Letter to families
Wednesday, July 14, 2021
As we approach the end of the academic year, I wanted to write to you one final time (hopefully!) to thank you for your support this year. This time last year I wrote to you optimistically saying that I hoped that 2020-21 would be a relatively uninterrupted year, and of course we know now that it has been far from that. The disruption caused by being in school, then having to go into lockdown, then returning to school under more restrictions has made the year very challenging for all of us.
I am so proud though in the way in which, as a school community, we have managed to keep going; keep going trying to support the students as best we can, keep going in driving the school forward to improve each day and keep going in trying to continue to help you mould our fantastic students into brilliant people who can go on and achieve anything that they want to in life. It has certainly been a challenge but one that I feel by working in partnership we have met.
Thank you for the vital role that you play in this. A parent or family member’s role is always the most important job for a young person in any year, but in particular the last 18 months have emphasised that to us even more how vital that role our relationship with you is. I know that many of you have already, but if you would be good enough to pass on your thanks to the school staff who have done most to support your children they would be very grateful. As always, cards are well-received or you can find all of our staff email addresses on our website: https://www.prestonschool.co.uk/contact-us/teaching-staff-contact-details .
As I reflect back across the year I am also proud of the role that we were able to play as a school in supporting the national movement for eligible students to receive their free school meals during the holidays. The support of the community was vital in this and as a result we have raised several thousands of pounds which people have kindly donated to support families in need. We have used this caringly across the academic year and as an end of year treat, the brilliant Mr Kendall has arranged for all eligible families to have a family experience and meal paid for by these donations. Once again, a huge thank you to everyone who contributed for your support.
As I normally do, I also wanted to use my end-of-year letter to flag up some changes to the school for September:
· We are investing heavily in the site over the summer and there will be lots of work done. A lot of this is cosmetic to learning spaces and some is to the infrastructure of the school, in particular roofs. To further improve the safeguarding of students new pedestrian and vehicle gates will be fitted to the main entrance over the summer. Both of these will be on an intercom to the main office. Further information will be available for this nearer the time.
· We are swapping over the timings of our two AM sessions so that the longer session is in the morning, with the short 10 minute session in the afternoon. The start time (8.30am) and end of the day (2.55pm) remain the same as long as we are not under the current COVID restrictions.
· Following it being imposed upon us this year, we will continue with a split lunch next year in order to help ease the queues and demand for space. Next year, Years 7, 8 and 11 will have their lunch together and Years 9 & 10 will do the same but at a different time. This has worked really well this year and has been very popular with students.
· As part of our drive to continually make life easier for you as parents and family members, we have sourced a cheaper school skirt for next year. The Schoolwear Shop will continue to stock the current ones until they are out of stock (and these will be fine to wear until this point) but the new ones will also be available to buy there as well, and we would encourage as many students as possible to purchase the new skirts for next year if they are wearing a skirt. The link to the Schoolwear shop is: https://www.swschoolwear.co.uk/shop/new-preston-pleat-skirt/
The skirts are also available at Asda and the link is: https://direct.asda.com/george/school/girls-school-skirts/senior-girls-navy-pleated-school-skirt/GEM618449,default,pd.html?cgid=D10M2G1C10
· In terms of uniform, please also remember that black trainers are not permitted as school shoes. Please bear this in mind when shopping for uniform over the summer.
As is always the case we also have some staff who are leaving us at the end of the academic year. We bid farewell to: Miss Farmer (Attendance Officer), Mrs Lury (maternity cover PFSA), Mr Cornish (Teacher of Geography), Mr Lycett (Teacher of Maths), Mrs R. Moore (Teacher of English), Miss Felton (Teacher of PE), Mrs Mitchell (Teacher of Maths) and Miss Vaughan (Admin. Assistant). I would like to thank all of them for their great work during their time at Preston and wish them all the best for the future. Of those teachers leaving, three are leaving to work closer to home, as between them they travel 250 miles a day to come and teach your children! The only exception is Mr Cornish who, as an intrepid Geography teacher, is moving more than 6,000 miles away to Vietnam!
I would also like to put on record my huge thanks to the following staff who are retiring this year: Mrs Perry (SSO), Mrs Green (Counsellor) and Mrs Chappell (Assistant Principal). All have given fantastic service, not only to this school, but to many thousands of young people and their families across their careers. We are all very grateful for your service and you will be hugely missed. Special mention must go to Jill Chappell who retires at the end of her 32nd year as a teacher, all of which have been at Preston. In that time she has touched the minds, linguistic skills, and hearts of thousands of you and is now on to the stage of teaching many second generations of families. I know that she leaves with a heavy heart and we will miss her incredibly. We wish all three well in their retirement.
A reminder that the last day of this term is Friday 23rd July, when we will finish at 12.15pm. Next year’s Years 7 & 11 start back at 8.30am on Friday 3rd September. All remaining students return at 8.30am on Monday 6th September. The only changes to this may come about of government directives on testing for COVID in schools.
Once again, thank you for your support this year and we wish you all a lovely, relaxing COVID-free summer.