Extracts from Mrs Hems' Return to School Assembly
Extracts from Mrs Hems' Return to School Assembly - Upper School Thursday 20th August 2020
Procedures during COVID
"I want to say a little bit now about being back at school. There will be so much that feels very familiar and almost like normal, but please do not forget that this is not actually yet ‘normal’. We all have a part to play in making school as safe as possible, for everyone. We cannot guarantee of course that we are completely virus-free, but we can all take sensible steps to reduce the risk of spreading illness. Probably the easiest thing that we can all do is to make sure that we are washing our hands really thoroughly, or using hand sanitiser, every time we come into a building, and when we get home as well. While there is no requirement for you, as young people, to remain a specific distance from one another at school, you should not be getting so close to each other so that you are touching please. I know that you want to hug your friends or sit in a huddle with them, but I have to ask you not to. Please be sensible when you are out of school as well. Remember that if you become unwell you will have to have time out of school and your whole family will have to isolate themselves. You, as young people, may experience quite mild symptoms, but adults could become more seriously unwell. You have a responsibility to be good citizens and protect the whole community and the people you care about. On that note, please remember that you must stay 2m away from your teachers. There are spaces marked out in classrooms which are teacher zones, and it is really important that you respect those spaces and do not go into or touch items that are in those spaces. If you come a bit too close to an adult, please do not be surprised if they very politely ask you to take a step back. I hope you will not need to be reminded too often. This does not mean that your teachers are not able to help you when you need it but please respect the space around them and be prepared to work slightly differently from usual. Please do your best to stick to the one-way systems that we have put in place. Remember to wipe down keyboards etc that you have been using if you are in a computer lab for example. You will not be able to share stationery with one another if you forget pencils, pens, calculators etc, and if you forget your lunch, I am afraid we will not be able to supply you with any spare food. We are not running any catering at all at the moment, so that we can provide additional cleaning across the whole school. Please remember to take your temperature before you leave home in the morning, and perhaps most importantly, if you are unwell, please do not come to school. If you feel unwell while you are in school you must tell an adult immediately. We will arrange for you to be looked after until someone can collect you from school. Please do not call your parents yourselves to ask to be collected – it is very important that we know who is unwell.
"We know that now that you are back with us there will be systems and plans that we put in place that may need to be adjusted. Please let us know if you can see things that are obviously not working. Please also be sensible and patient as we all adapt to a new situation."
Diversity and Equality at School
"...And finally, I would like to say something about diversity, respect and discrimination at school. The Black Lives Matter movement has brought these issues to the fore over the last few months, and promoted a very important nationwide conversation about the history of this country, our past involvement in the slave trade, how we live in the 21st century with the knowledge of that past, and how we educate the next generation. I reminded you all last term, and will do it again now. It is never acceptable to use racist language, or to discriminate against another person on grounds of race, religion, disability, gender, gender identity or sexual orientation. Just as with bullying, or if you are worried about a friend, if you feel that behaviour of this kind is going on, you must let one of us know. You can talk to a Head of Year, to your form teacher, to Mr V, Miss Benson, Mrs Robertson or any member of staff whom you trust. Please do not try to take matters into your own hands.
I would like to have a meeting, for anyone who is interested in working with me and with other staff, to help to raise the profile of diversity and equality issues across the school. I want to find out from our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students about your experience of school life, but you do not need to be from the BAME communities to join this working group. Please look out for a notice early next week, about where and when we will meet."
I wish you all a very happy and successful new school year.