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Headteacher Updates

Messages from the Headteacher

15-01-24

Dear Parents and Carers,

 

The school's Relationships, Health and Sex Education (RHSE) policy is due for review this term.   Following the parental consultation in 2023, and after key staff had undertaken training about Faith Sensitive RSE, we revised the draft policy prior to ratification by school governors.

 

The school team have reviewed the policy again this year. Due to the significant revisions made last year, we believe the policy only requires some minor tweaks.  The proposed amendments are indicated in the policy.  New or additional information is highlighted in yellow. Proposed deletions are indicated with a strikethrough. 

The policy aims to ensure that we cover our statutory duty in relation to the teaching of this subject and aims to emphasise that the curriculum is not a one size fits all curriculum.  The content and the delivery of the curriculum will be shaped by the students' levels of understanding and is driven by the need to ensure students have sufficient knowledge and understanding to keep them safe and safeguarded.  The policy also aims to outline how we liaise and consult with parents and aims to clarify the parental right to withdraw from sex education.  This information can be found in sections 8 and 9 of the policy.

 

We would like to receive your feedback about the policy prior to it being taken to governors for ratification.  Attached to this Parentmail is a copy of the policy and a copy of the Parental views survey.  We request that if you wish to share your views with us, that you complete and return the survey by Friday 26th January 2024. If you require a paper copy of the policy and a paper copy of the survey, please contact your child's class teacher and we will send a paper copy home.

 

In addition to submitting your views about the RHSE policy, parents of students in Key Stage 3,4 FE and the LOFT will be informed about what the RHSE curriculum will entail for your child after February Half term.  Parents will also be invited to come to school to view the materials and resources that will be used.  This will all happen prior to RHSE lessons taking place in the first half of the summer term. Parents of students in Pathways, PMLD or the BASE are invited to contact their class teacher, in the first instance, if you wish to discuss issues relating to RHSE and your child.

 

Kind regards,

Sandra

 

5.1.24 

Dear Parents and Carers,

It has been lovely to see the students returning for the new year and the new school term.  We hope you all had a good and safe Christmas break and we wish everyone a happy and healthy 2024!

Curriculum Forecasts

Next week class teachers should be sending home a copy of the Curriculum Forecast for this half term.  The purpose of the Curriculum Forecast is to keep you informed of the planned learning opportunities for your child in the upcoming half term period.  If you have questions or queries about the content, please contact your child's class teacher in the first instance.

School day

Taught time for students is between 9.00 - 3.00pm.  Students who arrive by LA provided transport are usually in school for these hours.  Where students are dropped off by parents in the mornings, they should arrive at school after 8.40am and before 9.00am.     When collecting students at the end of the day, parents should arrive after 2.55pm and before 3.15pm.    We want all our students to access the maximum amount of taught time each school day.  

Parental drop off/ collection

A reminder that school staff endeavour to manage this process so that it is as safe as possible.  Please ensure that you adhere to the advice and guidance given by school staff - they are there to keep you and your child as safe as possible.  When parked, please turn off your car engine and wait for school staff to direct your child to come out of the vehicle/ to return to the vehicle. 

If you arrive after 9.00am, you will need to park up and bring your child into the school reception and speak withthe receptionsit. 

Car idling

The Highway Code states: "You must not leave a vehicle’s engine running unnecessarily while that vehicle is stationary on a public road."   This also applies when dropping children off to school, or picking them up. Some local authorities charge a £20 fixed penalty notice for emission offences and stationary idling under The Road Traffic (Vehicle Emissions) (Fixed Penalty) (England) Regulations 2002.   It is not my place or intention to be issuing a fine in relation to this matter.   However, from the school point of view, we have been successful in gaining the Eco Schools Green Flag status and we are proud of the work we do to try to educate our students and staff about looking after the environment. Moving forward, we would request that all car engines are turned off when waiting in the car park.   

Inclement weather

The weather forecasters are beginning to talk about snow, although there is no confirmed news about when snow is due in Luton. Should school attendance be affected by a snow day, we will communicate with families about the arrangements as soon as possible.  In the meantime, please continue to support your child to have appropriate clothing - i.e. a coat and suitable footwear for the rain and frosty weather we are likely to encounter.  Where possible, we hope that the weather does not alter learning opportunities for the students.

RHSE Policy review 

Our RHSE (Relationships, Health and Sex Education) Policy is due for review this term.  We did a major overhaul of the policy last year following feedback from parents and shared training with the other special schools, which was run by a local organisation FACES (Faiths Against Child Sexual Exploitation.   We are hoping that this year the policy will only require some minor updates.  We will be sending the policy home to you, over the next few weeks, to seek your views; these will be considered when we review the policy document.  Between February half term and the Easter holidays, parents will have the opportunity to come to school to view the resources that will be used to teach the subject content.   RHSE lessons are then scheduled for after the Easter holidays.  

Kind regards,

Sandra

Happy New Year!

Please find below a copy of the planned termly events for the first half of the Spring term.

Termly Events - January - February 2024

7.12.23 - Governor Update

Dear Parents and Carers,

I am writing to inform you that Steve Gibbs, our Chair of Governors has relocated to Devon and so is stepping down from his role as Chair of the Governing Board. Steve will remain as a governor until July 2024. Father Richard Brown, the Vice Chair of Governors, is also relocating in the new year; he is moving to Sunderland, so he has stepped down from the governing board. As a school we would like to thank both Steve and Fr. Richard for the contribution they have made to the school whilst carrying out these roles and wish them both well for the future.

I am pleased to inform you that Nadeem Butt, one of our parent governors has been elected as the new Chair of Governors and Mike Smith, one of our co-opted governors has been elected as Vice Chair of Governors.

You can find out more about our governors by visiting our website: https://www.woodlands.luton.sch.uk/meet-the-governors/

We look forward to seeing many of you at our Christmas Fair tomorrow and look forward to seeing lots of children and staff wearing their Christmas jumpers tomorrow.

 

Kind regards,

Sandra

 

4.12.23 - Transporting students to and from school

Dear Parents and Carers,

As the numbers of parents and carers dropping off and collecting their children at school have increased, so too have some of the challenges in safely managing this situation.

For the most part, the morning drop off sessions work quite well. I request that parents do not arrive on site before 8.40am and remind some parents that their children need to remain in their vehicle until staff come and collect them.

The afternoon collection time can be a little more challenging. I request that parents pay attention to the directions of staff who are trying to ensure that this is a safe and well managed process. Please ensure that you are not blocking the main road. If the slip road is busy, please drive around and return a few minutes later, in order to reduce possible congestion.

I would also remind parents that our staff deserve to be treated politely and with respect. Verbal abuse of our staff will not be tolerated.

 

Kind regards,

Sandra

16.11.23 Update

Dear Parents and Carers,

Consultation Evening and Parent Survey

It was good to see so many of you at our recent Consultation Evening.  There are two remaining classes who need to make arrangements for an alternative date.  Parents in these classes should be notified shortly as to when this will be.

Thank you to all the parents who completed the parent survey when they were on site.  If you did not attend on site and have not received a copy of the survey and would like to express your views, please request a copy via the school office, or via your child's class email address.  The office email address is: schooloffice@woodlands.luton.sch.uk

Children in Need - 17/11/23

A reminder that the school council have planned a non-uniform, non-themed day tomorrow (17/11/23).  Students and staff are welcome to wear what they like to school - whether it is casual clothes, pyjamas or dressing up.  We are requesting donations towards Children in Need, however, as always, everyone is welcome to participate, regardless of ability to financially contribute. 

The student council are also organising a cake sale during the course of the day.  All cakes are 50p. 

Training Day - 24/11/23

A reminder that the school is closed to students on Friday 24th November for a staff Training Day.  Students will return to school, as normal, on Monday 27th  November. 

Raffle tickets

Thank you very much for your kind donations toward the school raffle prizes.  The hampers look amazing and we have had some great donations from local businesses too. 

These include:

1.) SkyFry's - Fish and Chips voucher

2.) Boiler Service from BeHeated

3.) £30 Dildar Meal Voucher

4.) Bannatynes - 2 x 3 month membership including 3 x personal training sessions each

5.) 2 x £10 Wenzel Vouchers

6.) 1 month Active Luton Gym, Swim and fitness membership

7.) Go Bowling - Family Pass

8.) Pizza Express - 2 course meal for up to 4 people

9.) Mead Open Farm - 1 x adult and 1 x child ticket

If you would like to purchase tickets for the raffle it costs £1 a strip.  Please send the money in to school in an envelope, with your child's name and 'raffle tickets' written on the envelope.

There will also be opportunities to purchase tickets on the day of the Christmas Market.

Staff vacancies

We are advertising for some more TAs and MDSAs to join our staff team. 

Information about the positions can  be found on the school website - https://www.woodlands.luton.sch.uk/vacancies-1/   or can be found directly on my www.mynewterm.com   

Have a read of the job description and the person specification which is available on the links above.  

Do you know someone who would be perfect for one of these roles?  Is that someone you?

 

Enjoy the weekend, when it arrives!

Kind Regards,

Sandra

8.11.23 - Children in Need

Dear Parents and Carers,

Message from our School Council:

On Friday 17th November we will be holding a fundraising non-uniform day with monies raised going to BBC Children in Need. The student council have voted that there will be no dress up theme. Students are welcome to wear fancy dress, party clothes, spotty clothes, Pudsey merchandise, pyjamas or anything else!

On the same day we will also hold a cake sale to raise funds for Children in Need. Classes will be asked to make their own class Pudsey themed cakes/ biscuits for sale in school.

Contributions for both fundraising events are voluntary, please only contribute if you are able to do so. All students and staff are welcome to dress up how they wish.

Kind Regards,

Sandra

3.11.23 Update

Dear Parents and Carers,

We hope you had a good half term break. 

I am pleased to let you know that our non uniform day raised £230 towards the Zoo Pass.    The School Council are meeting next week to discuss ideas about how we can raise the remaining £270 so we can afford the Zoo Pass.  We will share their plan once it is made. 

Poppies will be available for purchase in school from Monday 6th November.  If you would like your child to have a poppy, the suggested donation is £1.

We look forward to seeing many of you on Monday afternoon when we are holding our Parents' Consultation Evening.   Once the buses have departed the site, there will be car parking available in the front playground. Some of you will have been informed that some of the meetings have been or will be rearranged due to teacher absence, so we will see you on a different day. 

When you visit school for Consultation Evening, we request that you allow a little extra time, in order to complete the parental survey.  Your opinions are valuable to us.  It is always good to know what we are doing well, but it is also valuable to find out your thoughts about ways we could improve and things we could do better.   Last year one of the areas for improvement that you identified, was that parents did not necessarily know what was being taught in the curriculum.  As a result, departments are now sending home a half termly or termly forecast letting you know what classes plan to cover.  If you have not received this document, please email your class teacher to request a copy.

This week we have also sent home the Half Termly events sheet to remind you of key events that will be happening this half term. 

Have a lovely weekend,

Kind regards,

Sandra 

Autumn 2 

Please find below a copy of our planned termly events for the second half of the autumn term.

 

Termly events - November - December 2023

16.10.23

Dear Parents and Carers,

As this half term draws to an end we are looking forward to the events of Friday 20th October.

Harvest Assemblies

On Friday morning we will be having our Harvest Assemblies.  We request donations towards the Luton Foodbank.  Please send these donations directly to your child's class team.  Classes will make a hamper containing all these donations and they will form a harvest display in the assembly.  The school council have arranged for the LOFT students to then deliver all the donations to the Foodbank.

The Foodbank requests the following items:

Rice pudding (Tinned),  Instant noodles,  Meat (Tinned),  Custard (Tinned), Vegetables (Tinned), Fruit (Tinned), Fruit Juice (Carton), Dried rice (500g), Soup, Milk (UHT), Baked beans (Tinned), Tomatoes (Tinned), Fish (Tinned), Tinned pasta in sauce, Sauce for pasta (jar), Breakfast cereal,  Tea bags, Biscuits (single packs), Sugar (500g)

The most needed items are:

  • Tinned vegetables
  • Baked beans 400g tins
  • Tinned pasta in sauce
  • Sauce for pasta (jar) 
  • Tinned tomatoes 

Non uniform day

Over the past two years the school have received donations which we have used to purchase a Zoo Pass so students can visit Whipsnade Zoo.  The students who have participated in these trips have thoroughly enjoyed themselves.   The school council have decided that they would like to raise funds so the school can purchase another Zoo Pass this year.  The pass costs £500 for the academic year.  The school council are organising a non uniform day on Friday 20th October and request that students and staff make a donation of £2 towards buying the Zoo pass, this can be made by cash or via Parentmail. As always, all students may participate in the event regardless of their ability to make a contribution.  

Half Term

A reminder that school will be closed to staff and students between Monday 23rd to Friday 27th October.   School reopens for everyone on Monday 30th October.

Kind regards,

Sandra 

4.9.23 - RAAC update

Dear Parents and Carers,

You may have seen recent media coverage regarding Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) and its use in educational settings. RAAC is a lightweight form of concrete; because it is weaker than regular concrete, concerns have been raised about its long-term durability. The Department for Education (DfE) has recently changed its guidance to education settings on the management of RAAC to take a more precautionary approach and as a result areas in affected spaces will be vacated.

We wanted to inform you that Woodlands Secondary School is not affected by this decision as we do not have RAAC in any of our buildings and therefore the school will continue to function as normal. 

I hope that this offers reassurance.

Yours sincerely,

Sandra

31.8.23 - New term update

Dear Parents and Carers,

I hope that you and your young people have had a good summer break.  We are looking forward to starting the new term.

Training Days

Staff return to school on Friday 1st September.   The staff will be participating in two Training days - one on Friday 1st September and one on Monday 4th September.

Students' return to school

We look forward to the students returning to school on Tuesday 5th September.  

School day

The school opens to students from 8.45am and all students should arrive, and be in school, by 9.00am.   The school day ends at 3.15pm.

Travel assistance

If you are eligible for support with school transport, and your child travels to school in a minibus, the buses usually facilitate students to attend for the appropriate school hours.

If you have not yet been contacted by PTU about your child's transport arrangements, please contact PTU directly, on 01582 547219.

Alternatively, if you have not been allocated transport support - please contact Travel Assistance directly - 01582 548098

Parental transport

If you drop your child to school and pick them up at the end of the day, we request that you arrive after 8.40am.  In order to facilitate a safe arrival each morning we request that parents arrive between 8.40 - 9.00am.  Arrivals after 9.00am will be marked as late on the school register.

Likewise, in the afternoons, we request that the earliest you arrive is 2.55pm; students may leave school after 3.00pm and should be collected between 3.00 - 3.15pm.

If you wish to drop your child off after 9.00am or before 3.00pm you will need to put the request in writing to me and we will arrange a meeting to discuss your request.

Please note that there has been some work done in the main car park over the summer holidays.  There are now allocated parking bays for the school minibuses as you enter the site.  There are also some disabled bays to the left of the entrance gates for use by parents dropping off/collecting students who are wheelchair users.    There is an additional row of visitor parking spaces - clearly labelled.

We are hoping that these changes will help to reduce the congestion outside of the front of the school that sometimes spilled back onto Northwell Drive and, on occasion, became dangerous.

We request that parents continue to follow the one way system i.e. entering the parking queue just opposite the bus stop on Northwell Drive and then following the advice and direction of school staff who endeavour to ensure the process is as safe and efficient as possible.

If there is particular congestion spilling onto Northwell Drive, we request that parents drive past the school and return 5 minutes later when the matter will hopefully be resolved.

For the first week of term we request that all students are dropped off/collected from the main entrance.  We will review the arrangements for FE students and let parents know of any changes moving forward. 

Absence and attendance

Our students are entitled to a full time education and we wish to work with parents to ensure that students access this entitlement. We want to ensure that when students can be in school, that they are attending.

We do understand that there will be times when students will be unwell.  We request that parents inform the school (and transport, if applicable) if your child will be absent due to sickness. 

If your child has medical appointments to attend, the school should be notified in advance and copies of appointment notifications shared with staff.   If your child has a morning appointment, they are expected to return to school straight after the appointment; if they have an afternoon appointment, they should attend school in the mornings and be collected for their appointment. 

The school will authorise term time absences where students and their families are participating in religious celebrations e.g. Eid, Diwali, etc. We request that the school is informed before the event.

On occasion, families will request permission for students to have time off during term time due to the need to travel or go on holiday. This will not usually be granted.  Where possible we request that these arrangements are made during school holiday periods. In acknowledgement that many of our families have extended families far away form Luton and emergencies do happen, I can authorise up to a maximum of 5 school days authorised absence; please note this is at my discretion. 

Again, parents are requested to inform the school before travelling and to provide flight and contact information so that we can fulfil our duty to safeguard our young people.    Copies of the Leave of Absence request forms can be found on our website: https://www.woodlands.luton.sch.uk/letters-and-forms/

Mobile Phones

Mobile phones can be useful tools and they can be a distraction for young people (and adults).  Some of our young people have mobile phones and some do not - there is no expectation that they should have a phone.  We request that phones are only sent to school on the days that your child is due to go into the community for a community visit.  Phones should remain at home on other days. Students will be expected to hand them in and only have access to them during the community activity.

There are a few exceptions to this rule about mobile phone usage - we have a small number of students who use them to support their communication with others - this usage has been approved.  If you think that your child would benefit form accessing their phones for such a purpose, please contact me and we will arrange a time to meet and discuss your request.

Luton in Bloom

The school have entered the schools' category of the Luton in Bloom competition and we have been shortlisted.  The winners will be announced at 12.30pm on Sunday 3rd September, at Market Hill, in the town centre.  Between 12.00 - 4.00pm that day there will be a farmers' market; Rita, our school gardening lead will be running a stall selling produce and flowers from the school garden.  Do pop along to see her and say hello.   There is a short video about the garden on the school's Facebook page - Official Woodlands Secondary School 

Kind regards,

Sandra

21.7.23

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

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