Dear Parent/Carer

The autumn term will end at 15:00 on Friday 20th December 2019. The spring term will start on Monday 6th January 2020 at 08.40

May I again thank you for your support throughout this term which has been a particularly busy one for all of us.
We returned to school – albeit a week later than usual- to record-breaking GCSE results (our highest Progress 8 score) and excellent A Level results (a positive Value Added score).

New school building

Our migration into the new school building has gone relatively well and students are familiar with the layout and our expectations for movement around the site. Once again I thank you for your patience as the demolition of the old building plays havoc with our car parking arrangements. This is set to worsen in the coming few months as St. Anne’s car park will have to close fully in order for the building to come down. I look forward to the summer and the completion of the project in its entirety.

It is absolutely vital that all visitors to the school, even after 15:00, sign in at reception in the 6th Form block. Parents/ Carers should not walk directly to the new building without signing in at reception first. This will help to secure the safety of students and staff.

Old school building

The process of preparing the old building for demolition has started. We have been made aware of young people entering this building during the evening. This is a huge safety risk. An asbestos removals company has been appointed by the contractors and will begin to remove the asbestos safely in January. The risk to health as well as the risk to injury by being in the building without protective clothing/equipment cannot be overstated. Please can you reinforce this message to your son/daughter.

Future Governance arrangements

Earlier this term, Headteachers and Chairs of trusts were invited to Ramside Hall to hear Bishop Robert’s vision for the Catholic schools in this diocese. At this meeting it was communicated that his vision was to have 4 multi-academy trusts in the diocese, each comprising of 5 secondary schools and a number of primaries (according to locality). The diocese is to be divided up into 4 regions (North, South, West and East) and existing MATS will lead each of these regions.

English Martyrs, together with St John’s Bishop Auckland have been allocated the Southern MAT. This MAT already includes Carmel College, Darlington; Our Lady and St Bede’s school, Stockton-on Tees and St Michael’s in Billingham. This MAT will be led by the Carmel Education Trust based in Darlington. The expectation is that The Holy Family Trust will cease to operate on 31st March 2020 and English Martyrs will become part of the Carmel Education Trust. More information can be found at the Trust’s website: https://www.carmeleducationtrust.org.uk/

At the directors meeting on 13th November, the directors resolved to:

  • Approve that the Holy Family Education Trust joins the Carmel Education Trust as per the Diocesan Academy Policy.
  • Instruct officers to enter into detailed discussions with Officers of the Carmel Education Trust through the establishment of a joint Project Board to determine the transfer process.

Our Board of Directors and Local Governing Board will obviously be dissolved at the end of March as the school will be under the directorship of the Carmel Trust. The diocese has communicated governance arrangements and this states that each school in a MAT will have a Local Governing Committee. Our directors will be working with Carmel trustees and CEO to establish a means of recruiting to the LGC in line with diocesan principles (Foundation Governors in the majority and Governor Skills Matrix complete)

We will keep you informed with all information as fully and as regularly as possible.

Lunch lines

From January, all students will line up for lunch in a single line in their year group whether they are taking a school lunch or bringing a packed lunch. As a school we say that we are ‘built on justice’ and directors feel that this is the fairest system and will speed the queue time up yet further.

Inclement weather arrangements

As we have entered into the winter season, it is timely for us to prepare for the worst, given the vagaries of our weather. As a parent, I understand the difficulties that temporarily closing the school can present to families. I do need to make it clear, however, that the only reason for any school closure during periods of extreme cold or heavy snowfall is to ensure the health and safety of students and staff. At times of inclement weather always consult our app, our official social media pages or website because as soon as I have made a decision it will be posted, even if I have to make that decision in the very early hours of the morning. Teachers will always endeavour to set work using Microsoft teams or school email.

On behalf of all our staff, directors and governors, I wish you all the very best for a peaceful, restful and joyous Christmas with your friends and families and a very Happy New Year.

I look forward to working with you in the spring term.

Yours sincerely

Stephen Hammond
Headteacher