• Isabel Russell

Week 9

Friday 6th November 2020

Welcome back after the extended mid-term break. To be honest, it was a welcome break as everyone was exhausted and the extended break gave us a chance to recharge our batteries before immersing ourselves in school life, and learning and teaching again. It was great to see the boys and girls returning to school on Monday and adopting to the wearing of Facemasks at every opportunity especially on Corridors, Communal areas, Canteen and Post 16 Study. I must also congratulate the pupils on wearing their face coverings on buses – this is mandatory on all types of bus transport, so the support and encouragement of parents/guardians is very welcome here.

As a school, our key focus is learning and teaching, but since the end of August, Health & Safety has become an immense part of our lives, to ensure that our pupils, staff and school community are well looked after and safe in the school environment. It has been hard work but I believe we have done extremely well and I am very proud of how all pupils and staff have embraced all the changes. The College distributed our very own face masks to all pupils on Monday morning. We don’t know what is ahead of us but rest assured, Holy Trinity College will do everything possible to maintain our high standards and the safety and well-being of our pupils, staff and school community.



What a shock we also received on Monday morning as we settled into the daily timetable, to open an email from the Minister of Education, stating that PE lessons could only occur outside and to no more than groups of 15 students at a time. Thank goodness the Department of Education revisited this immediately and withdrew this restriction by 6.00pm on Tuesday, even though time had been wasted making arrangements with the PE Department and reorganising classes at very short notice. I am glad that wisdom prevailed here!

With the extended break we have had to extend the Assessment Week so there will be no final in-house reports until November 20th. KS4 & KS5 students will receive reports thereafter. The Year 11 & 12 Science GCSE Modular Exams have also been postponed to 23 & 24 November. As stated many times before, Exam students need to work to their potential at every opportunity in case Teacher assessed grades are required, should examinations not proceed.

Subject work continued as normal this week, with online work provided via Google Classroom for those pupils who have been advised by PHA to self-isolate. We also must be mindful of those pupils / families who are having difficulty with the restrictions of Covid 19, eg having to socially distance from friends and family, a feeling of loss and security etc. The School Pastoral Team are available at every opportunity for any pupil who needs support or just to have a chat. Our innovative ‘Food share’ Scheme operates every Friday and today, pupils were treated to toasties, wraps, pizzas etc at break time. A huge thanks to all staff involved in this initiative. We are also aware that many families may be struggling in the lead up to Christmas. We want to help ease that struggle with food parcels via Food share. In these uncertain times, the generosity of our community is amazing – thank you everyone for your donations as we ensure our pupils are fed and ready to learn. Every little bit helps!

Extended schools have started a number of after school programmes, eg Year 8 hurling / camogie league – this will be great sporting fun for the pupils involved never mind the competitive coaches.

Congratulations again to Year 8 having reached over 10,000 Achievement points – wow – amazing Year 8 – Well done!!

Year 8 Form Teachers also personally spoke by telephone to all parents/guardians with regard to their child’s progress during their time in the College. This 3-way partnership involving pupils, parents and the school is key to each child’s progress. Thank-you for your support to your child.

I’ll close off now by keeping in our thoughts and prayers all those who have died since this time last year and especially since March during the Covid-19 pandemic. In the month of November, we pray for those who have gone before us and whose loss we feel immensely.

Bye for now. Keep yourselves and your loved ones safe at all times.

Isabel Russell

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Holy Trinity College 9-29 Chapel Street Cookstown / email: info@holytrinityc.cookstown.ni.sch.uk

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