Publications

Volume 2 Issue 21

A Return to School

It has been a momentous week for the world of education. On Monday, the Prime Minister confirmed what had long been expected: that pupils would return to schools during the week beginning Monday 8th March. Further, today (I am writing this article on Thursday afternoon) we will finally receive some guidance on how to conduct public examination assessments next term. Of course, the full picture and practical implications are mainly hidden away within the small print rather than the big public statement. As has been typical during this long-lasting pandemic, we have already received amendments and qualifications to the unequivocal ‘return to school’ announcement made by the Prime Minister… and must expect a similar level of changeability in the examination guidance once received. As ever, we will respond to both the first announcement and then the amendments which follow: this often leading to plans needing adjustments and rewrites on a daily, even hourly, basis.

But I am not complaining. Not at all! Because in a couple of weeks’ time we will have our students back at KES. For that, we are all truly grateful. For that, the work and the frustrations and the waiting will all be worthwhile.

I will be writing to parents on Monday with full details of how that return will work. However, I can certainly tell you now that we will fulfil all of the Government requirements and recommendations. For some, they are too draconian, for others too lax. But we will continue to take the advice as given to us, and to do our utmost to fulfil it whilst still giving our pupils a great educational and social experience. We will do whatever we can to make our school as safe as possible for the children and for my teaching and non-teaching colleagues. This will certainly mean that the return will be staggered over a few days, and will also require a more stringent wearing of face-coverings for this half term. We will do these things not because we want to – I think we can all agree that the sooner all children are back in a fully ‘normal’ school environment the better, but rather because being in school (and staying in school) is still far better than the alternative, even if it must be more restricted for a short time. We also want to be part of the solution to the wider opening of society, not a potential reason for the later phases being slowed or cancelled. Finally, I can also confirm that we will be returning to school uniform rather than home clothes… I hope that I can still fit in to my suits!

Neal Parker

Head

Neal Parker
@HeadKESSoton

Whole School Notices

We would like to remind all parents and students, that the March staff INSET day has been moved from Friday 12 March to Friday 5 March. The school will be closed to all students, including children of critical workers. 

Uniform Update - For parents who have joined us in the last year

Last year, Mr Parker and the Senior Leadership Team decided that the uniform needed a review. The uniform has been under consultation this calendar year with pupils, staff and parents, and we were hoping to finalise a design and implement for new starters in September 2021. However Brexit and Covid have delayed it, and so now we won’t be able to ‘go live’ until September 2022.

This change in September 2022 will only be for new starters, with the rest of the school following a year later, so as to allow a sensible replacement cycle. We will formalise our plans as soon as we are able to, but we would expect the uniform to be available for any pupil to wear from September 2022, and compulsory for all new pupils at that point, and compulsory for all pupils except for Fifth Years in 2023.

Therefore current First Years will have the option to go into the uniform in September 2022 but it won’t be compulsory until September 2023. 

Current Second Years will have the option to go into the uniform in September 2022. It will not be compulsory for them even in September 2023 as they will be Fifth Years and we don’t think it is sensible to demand that parents purchase uniform for just one year.

It will not be compulsory for any other current year group.

Trousers will be an option for girls alongside a new, much better skirt, in September 2022, but as the girls feel it is such an important item for them, we are bringing in the option immediately for everyone.

We will be launching more information as we have it. The most important thing to note is that in real terms, the girls will get a new blazer and skirt, and the boys a new blazer and tie, and perhaps trouser. The sports kit will not change. We haven’t made any final decisions about the new design yet, but we will let the school community know as soon as we do.

New Trouser Option in Girls’ Uniform

As mentioned in the last bulletin, we are having to delay the introduction of the new uniform from September 2021 to September 2022. We have, however, decided to include the new option for girls to wear trousers, with immediate effect. These trousers will be navy and tailored and will act as an alternative to the skirt, should the girls wish to wear them. As I am sure you will understand, the vast array of colours and styles that could come under the umbrella term of ‘navy trousers’ means that they must be purchased from Stevensons to ensure uniformity. They are available in three different leg lengths so we hope that the girls will find them to be comfortable. They are also made of recycled plastic bottles! Although having felt the material, it is so soft that you would have no idea. Prices start at £20 and are available through the Stevensons website.

A message from the PTA - Classlist 

Today the PTA is launching an app for parents called Classlist and they would like to invite the whole school to sign up.

Classlist is a parent app that brings you into the heart of the school community. It helps you to connect and help each other. It is a safe and inclusive system that the PTA believe will help build a stronger school community at KES.

With Classlist, you'll be able to contact the parents in your child’s class, and see who’s who so you can put a face to a name. Classlist will keep you informed about what school events are coming up, and there’s lots more you can do: post questions of the other parents in your child’s class and/or year, form special interest groups, as well as RSVP and buy tickets to PTA events. You can see who lives nearby or is on the same bus route.

Classlist is UK-based and fully GDPR-compliant and is already being used successfully by parents in thousands of other schools in the UK, including Stroud. You can share as much or as little contact information with other parents as you like, and can even keep your own email address private whilst still receiving messages.

Messaging tools like WhatsApp can pose security risks, become cliquey, or turn negative. Volunteer school “Ambassadors” focus on trust, respect and inclusivity. Everyone using Classlist has to comply with the Classlist Community Guidelines which include being respectful of fellow parents and not using the app to complain about the school or individuals connected with the school.

Classlist is completely free and it’s easy to get started by clicking here or by installing the app:

  • Download the Classlist app on iOS or Android
  • Select (“King Edward VI School Southampton”)
  • Sign up. You can choose what data to share with your fellow parents.

Here is a quick video overview of the app. If you have any questions, please message our ambassadors within Classlist who will be happy to help.

Student Lunch Arrangements Reminder

The deadline for changes to school lunch arrangements for the Summer Term is 4pm Friday 12 March 2021. It will not be possible to meet requests that arrive after the deadline. Please email dinners@kes.hants.sch.uk giving pupil name, tutor group, and the change intended. Any request using the above email will have their request acknowledged. No action is required if arrangements are to continue as at present.

First Year Notices 

No notices this week 

Second Year Notices 

Parents' Evening 4 March 

The Second Year parents’ evening for academic subjects is taking place on Thursday 4 March. Please follow this link to read a letter from the Head about how the evening will run, alongside guides to booking and conducting appointments using the online video appointment system.

Please can I take the opportunity to reiterate the part of the Head’s letter that highlights the issues surrounding teacher availability, and ask that you only book appointments with those teachers who you really feel you need to speak to.

Please note that in Second Year this event is for parents only, and pupils are not expected to attend.

At the Second Year parents’ evening Dr Waymark would usually deliver a talk about subject options. As this year the evening will be held remotely, a video recording of this talk is available here.

Bookings for the parents’ evening open at 19:00 today (Friday), so do please read this information as soon as possible.

Third Year Notices 

GCSE Options 

A reminder that the deadline to submit the GCSE options form is Friday 5 March. The online form is available here

Fourth Year Notices 

Morrisby Psychometric Profile testing Tuesday 2 March 2021 (revised date)

Every year, Fourth Year pupils take the valuable Morrisby Psychometric Profile. This year it was scheduled for 16 March. However, to minimise the disruption to pupils when they return to school, we have brought the date forward to enable pupils to complete it online while they are still at home. They will therefore take the test during the afternoon of Tuesday 2 March. 

Pupils will receive a report at the beginning of the summer term when they have their individual feedback interviews with one of the Morrisby team. The test does not require any preparation or revision, and will take about two hours to complete.

Parents will receive an email with more details about the Profile before the weekend and the instructions for pupils will be on their planners.

Exams Update 

You will, no doubt, have seen the press coverage relating to the public exams this summer. Various documents were received by the school on Thursday and we hope that you appreciate that it will take a few days to fully digest the information and the processes needed to implement them. We know that pupils and parents are keen for details as soon as possible and we will endeavour to provide this as soon as possible, and early next week, but we do urge patience.


Fifth Year Notices 

Exams Update 

You will, no doubt, have seen the press coverage relating to the public exams this summer. Various documents were received by the school on Thursday and we hope that you appreciate that it will take a few days to fully digest the information and the processes needed to implement them. We know that pupils and parents are keen for details as soon as possible and we will endeavour to provide this as soon as possible, and early next week, but we do urge patience.

Lower Sixth Notices 

Lower Sixth Parents’ Higher Education Evening

Thursday 11th March from 6.00-7.30pm via Zoom.

This evening is designed to help Lower Sixth parents understand current procedures for applications to universities in the UK, and in particular how we at KES prepare our students. We will be joined by an admissions tutor who will talk about the process from a university perspective. There will also be an opportunity to ask questions about our Higher Education Programme. The link for this zoom meeting is:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82601208560?pwd=VkovMmxhVnlWZGhEU2RMWTZ5M2l3UT09

Meeting ID: 826 0120 8560

Passcode: KES-HE

We do hope you will be able to attend and we look forward to ‘seeing’ you.

Upper Sixth Notices 

Exams Update 

You will, no doubt, have seen the press coverage relating to the public exams this summer. Various documents were received by the school on Thursday and we hope that you appreciate that it will take a few days to fully digest the information and the processes needed to implement them. We know that pupils and parents are keen for details as soon as possible and we will endeavour to provide this as soon as possible, and early next week, but we do urge patience.


Book Week at KES 

The Library have planned a series of events and activities for all students to get involved with, including three author visits and a book quiz. 

Please click on the banner below to view the full itinerary and for information about how students can access the events. 

Dance Gala 

On Friday 7th May, we’re very excited to see our dancers take to the Dobson stage once again in the glitteringly notorious Dance Gala! Plans are in place to make this an exciting event for our talented dancers regardless of audience! If you are interested in performing in this year’s Gala, please email Miss Barnett to register your interest before the Easter holiday. Stay tuned for more information!

Young Bridge Challenge 2021 - Schools' Cup

If there are keen Bridge players who would like to represent the school in the Young Bridge Challenge 2021 Schools’ Cup then please contact Mrs Burrows so that we can gauge interest and contact you with more information.

KES Library Literary Review 

This week's issue of the KES Literary Review is here! 

Each week the newsletter features guest reviewers to share their opinions on recent or favourite reads. Click on the images below to read the newsletter in PDF format. 





RACE... BACK HOME (VIA BAHRAIN)

Can we get home in time for the return to school 8 March?! It's the final push, so dig deep and submit your distances! 

For more information on the challenge, how to take part and how to calculate your distance, click here

KEY DATES 

Thursday 4 March - Second Year Parents' Evening 

Friday 5 March - Staff INSET Day 

Friday 5 March - Deadline for GCSE subject choices (Third Year) 

Thursday 11 March - Lower Sixth Higher Education Evening