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Headteacher Updates

Messages from the Headteacher

13.9.22

 

Dear Parents and Carers,

 

We hope that the new school term has started well for you and your young person.  It has been lovely to see the returning students back in school and to welcome our new cohort.

 

It is my intention to try to stick to a half termly update/ newsletter which will usually be sent out towards the end of a half term.  I am sending this letter at this point as there are a number of important pieces of information that need to be conveyed.

 

Official Period of Mourning for Queen Elizabeth II

We discussed the Queen’s death in assemblies last Friday and had a short period of silence. This seemed fitting as we had spent a significant time thinking about and celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, earlier this year.

 

The Royal Family’s website has set up an area where people can leave a message of condolence.  The website address is: https://www.royal.uk/

In addition we will have a physical Book(s) of Condolences where staff and students can contribute their messages of condolences. This has been set up in the entrance hall and will be available for staff and classes to add to during the course of this week, if they wish.

Queen’s funeral - this will be recognised by an official Bank Holiday on Monday 19th September.  As a result the school will be closed to staff and students on that day.  Planned meetings for that day will be rearranged.  Students are expected to attend school every day this week and to return to school on Tuesday 20th September.

 

Mobile Phones in school - student use.

In light of the updated statutory advice in Keeping Children Safe in Education 2022  we have updated our policy in relation to the use of mobile phones by students in school.  We wish to recognise the value of teaching students to use mobile phones appropriately and safely whilst minimising the safeguarding risks that may arise from inappropriate use of mobile phones.

Moving forward, students who have a mobile phone should only bring them to school on days when they have community visits or trips.

Please note there is no expectation for any students to have a mobile phone and there is no expectation for them to be brought to school.

On the allocated community access day for your child, if you decide that they will be taking their phone into school we will follow the procedure below:

  1. Parents to email the class teacher to inform them that their child will be taking their phone to school
  2. Mobile phone to be sent into school in a named zip wallet (sandwich bag).
  3. Teachers will collect the phones in the morning when students arrive and store them in a safe place until the session.
  4. Students will have access to their phones for the community session and will be responsible for looking after it for the whole of the session including the journey to and from the venue. 
  5. Phones will be returned to students at the end of that school day.

The school accepts no responsibility for the loss, theft or damage to students’ mobile phones

There may be exceptional circumstances where some students may benefit from having different access to their mobile phones during the day or at specific times.  If you wish to make this special request, please send a letter to the school for the attention of the Headteacher and we will consider the request.

 

Attendance

The government have issued new guidance regarding school attendance.  Good school attendance helps to improve outcomes for young people.  As a result of the new guidance we have updated our school attendance policy; a copy can be found on the school website.  www.woodlands.luton.sch.uk/school-policies

We aim to work with families and students to ensure good attendance.

Some key points from the new policy:

  • The Senior Leader who will act as the Attendance officer is Lindsey Lucas
  • The school day starts at 8.45am and finishes at 3.15pm.
  • Registers will be taken between 9.15 – 9.30am and 1.15 –1.30pm.
  • Students arriving in class between 8.45 – 9.00am will be marked present. 
  • Those arriving between 9.00 – 9.30am will be marked as late.
  • Those arriving after 9.30am will be marked as unauthorised and the reason for absence noted.
  • Parents/ carers should call the office before 9.00am to report their child’s absence.  This can be followed up with an email to the class email.
  • The main reason for absence will usually be due to illness.
  • If students come to school they should be well enough to participate in their timetabled activities.
  • If a child becomes unwell in school, parents may be contacted to come and collect them.
  • Parents must provide school with up to date contact information including emergency contact details for more than one person.
  • Leave of absence requests must be made for medical appointments, participation in religious events, etc and holidays. Holiday requests will not normally be granted. Parents should submit requests via the appropriate request form available on the website: www.woodlands.luton.sch.uk/-letters-and-forms  Paper copies are available from the school on request.
  • Where medical appointments are in Luton, parents are expected to ensure that students attend school before or after the appointment, depending on the appointment time.
  • Where there are concerns about a student’s attendance, this will be followed up by the Attendance Officer or the family work team in the first instance.
  • If you have queries about the new policy or if you have difficulties with supporting your child to attend school, please contact Lindsey Lucas,

lindsey.lucas@woodlands.luton.sch.uk

 

Consultation re Post 16 Educational Provision

From the age of 16, when students are in Year 11, they will be consulted by the local authority regarding their preferred Post 16 placement. The consultation responses should be submitted to the local authority by the end of November 2022.

 

During 2021 – 2022, there were some circumstances which caused some worry and anxiety for parents of students in Year 11 as there appeared to be the implication that there would be changes to the Post 16 provision at the school. Along with support from the Governing Body,  we sought clarity from the LA about their intentions for our Post 16 provision.  In the summer term 2022, Paul Senior, the Interim Service Director for Education, at the time, issued the following statement:

Woodlands currently has and will continue to have an FE offer and it has never been the intention of the LA to imply otherwise. However, as with all Year 11 pupils, parents and the young person do have to be given the opportunity to state a preference for a setting. Some may have a preference to remain in Woodlands Post 16 and others may have a preference to transition to college.

 

Parents should have support from the Transition Team from Year 9 as this will help them to make an informed decision for Post 16 placement.

 

The LA will consult with relevant providers to ensure that young people are appropriately placed.

 

As with all placements, parents and young people have a right to state a preference but it is the LA that makes the final decision at a placement panel. Parents have a right to appeal against that decision.

 

Local Authority Transition Event - The Leagrave Centre

To assist parents and students to find out more about Post School options, the Luton Council Transition Team are organising a Transition Event to be held on Thursday 6th October at The Leagrave Centre, Luton, between 3pm to 6pm.    

 

This will be a ‘marketplace’ style event where young people will be invited to attend, with parents, and they will have the opportunity to talk to stallholders about the courses and services they are able to offer them when they leave school. The event is open to all young people in years 9, 10 and 11 from Luton and students in Year 12 and 13 from Woodlands.

 

If you wish to attend this event, please contact Olivia Hannigan, 07857 654097

 

Information session for students in Year 11

The local authority will also be running an information session specifically for parents of students currently  in Year 11 at Woodlands School. The session will be held on Friday 7th October at 11.00am.  The session will be repeated on Monday 10th October at 6pm.   The session will explain the Post 16 processes and timelines for expressing preferences. It may be appropriate for some Year 11 students to attend the meeting.  

Representatives from SENAT and the LA Transitions Team will be present, along with school staff.

 

I will send out a letter to parents of students in Year 11 next week, specifically about this information session.

 

I strongly encourage parents of students in Year 11 to attend these meetings in order to ensure that they are fully informed about the process and the options.  There should also be opportunities in these meetings to pose any questions about the process. I also strongly encourage parents and students to engage with the local authority Transitions Team in order to be as well informed as possible when expressing preferences.

 

If you have any queries about the content of this letter, please raise the concern with your child’s class teacher in the first instance.

Best wishes,

Sandra

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