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Dear parents and all in the community of Mougins School,

I am delighted to be writing to you at the end of the first week back to school for our students. It feels good having them all on-site, after the ‘no man’s land’ experience of the last couple of weeks of August! They have been, as indeed you have been, warmly welcoming to me and to all of the new staff. The school is in good spirits, and routines are settling down.

Orientation Day 2020
It seems a world away now, but only last Friday 4th September, we welcomed 160 new students and their families to Mougins School. We invited folk in three different groups, to keep numbers sensible, and held the event outside for the first time, which provided a wonderful backdrop to the occasion. It did mean that colleagues and families who attended more than one session had to listen to the HM jokes up to three times. So my thanks to all who gamely laughed as the sun blazed down! It was a lovely occasion, and I hope that both students and their parents enjoyed the day, and that it gave them a confident start to the school year.

Good food and good company
Some of the most pleasurable moments of the week with the students back have been, for me, at lunch. Eating good food in good company is as good as it gets, and each day I have sat with a random group of children, from four different secondary years, and I have also had some great chats with some of the smaller children (in quite a lot of languages!) Every group made we very welcome – and seemed completely unphased (quite the opposite, in fact) by their quinquagenarian Head Master sitting and chatting with them! They really love and are proud of their school, and told me animatedly about the lessons they had had, the sports they wanted to do and their hobbies and interests.

And they had all noticed how good and healthy the food is, with some new children saying it was out of this world compared to their previous schools! That’s thanks to our brilliant on site catering team, and also to our fantastic new catering company Garig ( https://www.garig.com ). It’s a local, family company, whose Director I met this morning, and the quality of their products and service is really good.

Co-curricular update
As you know, at parental request, we are piloting an association with RivieraKids https://www.rivierakids.fr/accueil to provide a garderie and activities service for the younger children. Do look at what they’re offering, and sign up if you would like to. Paper information is available at the main school reception, and their point of contact is Corinne Bouchet, at contact@rivierakids.fr (06 28 69 27 82). We are pleased to be able to offer this service and will monitor uptake carefully.

Faye Gossedge, our new Head of Music has been hard at work putting together a big programme of music making opportunities for students, which I share below, and has already begun to look at the possibility of an outdoor drama and music evening event, with drinks, on Thursday 22 October. Do pencil in the date provisionally for now. More info to follow on this.

● Auditions for clubs will take place next week In the assigned club slots. (So If somebody would like to audition
for Les Voix Crystales, they come during the Les Voix Crystales slot on Thursday at 1:30)
● Primary Choir, Senior choir and Instrumental ensemble Is an open club, so no audition will be required.
● Prior members of Les Voix Crystales will not need to re-audition, they are automatically In the choir.
● Barbershop Quartets are for selected exam-group students from year 10-13.

Covid-19 update
I wrote to all parents of Form 8 yesterday, as a student in the year group had tested positive for Covd-19 following a test-and-trace call to the family. I am happy to say that the student is not unwell and asymptomatic, and isolating at home. We promptly followed the protocols we have in place (see http://mougins-school.com/community/covid/ ,) having taken advice from the regional health authority (ARS) and our nurse, Alison Vibert, contacted the families of students who had been in close contact with the student, who all self-isolated and got tested. We have been advised to take no further action so far, bar
ongoing through cleaning and barrier hygiene measures in place.

I guess that this will not be the last such occurrence – and we will be living in this context for some time to come. I am hugely grateful to all the parents of the children concerned for their cool-headed, sensible responses. We have a clear plan in place for the academic and pastoral support of any children who have to be absent.

As I said earlier in the term, as a community we will adhere strictly to barrier protocols in school to limit transmission and follow all national and local advice. I would ask everyone in the community to be very vigilant, of course, in wearing masks, particularly at drop-off and pick-up times. Where we do have cases, we will of course, stay calm, look after and support each other.

Finally
I think this may have been the busiest working week I’ve had in thirty years of teaching(!), but positive, energising and fulfilling too. All my colleagues have worked very hard to manage a happy, smooth and positive return to school for your children this year, and I’m hugely grateful to them for their efforts, and to you all, for your support.

Have a very good weekend!

Kind regards
Simon Hollands