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Dear Parents and Carers of students in Year 11

I write to update you on the school’s position regarding celebratory events to mark your child’s time in Year 11.  Traditionally a Prom has been offered, but last year’s event was unable to go ahead due to COVID-19 restrictions and we agreed with students to make up their loss, by trying to host the event when possible.  This year we face similar circumstances, although restrictions may be lifted, there is no certainty that running large venue events will be possible and the school has no current booking outstanding, having returned funds to the previous year group.

Our current insurance arrangement does not cover the school to allow the booking of events and visits, this would only change if restrictions were lifted and clear guidance given to schools that planned visits and events which involve large numbers of students could be made.  We have decided to provide two events for the returning students joining the sixth form in September, we are making the assumption that the chances of being able to support events are much more likely.

The first event in September will be an overnight residential experience allowing students to make the transition into becoming a sixth form student and bond as a year group, having spent much of this academic year either being educated at home or in class bubbles.  This event will be heavily subsidised by the school to ensure all returning students can attend.

The second event in January 2022 will be a double Prom celebration for both Year 12 and 13 year groups, which makes good on our promise to celebrate their time in school.  This will be run as a traditional Prom with all the opportunities pupils cherish as part of the experience and as they are older will be able to have a say in the venue and how the event will look.

We plan to make our Year 11 students’ last day in school memorable and will organise some activities and surprises to make the day special, COVID-19 restrictions permitting.

Pupils have been given their hoodies earlier than is traditional, so they have the benefit of being able to wear them, which I know they have appreciated.  The year team will be working on plans as the term progresses, whilst continuing to support pupils collating and submitting work in support of their evidence base, for the awarding of grades.

I realise for some parents and pupils this is not what you might want and I am also aware some schools have got tentative arrangements in place having retained venue dates from the previous year.  However, all schools have stressed that their planned Proms might not run and that no expense should be made purchasing outfits and hiring vehicles in which to arrive etc, in anticipation that the event will run.

Should any parents want to work together to offer students something else in addition, then the school is open to supporting you, as is the case in one secondary school in Bracknell Forest where the parents traditionally organise the event for students.  The school supports the event by ensuring communications are made regarding the event and staff volunteer to attend in support.  However, the arrangements and responsibility for the venue and conduct of pupils attending lies with the organisers.

I hope this letter clarifies the school’s position and our rationale behind the decisions made and how we plan to move forward.

Yours faithfully

Liz Cook