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April update letter to parents/carers

Our Ref: DK/jh/gltr/apr 24    

8th April 2024

Dear Parent/Carer

I hope you and your family are well. I am writing to you in my monthly update letter with a reminder of our plans for Eid ul Fitr and the impact on school opening this week. This letter also includes reminders of how parents/carers can play a part and help to maintain high standards and expectations as well as key dates for the month of April.

Eid ul Fitr 2024: A reminder of communications and arrangements 

In my previous letter before the end of term I wrote to you with a detailed explanation of our plans for Eid ul Fitr and the reasoning behind it, with the need to have year group closures due to the large number of staff who will be taking religious observance. 

Based on the predicted date of Eid ul Fitr school will be closed to all students in Years 8 and 10 on Wednesday 10th April, with all other year groups expected to attend as normal.  Learning will move to Google Classrooms for the day for students in Years 8 and 10 and they will be expected to access lesson material from home.  

As in previous years we are following the Department for Education guidelines around authorising absence for students who will be celebrating Eid ul Fitr with family. This will be that we will authorise absence for one day for religious observance, and parents/carers must still contact the Attendance team in the morning to confirm their absence and the reason for this. Any absence beyond the first day will not be authorised for religious observance.

Communication and confirmation of plans

  • We will most likely know after 5pm on Tuesday 9th April how the school will be impacted based on the sighting of the moon.
  • All Year 8 and Year 10 students and parents/carers should check the website on the evening of Tuesday 9th April in order to establish if school is open to them the following day. We will post a pop-up message to confirm arrangements as soon as we have definitive news. 
  • We will also communicate this announcement to parents via Arbor. 

We apologise for the inconvenience that this will cause for parents of students in Year 8 and Year 10, however, the high levels of expected staff absence make this a necessary decision as we are already planning to combine classes.

Standards & Expectations: Maintaining momentum at a key point in the year

At the start of each term, it is vital to re-establish our expectations with students which we will be doing in lessons, Tutor time and Assemblies over the next couple of weeks, and your support with this is both valued and appreciated.

With a month until the start of the external exam season for students in Year 11 and Year 13 it is vital that we continue to strive for excellence to help them to approach the exams in the best possible position for success. This desire for excellence and focus on high expectations is also needed with every year group and there continues to be a strong commitment to ensuring that learning is both undisturbed and highly productive as well as making the most of the opportunities to build on the knowledge gained in lessons through regular and purposeful homework being set in every subject. 

Attendance at school has been a positive feature from the start of the year with our current attendance continuing to be well above national average figures, leading to the Attendance Awards from the Fisher Family Trust that I wrote to you about in the Spring term. Now is not the time for complacency though and we all need to continue to work together as families and the school to push for even better attendance, understanding the major benefits that this brings for the students themselves. The impact of strong attendance helps support children to make more progress with their learning alongside their social development, a key reason why we have made it a major school improvement priority this year, and also why your continued support is highly valued. 

We also ask for your support with punctuality to school in the morning, knowing that lost learning time due to lateness in the morning adds up over time to have a significantly negative impact. Being early and ready to learn are fundamental aspects that successful students all have in common, and these are expectations and good habits that need to be instilled ready for success in the world beyond school. With our Breakfast Club available before school in the morning the Milestone Lane gates are open from 8:15am so please encourage your child to take advantage of this offer! 

Farewell and best wishes to Adil Khan, Head of Year 9

We are sorry to be losing Adil Khan, our Head of Year 9 who will be leaving Holyhead on Friday 12th April to move on to a new opportunity at Waverley School. Our exceptional Heads of Year are fundamental to the smooth running of the school on a daily basis with the pastoral support they provide to students, as well as building relationships between families and school through regular communication. Mr Khan is central to this and many of you with children in Year 9 will have appreciated the dedication that he shows to not only the school community as a whole, but also the students under his care. In the interim while we recruit a permanent replacement for Mr Khan we will be welcoming Errol Smith back to Holyhead following his retirement as Head of Year 11 at the end of last year, and he will be providing experienced support to the year group alongside Mrs Denny as the Vice Principal for Year 9. I’m sure you will all join me in thanking Adil for his commitment and attention in support of the students in his year groups over his 5 years with us, and we send our best wishes to him in his future away from Holyhead.

Key headline dates and events in April

  • Students will return to school for the start of the Summer Term on Tuesday 9th April at 8.40am.
  • The Year 9 Subject Parents’ Evening that was originally calendared for Thursday 11th April has been moved back to Thursday 25th April from 4-7pm because of the potential clash with Eid ul Fitr.
  • The Year 10 Subject Parents’ Evening will be held on Thursday 18th April from 4-7pm as originally planned.

May I take this opportunity on behalf of the staff at Holyhead to wish Eid Mubarak to all of our families who will be celebrating Eid ul Fitr, and Happy Vaisakhi to all of our families who will be celebrating this weekend. We wish you a wonderful time over the week ahead, and good health to all over the remainder of the month.

Yours faithfully,

Dave Knox

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