Headteacher’s Letter – 04/05/2021
4th May 2021
Dear parents / guardians,
I trust that you all enjoyed a relaxing bank holiday weekend, albeit in rather sporadic sunshine. We find ourselves at school in the midst of Year 11 and 13 assessments as well as preparation for Year 8 examinations, which start on Wednesday 19th May.
We regularly remind students of the need to be vigilant online and to ensure when using social media that privacy settings are set to private. Young people can unwittingly share information, which could allow them to be tracked e.g. wearing school uniform in videos, using their full name or giving away contact details. With particular regards to the use of TikTok where accounts are public and open to all by default, it is important to change these settings. As the one of the most popular apps amongst teenagers, we would strongly urge parents to ensure their children set their accounts to private and know how to report concerning content to the platform provider. Please click HERE to read a guide to TikTok and how to change settings.
In addition, concerns have been raised nationally regarding Omegle, a free online chatting service, which has recently spiked in popularity. Omegle randomly selects users for one-on-one chats, and users can choose to chat via text or video. With Omegle, it is not hard for younger users to stumble across adult conversations and content. The app is no longer being offered, but children can still access it. While Omegle is supposed to be for users aged 13 and older (with parental permission), anyone can log on to chat with strangers.
As with all online activity, it is important to chat with children about what they are doing online and for them to share their experiences with you. Additionally it it recommended that you check on the privacy settings that your child uses. For further advice, please click HERE for guidance on parental controls for electronic devices and social media.
Covid-19 surge testing in Tower Hamlets
Over the weekend you may have become aware that a small number of people in Tower Hamlets have types of Covid-19 called ‘variants of concern’. These were first found in Brazil and South Africa. These variants are called ‘variants of concern’ because it is currently not known if they spread more easily than the most common type of Covid-19, if they cause more severe disease or if vaccines are fully effective against them.
School has received communication from Tower Hamlets informing us that extra testing is taking place in areas of the borough for a time-limited period to try to:
- Find as many cases as possible to stop/slow spread
- Learn more about the variants of concern.
The communication states that is currently no evidence that these variants cause more severe illness. It states that, although the risk to the wider community is considered low, as a precaution, Tower Hamlets Council is working in collaboration with PHE and NHS Test and Trace to offer extra testing in targeted areas.
The advice states that if you live in the following postcodes, everyone over the age of 11 is strongly encouraged to get tested, even if they are well or have been vaccinated.
The postcodes are:
- All of E1 4** and E1 3**
- Some of E1 0, E1 1, E1 2, E1 5, E14 7, E2 0, E2 6, E3 4.
Test are available from the following:
- The test unit at Gouldman House, E1 4HQ from 8:30am to 3pm.
- Idea Store Watney Market, 260 Commercial Street, E1 2FB
- Ecology Pavilion, Grove Rd, Bow, London E3 5TW
- Appointments at these test sites can be booked online.
- Tests can also be booked through the NHS Covid-19 app or by calling 119.
If you, or anyone in your household tests positive and needs to self-isolate for 10 days there is support available to help with things like food, money and medicine.
The council’s website can be found here should you wish to visit it: www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/covid-support or, call 020 7364 3030 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm).
The same national guidance continues to apply in areas where new variants have been identified and education settings remain open.
Free School Meal Vouchers
Those eligible for free school meals will receive a £10.00 e-voucher from Asda to cover the half term week. This is the amount determined by Tower Hamlets.
As the month of Ramadan draws to an end, we expect the date for our Eid closure to be either Wednesday 12th or Thursday 13th May. Please check our school website and social media for confirmation. Please note that the timetable for the GCSE and A level assessments has accounted for this date. If Eid falls on Wednesday 12th May then all exams scheduled for that day will take place on Thursday 13th May. The full timetable can be downloaded HERE.
To all those who will be celebrating, Eid Mubarak from everyone at Stepney All Saints and to all students in Years 11 and 13 I wish you all the best in for your remaining assessments.