Our Manor 14-17 December 2020

Message from the Principal

Positive vibes… in a difficult year

It would be easy to look back and reflect on the difficulties that so many of us have suffered individually and collectively. I am deliberately choosing not to do so. I’m going to focus my reflections on all that is good. I would like to thank parents and carers for their continued support not only in the last few weeks but also over the past calendar year. The huge number of supportive messages we have received is truly appreciated and I’d like to assure you that these are all passed onto staff.

In 2020, we have heard the words ‘extraordinary’ and ‘unprecedented’ so many times that they have almost been normalised, and I believe we will only truly understand how momentous this year has been when we look back at it in the future. I am aware that we have had to communicate with you regularly, often at short notice, with updates of guidance and procedures that impact on you and your children. In an overwhelming number of cases this has been accepted with understanding and good grace, at a time when life has been difficult for many families. 2020 will certainly be a year we remember but perhaps not for the reasons we would like!

However, over the course of this year we have had so much to celebrate.

Following our very successful OFSTED inspection in March, the threats that came with the COVID pandemic also provided great opportunities. Counter-intuitively, over the last 10 months we have had to come together as a school community, when often, we can’t actually be together. Students and staff have shown enormous resilience, empathy, continued aspiration, curiosity and humanity – all of our REACH values – throughout. They continue to impress, every day.

We have had opportunities to develop our technology provision and adapt and pivot to meet the needs of our community. Teachers have learned new skills and we think that online parents’ evenings have been a triumph. We will of course consult about future provision, but there will certainly be aspects of our current practice that will not return to how it was pre-COVID.

Thankfully, due to the changes in the self-isolation arrangements made on Monday I have been able to return to school to enjoy the last week with students and staff alike. Christmas Jumper Day was very successful again in support of Save The Children and the contributions to the Christmas hampers has been immense. I have loved visiting each of the pods to present the awards and rewards that have been so hard earnt through our competitions and everyday efforts. Congratulations to all the winners!

This week has seen the catering team produce a superb Christmas Dinner in the restaurant! The consensus was that the food was fantastic and I’d like to thank Alan and the catering team for all their efforts in producing such a great meal in such difficult circumstances. I joined the Year 8s on Tuesday and had fantastic conversations over a superb meal with some great students.

Musical performances

The annual Christmas Concert has also had to be adapted and is available online from 6pm tonight. Tickets are on sale until 5pm via this link - a link to watch the concert will then be emailed to those who have purchased tickets.

I have heard the rehearsals and recording sessions, and music has once again provided a superb window for the talents of our students. I am delighted that the development of music continues to progress at Manor School, and I can’t wait to invite a live audience into the school to celebrate these talents with us at some point in the New Year.

‘Farewell’ Mrs Porter

This term we say goodbye to Mrs Porter from the English department, who is moving to Huxlow School to take up a role as their SENDco. We wish Mrs Porter well in her new venture and thank her for her contribution over the last couple of years. I can reassure students, parents and carers that although Mrs Porter will be missed, there will be no reduction in quality or standards and actually we will have even more consistency after Christmas.

I am delighted that staff retention has improved significantly in the last few years and this is another example. We had already recruited Ms Holtman in the summer to provide extra capacity and this has proved to be a truly excellent appointment. In addition, the superb Mrs Williams and Mrs Ellsmore - who already make a huge contribution to our trailblazing English team - have increased their time in school, by committing to additional days from their current part-time positions.

Updated guidance and beginning of term arrangements

Today is the last day of term. At present, school reopens for students on Monday 4th January 2021. I say ‘at present’ as there is some speculation that talks are in place to review how schools return in January, as well as news reports at the time of writing of staggered starts. There is to be an announcement later today (Thursday) from the government regarding these. We will, of course, keep you informed if anything changes over the Christmas period before the start of the new term.

Mass COVID-testing in secondary schools

You may well have seen in the media this week reports of mass testing that is to begin in secondary schools after the Christmas break. We have received the initial statements regarding this from the Department for Education and we expect further information to be forthcoming in due course. We are currently working through the details of what the operational implications are of this for the school, as well as how this impacts on our students and staff. We will communicate with you any procedures or expectations as soon as we have all of the information in the New Year.

Merry Christmas

Finally, at the end of this most extraordinary year, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and I look forward to working with you in 2021 to realise the ambitious plans we have for our students and our school. Have a wonderful and restful break.

Jay Davenport, Principal

COVID-19 reporting procedure

The following is a repeat of the information regarding our reporting procedure featured in last week's newsletter. Please take a moment to remind yourself of what you should do should anyone develop symptoms/test positive during the Christmas break.

Reporting COVID cases over the Christmas holidays

The dates and timings around what needs to happen are complicated, so we have aimed to simplify matters by introducing a one-stop shop form. Therefore, if you or a family/household member tests positive or displays symptoms over the Christmas break, please see the following guidance. We will then be able to use this information to take the necessary next steps.

Over the Christmas break, there will be a Microsoft form on the front page of the school website that will ask you to complete the following information:

For students who develop symptoms/test positive

  • Date last in school
  • Date of first symptoms
  • Date of test
  • Date received positive case
  • Expected return date following isolation (assuming symptoms have ended)
  • Please provide as many details as possible about members of the school community (students/staff) who you have been in close contact with for 2 days before the date of your first symptoms. Our track and trace procedures will look at potential close contacts in lessons. In the information you provide, please detail unstructured times (breaks, lunches, outside of school hours, students near you on school transport etc.)

For students who come into close contact with a family member or person who has tested positive (track and trace)

  • Date of notification
  • End of self-isolation (assuming no symptoms have begun during this period)

Please complete this form at as soon as possible (especially in first 48 hours from Thursday) following a positive test or a track and trace notification.

School Track and Trace – 18-23 December

Schools are the unofficial track and trace providers for young people under the age of 18. This week the DFE announced that schools will continue to be responsible for this for six days beyond the end of term.

I hope that by working together to ensure that we continue to apply the above measures stringently we will minimise disruption to any families over the Christmas period. However, we cannot eradicate the risks completely.

Therefore, we will collect information from the completed form on the website each day between the 18th and 23rd of December. We will continue to monitor the forms beyond the 23rd so we are aware if students will not be returning on 4th January, however we will not be contacting any families beyond 23rd December.

Receiving a notification of a positive case may require us to contact families to notify you that your child will need to self-isolate due to close contact with a COVID- positive student in the last couple of days of term. This communication will be in the form of a letter delivered via schoolcomms in the usual way and will explain what you need to do.

I recognise that receiving a notification such as this may be devastating for many of you who have significant plans in place and may have arrangements to visit loved ones for the first time in months. If this happens to you, we apologise for this disruption in advance but need to reinforce the message that it is important and necessary to follow the self-isolation procedures to prevent further spread of the virus.

COVID-19 self-isolation update

Government advice was updated this Monday, with the main change being that anyone asked to self-isolate now needs to do so for 10 days instead of 14. We have consequently updated our risk assessment to reflect this.

This change, along with guidance relating to exams and face coverings, can be found by clicking here.

Term 3 lunch order form

Please find below the link to order school meals for term 3.


If you have any concerns regarding a young person or would like more advice on any of the following topics, please contact smitchell@manor.school.

Child Criminal Exploitation

The Violence Reduction Network in conjunction with police and partners across Leicestershire and Rutland have produced a short film to raise awareness of Child Criminal Exploitation.

Online safety: 'Self-generated' images

Recent research has shown that around 40% of all indecent images of children uploaded to the Internet have been 'self-generated' by children. This has increased recently from 30%, highlighting an increasing trend, with children often being coerced, groomed or blackmailed into generating images. Please download the following leaflet for more information on ways you can effectively help and support your children.


Northamptonshire Police has produced a flyer around the legal use of e-scooters. You can download it via the following link.

Continuing to celebrate attendance

Based on the most recent published figures, we remain proud that the Manor School attendance figure of 94.1% is above the national average of 85.5%.

Thank you for your continued support in ensuring that we stay above the national attendance figures.

Summer 2020 certificates

GCSE, A Level and BTEC certificates are now available for collection from our main reception. Students should bring identification with them when collecting their certificates. If students are unable to collect them in person then someone else can do so on their behalf, provided they have a written, signed statement from the student authorising them to do so.

  • It is the student's responsibility to collect their certificates from the end of November after the summer exam period (January for November resit exams)
  • All unclaimed certificates will be kept under secure conditions for a minimum of 12 months from the date of issue
  • Any unclaimed certificates may be destroyed or returned to the exam boards after retaining them for a minimum of 12 months
  • If unclaimed certificates are required after the 12 months, unfortunately the student will need to contact the exam boards direct for a replacement certificate

Christmas Hamper Appeal

We had a fantastic response to our Christmas Hamper Appeal following the request for donations from the Year 11 COPE group in last week's newsletter. During Work. World. Wellness. lessons on Wednesday afternoon, tutor groups collated all their items and got to work with decorating the boxes.

In the New Year we will announce the two students from each tutor group who went above and beyond for their hamper, as well as the House that received the most nominations.

The hampers were then collected on Thursday morning, with three hampers donated to Ashfield House care home in Raunds and the remainder going to Raunds Food Bank.

Thank you to everyone who donated to the appeal.

Student achievements

This week we have been celebrating the many achievements of our students.

On Tuesday, Mr Davenport visited classrooms to present certificates and sweets to students who have achieved their REACH School Colours (received 15 REACH points in one of our school values) or Bronze level in our Going For Gold programme (received a total of 30 REACH points).

(click to enlarge the photos)

On Wednesday we marked some of the fantastic entries we received for our Remembrance Poem Competition in November. Selected students were presented with a bag of sweets and a framed copy of their poems. The framed poems will be displayed around the school site.

We also awarded a bag of sweets to the winners of this term's House Competitions.

Congratulations to Lilia C in Year 7, whose Remembrance poem was chosen by Mr Davenport as the winner of our House competition. Written from the perspective of a soldier at war, Lilia's poem captures why it is so important that we continue to honour those who have fought for us.

A huge well done also goes to Levi K in Year 7, who performed the best Cha-Cha Slide Workout and was the winner of this term's sport competition.

Weekly REACH Champions