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Cirencester Deer Park School

Cirencester Deer Park School

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Christmas 2021 Message

A festive message from Headteacher Chiquita Henson

As we break up for the Christmas holiday on Friday 17 December 2021, we would like to say thank you to our pupils and staff for their resilience and resourcefulness throughout another challenging term. We are grateful to everyone for their support and cooperation. The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the school remains low and we appreciate the contribution made by those who have consistently worn face coverings.

Listening to the news this week, there are some similarities with this time last year, not least the uncertainty about what will happen in January, however, we are in a different place. We have learnt to live with coronavirus. We continue to follow the guidance for schools. Consequently, as a part of our management plan, we have maintained the staggered structure of our school day this year. We appreciate this is not ideal, but it has meant we have been able to keep teachers in their classrooms and move our pupils to them.

In his letter to all schools on Thursday 16 December 2021, the Secretary of State for Education, Nadhim Zahawi, commended and thanked education staff for our ‘inspiring’ commitment to ‘supporting children and young people with their education and wellbeing through the disruption of the pandemic.’ He advised ‘the COVID-19 situation continues to be fast changing and complex’ and cautioned school leaders to review ‘our existing contingency plans’ to ensure we are ‘well prepared to implement them in case of any future changes.’

Therefore, I confirm we are planning to test all pupils for whom we have consent twice on their return to school on Wednesday 5 January 2022 and Monday 10 January 2022. We encourage all of our pupils to routinely test themselves twice a week over the holiday period and before returning to school. We will also continue with the wearing of face coverings when we return.

We have reviewed our outbreak management plan and considered the contingencies we may be able to make. While it is absolutely a last resort and, most probably, a step we would take only in the event of significant staff absence, pupils and staff should be prepared for a return to remote teaching and learning.

We have endeavoured to maintain events in our school calendar this term, although some have had to move online. It is encouraging to read the headlines from our PE Faculty and to view the Matilda the Musical taster video! I am grateful to our colleagues in English who dressed up as characters from some of the great works of literature as a part of their Faculty in Focus (see Twitter @CDPStoday) and to The Coffee Lada who came into school on Thursday 16 December to contribute to and judge our GCSE Business Studies Challenge.

It has been lovely to see some festive colour coming into the school over the last few weeks. This has been reflected in our Christmas trees, tutor group quizzes and the gifts pupils have exchanged with each other. This culminated in our annual Christmas Jumper Day on Thursday 16 December 2021. Participating pupils gave generously by either donating an item or items to Cirencester Foodbank or by making a donation to Save the Children. These small acts of kindness do make a difference.

xmas tree

We wish everyone a merry Christmas and happy New Year.