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Safeguarding

Weekly email – 25 February 2022

Changes to testing and isolation arrangements

Following the government announcement this week, the arrangements around testing and isolation have changed with effect from Monday 21 February, as follows:

  • Although it is no longer a legal requirement, children are still advised to self-isolate for at least 5 days if they test positive for Covid-19; and then continue to follow this guidance until they have received negative test results on two consecutive days.
  • Close contacts are no longer advised to test daily if they have no symptoms or to self-isolate even if they are unvaccinated.
  • Students and their families are no longer advised to carry out testing twice a week when they are asymptomatic. Testing may be reintroduced if there is a local outbreak.
  • As such, schools will no longer be provided with test kits to pass on to students. Test kits can continue to be obtained online or from pharmacies.

Attendance

As we start a new half term, we would like to once again remind parents of the vital importance of good attendance. The overwhelming majority of students recognise the benefits associated with consistently strong attendance and punctuality. As a school we are broadly in line with national attendance figures but feel we should be aiming higher here at Millthorpe.

Our overall school attendance percentage is still sitting significantly short of its pre-pandemic level of 96%, even when Covid related absence has been factored in. Clearly there are so many complex reasons that might explain why we are in this position. City of York Council has recognised this issue and brought together all York schools to analyse the factors involved and work collaboratively to support students and families. We have a dedicated attendance team at Millthorpe School that wants to work alongside parents to build resilience in all our young people. After such a challenging time over the last two years, it’s important that we make clear the impact of poor attendance.

We believe that every minute counts in school. Missing lessons creates a learning gap and can therefore lead to stress and anxiety, which only increases with further absence. We want all students to feel connected to Millthorpe School, building great working relationships with their teachers and, importantly, benefiting from all the social aspects associated with a vibrant school like ours. We want them to leave us ready to grasp the opportunities that await them and establishing good attendance habits helps them do this.

Please continue to reinforce how coming into school every day is the norm. We recognise that every child is different and some may need a more bespoke approach; this is something we can do if we develop good working relationships with parents.

Obviously, students should only attend if they are well enough to do so. This can be a difficult judgment to make, but on those days when your child just isn’t quite feeling 100%, we ask that you encourage them to come in and have a go as children often feel better once they’ve got themselves up and ready and are back in their routine.

We know that the vast majority of our parents are highly supportive of school and the value of good attendance, for which we are extremely grateful. We’re confident that with a little extra focus, we can not only get back to where we should be as a school but also see all our students being the best that they can be.

Dates for the diary

A reminder that school reopens after half-term on Monday 28 February, with a B week.

School will be closed to students on Friday 4 March for a teacher training day.

Secondary school allocation day

On Tuesday 1 March, those of you with children in Year 6 will find out where your child has been allocated a Year 7 place for September 2022.

On the day, you can log on to the City of York Council’s Parent Portal to check your child’s school place. Parents/carers who applied online will also receive a Parent Portal email on the day. Those who did not apply online will receive a letter.

Further information can be found at york.gov.uk/SecondarySchoolAdmissions

Vacancies

We are looking to recruit school cleaners to work before or after school (10-20 hours per week). We can offer competitive pay and conditions – visit our website for full details of this and other current vacancies.

#WakeUpWednesday – A parent guide to Wink

Wink is a messaging app which allows children to connect and communicate with other users. In a similar style to Tinder, Wink uses the swipe method for browsing profiles and accepting or declining them. Once two users have accepted each other by swiping on each other’s profile, they can then communicate and play games online together. The fact that Wink allows children to share photos, personal information and their location with other users has caused significant concern.

In this parents’ guide, you’ll find tips on a number of potential risks such as grooming, cyberbullying and inappropriate content.

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