Dear Parents and Carers,
I hope that you and your families are keeping well in these extraordinary times and that the first week of students working from home has gone smoothly.
I know that there is good work going on from the many messages that I have received. Work is being completed and I want to thank you for establishing routines with your children and for keeping them motivated. Thank you also to the staff who are setting and responding to work. A truly team effort.
In the coming weeks, there will be a number of competitions to participate in – the Diocese are running a 500 word writing competition for students with the title ‘Hope’. Any student wishing to take part should e-mail their entry to the College to be sent on.
It is important that students continue to feel that they are part of the community here at St Bede’s and therefore items for inclusion in the Newsletter should also be e-mailed in. It is a way of keeping in touch and supporting each other.
‘Every child who can be safely cared for at home should be, to limit the chance of the virus spreading’
The government has asked parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and asked schools to remain open only for those children of key workers who absolutely need to attend. The government guidance is that ‘if children can stay safely at home, they should, to limit the chance of the virus spreading’.
Although we will always try to be flexible regarding this, I am also mindful of the need to keep all students and staff safe and well throughout the coming weeks. I appreciate your on-going support in this.
Pray with Pope Francis
The Holy Father announced today that he will preside over a moment of prayer at the top of the steps of St Peter’s Basilica. Pope Francis said ‘I invite everyone to participate spiritually through the means of communication.' The live broadcast can be watched on the Vatican News You Tube Channel:
Free School Meals
Bristol will now be e-mailing vouchers to parents of children entitled to free school meals. The first vouchers should arrive on Tuesday/Wednesday of next week and will cover next week and the Easter holidays. You will therefore not need to come in to College on Tuesday as previously advised to collect the weekly food box. Students living in North Somerset should report to their nearest hub as this week and if this arrangement changes over the weekend then I will let you know.
I hope you all find comfort in the love and support of others around you. Please try to enjoy your weekend as best as you can.
Yours in Christ,
J G Maher
We have been advised that there is a scam e-mail being sent to parents allegedly from the Department for Education saying 'as schools will be closing, if you're entitled to free school meals, please send your bank details and we'll make sure you're supported'.
This has not come from the Department for Education and is a scam so please do not open it or respond in any way and delete it immediately. It is sad to think that at this time there are people who wish to exploit the situation.
And people stayed home
and read books and listened
and rested and exercised
and made art and played
and learned new ways of being
and listened deeper
someone met their shadow
and people began to think differently
and people healed
and in the absence of people who lived in ignorant ways,
dangerous, meaningless and heartless,
even the earth began to heal
and when the danger ended
and people found each other
grieved for the dead people
and they made new choices
and dreamed of new visions
and created new ways of life
and healed the earth completely
just as they were healed themselves.
Events have moved very quickly since last week so I thought I would keep you updated regarding the situation at College at the moment.
We have received some initial suggestions regarding the awarding of grades for GCSE and A Level in the summer and have been told that detailed guidance will be coming out from central Government shortly. In these uncertain times I wanted to try and reassure both parents and students that once this has been outlined then I will keep you informed. I have included information on the website previously for your information.
It is unsettling for everyone and I know that it is causing some anxiety for students wishing to register for the Sixth Form and again I want to reassure everyone that information will be provided in a timely manner so that this can be a fair process and be completed in plenty of time so that students know what they will be doing once this is all over.
I have been very humbled by the kind wishes of many parents over recent days and your sentiments are very much appreciated. I have also been asked for some 'tips' on how to support your children in establishing routines at home and will put something out for you tomorrow to hopefully help you over the coming days.
The thoughts and prayers of everyone at St Bede's are with you all - stay safe and keep well.
J G Maher
We have been asked by the Diocese to say prayers as a Catholic community each day at noon.
Lord we believe that you are with us and that you hear our prayers
Lord in your mercy
Lord in your mercy
Lord in your mercy
Lord in your mercy
We ask Mary our mother to pray with us as we say Hail Mary……….
Update 20th March 2020 12 noon
As you will be fully aware, all schools will close to most children at the end of the day today.
As advised by the government, we will do all that we can to stay open for the children of key workers. However, I need to remind everyone of the advice which says “If it is possible for children to be at home then they should be”.
Currently, we do not know how long schools will remain closed.
Thank you to parents who have confirmed they will need to send their children into college next week.
Students should arrive in school uniform and report to Areté, where teachers will be present to receive them.
Following the DfE advice, I want to stress that the college will not be following the national curriculum at this time.
During the period of college closure, we want all our students to engage in regular, daily learning.
Please check ‘Show My Homework’, GCSE pod and Google Classroom where work will be regularly updated by teachers.
If your child is in receipt of a free school meal, then arrangements have been made to collect a weekly lunch box.
Please see the letter from Chartwells advising you of nearest collection point, which can be found here . The letter also contains contact details should you need them.
Parents who currently have standing orders for buses and/or music lessons should cancel these from the end of March. Any refunds due will be organised in April and any outstanding debt will be collected in August.
Once this pandemic begins to resolve and schools reopen, we will make arrangements for Years 11 and 13 to celebrate their time at St Bede’s properly. Once we have information about GCSE and A level grades, we will pass this on as well.
I will continue to provide you with regular emails and updates in the days ahead. Please do check the website regularly.
Thank you for your continued support. We pray for everyone throughout the weeks ahead.
With every blessing
J G Maher
Updated 20th March 2020
We have today received updated information regarding ‘key workers’.
It asks that parents and schools follow these key principles:
If your work is critical to the COVID-19 response, or you work in one of the critical sectors listed below, and you cannot keep your child safe at home then your children will be prioritised for education provision:
Health and social care
This includes but is not limited to doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector; those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributers of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment.
Education and childcare
This includes nursery and teaching staff, social workers and those specialist education professionals who must remain active during the COVID-19 response to deliver this approach.
Key public services
This includes those essential to the running of the justice system, religious staff, charities and workers delivering key frontline services, those responsible for the management of the deceased, and journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting.
Local and national government
This only includes those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the COVID-19 response or delivering essential public services such as the payment of benefits, including in government agencies and arms length bodies.
Food and other necessary goods
This includes those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines).
Public safety and national security
This includes police and support staff, Ministry of Defence civilians, contractor and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs and essential to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic), fire and rescue service employees (including support staff), National Crime Agency staff, those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff and other national security roles, including those overseas.
This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass.
Utilities, communication and financial services
This includes staff needed for essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure), the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage), information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the COVID-19 response, as well as key staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 critical services), postal services and delivery, payments providers and waste disposal sectors.
If you fall into one of these categories, and will be sending your children to college next week, please ensure that you telephone the college by midday today so that we can provide appropriate staff cover and also prepare for the school meals service to provide food from Monday onwards.
Full guidance to parents can be found here:
Updated 19th March 2020 – 12 noon
According to www.gov.uk examples of key workers include NHS staff, police and supermarket delivery drivers who need to be able to go to work to support the country’s fight to tackle coronavirus. Vulnerable children include those who have a social worker and those with Education, Health and Care Plans – a legal document that describes a child’s special educational needs and the support they require.
If you fall into one of these categories, and will be sending your children to college next week, please ensure that you telephone the college by midday on Friday so that we can provide appropriate staff cover and also prepare for the school meals service to provide food from Monday onwards.
This information will be updated when a more definitive list is provided.
Following yesterday’s announcement that all schools in the UK are to close from Friday 20th March for the foreseeable future, I thought it appropriate to update you with what information I have currently.
Later this morning the Government will publish their list of key workers and I would ask that if you fall into one of these categories, and will be sending your children to college next week, that you telephone the college by midday on Friday so that I can provide appropriate staff cover and also prepare for the school meals service to provide food from Monday onwards.
The Government are hoping to give more details tomorrow regarding the examinations in the summer. I share the anxiety of all our students and you as parents regarding the lack of clarity, and once I have more details I will be passing this on to you all. Although they have stated that students will not be sitting exams in May and June there is no specific guidance regarding August and September at this time.
Please continue to follow the Government updates which can be accessed via the link on the college website.
During this unprecedented time, I am sure you can appreciate that the volume of correspondence to the college has increased, therefore, we may not be able to respond to parents about individual cases. As stated previously always follow Government guidance.
I will, of course, update you as soon as information is available. I appreciate that this is a challenging and difficult time for us all. Please be assured that we are doing all that we can to keep your child’s education as productive as possible.
With prayers and every blessing.
As you are aware, school staff must follow the guidelines set by the government during this current pandemic.
Due to an increasing number of staff unable to attend college, it has become necessary to restrict the numbers of pupils in college.
With effect from Thursday 19th March 2020, only Years 7, 11, 12 and 13 and children of NHS staff should attend school and buses will run as normal.
Those who attend college will not have all their teachers present but we have managed to arrange staff so that where a regular teacher is not available children will be supervised, safe and engaged in productive work.
Years 8, 9 and 10 pupils should work from home and work will be set for those year groups which can be accessed via Show My Homework where extensive resources are also available.
In addition, Year 8 pupils can spend time revising for their imminent examinations.
The attendance record for children required to work at home will not be affected as a consequence of this enforced absence and will read “working off site”.
It is regrettable that this partial closure, which I can assure you is unavoidable, will be an inconvenience to a number of parents. Thank you for your understanding and continued support.
Clearly these are challenging times for us all but I would like to commend all our students for their conduct and attitude around the college in what is becoming an increasingly difficult scenario for us all.
Let us keep all those who are and will be affected by this pandemic in our prayers throughout the days ahead.
Mr J G Maher
St. Bede’s Catholic College has been working to develop a comprehensive and supportive range of solutions to facilitate the best possible contingency in the event of disruption to the college.
We are considering the needs of all members of the college community, with a focus on ensuring all remain calm, safe and supported, which will enable students to continue learning in the most effective way possible.
Please click the link below for updated advice for households with symptoms:
Thank you for your continued support in these unprecedented times. We will keep you updated with any changes as they occur.
Let us keep all those who are and will be affected by this pandemic in our prayers throughout the challenges ahead.
Following the announcement from Central Government yesterday advising that schools should remain open. This will be the case for St. Bede’s Catholic College unless further advice is issued and as long as there is appropriate staff cover. Parents will be informed of any updates as soon as we have them.
In the meantime, the following advice is being discussed in college and I would encourage you to do the same at home.
COVID -19 - Explaining to children
Children and young people look to adults in their lives to guide them on how to react to worrying and stressful events. They need reassurance on how to stay safe:
If the adults in their lives seem overly worried, their own anxiety may rise:
We remember to keep the vulnerable in our prayers at this time.
Updated 13th March 2020
We will continue to monitor the situation regarding Coronavirus (COVID -19) and update Parents and Carers with advice and guidance from the Department for Education and Public Health England.
We currently have no students or staff who have tested positive for the Coronavirus. We are reminding students daily about the importance of regular hand washing and have provided tissues, antibacterial wipes and hand sanitiser.
Although younger people are unlikely to become seriously ill, we do have some members of the school community who have relevant conditions that make them more vulnerable and we want to do all that we can to make school as safe a place as possible.
If your child has been in contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus it is important we know. Should any child be self-isolating following the advice and guidance from Public Health England, they will be coded as ‘Y’ and therefore their college attendance record will not be penalised.
If your child has a raised temperature and/or a new cough, please do keep them off school and let us know.
If you have any queries about the impact of coronavirus on schools there is a helpline for questions relating to this which parents can access:
Phone: 0800 046 8687
Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday)
Given the ongoing and changing picture both in the UK and across the world, it is becoming increasingly likely that St. Bede’s will be subject to a full or part closure in the upcoming days or weeks. We will provide work for students to access primarily through Show My Homework and other online platforms.
Please contact Mr King at the college if internet access is likely to be an issue for your child and we will look to provide paper resources for them.
Clearly international trips are the subject of a Government ban and trip leaders at St Bede’s are in contact with the holiday companies. Once more detailed information is available we will send the information to you. However, the Ski and Berlin trips will not be going ahead at this time.
Please do pray for all the NHS teams responding to this outbreak and for the government and for a careful scientifically led public response.
Mr J.G Maher