October 12th 2020

Dear Parent/Carer,

You will be aware that the teachers’ unions are currently involved in a dispute with our employer over pay and conditions. We had hoped that the dispute would have been resolved by now, but unfortunately, that is not the case. The largest teaching union moved to a second phase of Action Short of Strike Action (ASOSA) last week. This will have far-reaching consequences for the normal running of the school. Chief amongst these is the likelihood that I will be unable to staff all classes in the event of significant teacher absence. In order to maintain the safety of all students, I may have to place students from different year groups and subjects in the Studio Theatre for all, or part of the school day, depending upon which teachers are absent. I must make it clear that I will only be in a position to assess the extent of any staffing shortages on the morning of any given school day.

We will, of course, keep you informed of any developments. The most efficient and prompt way of doing this is via our text/email messaging service. Please ensure, therefore, that we have your most up-to-date mobile number and email address.

The Year 10 Meet the Tutors Evening was due to take place on Tuesday 20th October. Sadly, this is unlikely to proceed as planned, as most of our teachers are in the largest union, which is not participating in after school-events. It is with regret that this decision has been taken and we are all hoping that talks to resolve this dispute will resume and that a resolution is found.

Uniform Breaches

Our expectations regarding uniform have not changed. Uniform is important because it reinforces who we are as a community, as well as allowing students to have a sense of pride and self-respect. In terms of safe-guarding, it also helps us identify any young people who should not be on site. In these financially challenging times, we have tried to be understanding about what we have allowed our students to wear. Unfortunately, we are seeing breaches of uniform in the following three areas:

  • Black lycra skirts
  • Footwear that isn’t all black (we do not insist upon black leather shoes, but do require footwear to be completely black, with no obvious logo)
  • Long acrylic nails, which stop students accessing the full curriculum

It is not our intention to cause you additional expense and the school will continue to be sympathetic if you are experiencing financial hardship. (Please contact bhsenquiries@sch.im in complete confidence if you need financial help). We have purchased a range of sizes of appropriate school skirts, which we will continue to make available to students. However, immediately after half term, any deliberate breaches of uniform will result in students being educated separately from their peers. I regret having to impose this sanction, but it is quite clear that some students are choosing not to wear school uniform.

GCSE and A Level Exams – stop press!

It has just been announced that most external examinations will commence on 7 June, three weeks later than usual for most boards, excluding Cambridge. Please do not book any holidays, or assume that July will be examination free. As soon as I know more, I will pass on the information to you.

Yours sincerely,

P. A. Burnett,

Head Teacher