Messages from the Headteacher
Here is a copy of the planned events for the first half of the autumn term.
We hope that you all have a lovely summer holiday and we look forward to the students returning safely in September.
Termly Events - Autumn 1 September - October 2023
Dear Parents and Carers,
I hope you have had a good half term break. It is great to see the students back in school.
Parent Governor elections
Thank you to the Karen Quirke, Romina Adabra and Nadeem Butt, the parents who were prepared to stand for the Parent Governor position on the Governing Body. As a result of the election, Nadeem Butt has been elected as the new Parent Governor. Karen has been a faithful and effective governor for a number of years and will take a position on the Board, as a Co-opted Governor.
Hot weather and sun protection
It is the time of year when the weather is getting hotter and the sun is brighter. We have had our first hot weather warning of the season.
Students need to wear appropriate clothing to school; they may need to wear hats and sunscreen when they are outside and they will need to avoid being out in the sunshine at the hottest part of the day.
Please ensure that your child wears appropriate clothing to school. On hot days students can wear shorts or summer dresses. On very hot days, please do not send students in wearing jumpers. Please make sure that any hats are named.
Please apply sunscreen before your child comes to school. We recommend that you use a product which lasts for 8 hours. Please send in sunscreen for reapplication. Please put your child's name on the bottle. Please note, some sunscreen products have been reported to contain nut oil. As we have students in school with serious nut allergies, please do not use these products.
Implications for Sports Day
We had planned our Sports Day for next week, in order to try to avoid the hottest temperatures, however the forecast for next week is that temperatures will reach 25 - 26 degrees. As a result we are postponing Sports Day until Friday 23rd June when the temperatures are predicted to be 20 degrees, which should be much more comfortable for running around. Students should come to school that day wearing the appropriate sports wear.
Dear Parents and Carers,
Information sessions - Mental Capacity Act.
A reminder that the face to face information session about the Mental Capacity Act will be held in school tomorrow. The session aims to start promptly at 9.30am. Parking will be available AFTER transport buses have left the school site. Please do not arrive before 9.15am in order for the buses to have left the site. The session is scheduled to run for 2 hours.
The remote session is happening on Tuesday 23rd May. Shazmeen has sent out the Teams link for the session. The Teams link will start allowing parents to enter from 6.15pm. The session will start at 6.30pm and will end at 8.30pm.
Parent Governor Election
The ballot papers for the parent governor elections will be sent home as paper copies tomorrow (Friday 19th May). Please return your completed form by midday on Friday 26th May.
Half termly information - Summer 2
Information about the events taking place in the second half of the summer term will be sent home next week (paper copy).
Half Term and Training Day
School will be closed between Monday 29th May - Friday 2nd May for Half Term. The school will be closed to students on Monday 5th June for a Training Day. All students are due back on Tuesday 6th May.
If your child is unwell and will not be able to participate in their normal curriculum, please keep your child at home. If your child comes to school and they are unwell we may need to contact you and request that you collect them. Parents are reminded that they need to be contactable and that they need to be able to arrange to collect children form school, if this is required.
As we move into the warmest part of the school year we remind all parents to send children into school with appropriate clothing for the weather. When the weather is particularly hot we request that students are sent to school with sun cream and a hat/cap.
Parent drop offs and collection
As fewer students have been given travel assistance from the local authority and more parents are responsible for transporting their children, we have put various measures in place to try to make this as safe as possible. Afternoons are often busier than the morning sessions. As parents will be aware there are occasions when the traffic backs up onto Northwell Drive. We request parents to drive around the block rather than adding to the queue. We are proactively working with Luton Council Health and Safety department trying to see how else we can resolve some of the challenges presented at the end of the day.
Bad weather update
We are planning to be open for the remainder of this week and would ask you to work with us to ensure that student safety remains a priority.
The site team has been working hard to create safe spaces for the students to be dropped off and collected from school – whether they are dropped off by parents or if they come to school by buses provided by the local authority. Despite these efforts, the site will still be icy and we encourage parents, students and staff to be cautious and careful.
We will be using a reduced area for unloading and loading students on the buses so this process will take longer than normal.
In order to keep the site safe, we request that if you normally transport your child to school, you do so at the times stated below. Please stick to these times in order to avoid congestion on the slip road or on the main road.
If your student is a wheelchair user, please drop them off between 9.15 and 9.30am.
Please drop students off between 9.40am - 10.00am in the mornings.
Please pick students up at these times:
2.00pm LOFT and BASE students
2.10 - 2.30pm - other students
2.30pm - students who are wheelchair users.
We request that you do not park up, but that you drive towards the steps and students will be collected from you or brought out to you by staff. Wheelchair users will be dropped off/picked up at the end of the ramp.
We request your patience with school staff and with other parents and students as we try to implement this process as smoothly and safely as possible.
We also request that students come to school wearing appropriate clothing and footwear.
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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:
- Parents to email the class teacher to inform them that their child will be taking their phone to school
- Mobile phone to be sent into school in a named zip wallet (sandwich bag).
- Teachers will collect the phones in the morning when students arrive and store them in a safe place until the session.
- 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.
- 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.
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,
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.