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  • Coronavirus - Update

    Published 28/02/20

    3rd April 2020

    Dear Parents/ Carers,

    I hope that you and your families continue to keep safe and well.

    The last two weeks have been very different to our normal way of life at St Bernadette’s. Pupils, parents and staff have had to get used to new ways of working. We have been impressed with the commitment and dedication shown by all members of our school community and the excellent work being produced. As we reach the end of this term, we will be reflecting on our experiences of the first two weeks of home working and looking at how we can further improve the experiences of pupils, parents and staff at this time. We will be in touch after the break with more details.

    Next week is Holy Week, a most important week in the Church Year. As we are unable to have our usual Holy Week Service in school and indeed will be unable to attend Easter services in person, we are attaching prayers, readings and reflections that we hope you will find useful as a family. Please remember that Holy Week and Easter services will be available online from many churches, including Clifton Cathedral.  We also hope you will enjoy reading the Bernard which we will also be sharing with you.

    Please remember to observe social distancing, to stay at home and keep safe.

    With best wishes for the Easter season.

    Mrs McLaughlin

    Prayers, Readings and Reflections

    1st April

    Year 11 Parents - Please click HERE for information on the grading of GCSE's


    27 March

    Dear Parents/ Carers,

    I hope that you and your families are keeping well and that the first week of pupils working at home rather than in school has gone smoothly. Thank you to all the pupils who are completing work and to you the parents, carers and family members supporting them. Thank you also to the staff who are setting and responding to work.

    In the coming weeks we will be looking at how to showcase some of the work being completed and also to develop some school wide competitions and community focused activities that pupils can be involved in from home. We want to ensure our pupils continue to feel they belong to St Bernadette’s and that we continue to share and celebrate their achievements. If you have any new ideas about how we can do this, please do let us know.

    Pray with Pope Francis

    The Pope announced that today on Friday, 27 March, he will preside over a moment of prayer at the top of the steps of St Peter’s Basilica.  Pope Francis said, “I invite everyone to participate spiritually through the means of communication.”  The ceremony will consist in readings from the Scriptures, prayers of supplication, and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament; and will conclude with Pope Francis giving the Urbi et orbi Blessing, with the possibility of gaining a plenary indulgence for all those who listen to it live through the various forms of communication. The blessing “to the City of Rome and to the World” is normally only given at Christmas and Easter.

    The live broadcast can be watched on the Vatican News You Tube channel:

    “Every child who can be safely cared for at home should be, to limit the chance of the virus spreading.”

    The government has asked parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and asked schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend. The government guidance is that “If children can stay safely at home, they should, to limit the chance of the virus spreading.”  Thank you for your support with this. We appreciate all you are doing.

    The school continues to be open for children with a parent or carer who is listed on the government’s critical worker list and to children who are vulnerable and for whom no other arrangements can be made. .

    If you fall into these categories and need to send your child to school please email the school and provide details of the dates on which your child will be in school. If you are able to do this on a weekly basis that will be helpful. We do however appreciate that in these challenging times, the need to go into work and shifts may change at short notice. If this is the case, please let us know the day before your child attends, so that we can ensure appropriate staffing levels. Thank you.

    Free School Meals (FSM)

    Bristol will now be emailing vouchers to parents of children entitled to free school meals. The first vouchers should arrive on Tuesday/ Wednesday of next week and will cover next week and the Easter holidays. If you have not provided us with an email address or do not have one, you will need to collect the vouchers from school. We will contact you once we receive them.

    I hope that in these challenging times you can take some comfort in the support of others and are also able to offer support to those in need.  Enjoy the weekend as best you can.

    Best wishes

    Mrs McLaughlin

    23rd March

    Dear Parents/ Carers,

    Today we have the start of a school week like no other we have experienced. From today all schools are closed to pupils, except for the children of key workers and vulnerable pupils for whom no other arrangements are available. We appreciate how difficult things are and thank you for the arrangements you have made for the care of your children.

    Key workers
    We would like to thank all key workers for the tremendous job you are doing to care for and protect our communities and society. We appreciate that the demands on you will be continually changing and some of you who currently do not need to send your child into school, may need to do so in the future. To ensure we are ready to welcome all pupils who need to be in school, please can you email us on with your child’s name and year group the day before your child will be in school. Thank you.

    Keeping safe
    Please remember to follow the advice:

    • Wash your hands often - with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitiser when you get home or into work, when you blow your nose, sneeze or cough, eat or handle food
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin and wash your hands
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
    • Work from home if possible
    • Keep a social distance from others. Avoid public places and if you go out keep a distance of at least two metres between yourself and others
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home

    You must stay at home and self-isolate for seven days if you have Coronavirus symptoms:

    • A temperature over 37.8
    • A new continuous cough - this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

    If someone in your house has symptoms, you must self-isolate for fourteen days from the start of their symptoms.

    Supporting your child while schools are closed

    • Being educated at home is very different to being in a school environment and routine is key. Stick to a routine with your child. Make sure you create a daily structure with your child which includes breaks. Enjoy breakfast and mealtimes together and plan a day of focused schoolwork activities. Teachers, who are able to do so are setting work via Google Classroom. They will also try to respond to any queries your child raises or provide feedback on any work they upload on Google Classroom.
    • Additional work is also available via the school website. By clicking on the Faculty Resource Hub links your child will be able to access materials produced by subject staff. Consider using afternoons as creative and practical learning time doing things such as looking at nature, carrying out scientific experiments, drawing, reading, cooking or keeping active. Do not forgot to include exercise.
    • Try to limit the amount of time your child spends using technology. They need to have a variety of activities and too much screen time is not good for anyone.
    • Fresh air is good for our health and exercise is an important part of our daily lives. Fresh air has been shown to help us digest food more effectively, improve blood pressure, heart rate, and strengthen our immune systems. It also makes us happier by promoting higher levels of positive emotions.
    • Talk to your child about any concerns or worries they have during uncertain times. Listen to them, support them and encourage them to stay connected with their friends or wider family using online methods. Reassure them and try to keep them motivated.
    • Being distanced from friends and needing to isolate can have a negative effect on mental health and happiness. Children need some independence and time to connect with others. They also need reassurance, kindness and love so keep an eye on your child’s happiness, emotions and moods.

    Free School Meals
    There have been a few teething issues with the provision of free school meals and the arrangements for children in receipt of FSM continue to be developed. This is due to factors beyond our control and we apologise for any distress or inconvenience caused. The current arrangements are:

    • A parcel containing provisions for five days’ lunches will be available for collection from school tomorrow and thereafter each Monday .
    • If you have children at more than one school you can collect all the parcels from one school. Please let us know if you will be collecting for children from other schools at St Bernadette’s.
    • If you prefer to collect your parcel at a school closer to your home, please email us at giving your child’s name and the school you wish to collect from. We will pass this information to the meal providers who will make the necessary arrangements.
    • If you are self-isolating and are unable to collect your parcel but have someone who can collect it for you, please email the school with the name of the person and we will hand the parcel to them. If you have no one to collect the parcel for you, let us know and Chartwells, the meal provider, will look to arrange a delivery, although this is not something they can guarantee at this stage.

    Year 11 exams
    We shared the information we received about exams with you last Friday and will continue to keep you updated. You may find the following information helpful.

    Government information for parents/ carers
    The Government has produced the following information for parents:

    Communicating with you
    We continue to be committed to keeping in touch with all members of our school community during the period of school closure. We will be in touch with you by email at least once each week and more often if required. Our school telephones will not be staffed all of the time but emails are checked throughout the working day and will be forwarded to the most appropriate person.

    And finally a prayer

    God of love and hope,Yyou made the world and care for all creation, but the world feels strange right now.
    The news is full of stories about Coronavirus. Some people are worried that they might get ill.
    Others are anxious for their family and friends. Be with them and help them to find peace.
    We pray for the doctors and nurses and scientists, and all who are working to discover the right medicines to help those who are ill.
    Thank You that even in these anxious times, You are with us. Help us to put our trust in You and keep us safe.

    We make our prayer though Christ our Lord. Amen.

    St Bernadette…Pray for us.

    Best wishes

    Mrs McLaughlin


    22nd March


    Bristol City Council has changed the arrangements for Free School Meals children during the period of school closure. Weekly lunch parcels for Free School Meal children will now be distributed from our school and not the six hubs as previously stated. 

    Free School Meal weekly parcels can be collected from St Bernadette Secondary School every Monday from 11.30a.m. 

    Free School Meal children who are attending school will be provided with lunch.

    Please email queries to

    20th March
    Dear Parents/ Carers,

    As we shared yesterday, from Monday all schools will be closed to the majority of children. St Bernadette’s will however be open to the children of key workers and children with certain needs.

    The government has today issued this advice for parents

    Essentially they are asking the following:

    • If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.
    • If a child needs specialist support, is vulnerable or has a parent who is a critical worker, then they can attend school.
    • Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions.
    • Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.

    The list of key workers has been defined by the government as:

    • Health and social care - This includes but is not limited to doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector; those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributers of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment.
    • Education and childcare - This includes nursery and teaching staff, social workers and those specialist education professionals who must remain active during the COVID-19 response to deliver this approach.
    • Key public services - This includes those essential to the running of the justice system, religious staff, charities and workers delivering key frontline services, those responsible for the management of the deceased, and journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting.
    • Local and national government - This only includes those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the COVID-19 response or delivering essential public services such as the payment of benefits, including in government agencies and arms length bodies.
    • Food and other necessary goods - This includes those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines).
    • Public safety and national security -This includes police and support staff, Ministry of Defence civilians, contractor and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs and essential to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic), fire and rescue service employees (including support staff), National Crime Agency staff, those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff and other national security roles, including those overseas.
    • Transport - This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass.
    • Utilities, communication and financial services - This includes staff needed for essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure), the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage), information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the COVID-19 response, as well as key staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 critical services), postal services and delivery, payments providers and waste disposal sectors.

    We have been asked to collate information about the key worker status of parents/ carers of children who will be attending school. Thank you to those of you who provided information yesterday. I appreciate how busy you are and am sorry to have to ask all of those who consider themselves to be key workers to complete this additional form

    We are still awaiting an update on what will happen with exams and as soon as I receive information I will share it with those to whom it applies.

    Please remember that from Monday pupils should continue with their learning and I will send further information to you regarding this on Monday.

    Finally, as the Church has suspended all public masses for the foreseeable future, it is going to be some time before we are able to receive the Eucharist. Many Churches will be live streaming Masses and this will give us the chance to, at least, participate in the readings and prayers. The diocesan website will provide updates and details of the live streaming of Mass.

    I hope you and your families keep calm, safe and well.

    Best wishes

    Mrs McLaughlin


    19th March
    Dear Parents/ Carers,

    The government have now instructed all schools to close to almost all children after this Friday until further notice.

    As advised by the government, we will do all we can to stay open for the children of key workers (e.g. NHS staff, police, others in frontline services) and children with certain needs. We are waiting for the government to publish more information on what this means, but it would help us in the meantime if you could let us know if you think your child may fall into one of these categories.

    Please complete the questionnaire by following this link if you consider yourself to be a key worker:

    Once we receive further information relating to this we will be in touch with you again.

    All other children will need to stay at home. Currently we do not know how long schools will remain closed.

    During the period of school closure we want all of our pupils to continue to engage in regular, daily learning.

    Please check Google Classroom. Teachers who are well and able to set work will routinely add work to this area. Teachers will try to respond to any queries you raise or provide feedback on any work you upload on Google Classroom.

    If there is no new work available please access the resources available via the school website. On the school website please click on Pupils then Work for pupils when absent from school and follow the appropriate links listed for different subject. By clicking on the Faculty Resource Hub links you will be able to access materials produced by our subject staff.

    If your child usually receives free school meals we will be in touch to let you know the arrangements once the government has clarified what they will be.

    We will continue to provide you with regular emails and updates in the days and weeks ahead. Please also check our school website and social media.

    Thank you for your continued support.

    Best wishes

    Mrs McLaughlin

    19th March
    Dear Parents/ Carers of pupils in Year 11,

    The government’s announcement that no exams will take place in May and June is obviously causing great concern for pupils, parents and schools. In his address yesterday the Prime Minister said, “We will make sure pupils get qualifications they need for their future career.” The government have said they will explain what this means on Friday of this week. While we await this information we will continue to support our Year 11s through their mock exams. I have told the pupils that these exams may become part of the evidence on which their grades are based if that is what we are asked to provide. As soon as we receive any additional information we will email you and your child.

    We are all immensely proud of our Year 11 pupils and the way in which they have worked preparing for their exams and the seriousness with which they have continued to work this week. We will continue to support them and work on their behalf to help them progress at the end of this year. Our Careers guidance continues remotely and you/ your child may be contacted by our Careers Advisors.

    Best wishes

    Mrs McLaughlin


    18th March - Our school is open to pupils in Years 7, 10 & 11 and all pupils of health emergency and essential workers from 19th March.  We continue to take all measures to ensure our pupils and staff remain safe and calm.

    18th March 2020
    Dear Parents/ Carers,

    As the Coronavirus situation continues to develop we are all faced with some difficult decisions. At St Bernadette’s, as in all schools, staff and pupils are affected by the requirement to self-isolate and maintain social distancing. This has affected the number of staff we have in school and this is changing on a daily basis.

    Having assessed our situation we feel we are unable to remain open for all year groups.

    From Thursday 19th March, the school we be open to:

    • Pupils in Years 7, 10 and 11
    • Pupils in all year groups whose parents/ carers work in front line health, emergency and essential services

    From Thursday 19th March until 3rd April (in the first instance) the school will be closed to:

    • Pupils in Years 8 and 9

    Please continue to follow government guidelines on self-isolation. The full guidance for staying at home can be accessed here:

    We would also ask that you do not send children with any illness into school given the current demands on our staff.

    As a school we are committed to all of our pupils continuing to engage in regular, daily learning.

    Pupils in Years 8 and 9 who will be learning at home

    Pupils should use the new exercise book they have been given to complete work. On the school website pupils should click on Pupils then Work for pupils when absent from school and follow the appropriate links listed for different subject. By clicking on the faculty web resources links they will be able to access materials produced by our subject staff. Teachers who are well and able to set work may also add specific tasks in Google Classroom.

    We recommend that pupils also spend some time reading, researching and revising. Please ensure your child varies the tasks they complete so that they are not using computers all of the time.

    Pupils in all year groups who are self-isolating and well

    On the school website pupils should click on Pupils then Work for pupils when absent from school and follow the appropriate links listed for different subject. By clicking on the faculty web resources links they will be able to access materials produced by our subject staff. KS4 pupils can also access Hegarty Maths, GCSE-pod and Seneca Learning.

    We are working with Bristol City Council to look at how we can support families who receive free school meals during periods of school closure and will share information with you as we receive it.

    We continue to monitor the situation and I will continue to provide a daily communication for parents by email and on the school website. If it becomes necessary to close to further year groups we will inform you of this as soon as possible.

    Thank you for your continued support and please continue to remember all those affected by Coronavirus in your prayers.

    Best wishes

    Mrs McLaughlin


    17th March 2020
    Dear Parent/ Carer,

    At St. Bernadette’s we take the health and safety of our pupils and staff very seriously. As you will be aware, the situation relating to the COVID-19 virus, otherwise known as Coronavirus, is changing all the time and new information is being issued by the government frequently. The most up-to-date information can be found by following this link:

    As a school, we are following all government advice as appropriate and are doing everything possible to keep our pupils and staff safe. We already have robust systems in place with regard to good personal hygiene and are reminding pupils how to prevent spreading germs.

    Preventing the Spread of Infection

    General principles to follow to prevent spreading of the respiratory virus:

    • Wash your hands often, with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or an alcohol-based sanitiser if soap and water aren't available. 
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
    • If you have a new cough or a temperature over 37.8, stay at home and don't attend work or school and follow the self isolation advice
    • Cover your sneeze or cough with a tissue and dispose of the tissue in a bin
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home

    If you're worried about your or your child’s symptoms, please call NHS 111. Don't go directly to your GP or other healthcare environment. 

    I appreciate there is growing concern as cases become more frequent in the UK.  As the situation is changing on a daily basis, we will be monitoring the situation and following advice from Public Health England. We will notify parent/carer by email if any change to our provision is required.

    Thank you for your ongoing support.

    Best wishes

    Mrs B A McLaughlin

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  • Coronavirus - Update

    3rd April 2020 Dear Parents/ Carers, I hope that you and your families continue to keep safe and well. The last two weeks have been very different to our normal way of life at St Bernadette’s. Pupils, parents and staff have had to get used to new ways of working. We have been imp...
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