Dear pupils, parents and carers
I hope that this letter finds you all healthy and well.
I am delighted to be introducing myself as the new Head Teacher of Thomas Bewick School. Many of you will know me very well, as I previously worked at Thomas Bewick from 2005 until 2019 as a teacher, middle leader and for six years as Deputy Head Teacher. For the past year, I have been working as the Head Teacher of a residential special school in Northumberland, but the opportunity to 'come home' and lead Thomas Bewick School was too good to miss, so here I am! I am very excited to be returning to a fantastic school that I care very deeply about and my new role is one that I feel very privileged to have.
I am passionate about working with children and young people with different abilities and have a particular interest and expertise in working with pupils on the autism spectrum, after seventeen years working within special education. Thomas Bewick School has an excellent reputation and therefore, I have some very strong foundations to build upon. Alongside a fantastic team of caring, hardworking and highly skilled staff, and as part of Prosper Learning Trust, I am thrilled to be leading the school on the next part of its journey. I am particularly excited about opening our new Early Years and lower primary provision at Broadwood Primary School on 14th September.
To those of you who already know me, I am looking forward to seeing and working with you again, and to those of you I am yet to meet, I am looking forward to doing just that. I see parents, carers and families as key partners in the education process and believe that the success of any school relies very much on effective, positive and supportive relationships between school, home and the wider school community.
Having recently navigated a special school through the ongoing coronavirus crisis, I am acutely aware of the huge amount of pressure, stress and anxiety that the situation has placed upon our pupils, their parents and families, and upon our school staff. Our world is a very different place at the moment and our schools have had to adapt accordingly, which I know has caused all of us some difficulties. I have been appropriately and thoroughly briefed on Thomas Bewick School's response to the crisis and have been keeping a very close eye on the situation and government guidance, as it has been released over the summer holiday period.
You will be aware that from the start of the autumn term, school attendance is mandatory for all pupils unless there are specific medical reasons why your child cannot attend. We are therefore looking forward to welcoming all pupils back to school on Wednesday 9 September, but of course, in line with government guidance, we have had to make some changes to the way we work, in order to minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission and to keep our pupils and staff as safe as possible. For the time being, pupils and staff will be working in 'bubbles' in designated areas and movement around the school will be minimised and organised so that bubbles do not mix. Each bubble will have a designated outdoor play area, lunch and break times have been reorganised and our cleaning and hygiene procedures have been enhanced to incorporate regular hand washing, sanitising and the cleaning of resources. Unfortunately, there will be no swimming, sensory pool, horse riding, assemblies or special events in school during the first half of the autumn term initially - but we will still make sure that your child has lots of fun when they are in school! We will keep in touch with you about our response to the crisis as the situation progresses and as things change, but please do get in touch if you have any worries or concerns - we are all in this together and we are always here for you to talk to. We are looking forward to a time when things can return to normal, but until then, thank you for your continued support, patience and understanding. We really do appreciate it.
Some of our pupils have not been in school since March and all have experienced a huge amount of disruption to their education and normal routines. We acknowledge that coming back to school is going to be very difficult for many of our pupils, but we will work with you to ensure that your child gets the support they need in order to help them settle back into school life as quickly as possible. Despite the 'new normal' and the unprecedented circumstances we find ourselves in, we are committed to our core purpose of providing the best possible quality of education for your child.
It is unfortunate that at this time, I am unable to organise an event in school where I can meet you personally. I am, however, always happy to receive a phone call and once the autumn term starts and I have my 'feet under the table', I will try to organise some smaller scale 'meet and greet' sessions (socially distanced of course!) so that I can say hello to you in person and talk about some of our school development plans.
Until then, take care, stay safe and I shall look forward to seeing and working with you soon.