St Mary's Catholic High School Leyland
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Royal Avenue
Leyland PR25 1BS

Phone: 01772 421909


Dear parent/carer,

You may well be aware that this week we have seen a number of Year 11 pupils present with positive Covid-19 test results. Thankfully, all of those pupils affected are reporting relatively mild symptoms and we wish them all a speedy recovery. However, we have now reached the point where there is a significantly greater number of pupils being asked to self-isolate, than are actually in school. This is a situation which would remain the case for next week as well.

Learning from home

Therefore, I have taken the decision to request that all Year 11 pupils work at home from Monday 23 to Friday 27 November. By doing this, we will hopefully break any cycle of infection which appears to be prevalent in the year group at the moment. In addition, it means that all pupils in Year 11 will receive the same quality of education and opportunity for the forthcoming week. Although a small number of pupils will still be self-isolating, most pupils will return back on Monday 30 November.

Year 11 Timetable

Timetabled lessons will continue and the expectation is that your child will be available for their online lessons in line with their ordinary timetable. For Year 11 this means:

Form time


Period 1


Period 2

10.00 – 11.00am


11.00 – 11.20am

Period 3

11.20am – 12.20pm

Period 4

12.20 – 1.20pm


1.20pm – 2pm

Period 5

2 – 3pm


Afterschool sessions, e.g. Catch-up/Revision

3 – 4pm


Your child’s classroom teachers will be available at these times for the full timetabled lessons. Pupils are expected to be ready to engage in their learning for these sessions. In essence, it will be a normal school day, but with pupils at home.

Behaviour Expectations and Illness

During online lessons, we would expect pupils to behave in an acceptable manner and they can expect normal school sanctions to apply on their return if they disrupt or misbehave.

If your child is ill, we would expect parents and carers to call school and follow normal procedure. In all other cases, attendance at all lessons is compulsory.

Virtual Classes

Staff will teach lessons and be contactable through mediums such as Microsoft Teams and ClassCharts. If you haven’t already done so, please refer to the guidance on our website regarding remote learning, which can be found here:

If any pupil needs assistance with access to a laptop, then please get in touch with school and we will be able to provide you with the correct equipment.

Self-isolation and Close Contacts

A number of parents will have received letters to say their child is a close contact of a confirmed C-19 case and that the child must self-isolate. THIS HAS NOT CHANGED – pupils with a self-isolation letter must continue to follow this advice and the relevant dates.

If your child has not been identified as a close contact and has not received a self-isolation letter, they do not need to self-isolate. However, they must be online for all their school lessons.

Free School Meals

Any pupil who is in receipt of Free School Meals is still entitled to receive them. If you would like your child to continue to receive their Free School Meal, then please contact school and suitable arrangements will be made.

Further Positive Cases of C-19

Even though your child will not be in school, it is important that if they do develop symptoms that they are tested and that school is informed of the result. We still have a duty to record this and inform any potential close contacts.

By taking this action now, we hope it will act as a circuit breaker and allow Year 11 to return with a clean bill of health. However, even despite our best efforts, we know that the virus is still prevalent in the local community and you know it’s impossible to guarantee there will not be further cases. 

Mock Exams

You will remember that I wrote to you before half-term regarding the importance of the mock exams for pupils this year. We have therefore taken the decision to push back the mock exams by one week to begin on Monday 7 December 2020. This will allow for further time for revision and contact with the classroom teacher. Hopefully, every Year 11 pupil will be back in school, not in self-isolation, and fit enough by then to sit them. Should any child be absent for these exams, then we will make contingency for this and find time for them to sit them once they are fit enough to return.

Final GCSE Exams

This is clearly a question on everybody’s lips at the moment – will GCSE exams go ahead as planned in the summer? Unfortunately, I am still in no clearer a position to answer this and I am not privy to any other information than that which is already in the public domain.

The government stance on exams in England remains that they are insisting they will go ahead, 3 weeks later than planned, despite the governments of Wales and Scotland already announcing alternative plans.

As a school, we must plan for what we are told is happening. Of course, the government may change their mind, but they have proved particularly stubborn in listening to a rational argument from the profession. In particular, there is a groundswell of opinion amongst schools and colleges in the north of England, and particularly in the North West, that due to the higher rates of C-19 here than in other parts of the country, special consideration needs to be given to our pupils.

In my opinion, it cannot be a fair process that some pupils in other parts of the country have experienced no disruption to their learning, yet we and other local high schools have pupils who have had to self-isolate for a number of weeks. It is not necessarily asking that exams are cancelled, but it is asking that in some way the upset and trauma of continual isolation is in some way shape or form recognised in the final results, ensuring a fair outcome for all.


I will be writing to our 2 main local MP’s, Katherine Fletcher (South Ribble) and Sir Lindsay Hoyle (Chorley) on behalf of St Mary’s pupils to raise our concerns It may be that you would like to contact them as well, ( or ( to raise your concerns and add your voice to the debate.


This week has been particularly challenging for Year 11 and asking a year group to work from home is not a decision taken lightly. You will be aware that I have said repeatedly that I believe being in school is the best option for pupils. However, with such a great number of pupils out, I feel I am left with no choice. By doing this, we can ensure that all pupils are treated equally and receive the same educational diet.

I ask for your support in this decision, and thank you for your continued patience and understanding.


Yours sincerely,

Mr P Thompson