• Isabel Russell

Week 2

Week 2 – Friday 4th September 2020

And so the remaining Year Groups have all returned to school this week. It has been exciting and stressful for some of our young people, but believe me, they are in good hands with their very experienced Form Teachers. Whatever we can do to reassure each and every pupil, we will certainly do our best.

I particularly want to welcome to the College our new Year 8 pupils, 144 of them in total. It has been quite a busy few days for them and they will be glad to have the weekend to relax. Praise must be bestowed on each and every one of them – to date they appear to be a very mannerly year group and appear extremely settled – I have no doubt this will continue!.

I met with each Year Group during their Induction Assembly. This gave them an opportunity to become familiar with new procedures, eg, one-way system, hand hygiene and sanitising units, staggered arrivals, breaks and dismissals, designated areas, recommendation of face masks, protective bubbles etc. There are so many recommendations via the Department of Education but all to ensure that our school remains safe and healthy for our community. It is also important that pupils recognise the symptoms of Covid and that they must remain at home if they are showing the following:

ü A high temperature – feel hot to touch.

ü A new continuous cough – coughing a lot more within a period of time.

ü A loss of or change in sense of smell or taste.

Parents we appreciate your support and ask that you keep us informed if your child is displaying any of the above symptoms. Please keep your child at home until they have fully recovered and that contact is made with the Public Health Agency if a Covid Test is necessary. It is also important to inform the school of the outcome of the Test.

All Year Groups also became familiar with the workings of Google Classroom again – the issuing of class passwords, logging on and how to navigate the system – in the event of a local lockdown or having to self-isolate. School work can therefore continue with no risk of falling behind.

I worry about the pressure on our Exam Groups this year, particularly Years 12 and 14. The NI Exam Board, CCEA, are still in consultation re Subject specifications and whether there will be reduced content. In my opinion, this should have been agreed in advance of school return so that staff

and pupils could hit the ground running. Staff are working ‘round the clock’ to ensure that the appropriate resources are in place and that all materials are to hand in hard copy and online. They are doing an amazing job!.

On a final note, I hope that all of our pupils and staff have a happy and fulfilling year at school. The message I have given to all Year Groups is - to be happy, know that you are safe and that you are being cared for in school, to have high aspirations and high expectations, and enjoy your success!. We work very hard to ensure that this happens on a daily basis as they are important goals for us all to achieve. I believe that if we experience these goals every day in school, then everything else will fall into place.

Have a great weekend

Isabel Russell

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