Dear Parents and Carers,
I extend my best wishes to you and hope that you and your families are healthy and safe during this continued period of lockdown.
I am writing to you to update you with information regarding your child’s return to school, the remote learning curriculum we are providing and the support for mental health and well-being that the school continues to offer.
Full Re-Opening of Schools / GCSE Assessment
With regard to the full re-opening of schools, the Prime Minister announced last week that the earliest date upon which schools could expect to return to ‘normal’ operation and opening would be March 8th and not straight after the half-term holiday as originally proposed. He also made clear that this plan was dependent upon a number of other factors relating to the control of the pandemic and that the full re-opening of schools could be delayed even further. In addition, it is likely that some type of phased or gradual re-opening will be recommended, but we await further details of this. As soon as any updated information is released we will communicate it to you.
Those of you who have children in Year 11 will know that the government’s consultation on the arrangements for GCSE assessment closed on Friday. The DfE and Ofqual will now reflect upon the thousands of responses that have been submitted nationally and draw up the formal guidance that will be issued to schools. Although we do not have an official timescale for this process, it is expected to take several weeks: we will obviously be in touch with students and their families as soon as any further announcements are made. In the meantime it is crucial that all Year 11 students continue to follow the curriculum delivered by their teachers and remain fully focused on their studies.
Remote Learning – Mr Halls & Mrs Black
Students are expected to follow their timetable each day. For each lesson students are set a recorded lesson which they should follow and complete the learning activities as instructed. At the end of the lesson students should complete a quiz – in most cases will be a Microsoft Form. This provides teachers with valuable feedback about what has been learned. Students receive daily emails from their teachers. If a student has a question or needs further guidance they can contact their teacher via email. In addition, the Guided Learning Pages are available on Frog and offer additional learning resources and extension activities.
Our online learning provision is ‘device neutral’ so everything can be accessed on any device. If a student is unable to access the internet on a suitable device we can provide a curriculum pack – please contact the school if you require one.
In some other schools, lessons are delivered live. However, as Ofsted has recently identified, it is not whether a lesson is recorded or delivered live that has the greatest impact on learning, rather it is the opportunity for independent practice and quality feedback that is important. We are currently piloting some ‘live elements’ to enhance the learning diet in Years 10 and 11 and there will be further details about this in the coming weeks. Further details about the advantages of recorded lesson over live for our school can be found here: Further information about ‘live’ and recorded lessons.
Online attendance is monitored through Frog and you will receive a weekly update via text message to confirm that your child has accessed their learning. Engagement (i.e. how well a student is working) is best gauged by class teachers who know their students and are collecting information from a range of sources to indicate engagement. The ‘bench mark’ for engagement with the lessons is accessing the lesson and completing the quiz. Correct responses on the quizzes indicate how well student are engaging with and learning what they have been taught.
Support for Mental Health & Well-Being – Mr Meehan
We are currently living through extremely challenging times, and now perhaps more than ever looking after our Mental Health and Well-being is of paramount importance to us all. Happy students make for happy learners and happy children often make happy parents and carers. Our Mental Health and Well-being link on the school’s website will signpost you to lots of resources that can offer you and your families the best support and guidance. We also have three counsellors working with our school to support students. Over the last few weeks our Personal Learning Guides (PLGs) have been contacting your child to check in on their welfare, celebrate some of the excellent work being produced at home and support them with any concerns with their home learning. Our pastoral team will continue to be available for you and your child should you need to contact us.
Thank you once again for the way in which you are supporting your child’s education via our current remote learning arrangements. We fully appreciate the challenges posed by the current lockdown restrictions and we all look forward to a time when we can return to some semblance of normality.