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The Buckingham School

The Buckingham School

Headteacher's Easter Update - Letter dated 1 April 2021

Dear Parents and Carers

I am writing to you at the end of the four weeks of full opening, as we break for Easter. I am not sure whether it is the staff or students who are the most exhausted!

There are a number of different matters that I would like to take this opportunity to update or remind our families of.

Building Works
The building works are now only weeks from completion and we have just 30 school days before returning to having access our full site. After the May half term break, we should have all of our areas returned to us, including all of the new or refurbished areas. Borras have been excellent to work alongside, but roll on 7th June!

Teacher Assessed Grades for Years 11 and 13
The bulk of the further assessments that students will be doing towards their portfolio for Teacher Assessed Grades will take place during Term 5, though some have already taken place, for example in English. We are publishing a detailed guide on what to expect after the Easter break today, and this will be available to students on the Google Classroom and our website.

Our students are doing really well and embracing the positive approach that we would hope for.

Official Leavers Day – 28th May
The final day of the legal school year for Year 11 is the end of Term 5. This year, that falls on 28th May. After this date, Year 11 are no longer required by law to attend school. This is also the time at which most schools and colleges will also bid goodbye to Year 13, with students only returning for their examinations (in a normal year, obviously there are none this year).

All of the assessments that will contribute to the Teacher Assessed Grades will have been completed before this date. We will publish details separately of what the school will be doing to mark the occasion, but we will wait and see how the PM’s roadmap out of Covid-19 restrictions progresses, before letting students know.

We will of course look forward to many of our current Year 11 students returning to our Sixth Form and official offer letters will be issued on Wednesday 26th May. Whether an individual student is staying with us or not, all of Year 11 will be offered a programme of “bridging lessons” during Term 6, helping them to prepare fully for Year 12.

Throughout Term 6, we will continue to support Year 11 and Year 13 with the usual range of support and advice, for example emotional and well-being support, supporting with applications or careers advice.

PE Uniform

Please can students remember to bring/apply sun cream for outdoor PE, and bring water to all lessons. Students with long hair will always be required to tie it back.

Until the building works are complete, we are still operating a policy of wearing PE kit on PE days. Therefore, students will need to attend in full TBS PE kit on these days. They should bring a change of clothes, just in case they get wet or muddy. Please support us in ensuring that your child does not wear tights under sports-wear, thin fashion leggings and tops which are not school branded. School branded hoodies are acceptable, but hoods should never be up.

Uniform - Years 7-10, Sixth Form
These year groups are required to wear full school uniform from Monday 19th April. It may seem like a distant memory, so here is a brief reminder of some key aspects:

  • Blazers
  • Ties (tied correctly, top button fastened)
  • School shoes
  • Skirts worn correctly and of the correct material and length (as outlined in our policy)
  • Minimal jewelry (as outlined in our policy)
  • Natural hair colour
  • Following our rules about makeup
  • No false eyelashes or false nails

Sixth Form dress standards have remained unchanged throughout.

Uniform - Year 11
We have reviewed the expectations for school uniform for Year 11 and feel that it would be unfair to expect parents and carers to replace uniform that students have worn out or grown out of, for the sake of six weeks. Therefore, Year 11 are able to continue to wear acceptable non-uniform. This would mean that crop tops, low cut tops, short skirts and high cut shorts are not acceptable. This would include rugby shorts, for example.

However, on PE days, students should wear kit appropriate for sport/PE. Please support us in ensuring that your child does not wear tights under sports-wear, thin fashion leggings and tops which are not appropriate. Hoodies are acceptable, but hoods should never be up.

Students who do not dress acceptably will not be allowed to join their peers “in circulation” and will take any assessments in isolation. Those without assessments on a day that they are not dressed appropriately, will be sent home.

Lateral Flow Testing and Covid-19 Restrictions
We are not aware of any cases of Covid-19 amongst our student body, in the last four weeks. Thank you to those families who have taken tests and shared results with us, it really has helped the school to understand the local situation and plan accordingly. Cases in Aylesbury Vale are indeed currently far lower than surrounding areas, such as Wycombe, Northampton or Milton Keynes, but this could obviously change.

At the last minute, we have received more lateral flow tests and students have been issued with two boxes (three weeks’ worth) of tests this morning. Please continue to inform us of the results.

Our Own “Road Map” Out of Covid-19 Restrictions
As we enter Term 5, we will be allowing different bubbles to share outdoor spaces, for example playing football on the MUGA. All of the other restrictions will continue to apply for Term 5, such as separate venues for catering, toilets, one-way systems and the use of masks in all communal areas. The planning is available on the school website.

There is every reason to feel hopeful and optimistic about the positive experiences that lay ahead for our students after Easter. We see signs of optimism everywhere. We see it at the school gate in the morning when the students arrive, ready to learn. We see it in the warm, supportive manner that students show their peers through social interaction. We see it in the way that they have been preparing for assessments. We see it everywhere.

Our challenge is to continue building a truly special environment where all students enjoy learning so that they leave us as better people and better qualified than they would have elsewhere. We know that the whole person is far more important that their examination results, but we will also continue to strive for teaching excellent learning habits. Our focus will be to make students feel good about learning so that they leave every lesson with a sense of accomplishment. We want them to do this The Buckingham Way – taking personal responsibility, always trying to improve themselves and respecting the authority of their teachers and all of the staff in school.

We want to improve the home-school partnership further so that we can continue to work together to support our students in developing in line with our virtues: Ambition, Confidence, Respect, Empathy, Resilience, Integrity and Curiosity. There are no limits to what our students can achieve, only their own mindsets. As we seem to be slowly breaking free from Covid-19, there are so many opportunities ahead and many more reasons to be hopeful.

I wish you and your family a restful Easter break.

Mr A McGinnes, Headteacher

To view/download a copy of the letter, click here.