Dear Parents/ Carers
We hope you and your families are keeping safe and well during this period of lockdown. We wanted to take this opportunity to write to you providing an update on our remote educational provision during this time and introduce a change which we believe will benefit all in our school community.
As you will be aware we are currently operating under Scenario 4 of our Blended Learning provision. In summary this means all students are receiving a mixture of Live lessons delivered on Teams including daily registration and PSHEE, and non-live lessons where students are able to access their work via Skooler. This offers a range of teaching approaches and provides students with the opportunity to complete the non-live learning at their own pace and at a time most suitable to each individual.
We have received really positive feedback from parents some of whom have been kind and supportive enough to forward their views to Ofsted. We thank you for this. We have shared all feedback with staff and it has made a real difference and helped keep moral high during this challenging time in which staff are juggling their professional responsibilities whilst also caring for their own families at home.
Whilst we are really proud of our remote learning provision and know it is a huge improvement from that provided during the first lockdown, we always look for ways to improve further still, echoing the school’s belief in growth mindset. We have therefore decided to make a change to the timings of the school day in order to provide lessons of consistent length and a structure that provides time during the day for students to have time away from the screen which is really important for the wellbeing of young people.
Currently teachers are following the school timetable that was set in September which incorporates staggered breaktimes, lunchtime and finish times, all vital when we were all in the school building to keep year group bubbles separate and to keep the school community Covid safe. However, with the vast majority of our school population learning from home, it is possible and beneficial to implement a simplified, uniform timetable for all year groups. Please see the new structure below:
This new structure means that every lesson will have a standard length of 50 minutes which means all students receive the same amount of teaching time in each of the 5 daily lessons (4 on Wednesdays plus PSHEE). We have introduced a 5-minute transition between consecutive lessons which will allow students time to log off from one lesson and join the next without needing to rush.
The break time in the morning has been extended to 30 minutes allowing students to have a significant break away from the screen – time for food or perhaps some fresh air which we strongly encourage. Lunch time will be I hour long to allow for 6th form lunch lessons to take place and again to give students a well-earned screen break from the intensity of live lessons. The new timings of the school day will be introduced as of Monday 25th January and will last until the end of the Lockdown period.
Staff will begin this week to schedule live lessons on Teams following the new timings. Lessons will still be delivered on the same day in the same period as they have in school since the start of the academic year, it is just the start and finish times which have been altered slightly. Students should continue to access Teams on a daily basis in the first instance to view the Live lessons they are expected to attend during the day and then go to Skooler if a Live lesson is not visible on the calendar to find the work for the lesson there.
We hope you and your child find the new timings helpful and that it impacts positively on the remote learning experience. We welcome your feedback once the new timings are introduced.
In the meantime, we are also keen to gather constructive feedback on the learning experience of our students. It will be great to hear what students are enjoying most about the Live lessons and to gain some suggestions about how to make Blended Learning better still. If you would like to provide this, please complete the digital Microsoft form by clicking on the link below. You will be able to access the survey through your child’s Microsoft Office account. https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=4kFGXmlpVU61MQ_CEg-8Gjl-mvN3d_FKnl_09OFZIFNUODlVOENIU0pERVlYRkNDQjkxNjg2WjA5US4u
We very much look forward to seeing all our students back in school at the earliest opportunity but until then we will continue to do our upmost to provide a positive home learning experience for all. If you feel we can support you and your family in any other way please do not hesitate to contact the school. If you email firstname.lastname@example.org then our office staff will forward it to the most appropriate member of staff to respond. We are all here to support each other in order to get through these challenging times together.
Associate Deputy Headteacher
Teaching and Learning