Dear Families,

We were delighted to welcome back the children of critical workers and vulnerable children into prep school this week, after their 10-day isolation period. It is good to hear the noise of children playing as I write this – the prep school is on its lunch break at the moment.

I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who is being so supportive of our COVID-19 testing procedures. Testing at Kingsley has just become part of school life and all the children who are needing to test are a real credit to themselves and their families. We all know it is not a pleasant thing to do, but they are very “matter of fact” about getting it done, and then getting on with their day. They do deserve our congratulations for their maturity and sensibleness.

We do realise that there are as many reactions to this lockdown as there are people, and we are pleased with the way online learning is developing. However, we are also aware that some children are struggling with long hours at home, missing their friends, and are needing additional support. Mrs Gosai is our safeguarding lead in the senior school, and she is working from the school. If you have concerns about your child, please contact her, even if it is just to share your worries and have another adult talk to. Mr Trythall is the person to contact in the prep school.

Our boarders are doing a fantastic job looking after each other and making the most of their opportunities during this time. The staff are working very hard to develop ideas, games and activities to give them some fun away from screens. I spent a lovely time in Longfield boarding house last Saturday morning showing some of the boarders how to silk  paint, the end results were wonderful.

 Mrs Hamilton is starting to pull together the school timetable for next autumn. I know this seems very early, but many key decisions rest on knowing our plans, including recruiting staff if needed. If your child is in year 11 or year 9, we would appreciate them returning their options decisions as promptly as possible to know which subjects are in demand. If your child is struggling with their choices, please contact their head of year, or Mrs Hamilton or myself. We are always very happy to have a chat if the decision is proving agonising – we would much rather take time now to get the decisions right, than have a child find they are not doing the right course in the autumn.

I still have no further news about the possible end of this current lockdown and children’s return to school. Schools are not given any information ahead of ministerial announcements, so we will probably all hear the news simultaneously. But the day will come when we are back together again, and I know we are all looking forward to that time. In the meantime, I hope you stay safe and well, and please be in touch if there is any way in which we can make remote educating your children any more manageable for you at home.

Mrs Gill Jackson – head@kingsleyschoolbideford.co.uk