Principal’s Letter to Parents – 23rd October 2020
After what has been a rather different first term than we have all experienced previously, I would like to start by expressing my thanks to you as parents and carers for your continued support and understanding as we have reopened the school for the new academic year. There obviously continue to be many challenges for schools to face and overcome, but I have been really impressed by how everyone as part of the Homewood community has pulled together (at a distance!) to help ensure that each day in school is a safe and purposeful one. I would also like to thank those of you who have contacted the school to express your gratitude for what we are doing – this has been very much appreciated.
Despite the challenges of having to operate with so many different structures and measures in place, the positive cases we have experienced in recent weeks are obviously a reminder that we must continue to do everything possible to take care and reduce the risk of the virus spreading. That said, it has been absolutely fantastic seeing the students and staff back on the school site. Despite the bubbles and restricted movement, the school site is alive once again with an exciting buzz of interaction and learning – just as it should be!
I would like to thank the vast majority of students who have understood and embraced fully our current ways of working, demonstrating much resilience and determination– both of which are key qualities within our ‘Homewood Habits’. In fact, as they form such an important part of our school culture, we are now using the ‘Homewood Habits’ as part of our new assessment schedule and will therefore be reporting on them from after the half-term break. Please note that more information will follow next term.
I am sure that you will want to join me in thanking very much all of the staff, both teaching and associate, for their hard work, care and relentless effort in ensuring that all students, despite the current challenges, are able to continue with their studies, maximise their potential and achieve as highly as possible. Homewood is extremely fortunate to have such a dedicated and effective staff team.
In order to help ensure that we have a successful start to next term, I wanted to use this letter to share a few important reminders and updates with you.
Thank you for your continued support with uniform during the current COVID restrictions. We appreciate the challenges that this can present in terms of budget and laundry, so, once again, thank you for ensuring that your child is dressed appropriately each day.
Although the overwhelming majority of students adhere to the letter of the uniform policy, on physical activity days, a very small number of students do not. Unfortunately, we have seen a small increase in the number of students wearing non-Homewood uniform clothing, so we would like to remind all parents and carers of the acceptable items of clothing that can be worn on physical activity days.
Normal PE kit list to be worn on physical activity days:
- School blazer over the top of all PE kit
- Black netball skort or black shorts with the school logo emblazoned or plain black shorts with no branding logos visible
- Black and royal blue polo shirt with the school logo emblazoned
- Black and royal blue fleece with the school logo emblazoned (Years 7 and 8)
- Black PE hoodie with the school logo emblazoned (Years 9 to 11 only – no non-school logo hoodies to be worn)
- Long black sports socks or short white socks depending on the activity
- Sports training shoes with non-marking soles
- Plain black or navy blue tracksuit bottoms (no stripes) (Years 9 to 11)
- Plain black leggings or tracksuit bottoms with school logo (no stripes) (Years 7 and 8)
- Football boots and shin pads should be brought to school in a bag, not worn to school
- Homewood School PE rain jackets are also available to order from the school uniform shop, but these are optional
Other acceptable garments that can be worn on physical activity days only include:
- T-shirts, hoodies and other tops that bear a Homewood School logo; these items include the Performing Arts T shirts
- Black leggings that are either plain or that have a sports brand logo no larger than the Homewood School logo found on other items of clothing (stripes are not acceptable)
- Black or navy blue tracksuit bottoms (see below)
Please note that the above garments and other non-uniform items must not, under any circumstances, be worn on non-physical activity days. Normal school uniform rules will apply at these times with the school jumper being able to be worn underneath the blazer when the weather is colder.
Please note that branded tops or hoodies must not be worn to school at any time, nor should leggings or tracksuit bottoms that are the wrong colour or that have large logos emblazoned across the material. A number of parents have recently purchased very dark, plain charcoal grey leggings or tracksuit bottoms. In light of current financial challenges, we are temporarily allowing these items of clothing to be worn on physical activity days to help parents, but this will be a temporary measure only and these items should be replaced at the first possible opportunity. Light grey or other colours are not permitted.
Other uniform reminders
Please note also that make up should not be worn to school. Extreme, non-natural hair colours are also not permitted. In terms of jewellery, only one stud earring in each ear is permitted. Multiple and/or non-stud earrings, rings, necklaces, bracelets and other facial and body piercings are not permitted for health and safety reasons. Finally, as we approach the colder weather, we would recommend that students wear a coat to school. As per the Home School Agreement, all coats should be plain black or navy blue.
What will happen if my child comes to school wearing the incorrect uniform or PE Kit?
Students arriving in school wearing incorrect uniform or PE kit should make their way to the LIFE Centre immediately. There will be a limited amount of loan clothing available each day on a first-come-first served basis. Please rest assured that the loan kit is thoroughly washed each night and that under no circumstances will students be offered kit that has not been fully cleaned. In the LIFE Centre there are also a limited number of changing rooms for use by students. Students who arrive in lessons not wearing the correct attire will be subject to a referral to the LIFE Centre for a set period of time.
Purchasing uniform and PE kit
School uniform and PE kit can be purchased by parents or carers from the School Uniform Shop on Tuesdays or Thursdays during term time. If you would like your child to collect a pre-ordered uniform, it will need to be processed via Scopay; we will then deliver online purchases to the designated collection area. Items can be collected on Tuesday or Thursday lunchtimes.
If you believe that your child may be financially eligible for support with the purchasing of PE kit or school uniform, please contact your College Family Liaison Officer who may be able to help. We would also welcome any donations of uniform that are no longer used – these can be placed in a sealed carrier bag and placed in the container next to the school canteen adjacent to the bus queueing area.
Travel on buses
Please could I ask you to remind your children about the expectations with regards to travel to and from school on the buses. Students need to ensure that they sit in their seat throughout the journey and that they wear a face mask at all times. Wherever possible, students should sit with members of their own year group in order to maintain the year group bubble structure.
Recently, you will also have received an email asking you to complete a survey about how your child gets to school. In light of COVID-19, it is extremely important that all parents complete the online form for each of their children. The deadline for submission for these forms is Tuesday 27th October.
Sixth Form and the wearing of face masks
As the weather is becoming more inclement, the Sixth Form area in F Block is becoming busier. To minimise the risk of infection, we have made the decision that all Sixth Form students accessing the Pod cafeteria or Sixth Form Study Area must wear a face mask. This will be explained to students at the start of next term. We would ask parents to support us with this measure.
Please could you remind your sons and daughters that should they wish to bring a mobile phone into school it should be turned off and out of sight. The only time that students are able to take out or use their mobile phone whilst in school would be in the classroom when the teacher gives clear and express permission for them to be used as a tool to support learning. Where such permission is not granted, and where mobile phones are visible, students should expect to be referred to our ‘Breaktime Study Sessions’ which will be running for all year groups from the first day back after the holiday.
Students should be reminded that, where necessary, they will need to visit the toilet in their allocated buildings outside of lesson time. Toilet visits during lessons will not normally be permitted, unless a child has a medical pass.
I wish you and your families a happy, healthy and safe half-term break.
J K Single
To view the letter as a PDF document, please click here.