18 June, 2020
I want to start by thanking all of you for this huge effort you have been making to support your children and their education over the last few weeks. I recognise that these have been challenging times and that it has been difficult to balance the need to ensure that your child is making academic progress whilst also looking after their emotional needs and attending to your wider responsibilities.
Phase 4 Online Home Learning
As a school, we have tried to ensure that pupils have access to sufficient work, via ClassCharts, to make sure that they can be fully occupied during the day whilst recognising that this is not a substitute for full time education with qualified teachers. Please do refer to the detailed guidance on our website for more information:
We know from our Facebook pages that many of you have appreciated the increased contact between teachers and pupils via MS teams in the last few weeks. We are committed to improving this aspect of our provision, at a sustainable pace.
Similarly, many of you have been pleased that there is a large variety of suggested tasks to which pupils can be directed. At the same time, we also recognise that some of you have felt overwhelmed by the volume of work set on ClassCharts. It is not easy to find a balance that meets the needs of all families, so please bear with us as we try to improve the way in which we support you.
Streamlining and highlighting the ‘core’ work to be completed each week is the main way in which we have aimed to make work more manageable. We are also providing narrated PowerPoints to increase instruction from teachers and help to develop independence in our young people and reduce their reliance on you.
Please also remember what I have also written about previously regarding the need to be kind to oneself and recognise that you should pick your battles with your child(ren) and treat each new day as it comes. Try to avoid confrontations over schoolwork and rather seek to encourage your child’s interests in the world around them.
Using ClassCharts to track pupils’ engagement with work set
Staff will continue to use the ‘zero points’ notification on ClassCharts to indicate when work has not been submitted. I recognise that this is not a perfect system. However, please remember that there are no negative consequences associated with these alerts. Rather, they are designed to help staff track pupil engagement and provide bespoke opportunities for support where possible. Please do email individual subject teachers if you have specific concerns relating to a piece of work.
The work we set is intended to be manageable over the course of a week and we have made a conscious decision to share the plan with you so that the focus is on recapping learning from this this academic year, rather than delivering lots of new material. The timescale for the work is indicated in the task instructions, but we set the date for submission in ClassCharts as July 17 to allow more flexibility for learners and so that, if they don’t complete a task by the Friday of that week, they can revisit the work later.
If you are unsure how to access ClassCharts, or any of the other online portals in please refer to our guide.
Partial re-opening to Years 10 and 12
This week we have welcomed back Year 10 and Year 12 on a part-time basis. Both pupils and staff have been positive about this small step towards a more normal school experience. We look forward to welcoming back other year groups in due course. However, this must be done in a way that minimises the risk of covid-19 infection to both pupils and staff and this will take time.
At the moment, I am unable to tell you what the autumn term will look like. I think it is most likely that it will involve a ‘blended’ approach of online learning and limited face to face contact in school. Rest assured we will keep you up to date with our plans as they develop.
This week has also seen an exponential increase in the demand for places in Edu-care provision as lock-down has eased. Numbers have increased to such an extent that we are nearing our capacity to provide Edu-care in a safe manner that adheres to our covid-19 risk assessment around social distancing etc.
In order to preserve the integrity of our ‘bubble’ system we have a limited number of staff we have available to provide Edu-care and face to face contact with Years 10 and 12 on any one day. For that reason, I would ask any parents who are key workers and wanting to use our Edu-care provision to carefully consider whether they have any other alternatives. We remain committed to meeting the government’s expectations with regards to Edu-care but we will struggle to maintain social distancing requirements if faced with large numbers of students.
In order to staff Edu-care safely and maintain social distancing it is vital that we know at least 24 hours in advance of the number of pupils for whom we are catering. From Monday 22 June any child that arrives at school for Edu-care for whom a place has not been booked in advance will be asked to return home. This is because we have to carefully match the number of pupils we are expecting with the teachers available to supervise them and to ensure that we have sufficient rooms prepared. Each room has to be ‘deep cleaned’, before and after use, meaning we cannot simply ‘open up’ a new classroom if more pupils arrive unannounced. The link to book places is below:
In closing I would like to extend my empathy to those of you who are not key workers and whose children are not classed as vulnerable. I am sure that many of you are desperate for normal schooling to restart and that you feel that it is becoming increasingly difficult to sustain home schooling. I imagine that some of you feel that your sons’ and daughters’ well-being is suffering as a result of lockdown. However, the threat of covid-19 remains very real so I would ask for your continued support and patience until we are able to reopen school fully. By keeping your child(ren) at home you are saving lives. Do whatever you feel able to look after them and to support them in their schoolwork but also be kind to yourself about what you can realistically achieve during such challenging times. We have been signposting alternative support services on our website and social media so if you are struggling please do make contact with other agencies. Links can be found on the well-being page of our website: