New arrivals settling in at Castle School
THORNBURY'S secondary school is welcoming more than 200 new pupils to what staff hope will be a more normal school year than the last two.
But while the new Years 7s brought their new uniforms, PE kit and bags in a day earlier than everyone else, work against covid risks had already started days earlier.
Head teacher Joe Docherty said: "Nothing beats the excitement of a new school year – full of hope, rich in possibilities and young people excited to be moving up to their next stage.
"I am hopeful that school life will look a lot more normal than the last two years – but I do so with fingers crossed, like the rest of society.
"Yet already we know it isn’t exactly that – our school year actually started earlier than planned, as we had to run five days of lateral flow testing before students could even begin lessons. So aspects of school life still have to be balanced against our need to try to avoid unnecessary risks regarding covid."
The school's sixth form, which in the summer saw five A-level students win places at Oxford university, has seen a growth in numbers of over 40 students this year.
The school is already looking ahead to next year's newcomers and has tailored its events to the current circumstances.
Rather than holding a single open evening with more than 1,000 visitors at once walking around the school and cramming into a packed hall, Mr Docherty and other school heads decided alternative ways to find out more about the school would be appropriate.
The school is currently hosting daily tours between 8.30am and 9.30am, where Mr Docherty and senior colleagues will take people to see the school in action and answer questions.
There will be a limit on the number of places each day, so parents will need to book on a tour in advance.
The school is also set to publishing a small "virtual tour" on its website.
For parents who cannot make a morning tour, Mr Docherty will host a ‘Meet the Headteacher’ session in school on October 6 at 5.30pm.
More information can be found on the school website and people can ask questions by email at email@example.com or by calling 01454 862100.
The Castle School Friends group has already staged its first fundraising event - a car boot sale - and is planning a quiz night on October 15.
Picture: New Year 7s get straight into life at the Castle School