Month: December 2020

Important information on January Return

Dear Parent / Carer


Staggered Return- Jan 2021


As you may have seen in the news, the Government announced late yesterday that all secondary school students will have a staggered return to school in the new calendar year.


The statement says “Students in exam year groups, vulnerable children and children of key workers will all attend school or college in person from the start of term.


This means that from Monday 4th January 2021, we expect all Year 11 students along with all children of key workers and all vulnerable students (those with an EHCP and/or social worker) to return to lessons as normal in the Academy, as advised by the Government.


We respectfully request that key workers please complete the registration form via this link electronically to let us know if we are to expect your child in school on Monday 4th January so that we can ensure that the appropriate provision can be in place for their return.


All other students in Years 7- 10 will engage in full-time remote education from Monday 4th January – Friday 8th January, returning to normal/face to face lessons in the Academy on Monday 11th January 2021. All remote learning will take place following the normal timetable through Microsoft Teams. For those students without access to the internet, a work-pack will be delivered to your child.  Due to the short notice of the announcement we will begin delivery of the work packs on 4th January 2021 or sooner where possible.


The Government has also confirmed that all secondary schools and colleges in England will have access to coronavirus testing from the first week of January. The tests will be free, regular and rapid, and will be undertaken, with your consent, on a voluntary basis. There is much planning to be done around this and I will write to you again in January with more detailed information.


I fully appreciate, and apologise for, the enormous inconvenience that this may cause families. Had I have known that this staggered return plan was to take place, I would have communicated this far sooner than the last day of term. I believe that one of the main reasons for this strategy is to try to halt the possible rise in infections after Christmas, so I think it is only right to be cautious.


Thank you once again for your support and understanding. I look forward to seeing all students in the New Year.


Yours sincerely


Jayne Schofield


Christmas Closure 2020

Dear Parent/Carer


RE: Christmas Closure 2020


I am writing to inform you that the Academy will close for the Christmas Holiday on Friday 18th December 2020. Finish times for each year group are outlined below. The Academy will reopen to students on Monday 4th January 2021. The staggered start and finish times will continue for individual year groups. You will find a reminder of these times overleaf for your convenience.


Finish times – Friday 18th December 2020

Years 7 & 10                 1:15pm

Years 8 & 9                   1:30pm

Year 11                         1:50pm



I would like to thank you for your support ensuring that, wherever possible, your child attends school.

In January, we will continue to drive attendance improvements forward. Please can you continue to inform the Academy if your child’s illness is Covid related when reporting any absences. Equally, if you are anxious about your child attending following an absence, please contact the Academy for support in transitioning back to school.



Uniform also remains an ongoing focus, and the vast majority of our students attend in full school uniform every day. The full uniform includes a V-neck grey jumper and it is compulsory that all students wear their jumper to school every day. Trainers of any type or design are not permitted. Full information regarding uniform expectations can be found on the Academy website at


Mobile Phones

Whilst I appreciate that mobile phones give parents/carers peace of mind, I would encourage you to remind your child that the use of mobile phones is not permitted on the Academy site. All mobile phones should be switched off and out of sight/in bags at all times. Use of mobile phones whilst in school can lead to confiscation.


Face Coverings

May I again ask for your support to ensure that your child has their own, plain, face covering, to bring to the Academy every day. I especially thank parents that have ensured their child’s face covering is completely plain, without logos. Government guidance is clear that these coverings should be stored in a hygienic plastic bag when not being worn, and I would urge that you remind your child to ensure that disposable/single use masks are discarded in an appropriate manner once used.



Finally, please could I request that you contact the Academy on 07817 840444 if your child tests positive for Covid-19 during the Christmas Break. This number should be used up to and including Thursday 24th December 2020, and then onwards from Saturday 2nd January 2021 (cases confirmed between Friday 25th December 2020 – Friday 1st January 2021 should be reported on Saturday 2nd January). This is a dedicated line for reporting any confirmed cases and will ensure that we can continue to follow guidance from Public Health England. Please refrain from using the school telephone line to report any Covid related matters. Should your child develop symptoms during the Christmas break or come into close contact with anyone who has tested positive with Covid-19, please be reminded to follow the appropriate guidance regarding self-isolation. Your child should not return to school if they have symptoms (until tested negative), OR if they have had close contact with anyone who has tested positive with Covid-19.


I remain extremely proud of all students at the Academy, for the manner in which they have accepted and adapted to the forced changes we have had to make during this very extraordinary academic year so far.


May I take this opportunity to thank you for your support for Thistley Hough Academy and to wish you a restful Christmas break.


Yours sincerely


Jayne Schofield


Take a break this Christmas

It’s nearly the end of 2020 and we’ve had lots of changes this year, but we hope you’ve still learned lots of new and interesting things.

Make sure you take the time to look after yourself and have a good break this Christmas. It’s really important to practice self-care as it helps you to stay healthy and be happy.

We hope you have a lovely Christmas break and enjoy the time at home with your family. Here are a few things we enjoy doing over the holidays to keep us calm and relaxed, why not try them for yourself:

Watch your favourite films
What Christmas film do you watch on repeat? Christmas Chronicles, Home Alone or even The Grinch. Get into the festive spirit and relax with some snacks. It doesn’t have to be Christmassy, anything that will make you laugh or smile while you watch it is the perfect solution to feeling relaxed.

Try something new
You might not always have the time to try new things when you’re juggling your schoolwork but now’s the perfect time. Whether it’s baking, crafting or a new football trick, having fun trying something new and enjoying yourself is a great way to stay relaxed and happy during the winter break.

Stay active
It’s proven that staying active increases the hormones in your body that help you to feel happy. If your struggling with your emotions and feelings at any time during the holidays, try a quick walk or yoga session and see if it helps to lift your spirits.

Keep to a routine
Everyone loves a lie in when it’s the holidays, especially in winter when the weather’s not the best. Just don’t forget to start waking up a bit earlier ready to fit back into your school schedule when it’s time to come back!

We hope you have an amazing Christmas break, we’re so proud of how well you’ve all adapted to the changes that have happened this year and we look forward to welcoming you back in 2021.

THA Winter Festival

Dear Parent/Carer

Winter Festival 2020
I am pleased to be able to write to you about something not directly related to coronavirus. However, I wish to start by thanking you and your children for their continued and robust approach to dealing with the pandemic. It is this response that we wish to recognise and reward during the remainder of this half term.


Today we have launched The Thistley Hough Winter Festival with students. This is a week of events and lessons aimed at enriching the learning experience, which is scheduled to take place in the last week before the term end. All activities will be delivered in a relaxed, fun and curriculum-driven way. The festival will maintain key Thistley Hough traditions, such as Christmas Jumper Days, a virtual whole academy assembly, and a traditional Christmas meal in our canteen. Throughout the week, each subject will deliver winter-themed lessons where the knowledge, understanding and skills they have developed in each subject can be applied to winter contexts. These are not the stereotype of “Christmas” or “film” lessons, rather they are an opportunity to extend the learning curriculum.


Given the lifetime of the virus on materials like paper, and the need for us to maintain separate bubbles between year groups, it is not necessarily covid secure for students to exchange cards and gifts in person this year. Accordingly, we have set up mailboxes for each floor to post their cards and gifts in. These need to be posted by Thursday 10th December, so that we can allow an “isolation” period of 1 week before sorting and delivering, in appropriate PPE, to students in the Academy. If your child wishes to take up this offer, they must ensure that the items are clearly and legibly labelled with the recipients name and year group as a minimum. Unfortunately, we cannot permit students to exchange cards and gifts at the Academy in person this year, as we continue to protect against self-isolations at Christmas.


As in previous years, we will be supporting our local community by holding a food bank collection. There will be collection points at each student entrance and whilst students are welcome to donate at any point during December, we would particularly welcome donations on the final Wednesday and Thursday of term, to coincide the Christmas Jumper Days and Christmas meals. Food banks are typically appreciative of any donations, but for obvious reasons the following foodstuff items are particularly welcomed:



  • Cereal
  • Soup
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Tinned tomatoes/ pasta sauce
  • Lentils, beans and pulses
  • Tinned meat
  • Tinned vegetables
  • Tea/coffee
  • Tinned fruit
  • Biscuits
  • UHT milk
  • Fruit juice




A traditional Christmas meal is a wonderful thing, and we will continue to offer this in the last week of term. No booking in advance is necessary, but students must ensure that the standard meal-deal price of £2.30 is available on their cashless account before going to the canteen (Free School Meals will operate in the usual way). Please note that we will be alternating lunchtime arrangements on Wednesday 16th and Thursday 17th December so that all students get an opportunity to have a Christmas Dinner. Following 3 weeks of Pre-Public Examinations, Year 11 students will have the option of having a Christmas lunch on both days, as a reward their commitment and hard work. Further to this, on the last Friday of term, all students in the Academy will receive a complimentary breakfast that morning, thanks to The Magic Breakfast.


Key Dates for your Diaries:


Card & Gift Delivery Service Opens Wednesday 2nd December

Closes Thursday 10th December

Deliveries Thursday 17th and Friday 18th December

Food Bank Collections Every day in December, but in particular on Wednesday 16th and Thursday 17th December
Christmas Jumper Days Wednesday 16th December and Thursday 17th December
Christmas Meal (Years 7, 8 and 11) Wednesday 16th December
Christmas Meal (Years 9, 10 and 11) Thursday 17th December
Magic Breakfast Friday 18th December
Last Day of Term Friday 18th December


Our Principal, Ms. Schofield, will write to you again to confirm arrangements for the last day of term, including finish times, arrangements for the start of term in January and how to contact the Academy during the winter break.


I wish you, your families and friends, a relaxed and enjoyable Christmas break. Please take care.


Yours sincerely



Dave Fenney

Assistant Principal