T: 01429 273790 | E: admin@ems.bhcet.org.uk

Category Archives: Year 12 Parents/Carers

Dear Parent/Carer

I hope this letter finds you safe and well. As we come to the end of a very challenging year for many of us, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your continued support.

As the Government’s plans to return to a greater level of normality begins later this month, we will be working closely as a Trust and with Public Health England to ensure that any changes we make in September will have our students and staff’s safety at heart. All of our communication will continue on the app and all the letters for your son / daughter can be found on the ‘Parent’ tab and then click on year group and then letters home. We do have to carry out two lateral flow tests just before students return in September and within 5 days of each other. Similar to last year, it will mean a staggered start due to the logistics of this task. We will be in touch in the coming weeks, but we are planning to get Sixth Form and Year 11 completed as best we can before Monday 6th September and start with Years 7 & 10 on the Monday 6th. This would mean Years 8 & 9 would return on Tuesday 7th September. We will confirm this once guidance and plans are completed.

Can I also take this opportunity to say how proud I am of all of our students. The way they have responded to the challenges has been inspirational. It has been a privilege to be their headteacher. Although many of our Year 11 Students will return in September to our Sixth Form, I want to single out Years 13 & 11 students, in particular, for their tenacity and resilience. We look forward to celebrating their success this summer. All of the details for this summer’s results can also be found on our website.

It is also a time we say goodbye to special members of staff. Mrs McHugh has been at EMS for a year and has now secured a full-time position. Mr Hall leaves us after 7 years as an invaluable cog in our Pastoral wheel. Mr McAllister has been with us for 9 years and has been pivotal in some of the most memorable shows and performances the school and college have ever seen. Mr McMahon leaves us after 17 years as our Deputy Headteacher. He has made a huge impact on many families in our town leaving a legacy that will live for a long time to come. Mrs Carr is retiring after 18 years at the School, and we all know that her optimism and cheerfulness is going to be sorely missed. Last, but not least, Mrs Hickey is also retiring after 19 years (I know she doesn’t look old enough!). We will deeply miss her unstinting dedication to the students and the dignified, humble way she serves our school. Good luck and God Bless to them All.

As many of you know I also will be retiring this summer. After 33 years as a teacher and 11 years as a headteacher, I have experienced many changes and challenges. Over the past 6 years I have had some of the most exhilarating times in education whilst at EMS. I do feel however, that now is the right time to hand over the baton to Mrs Crawshaw. Mrs Crawshaw and I have been working closely over recent months and I am incredibly positive about the next chapter of this unique school. Our recent inspection in March 2021 was very positive and I feel the school is now ready to come out of the other side of this extraordinary period changed, yet ready for change, in equal measure.

I would like to leave you with one of my favourite quotes which has provided solace to many people during this pandemic. It comes from a religious book called ‘Revelations of Divine Love’ from 1393. It was the first book ever written and published by an English woman, during the Middle Ages and during a global pandemic;

“ but all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”

I am confident that all will be well going forward for this wonderful School and the wonderful people of this Town.

Have a peaceful, relaxing and enjoyable break.

Stephen Hammond

Dear Parent/Carer,

Following advice from Public Health on a positive lateral flow test result within the Kitchen we are taking precautions and closing the catering service until the PCR result is received.

Please can you ensure your child brings a pack lunch to school tomorrow. We will have a limited supply of sandwiches available for our Free School Meal Students.

Once we have a further update we will be in touch, we thank you for your understanding.

Dear Parent/Carer

The new AQA A Level specification requirements are that all students will spend 4 days in the field collecting data to complete their NEA project. The Geography Fieldwork Investigation, also known as the Non-Examined Assessment (NEA), is an Independent Investigation, worth 20% of the A-level.

Students will complete the first two fieldwork ‘taster days’ on Thursday 8th July and Friday 9th July. The Human Fieldwork will take place in Durham and the Physical fieldwork will take place at Coatham Sands sand dunes, near Redcar. Students will be transported in the school minibus.

We will be leaving school at 9am on both days and will return for 3pm. Students will be working outdoors and must be dressed appropriately for potential inclement weather. Students will certainly require a packed lunch for the sand dune fieldwork day as there will not be anywhere to purchase food. Plenty of drinks must be carried by students. Students must ensure that they carry all personal medications on their person – inhalers for example. Decisions about which location will be visited on which day will be decided by the weather forecast

Students must take this fieldwork experience very seriously as their final result depends on the quality learning taking place on these two days.

If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact me at the school.
Mrs A Martindale
Head of Geography.

NCS Audience with Parents/Guardians

You are invited to a zoom session aimed at parents/guardians of Year 11 and 12 students NOT yet signed up to NCS Summer 2021.

We would usually have had the opportunity to meet with several of you at parent’s evenings and events at the school – since this hasn’t been possible, we would love to give you the chance to hear all about NCS in this online forum. You will learn how to get your teen signed up to the programme and have the opportunity to ask any questions you may have.

NCS is a summer programme for young people aged 15 to 17. It is a government funded initiative available nationally. NCS is a great experience for young people, intended to build confidence, promote independency and provide a fun and safe environment for young people to develop their skills. Previous participants have commented that they have made friends for life and felt that they had gained experience to help them transition into further education or the world of work. To learn more, please join us for our online event which will take place on MONDAY 24TH MAY 2021 @ 5.30PM. Please follow the link below at the time of the event. The event will last approximately 40 minutes.

The Tees Valley NCS team are inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Parents info session

Time: May 24, 2021 05:30 PM London

Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 849 9672 6972
Passcode: 5FmveF

Testing in school

Up to one in three people who have COVID-19 can spread the virus without knowing. This is because they have no symptoms. To reduce the spread of the virus, we need to identify those individuals.

As you are now doubt aware we are in the process of carrying out lateral flow testing in school and all students have been given the opportunity to be tested three times over a two-week period.  This process is almost complete and we are now asking parents to support us in continuing the testing programme at home.

Testing at home

We understand that each child has individual needs. Many children will adapt to testing becoming part of their routine, others will find it more challenging. Taking part in testing is voluntary and all children will be able to attend school whether they take part or not. We hope that the option to take the test in the morning or the evening will support families to test at home. 

If you agree that it is appropriate for your child to be tested at home, they will be able to collect their home test kits from their form tutors.  Sixth Form students will be given their kits during PDD

We would like them to take their tests each Sunday and Wednesday.

Tests are free of charge. Your child will receive a pack of 3 tests in a box with a leaflet on how to take the test and report the results.

Students should ensure that they have enough time to do the test before going to school. However, we understand that for some people this may be challenging. Therefore, tests can be taken the evening before if needed.

There is no need to keep used test equipment. After the test result has been reported, you can put it in your normal bin (household waste).

This does not replace symptomatic testing. If you have symptoms you should self- isolate immediately, book a PCR test and follow national guidelines.

Test results

Once you have completed the LFD test you should:

  • If your child or anyone in your household tests positive your household and any support bubbles you are part of should self-isolate immediately in line with NHS Test and Trace guidance for 10 days.
  • You need to report your result to both NHS Test and Trace and school.
  • You should order a confirmatory PCR test if you are testing at home (confirmatory PCR tests are not needed if the test was conducted at the Asymptomatic Test Site at School).
  • If the result of the test is unclear (void) you should do another test.
  • Negative and void results need to be reported to both NHS Test and Trace and school.
  • A negative result does not guarantee that you are not carrying the virus. So, you should continue to follow social distancing, and other measures to reduce transmission such as wearing a face mask and regularly washing your hands and observing social distancing.
  • If you or anyone in your household gets symptoms of the virus you should follow national guidelines on self-isolation and testing.
  • You need to report each test result by using the NHS Test and Trace self-report website: https://www.gov.uk/report-covid19-result
  • You will also need to tell the school the result of each test using the following link https://forms.office.com/r/ctmpp4Qrke

Taking part in testing is voluntary and all children will be able to attend school whether they take part in testing or not.  I am strongly encouraging all children to take part. Testing at home will allow your child and other children to attend school and help to reduce the spread of the virus. 

Please contact Sarah Tait, our COVID Coordinator, if you have any questions or concerns about home testing.

Yours faithfully

Stephen Hammond


Dear Parents/Carers,

We are delighted that the government have announced this week that we can begin welcoming all students back to school, to resume face to face teaching, from Monday 8th March.

A central part of the return plan is that students should take 3 Lateral Flow Tests between 3-5 days apart upon returning. This presents a logistical challenge for us and our only solution is to stagger the return of students across three days as outlined below:

Schedule of phased return:

Year 11, 12 and 13: Return to school Monday 8th March

  • Test 1: 8th March
  • Test 2: 11th March
  • Test 3 16th March

Year 10 and 9: Return to school Tuesday 9th March

  • Test 1: 9th March
  • Test 2: 12th March
  • Test 3: 17th March

Year 8 and 7: Return to school Wednesday 10th March

  • Test 1: 10th March
  • Test 2: 15th March
  • Test 3: 18th March


Lateral Flow Tests

Only students who have been given the consent of parents/carers will be able to be tested – it would be extremely helpful if you could indicate either you consent or refusal to consent by filling in the information for your child(ren) via this link: http://bhcet.org.uk/covid19 as verbal consent cannot be taken.

If a student tests positive on a Lateral Flow Test then they will be sent home and asked to organise a PCR test at an approved centre. Only if this PCR test is positive will close contacts be advised to self-isolate for 10 days.

After the initial 3 tests have been performed in school, all students will be issued with test kits to administer at home. Further information about this will be given nearer to the time.

Safeguards to reduce transmission

Over the next week, we will prepare for the wider reopening. We will work carefully through the government guidance to ensure that all controls are in place in order to ensure a safe environment for all.

We will maintain the discrete bubble system that was in operation in the Autumn term. Year groups will be taught within their bubble and break/lunch sessions will be split to avoid year group mixing. This will ensure that we are able to limit how many contacts each student has and in the event of a positive case will enable us to only have to instruct a smaller number of students to self-isolate.

Face coverings must be worn in all communal areas of the school building and the government guidance has now included a recommendation for this to include classrooms. Unless your child is exempt from wearing a face covering, it is important that they are prepared with a sufficient supply to last the full duration of the school day. Face coverings should be safely stored (e.g. in a zip bag) for when students are eating or are outside.


The wider reopening of schools is a positive step forward in the country’s response to COVID-19. Once school reopens, all students (with the exception of those instructed to shield) will be expected to attend. As a result, our live online provision will not be provided in the way that it currently is.

Students who are absent because of shielding or the need to self-isolate will continue to access their learning resources via Teams


It is important that we all work together to prepare all children for a positive return to school including organising your child’s uniform, planner and equipment, and re-establishing morning routines to ensure punctual arrival at school.

Our school tie will be optional up until the Easter holiday. When we return after Easter, all students will be expected to wear their tie. Ties will be available to purchase from school between the return to school and Easter.

Whilst I am sure you will appreciate we now have to work through our planning and the revised guidance, if you do have any further questions about your child’s return to school, please contact us via your child’s Pastoral Manager or via admin@ems.bhcet.org.uk .

With every good wish

Stephen Hammond


Dear Parents/Carers

May I begin by thanking you for your extraordinary efforts and support during this half term. The transfer of our curriculum to remote learning has been largely successful with over 96% of students regularly participating in their live lessons.

Feedback from our student voice surveys shows that the vast majority have coped with the transfer and have benefited from the support given to them by their teachers and teaching assistants.

I hope that students try some of the suggested strategies we have given them to support their mental and physical wellbeing – both today and continually during lockdown and beyond.

As you will be aware, The Government have said that they will review the national data on 22nd February before deciding the next steps in terms of a return to school. They have said that they will give parents and schools two weeks notice of any return.

In effect, this means that our current arrangements will remain in place after half term until at least Friday 5th March.

I will write again as soon as we are given any additional information which enables us to firm up arrangements.

May I wish you all a peaceful, relaxing and enjoyable half-term break.

Many thanks

Stephen Hammond


Dear Parent/Carer

I hope this letter finds you safe and well.

Having met extensively with Trust Headteachers over the last few days, I am writing to outline the approach that all 5 secondary schools within the Bishop Hogarth Trust will be taking during this period of national lockdown.


The first thing to state is that this is very different to the lockdown last March. Then we were told that schools would close and that our main function was to provide childcare for vulnerable students and the children of key workers. The education of other students became a growing concern as the duration of lockdown grew.

For this lockdown, the emphasis is not on school closure but on the transfer of education to remote learning for all students whilst the building remains open for vulnerable students (who must attend) and children of key workers (who can attend) to continue their education.

Remote Learning

The DfE have set out their expectations for this transfer to remote learning:

In terms of timing they said that secondary schools should take vulnerable students and children of key workers back into school from Tuesday 5th January which we have done. They expected remote learning ‘including some face to face’ sessions to begin for examination groups (Y11 and Y13) to also begin on 5th January which we have done. They expect us to deliver remote (including some face to face) learning for all other year groups for week beginning 11th January but for learning resources to have been available for this week for these students.

Our live learning sessions are due to begin for all students on Monday 11th January. This day will begin with a pastoral session in virtual tutor groups from 08:45-09:00. Students will receive an invitation via Teams from their form tutor. This session will run at the same time every Monday – it will allow students to touch base with their tutors and to have face to face contact with their fellow students.

As teachers invite students to lessons, they will appear on the calendar page of Teams – this will serve as a daily timetable.

The DfE guidance on remote learning says this:

When teaching pupils remotely, we expect schools to:

  • set assignments so that pupils have meaningful and ambitious work each day in a number of different subjects
  • set work that is of equivalent length to the core teaching pupils would receive in school, and as a minimum
  • secondary: 4 hours a day, with more for pupils working towards formal qualifications this year
  • provide frequent, clear explanations of new content, delivered by a teacher or through high-quality curriculum resources or videos
  • have systems for checking, at least weekly, whether pupils are engaging with their work, and inform parents immediately where engagement is a concern
  • gauge how well pupils are progressing through the curriculum using questions and other suitable tasks, and provide feedback, at least weekly, using digitally facilitated or whole-class feedback where appropriate
  • enable teachers to adjust the pace or difficulty of what is being taught in response to questions or assessments, including, where necessary, revising material or simplifying explanations to ensure pupils’ understanding

Research backs logic when it suggests that there are higher levels of student engagement when they can regularly interact with their teachers. This is why we are requesting that there are regular live lessons across all subjects – and that students have explained to them exactly what is expected of them lesson in, lesson out. Our teachers’ jobs remain full time as contracted and their timetables remain the same.

Certainly what we will not do is to upload a folder full of resources and say ‘that is 3 weeks worth; work your way through it’ with no teacher explanation of content, no feedback, no interaction. Students will quickly disengage. Our intention is to randomly sample students across all year groups on a weekly basis to get feedback on their levels of engagement and their experience across subjects. This will help enable us to make whatever tweaks we deem necessary.

We know from life within school that there are occasions were staff are unable to teach their lessons and need to leave cover work and this will be no different. The important thing is that students (and parents) know when a lesson is not going to be live and exactly what the students are expected to do for that session.

Rota system

We have agreed to put in place a rota for the supervision of Vulnerable/Key Worker students. Our rota system will begin next Tuesday (12th January) in order to allow all teachers to deliver live lessons on Monday 11th.  Teachers on the rota will notify their classes that they won’t be live teaching on the day they are supporting on the rota and ensure that their classes know exactly what they are expected to do.

As the emphasis this time is on continuity of learning and curriculum delivery, the students in school are wearing school uniform. They are following exactly the same learning provision as students at home.

Behaviour for Learning

Our expectations for student behaviour and attitude to learning during this time remain extremely high. Students who disturb the learning of others or who use the Teams facility inappropriately will be sanctioned as they would if they were disturbing lessons in classrooms.

We need to use this time to ensure that our students’ learning journey is as smooth as possible so they make as much progress as they possibly can. We will contact you should your son/daughter not engage in the way in which we would like.

I have said before that we are a human organisation. This means that we do not always get things right and we seek to improve when we fall short.

Many thanks for patience, understanding and support.

Stephen Hammond


Notification of close contacts at weekends and during holidays

As you know when we are notified of a confirmed case of COVID-19 at English Martyrs, we undertake a risk assessment in discussion with Public Health and identify anyone in the school/college who is classified as a ‘close contact’ and who would, therefore, need to self-isolate.

It is then our responsibility to identify and inform close contacts that they need to self-isolate.

If we are informed of a confirmed case over a weekend or during the school holidays, we are still required to carry out a risk assessment and identify and inform close contacts of the need to self-isolate.

The procedure for contacting you about this is as follows:

  • If your child has been identified as a close contact you will receive a telephone call informing you of this. This will be followed up by a letter outlining dates of return to school. These dates are all agreed in our discussions with Public Health England and are based on the date of the onset of symptoms or, in asymptomatic cases, the date of the positive test.
  • If your child is in the year group or class of a confirmed case but is not a close contact you will not normally be contacted and your child is expected to attend school as normal.

As a reminder, if your child tests positive you must inform school immediately. During term-time please inform us either by telephone (01429 273790) via email to admin@ems.bhcet.org.uk

At weekends and during the holidays please inform us via email to SHammond@ems.bhcet.org.uk

If your child is asked to self-isolate from NHS Track and Trace

If your child is asked to self-isolate by NHS Track and Trace – either by telephone or via the NHS App, it is important that you contact the school using the admin email address above. It would be appreciated if you could forward a screenshot of the advice, as there is disparity in the number of days people are being asked to self-isolate. This will enable us to update our records correctly.

Update on confirmed cases from September 1st – October 19th

To date, we have had a total of 15 confirmed cases of COVID-19 amongst our students:

  • Year 12/13: 7 cases + 38 self-isolated
  • Year 11: 3 cases + 73 self-isolated
  • Year 10: 2 cases + 50 self-isolated
  • Year 9: 2 cases + 22 self-isolated
  • Year 8: 0 cases
  • Year 7: 1 case + 17 self-isolated

If your child is self-isolating

Work for students who are self-isolating is available via the relevant year group folder on Microsoft Teams. Staff are uploading work in fortnightly chunks – this work is arranged in date-ordered folders.

If your child experiences any issues in accessing this work then you should contact Mr Dickson (Deputy Headteacher) via email to: PDickson@ems.bhcet.org.uk

Student behaviour in the community

We have been informed by The Police that some of our students are socialising in large groups outside of school. The current government guidance for Hartlepool is:

  • you must not socialise with anybody outside of your household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
  • you must not socialise in a group of more than 6 outside, including in a garden or other spaces like beaches or parks (other than where specific exemptions apply in law)

I would be grateful if you could speak to your child so that they understand this guidance.

May I take this opportunity to thank you for your support and patience over what has been a very different half term to normal.

Yours sincerely

Stephen Hammond