Message from the Principal
What a fantastic feeling it is to have a school full of students and staff with the low hum of brains whirring during lesson time and the excited chatter and laughter drifting across the site between lessons. I hope too that if you have been at home supervising home schooling then there is also a sense of relief for you too that schools have returned and you can get some sense of normality back.
Full reopening of school
We have been fully open to all students since Monday and the in-school testing regime has been fully completed. We shouldn’t underestimate the enormity of the task for an educational institution to set up and run a fully functioning public health provision, enabling us to safely and effectively carry out 3000+ rapid lateral flow tests over 2 weeks.
It is true to say that Tom Hatton and his team, made up of Manor Sports and Leisure staff, school administrators and cleaners, governors, parents and off-duty ambulance responders, have done a huge amount of work and have been incredible. Their adherence to and compliance with the guidelines has been total but not at the expense of the care and support we would expect for our students and staff. Thank you to you all.
However, this doesn’t happen by chance or by one person or group of people independently of each other. We have all played our part. Parents and students have followed the communications brilliantly. School staff have supported individuals and worked through the logistics to ensure a smooth and efficient process. Together we have managed to complete this most extraordinary task.
We discovered one positive case throughout those thousands of testing procedures and so it feels as though it was all worth it as we have now been able to make sure that the student and their close contacts are okay, as well as isolate and contain any further spread across the school, with minimal further disruption.
So, now it is over to you as parents and carers. We have distributed home testing kits to all students and staff. From my experience of completing these for myself and my own children, I advise that you make the time and a specific clean, level space for this procedure to be completed. Whilst not unmanageable, the instructions do take some concentration to follow, particularly the first couple of times, as there are multi-step processes involved.
A tribute to our students and staff
I want to pay tribute to the students who have been remarkable. You can see the relief for many of being able to see their friends and get back to the routines of school life and the joy of learning alongside other people!
We should also recognise the resilience of the 100 or so children of keyworkers and our vulnerable students who have been in every school day since January. In this respect the cover supervisor team have provided care and help for this group throughout that time.
This week has also seen the return of all of our teaching staff and some of our associate staff who have been working from home. It really has been impressive to see them pivot and adapt to whole new ways of working, utilising emerging technology to support this process. Overall, I think the provision has been excellent.
The rich fabric of life at Manor goes on
Throughout the lockdown period we have tried to provide students with a range of activities and provision beyond their lessons including talks, challenges and competitions.
However, now we are back fully and testing is complete we can really start to return to some of the activities we know and love. Music lessons have started and extra-curricular sports clubs begin on Monday 15 March as the latest guidance allows this to happen.
This week we were proud to work in partnership with Raunds Town Council to bring a live webinar panel together to celebrate International Women’s Day. The full story can be read later in this issue of Our Manor.
Our new cohort
Finally, on 1 March our newest cohort – those students currently in Year 6 and joining us in September – found out if they had been successful in gaining a place at Manor School. We hope that they are all as excited as we are to start the process of transition over the coming months.
Although there is still much to be done to get through this period safely, I am hopeful that next week’s newsletter may be completely COVID-free in terms of the news that we can bring! We sincerely hope that we have seen the back of the lengthy whole-school disruptions to being able to attend. Do not worry about words like ‘catch up’ - we ask that you look forward to the future and celebrating all that your children will achieve; we will ensure that our students are where they need to be.
Thank you so much for all your support - the emails and messages we have received reflecting this have been truly appreciated. Stay safe.
Jay Davenport, Principal