5th January 2021
I am writing to thank you all for your incredible patience and support while we have adjusted to the changing situation for schools. Equally I want to thank you for the way in which you have helped us make sure the students have access to learning online and for your understanding while we have worked out how best to distribute laptops fairly.
You will know that we have a small group of students in school – they are in and online this morning in their lessons and I can’t tell you how proud I am of them for their attitude to this and for their good humour this morning while we got set up! They are a credit to you and to each other. We also already have a large percentage of our students online and in lessons from home as I write – and this will increase as we all become more confident with the technology – again, you should be so proud of the students for their resilience in these strange times, I know I am.
For clarity then:
The government has announced that all students, except those vulnerable or whose parents are key workers, should stay at home this half term and access their education online. We are in a strong position to be able to have our teaching online via TEAMS, and all students were emailed their new timetable yesterday, with the new lesson times. They will have online learning for every lesson, although we ask for your understanding where there is staff absence that cannot easily be covered (there is very little at the moment) or where the technology defeats us, as it will from time to time.
Teachers will be live for at least a portion of every lesson and they may set work for completion independently for parts of the lesson. During Periods 2 and 4, where we would normally have break and lunch, the teacher will also ensure a break for the class. If your child is unable to access a lesson and needs to catch up at later time, they can do so – and while this may cause some issues (eg not being sure what the work was or the instructions), we hope most of this can be resolved by using the chat function to keep in touch with teachers. However – I would also say that I don’t want any of our parents getting overly anxious about any of this – if there are problems, don’t worry, get in touch – we will resolve them and we are wholly understanding that you will once again have a lot to juggle at home. Please don’t place yourselves under any undue pressure, the students can actually manage a lot of this themselves.
If you are a parent of a Y11 student (as I am!) – they may well have questions as a result of the Prime Minister stating that exams will not go ahead in the “normal” way. Their teachers will talk to them about this, but I want to give the same message to mums, dads, and all carers too. Their courses have not finished and they will be assessed in some form – this means that they have an incredible opportunity now if they access every lesson and complete every piece of work to their best of their ability as it is possible that their work will form the basis for this assessment, at least in part. While I would prefer to be in a position to give you clarity on this, we do not yet know what will be asked of us and Y11 this year – as soon as we do know, we will be in touch of course. It is extremely important that Y11 prepare for all eventualities (including full moderation of all their work and even for the possibility of examination in some form in some subjects) and engage with us online as well as they possibly can.
I am going to leave it there for now as I think this week is going to take some adjustment for all of us – it may take us some time to respond to all questions and queries as they arise but we will get to every one of them in the end. I will keep you updated as we find out more information but for now I want to say thank you for your patience, well done for getting the students up and running this morning – and do try to take some time for yourself and look after your own wellbeing too. If you are struggling, don’t keep it to yourself, please ask us and we will do all we can to help.