Letter from Mr Edwards (05/11/21)

Dear Parents / Carers

I hope that you had a good half term and that families were able to enjoy quality time together.

As we reach the end of the first week of November there are a number of key messages that I wish to share with you, starting with a traditional one urging our community to enjoy the firework displays this weekend whilst keeping safe and encouraging our children to respect local residents, property and pets.

Remembrance Day is rapidly approaching and our annual assembly programme to mark this occasion will take place over the next week. There will be 6th Form students selling poppies and it is always pleasing to see young people wearing them around school.

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.”

― Laurence Binyon


COVID infection rates in secondary-aged students are going up and this is having an impact on infection rates within family groups. Views on vaccinations vary from household to household, but the vaccination of young people aged 12 to 15 is still being rolled out. It is clear that the Government wants as many young people to be vaccinated as possible:

“The vaccines are safe and will help keep children in the classroom.”

― Health Secretary Sajid Javid

Eligible students at TPS had their first round of vaccinations on 4th October. The School Age Immunisation Service (SAIS) will be returning to TPS on Wednesday 24th November. Please can you read the letter from the SAIS, which explains who is eligible and how to access the COVID vaccination consent form. You only need to complete the form if you did not complete a consent form for the first session and you now wish to give consent; your child has turned 12 since the first session and you now wish to give consent; or you wish to change your original consent. As with the first round of vaccinations can you direct any enquiries to SAIS and not the school.

LFD testing and communications re. COVID

A key component of keeping COVID infection rates in school at a low level is for all young people to take a LFD test twice a week on Sunday and Wednesday evenings. This is a message that we have regularly promoted and we need your support in doing this. Any COVID-related issues should be emailed to COVID19@priory.herts.sch.uk, which is monitored by myself, Emma Sangster (Head’s PA) and Polly Higgs (Attendance). I have asked colleagues to ensure that if they receive any enquiries from parents about COVID they just direct them to the above address. The aim is to ensure the most consistent approach possible.

Masks/Face coverings and additional LFD Testing 

A letter from the Director of Public Health Professor Jim McManus has been circulated to all schools recommending a number of additional measures to limit the spread of COVID infection within school communities.

From Monday 8th November masks/face coverings will be re-introduced in communal areas for all students except those who are exempt. When students had to wear masks/face coverings last time, this was done well by the vast majority of them. Students will have a responsibility to bring their masks/face coverings to school. We will have a limited supply of disposable masks next week, but the onus is on families to supply them. We will monitor who we give masks out to and if there is a pattern of ‘forgetfulness’ then we may sanction those students. If a family is facing particular challenges over sourcing masks/face coverings due to cost, please contact the relevant Head of Year for support.

In the table below I have identified the main expectations we are introducing in respect of masks/face coverings and testing. Students are free to wear a mask/face covering in their lessons if they so wish, but this is not an expectation yet.

Communal areas Expectations
School reception All students, staff and visitors must wear a mask
Corridors All students, staff and visitors must wear a mask
Café Students in the Café and queuing to get into the Café need to wear a mask
Colleagues on Café duty need to wear a mask
Assemblies Masks to be worn by all students and staff not leading the assembly
Extra-curricular Expectation
Sporting fixtures Students need to take an LFD test at school (lunchtime) on the day of a fixture, which the PE department will organise
Students and staff will wear masks on any transport to/from the venue
Play rehearsals Students need to take an LFD test at school (lunchtime) on the day of each rehearsal after school, which the Drama department will organise
School music groups, e.g. choir Students need to take an LFD test at home on the evening before each session
Trips Students need to take an LFD test at home on the evening before the trip
Masks must we worn on the transport used by students and staff
The venue’s rules regarding masks must be adhered to
Post 16 Expectations
Consortium lessons Masks to be worn as per each school’s policy
Consortium transport Masks to be worn by students and staff
Post 16 study area Masks to be worn by students and staff

If the school experiences an increase in COVID infection rates then in discussion with the COVID response team at HCC, further additional measures will be introduced. The main measure will be introducing the wearing of masks/face coverings in lessons. We will notify you in advance of any additional measures being taken.

Our young people have missed out on much over the last 18 months so it is vitally important that we all work together to protect their education over the next half term by keeping COVID infection rates low.

Take care

Geraint Edwards