Harborough secondary school forced to cancel its open evening for parents of prospective pupils

The event usually attracts hundreds of mums and dads from all over the area

Saturday, 29th August 2020, 1:09 pm
Updated Saturday, 29th August 2020, 1:10 pm
Robert Smyth Academy usually welcomes hundreds of mums and dads from all over the area to show them the high-performing school on Burnmill Road.

A Market Harborough secondary school is cancelling its traditional open evening for parents of prospective pupils in a bid to beat the Covid-19 threat.

The town’s Robert Smyth Academy usually welcomes hundreds of mums and dads from all over the area to show them the high-performing school on Burnmill Road.

But the school’s principal Dan Cleary has called off the special annual event this year days after 1,050 students have returned to kickstart the new academic year.

Robert Smyth Academy usually welcomes hundreds of mums and dads from all over the area to show them the high-performing school on Burnmill Road.

“It has been a very difficult decision for us to take.

“I love our open evenings – they pack a massive buzz.

“I know that parents from across Market Harborough and the villages love coming here to tour the school and meet us,” Dan told the Harborough Mail.

“It’s always been huge as parents decide which school to send their children to the following September.

“But we just cannot do that this year – we have to think and do it very differently.

“We have got to put our 1,050 students first as well as our 100 staff.

“We just cannot afford to run the risk of inviting hundreds of parents into our school and inadvertently triggering the transmission of Covid-19.

“Just one case here could be catastrophic.

“It could end up with our school being forced to close again in the worst possible scenario.

“Some of our kids have already missed about six months of vital schooling.

“They simply cannot afford to lose any more time in the classroom.”

Dan said they draft in about 180 Year 7 starters from local primary schools every year and about 140 Year 12 sixth-formers.

“We are turning our traditional open evening into an equally vibrant virtual experience this year.

“We are making a lot of online materials available on our school website, putting up guided tours and new interviews with staff and students,” said the school chief.

“We will be giving parents and families every possible insight, nugget of information and real guidance into Robert Smyth Academy.

“I’ll also be taking part in interactive online chats with parents to answer all of their questions about who we are and what we do.

“We will make sure they will have everything they need in time to apply for a place for their child here by the end of October.”

Dan also saluted the parents of his students following an outstanding first week back in class.

“Our parents have been brilliant in preparing kids to come back to school.

“It’s our first full week back at school since the coronavirus lockdown was imposed.

“And we couldn’t have got off to a better start,” he said.

“We have kept parents fully informed all the way through this tough time about what we are doing.

“And they have responded amazingly.

“Students’ punctuality, attendance and behaviour as well as adhering to our new Covid-19 measures have all been exemplary.

“Attendance is well above the national average.

“It was haunting for me when we locked the school gates back in late March.

“It felt plain wrong to close and send our kids home.

“It’s just inspiring to get up and running again – it makes it all worthwhile.

“So we will do everything in our powers to stay safe, clean and open and protect our students and staff as well as the wider community.”

If you would like to find out more about Robert Smyth Academy you can visit their website here: https://www.robertsmyth.tgacademy.org.uk/