Dear Parents and Carers
It is hard to believe that we are finally completing this strange school year. It has been one of challenge but remarkable stories of resilience, teamwork, community, learning new ways of working and utter determination from our students, parents, carers and staff. I commend you all.
Students have hugely impressed us. They have worked with tenacity and have adapted to all the rules and systems and remote learning we have had to introduce. I have been particularly impressed by how they have looked out for each other and their community with individual community projects such as sewing masks, running allotments and small businesses, supporting vulnerable members of our community and charities such as our local food bank and vast amounts of volunteering through the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme. Equally impressive have been their collective projects such as our brilliant 6th form Business students and their work to raise awareness and funds for the Young Minds mental health charity, as well as their events to support student wellbeing. Recent prefect interviews with Y10 and Y12 brought home how passionately they feel about looking after each other in the KES family and looking out for younger students too; I was so proud of them all. KS3 students have also been logging a vast range of brilliant evidence and activities for their LORIC portfolios.
There has also been much to celebrate — student success in National Writing competitions and Innovation competitions, Business of Enterprise, students working with the Royal Shakespeare Company in the Virtual Playmaking Festival, senior students running writing competitions and clubs such as debating, for younger students through lockdown and the amazing end of year KES Festival last week with over 140 students contributing through catering, designing, music, performance and hospitality. It was a truly wonderful event for bringing us all back together and a huge well done to everyone. I must pay tribute to Y11 and Y13 for the way they have responded to the challenges and changes following the cancellation of their exams. They have worked so hard and managed the associated pressures and assessments with dignity and strength of character — we could not have asked for any more from them. We have also been celebrating some super success from the Y13 IB results which came through last week and Y13 have some really exciting destination offers from University places to high profile and sought after apprenticeships — more to follow when final results come through in August.
Parents and Carers, I extend a warm thank you for your overwhelming support, help and understanding with the on site Covid testing and with the frustrating and exhausting isolation of bubbles when required. I should also like to say thank you for all the support with remote learning from home. We have had so many heart warming messages of support and wonderful communications and this has been really appreciated by all of us.
Lastly, before the important details and information for September, I must pay tribute to our remarkable staff team — both teaching and support staff. I am privileged to work with such an incredible bunch — they have given so much this year, adapted to new ways of working and remote learning with such expertise (I am in awe!), shown unwavering energy, ambition and compassion for our students and each other, pitched in over their weekends and evenings to check in with students or parents or carry out track and trace and other additional duties, alongside navigating their own family commitments and sometimes challenges. Their tenacity, professionalism, commitment and team spirit humbles me and I extend a huge thank them all on behalf of us all.
Best wishes to you all for a restful and wonderful summer,
Start of Term and Testing Arrangements:
Full guidance for schools from the DFE is not yet confirmed until the very end of July/beginning of August. Based on current Government information, it is likely that students will be offered 2 lateral flow tests on site in school, on their return in September and we have made a plan to test all students twice in the first week of term in line with this. The first test will be prior to students starting back at school and students will be asked to come to school for their test time slot and return home while this is processed.
Students will return to school at 8:55am the following school day, subject to a negative result. On their first day to school, Y7 will be directed to the Hall and Y12 to the 6th form centre. All other students will be directed to their new tutor bases by staff on the gates. We look forward to returning to our pre-Covid whole school timetable routines in the new term also.
The second test will be 3 – 5 days after that during school hours. Each tutor group has a specific time slot (we will also send via MyEd) for their 1st test, see below:
Please note that testing is voluntary but we actively encourage students to take part in the testing to keep everyone in our community safe. If we already have your consent form, you do not need to send it in again but if you have not previously sent this in, please complete and return the attached asap. In the event of any change to the current guidance, we will let parents know at the earliest opportunity.
We are really proud of our KES community and we believe that part of the way that we represent ourselves links directly with the pride we take in our uniform. However, we would like to take this opportunity to remind you of the uniform policy so that you can better prepare for September. The policy can be found on the school website if you seek further clarification but some key points are outlined below:
- Skirts and Trousers
A black knee length skirt or tailored black trousers are to be worn by students. This means that we do not permit leggings, jeans, or stretch fabric skirts or trousers. When preparing your uniform for September we ask that you pay particular attention to the length of skirt as well as the type of material for skirts or trousers. Students who are wearing inappropriate length skirts, or those wearing jeans, leggings or stretch fabric skirts/trousers will be required to change into the correct uniform on the day and in this instance we will contact home to ask you to bring in the correct clothing so your child can return to lessons as soon as possible..
Sensible plain black leather look shoes with no visible logos are permitted. No coloured canvas shoes, plimsolls, boots or trainers are to be worn. Please ensure that your child does not wear anything other than the above to avoid us disturbing you at home or work to bring in the correct footwear for your child.
Hoodies and non-school uniform jumpers and caps and hats are not permitted. The King Ethelbert PE hoody is only permitted in PE lessons and is not to be worn in the classroom or as a substitute for the jumper and blazer.
We have had an increasing number of incidents of learning interrupted by mobile phone issues. We will be speaking to students through assemblies to remind them of our rules in the new term and we wanted to keep you informed and ask for your support by speaking to your child also. Please can we also ask that parents avoid contacting their child directly during the school day. If there is an urgent message please phone the school and we will pass this on or arrange for them to speak to you if necessary.
We believe it is important for students to be allowed to have their phones with them in school and to learn to manage appropriate use of them in their unstructured time and for safety travelling to and from school. However, learning in the classroom is our priority and if your child gets their phone out during the lesson without explicit permission, it will be confiscated and a detention issued. Please support us in reminding your child of the above.
King Ethelbert School is committed to the continuous personal development and raising achievement of all our students. Regular attendance is critical if our students are to be successful and benefit from the opportunities presented to them.
One of our basic principles is to celebrate success. Good attendance is fundamental to a successful and fulfilling school experience. We actively promote 100% attendance for all our students and use a range of reward strategies to celebrate positive attendance.
Parents have a legal duty to ensure that their children attend school regularly and arrive on time. Regular attendance is essential to the all-round development of the child and they should be allowed to take full advantage of educational opportunities available to them in order to make good progress in their learning. Poor attendance undermines their educational attainment and can severely impact on their progress. For students with persistent low attendance we will follow the procedures given in our school attendance policy which can also be found on our school website.
It is the parents’ responsibility to contact the school if their child is absent via MyEd. This is a safeguarding requirement so that all parties know that your child is safe and their whereabouts is known. Parents should regularly update the school and inform the school when their child is returning.
If a student feels unwell during the school day they must go to Pupil Services to speak to our first aider. Please discourage your child from ringing you directly first before speaking to a member of our staff as this can cause confusion. If we feel that the student does need to go home, we will contact you directly to arrange for your child to be collected.
Lates and Punctuality
At King Ethelbert School the register is taken at 9 am and 1.20 pm. Pupils arriving after these times must report to Pupil Services where their name and the reason for lateness will be recorded. The student will be marked as late before registration has closed (Code ‘L’).
The register will close at 9.10 am and 1.30 pm. Pupils arriving after the register has closed will be marked as late after registration (Code ‘U’) and this will count as an unauthorised absence.
Frequent lateness after the register has closed (U) will be discussed with parents and could provide grounds for prosecution or a Penalty Notice.