It really is starting to feel like the most wonderful time of the year again. We are delighted to be into our festive calendar of events, with concerts, performances, Christmas Lunch and more taking place over the next few weeks.
It has been fantastic to be able to invite parents of pupils in Year 3, 4 and 5 in over the last three days to see their talented children take to the stage to perform Christmas classics, albeit in a ‘Covid-safe’ way. It still astounds me how confident and articulate our youngest pupils are in front of an audience. The time taken to learn words, lyrics and dance moves is a testament to their skills as individuals, and the hard work of their Class Teachers. I look forward to seeing pupils in Nursery – Year 2 performing next week.
Congratulations to both Charlotte S (Year 7) and Hannah E (Year 8), who represented the North East and Lakes in the UK Final of the Youth Climbing Series in Southampton.
Congratulations also to the U12 Netball team who won both their league games against Durham Johnston (20-5) and St. Leonard’s (25-4) this week. Well done to Year 8 who, despite losing their matches, made great progress.
The Christmas Hockey Tournament for Year 7- Year 13 will take place on Monday 6 December at Maiden Castle. Collection form Maiden Castle at 5.30pm. Christmas fancy dress very welcome!
Durham Christmas Festival
We are delighted that the school will be represented at the upcoming Durham Christmas Festival this weekend. We have secured a stall in the extremely popular craft and gift marquee on Palace Green; please come and say hello if you are passing by on Saturday or Sunday.
We will be selling some festive gifts and trinkets, made by pupils, to raise money to support the Afghan girls’ youth development football team, as part of an initiative by the Girls’ School Association. The group, which is made up under-privileged girls and their families, recently arrived in the UK having fled their homes in August.
Senior House Christmas Concert
We recorded the Senior House Christmas Concert on Wednesday evening, with fantastic performances by the Middle School Choir, Senior Choir, Chamber Choir, Orchestra, Wind Ensemble and Rock Band. Owing to the size of the event, the concert was recorded without an external audience and will be premiered at www.facebook.com/durhamhighsch on Wednesday 8 December at 7pm.
Nine Lessons and Carols
As per Durham Cathedral protocols, anyone aged 12+ attending our Nine Lessons and Carols service, on Wednesday 15 December at 2.15pm, must be prepared to show an NHS COVID Pass, a negative PCR or lateral flow test taken within the previous 48 hours, or a positive PCR test from within the past six months in order to gain entry.
As a result of this, we are asking all Senior House pupils to carry out a lateral flow test on the evening of Monday 13 December, in place of the test they would usually carry out on the Sunday. Pupils/parents must report this result using the school testing form at https://forms.office.com/r/pmYAc4TwyL, even if the result is negative. Pupils that have had Covid-19 in the last 90 days are exempt from testing, and proof of a positive PCR test in the last 6 months will be accepted in place of a negative test result.
This is an official school event and, as such, there will be no provision in school for those pupils that are not able to attend the service.
During Christmas Holidays
Pupils and staff who are not attending an education setting over Christmas do not need to continue to test twice weekly after the end of term. However, they may wish to take a rapid lateral flow test in situations where they are more likely to catch or spread Covid-19. This includes spending time in crowded and enclosed spaces, or before visiting people who are at higher risk of severe illness if they catch Covid-19.
If you require additional lateral flow tests, you can order home testing kits to be delivered to your home at www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests. You can also collect LFT kits at Community Collect sites across the County. To find your nearest collection point please enter your post code at maps.test-and-trace.nhs.uk.
Return to School
The Government has again advised that all secondary school-age pupils should receive an on-site lateral flow test on their return to school in January. Senior House pupils will be tested upon arrival at school on Tuesday 11 January 2022. Further details and a schedule will follow in due course. Pupils are encouraged to take a test at home 3-4 days after the initial test onsite. Following this, they will be given more home testing kits and should continue to test regularly in line with government guidance.
Participation in testing is voluntary, but it is strongly recommended in order to help us to break chains of transmission and minimise disruption to learning by keeping pupils in school. If you have previously given consent for on-site testing then you do not need to do anything further. If your child is new to Durham High School, or you have not previously given consent and wish to, please contact Mr Hall on firstname.lastname@example.org before Friday 17 December and you will be sent a consent form to complete. If, on the day of testing your child does not wish to take part, they will not be made to do so and consent can be withdrawn, by you, at any time ahead of the test taking place.
School Christmas Closure
The entire school site will be closed for Christmas from the end of the day on Wednesday 22 December 2021 until the morning of Tuesday 4 January 2022. There will be nobody monitoring telephone calls or emails during this time. A reminder that Monday 10 January 2022 is a staff INSET Day. All pupils will return the following day.
Car Park Safety
Please may we remind parents to be mindful of other vehicles and pedestrians in the car park at drop off and pick up times? Please use the drop off bays if you are quickly dropping off or collecting your child. Otherwise, please pull into a parking bay in the car park and refrain stopping elsewhere, even if you remain in your car. Thank you.