Message to parents 31st August 2020

Dear Parents,
It is wonderful to be able to finally write to you after a full week (three of these) with all our students back together; we have had a really good start to the term and students have responded magnificently to the changes we have made that will keep our community as safe as possible. 
Our main aim was to ensure our students were kept safe whilst continuing to deliver a full and rich curriculum. It is clear from talking to students and staff and visiting lessons that students have been engaged with their learning and are pleased to be back in classrooms with their teachers.  
Routines are increasingly being established, the one-way system is working well and the lunch and break times zones seem to be calm. In particular, we have seen far less congestion at the end of the day with students moving down Wildern Lane and not congregating around the gates.  This has really helped to support our neighbours, Shamblehurst.
Keeping Safe: a few reminders:
  • Our next task (and this is no mean¬†feat and a challenge¬†in every secondary school) is to get our students to practice social distancing better than they are currently. Any support from you would be welcome.
  • We are ensuring students sanitise their hands on entry and exit to lessons and after the purchasing of food. Hand sanitisers are also found on walls in all the corridors however if students can have their own sanitisers to use it would be helpful too.¬†¬†
  • Parents and carers should not come onsite except in an emergency or by invitation.¬†
  • Meetings with parents, carers and outside agencies may happen remotely.¬†
  • If you need to speak to a member of staff, please contact the school in the normal way.¬† If a meeting¬†is¬†required, and it is an online meeting you will be sent the link. Otherwise, you will be invited into school at a convenient¬†date and time.
  • Please inform the school if there is a suspected case of COVID within your household, keep your child at home, get tested, let us know the outcome of the test and then contact the school and we will confirm whether it is safe to have your child back in school. There is a useful summary of actions you should take attached to this letter.¬†
Lunch times
Our lunch menu is growing weekly as we get used to our new system. Please look out for the weekly offer published on our social media sites. 
If your circumstances have changed during lockdown, it may be worth checking eligibility for Free School Meals: 



When students are coming into school in their PE/Dance kit because they have a PE/Dance lesson on that day they are to be wearing their green sweatshirt. No hoodies or other jumpers are to be worn and will result in them being confiscated until the end of the day. Please also ensure that leggings or joggers are plain navy/ black or that PE green shorts are worn.

Social Media
It is with disappointment that I raise this but feel I have no choice after Thursday evening's Facebook commentary by some within our community. The nasty comments by adults about students under the age of 16, with added pictures, condemning them about an incident that was not fully investigated was horrifying and incited a form of cyber-bullying as bad as the situation itself. This was not modelling how to behave to young people and instead reinforced and encouraged the use of social media for bullying. Before writing such comments in future, I would ask these people to think about whether they would like their child(ren) treated in this way on a platform such as this. Social media should be used for positivity and when not used in this way should be moderated by the administrator; it is disappointing that this was not done on Thursday night. 
To reassure you, our school does everything possible to deal with incidents of bullying and it is only by working together that this is effective. If incidents are not reported until after social media posts or not at all, we will not be able to resolve issues. 
I want to thank all the parents who wrote into school about Thursday's Facebook commentary with positive messages about the staff and students as well as raising concerns about how the comments tarred all 2000 Wildern students with the same brush as a minority and how unfair this was. 
I really hope a line can be drawn under this now as we work with those involved with these incidents as well as continuing to focus on the main job in hand - student learning whilst dealing with coronavirus.
Keeping open
In all our decision-making we are guided by the Department for Education and Public Health England. If it is necessary to close the school to all or some students, this will generally be at the direction of the DfE or Department for Health. We will be able to  activate remote online learning very quickly should we be ordered to close. However, we have put in place every reasonable measure to enable us to remain open. There is the possibility, of course, that significant COVID-related staff absence could lead to a partial closure. We will have to wait and see but we would hope that this could all be covered internally, if necessary.

Finally, we would like to thank you all for the support we have had for this week's re-opening; it has been very positive with appreciative feedback and helpful suggestions. No doubt we have overlooked some things still but the dialogue with you has been very important.

We will write to you regularly with further updates and plans.¬†Until then, ‚ÄúIn a world where you can be anything, be kind‚ÄĚ.
Best wishes

Ceri Oakley