this link before Monday 5th October 2020.
We hope that our approach not only assures you about the new subject matter we are going to undertake; we hope that this will be an important and exciting opportunity for our entire school community.
Assistant Head Teacher
Friday 18 September
Friday 18 September
COVID 19 MESSAGE - YEAR 7 Unfortunately we have been notified of a positive case in Year 7 this morning, therefore we are asking that all Year 7 children return home. If you have not heard from your child, please phone the school office, so we can make safe arrangements for your child to come home. We will update you with more information once we have spoken to Public Health England.
Work will be available on Classcharts