Dear Parent / Carer
I am not sure where this term has gone. I always view the autumn term as the backbone of the academic year, and the amount of learning and opportunities that happen never fails to amaze me despite 30 years in the profession. Even with COVID around.
The vast majority of my students are a credit to themselves, to you as parents and to the school. The national attendance figures are around 89% and yet we are sitting at 94.5% which is only just off our pre-COVID levels. Another impressive figure is the amount of rewards that have been given out to students, which has been a reflection of the positive attitude to their learning. As a result, the school’s Business Manager Mr Foster (aka Scrooge) has had to increase the Rewards budget this term!
Acknowledgment of student achievement is a cornerstone of what we want to promote at TPS. Despite COVID we are continuing to run reward events and trips to celebrate what has been achieved. If you follow the school Twitter account (@TPS_Hitchin) you will see a plethora of events that the students are involved in. I have been particularly impressed with the outcome of the £1 Challenge where Year 8 has raised £2,826 for Garden House Hospice and Letchworth Foodbank. The following students went above and beyond in their £1 challenge:
- Dionne Sealy £650.21
- Ethan Dynes £491.00
- Shea Johnson £431.50
Last Thursday we held our Christmas concert with COVID restrictions in place. It was the first one in two years. The students and Music Department put on an excellent show. For some parents in Year 7 and Year 8 this was the first time they had been able to come on to the school site. For the Music Department, being able to put on a concert again was like re-igniting their musical soul. I am eagerly awaiting the school production of Legally Blonde, which will be opening on Tuesday 15th March 2022.
Christmas Lunch & Christmas Jumper Day
On Wednesday 15th December there will be Christmas lunch for those who have purchased a ticket. To cater for the large number of students having the lunch there will be some disruption to periods 3 and 4. For those students not taking part in the Christmas lunch a limited selection of other options will be available (pasta will be the only hot dish) and we will not be able to provide food at break time. If a ticket has not been purchased for your child please provide them with enough food for that day. If your child receives Free School Meals they will be given a ticket free of charge.
For a donation of £1 (to support Save the Children) students can come to school wearing a Christmas jumper with the rest of their uniform that day or with their PE kit if they have PE timetabled for that day. Should they wear a Christmas jumper they may wear trainers with this, regardless of whether they are wearing PE kit or normal school uniform. The Save the Children charity works alongside families to provide medicine, food and education for children in the UK and around the world. For more information please go to https://www.savethechildren.org.uk/.
Last day of term arrangements
Students will have form time and period 1 as normal. From 9.45am until 12.40pm (the end of the school day) there will be a carousel of activities including a Christmas quiz, form time ‘festive fun’ and a formal assembly. All the activities will be carried out with COVID restrictions in place.
We had our ‘mop-up’ session for 12-15 year olds on Thursday 25th November. What is really pleasing is that the vaccination rate for eligible TPS students is high. Parents and carers of students who are eligible for vaccination but have not yet been vaccinated can book online at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/ or by calling 119. There is also a wide range of walk-in options at both vaccination sites for adults and specific clinics for young people. Please check which sites are running clinics for young people on the following website before you book: https://covid.healthierfuture.org.uk/events/vaccination-walk-in-clinic-times.
Young people, parents and carers can find more information about COVID-19 vaccinations at: https://covid.healthierfuture.org.uk/vaccine-information-for-young-people.
The second dose of the COVID vaccination for 12-15 year olds is currently being planned for January. Once we have the date for TPS I will let you know. If students aged 16-17 have had their first dose and there has been a 12-week gap they can book their second dose at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/.
Covid testing In January
All secondary school settings have been asked to organise a lateral flow test for all students on their return to school in January. We will not be implementing a staggered start to term so all students should still arrive at school by 8.50am on Wednesday 5th January. We will be testing students immediately and will be working throughout the day to complete them all. Please continue to complete the usual lateral flow tests at home.
Please follow this link (https://forms.gle/T3y5WgURQW5BGK37A) to a simple form IF:
- your child has had a positive PCR test since 7th October 2021 (and therefore won’t need testing);
- you haven’t previously denied consent for testing but would now like to do so (please note if you have previously denied consent then we have this on record and will assume your position is the same if we do not hear from you); or
- you previously denied consent but would now like to change this and consent to testing.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support of the school and to wish you a happy Christmas and new year.
‘Christmas should be a time of joy, when families come together to celebrate the festive season. New Year should be a time to look forward with hope and resolution.’ – Nelson Mandela
Please all take care.