Mr Spanswick's Words Summer 7
Dear Parents and Guardians
I start this week's newsletter with the headline news that Mrs Margaret Heywood, Head of Senior Girls has announced her retirement at the end of this summer term. Known as Maggie in school and the wider professional and sporting community, Maggie joined Claires Court back in 1984. During her incredible career with us, she has led the PE department with great distinction, served as Deputy Head Pastoral under Paul Bevis and stepped up to headship in 2017. Her husband Peter and she chose Claires Court for their children, and both Jessica and Lara have returned as employees in recent years. As these two daughters are currently on maternity leave, and Maggie has her grandson Fox and family living with her during #lockdown as well, she has chosen now to adjust her priorities accordingly. The Principals will plan formal thanks and presentations later in the year, when we are all ‘back-in’; in the meantime, Mrs Heywood wishes everyone to treat school as ‘business as usual’, and as you can read below, Senior Girls has a very good deal going on, including of course reopening for business on Monday for Year 10.
The Principals are delighted to announce that her Deputy, Steve Richards has been appointed as her successor, already a well known face to the girls as their Deputy Head Operations.
In welcoming 42 of our Nursery pupils back to school this week, we have opened a small section of our College Avenue site, something that a month ago seemed improbable. Our Head of Nursery, Mrs Sheena Wilding, and her staff were delighted with the way your little ones bravely strode into school and adapted to their new environment. They have had great fun this week (if at times it has been a tad damp) and you can see some photos and reaction on our social media.
As we approach another checkpoint in the phased reopening of school on Monday when we welcome Year 10 pupils and Year 12 students back to join us, I have been reminded time and again that our pupils, your children, are building their life skills as well as their cognitive skills in going about their daily business. There have been some lovely moments at Junior Boys school this week, which your Headteachers will share with you, and I'm sure that this will continue with the Senior sites too.
Opening school during these unpredictable times is a challenge that is causing headaches to every school leader in the country. From my perspective, as long as we have your children's safety and wellbeing at the core of every decision we make, we will not go too far wrong.
With this in mind and the government’s guidelines, we are asking the Junior parents whose children have yet to return to school to share with us their thoughts on a questionnaire this weekend, which can inform and focus our actions as we move forward to evaluating the viability of bringing more pupils back to school. There is so much to consider in taking these small steps - we will always assess every aspect of our provision in a measured and timely manner, and we will not rush to make hasty decisions when careful deliberation is required so we appreciate your patience and support.
We recognise there is still much frustration from parents of boys and girls around the country who are contemplating the uncertainty of when their children will be allowed back to school, and this frustration is shared by our staff. We will remain in close contact with you as this term draws to a close regarding any further developments of ‘returning to school’.
Finally, I would like to express my appreciation to all of you, our parents. As we arrive at day 81 of the lockdown restrictions, the communications that our staff have received from you have been filled with support and thanks, and now more than ever we are working as a team with you around your child to ensure they are coping with the challenges of a global pandemic. I am proud to be part of Claires Court: in the words of the American writer Coretta Scott King, “The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members”. Thank you all.
Have a lovely weekend