News Update - Headteacher 26.06.20

26th June 2020
Dear Parents and Carers
 
Thank you for everything you are doing to keep your children safe and engaged in learning wherever possible. I know that has been even more difficult in the hottest week of the year so far.
 
What will September look like? Although government ministers have made headline announcements about September, they have chosen their words quite carefully. We don’t expect detailed government guidance until the end of next week, 2 weeks before the end of term. What I can do now is clarify the process we will use to make decisions once we have the information.
 
All schools will then have to work with local authority health & safety teams, human resources and unions to review risk assessments and safer working procedures. Unless something awful happens, such as a second spike in infections, we expect to be planning for all students to return to something much closer to ‘normal’ schooling, but with additional safety measures in place. It looks likely that there will need to be a short period of induction for staff and students to learn how to work safely within whatever new arrangements are in place in September, which is quite difficult to guess from this distance.
 
At the start of the summer holidays we will have prepared a number of options to cover any likely scenario for September and will make sure that we share these with you. By an agreed date in August we will review the situation and then confirm the option we will be going with at the start of September.
 
This week: Supporting transition for Year 11
I was delighted that 16 out of 22 of our Year 11 students were able to attend our Records of Achievement Ceremony in school this week, as part of the 2 days of support to help them make a proper transition into the next stages of their education. They were joined by 2 students that had previously been at mainstream schools but will be joining our Sixth Form from September.
 
Thank you so much to all the staff that made this possible, and to parents and carers who made sure their child arrived in school so smartly dressed for the final ceremony. Although I was sad that we couldn’t run this event in our usual style, with musical performances and a packed hall, it was still very moving to mark the progress and achievement of every individual student, where they were able to be present or not.
 
Every student took it in terms to stand at their desk whilst I spoke about their journey through the school, their many successes, what makes them a unique individual, and where they were heading next. There were tears and laughter that afternoon; what more can you ask for?
 
We did video the event, and so we now need to check how well it came out before making it available to Year 11 families. We had some awards that were presented by video links, and even a farewell video featuring some of the staff.
 
Thanks again to everybody that made this wonderful event possible!
 
This week: Face-to-face support for 10G
 
Thank you to all the parents and carers that made arrangements for students in 10G to attend school today for face-to-face support with the rest of their class. During the day we checked in with how students are processing what is going on around them and how they are managing to access their work. We made sure that each Year 10 student is able to access Mathletics, Microsoft Teams and other work that has been set.
 
Next week: Face-to-face support for 10M on MONDAY 29TH JUNE A reminder that all students in 10M have been invited into school for face-to-face support with the rest of their class. During the day we will check in with how students are processing what is going on around them and how they are managing to access their work. We will be making sure that each Year 10 student is able to access Mathletics, Microsoft Teams and other work that has been set.
 
Next week: Supporting transition for Year 12
A reminder that the transition support days for Year 12 are
• Tues 30 June and Weds 1 July
 
We have invited every Y12 student to attend, for what will be their farewell to the school. We will, of course, be checking up on their progress next year and look forward to seeing them in person when they call back to see us, but Wednesday 1 July will be the last day for Year 12s.
 
Coming soon: Face-to-face support for Year 7
Year 7s have lost a lot of time from their first year at secondary school. They were really gelling well in their classes and as a Year Group before the lockdown. Form tutors will be contacting parents/carers to invite all Year 7s into school for face-to-face support with the rest of their class.
 
• 7Mu (Ms Murphy’s class) should attend on Friday 3rd July
 
• 7Mo (Ms Motin’s class) should attend on Monday 6th July
 
We look forward to welcoming Year 7 back into school on these dates.
 
Further support for Year 10s not accessing or completing work set. Following the days above, we hope all Year 10s will be able to access leaning remotely online and via the home learning packs. If any Year 10 is not engaging with the work we may need to call them into school with their parents/ carers for a meeting to understand why. Obviously we hope this will not be necessary as it would be an inconvenience to parents/carers.
 
Coming soon: Face-to-face support to other classes We will closely review the safety and organisational aspects of the days with Years 10, 11 and 12 whilst planning out the remaining 4 weeks of this term. We are planning for every student to be able to spend a day in school with their classmates before the end of term, so will be back in touch soon.
 
Reminder: Support using Microsoft Teams: a message from Mr Mole If students and their parents/carers are having problem getting onto Teams, please go to the Home Learning Area of the School website where I have added a new page called Office 365 and Teams with extra guidance and a link to the Microsoft Office website.
 
If you still have problems, please let your child’s form tutor know (or any staff contacting you)
 
Additional food parcels
 
I am glad to say that about 20 families collected food parcels provided by the school this week. These are in addition to the weekly free school meals vouchers. Even if you are not technically entitled to free school meals, we understand that your situation may have changed through furlough, redundancy or reduced income. When you receive your weekly call from school, please let them know you’d like Ms Napier to ring you, so you can discuss any change in circumstances.
 
With my warmest best wishes
 
Kevin
 
Kevin McDonnell
Headteacher