Head’s Welcome Letter Spring 2022

14th January 2022

Dear Parents and Pupils,

A Happy New Year to everyone; let’s hope that 2022 sees us take control of the Covid-19 virus and manage our way back to being able to enjoy routines and events in pre-Covid circumstances.

On that note, you may have read that the Government announced yesterday that the minimum period of self-isolation has now been reduced to 5 days. Please take my previous communication and amend from 7 days to 5 days. In practice, this now means that the earliest return for a member of the school testing positive for Covid-19 would be after testing LF negative on day 5 of isolation and testing negative on the morning of day 6, enabling a return on day 6. If either of these tests are positive, the individual can continue to test on day 7, 8 and 9, returning when LF tests are negative for 2 consecutive days.

Apologies for the fact that the guidance has changed again. All of the detail is contained in our Whole School Covid-19 risk assessment, which has been updated again and is available on the school website. If you are unsure, please do contact us and we will try to give you some clarity.

To reflect on the Christmas term for a moment, I thoroughly enjoyed reading a plethora of reports at the end of term. It is obvious that our children are getting an awful amount out of schooling here at Stover, be that in academic or personal growth and learning. Having discussed the same with Mr Noble, I’m happy to report that high levels of endeavour and progress where echoed in the Preparatory School.

On Monday, we welcomed Nicole Mohan to the Preparatory School. She will be looking after Mrs Tyrrell’s class for the duration of her maternity leave; we wish Miss Mohan an enjoyable time at Stover and Mrs Tyrell the best of the luck with the pending birth.

We also said farewell to 2 members of the Stover team at the end of the Christmas term. Mrs Robinson, our Head of Marketing and Communications, left after 12 fruitful years at the school. I would like to thank her for all of her efforts in promoting the school and keep our community abreast of all the events and activities that take place in the day to day. Her work and expertise through lockdown has been invaluable in keeping a number of key areas of the school running in the virtual world. Carole Slack also left the Finance Department after three years in which she assisted with the school shop and in all other finance areas. We wish them both the best of luck.

As always, the Estates Team have been hard at work while the school was not in session, improving the environment in which our children live and work. A second flight has been added to the Science link staircase, providing quick and safe access between the Science Block and the Maths, Art, Drama and Learning Support departments and a mezzanine balcony has been added at the back of Jubilee Hall to provide a professional working space for our sound and lighting teams when they support productions and concerts.

The estate refurbishment programme has continued with the Gatehouse Lodge receiving new windows and some of the Mansion House classrooms being re-carpeted and painted. Investment continues in our information technology infrastructure; 45 new laptops have been added to existing resources, meaning all faculties across the school now have a dedicated laptop bank that can be pulled upon when required to enhance learning. Finally, our 6th form have re-designed the study space on the top floor of the 6th Form Centre; their plans will become reality during the Easter break.

Important dates and events to look out for this term include the publishing of full reports at the end of January for Year 11 and Upper 6th Form pupils. These reports will build on the Trial Examinations that took place before Christmas, learning from mistakes and formalising strategies for improvement for parents and pupils.

The final week of January also sees the Year 6 to 7 Scholarship Assessments take place; Arts, Music, Sports and Academic talents will be measured and scholarships awarded where appropriate.

You will see from the calendar that a Senior School Production, ‘Daisy Pulls It Off’, is scheduled for the 3rd & 4th February. We sincerely hope that this will be able to take place in Jubilee Hall with a full audience (the Government update to Covid guidelines promised at the end of January will let us know). If not, Mr Balfour is ready with his video camera to switch to a virtual performance. I would like to thank Mr Balfour and his team in advance, as well as the cast, who have been working hard over recent months to the play to performance standard. Good luck to you all.

On Tuesday 15th February, we invite all of our Year 9 pupils and parents to attend their Parents’ Evening and receive Options advice ahead of making subject choices for their GCSEs at the end of the term. This follows a programme of options preparation the pupils will receive as part of their PSHE programme. It also allows parents the opportunity to ask any pertinent questions and liaise with the relevant subject teachers. We look forward to seeing you there.

Parents’ Evenings for other year groups are spread across the term; please check the calendar on the school website to ensure you have the correct date in your diary.

This term, our Whole School Open Morning takes place on Saturday 5th March. The last school open day was record breaking in terms of the number of visiting prospective families. I am sure much of the interest in the school is driven by positive word of mouth; thank you once again if you are contributing to this dialogue. As always, recruitment will be carefully managed to ensure that Form Groups or Preparatory Class Groups do not exceed 20 pupils.

In addition to the dates mentioned, please do check the spring calendar which can be found on the school website, for the timing of other events. As we are still working under Covid restriction and in-line with this guidance, sporting fixtures will take place, but it is highly likely that larger multi-school or league fixtures will not. Sadly, during January, visitors to the site are restricted and so, spectators cannot attend fixtures. We hope with the update to guidance in late January, that these requirements will be relaxed.

During the half term break our High-5 club will be running for all pupils and families who would like to take advantage of child care and ensure their children have a great time along the way. If interested, please contact Mrs Lisa Lount in the Finance Department.

I will conclude by wishing you a lovely springtime; warmer weather and more sunshine is on the way! Please remember to contact us if you have any news or thoughts, with regard to your child. By doing this, successes both in school and at home can be celebrated and issues can be resolved in a timely fashion and in a way that ultimately, benefits our children. They are, after all, the reason we do what we do.

Best wishes,

Richard Notman

Headmaster

Where to next?