Dear Parent / Carer,
First, I would like to start by wishing you and your family a very Happy New Year! As you will be aware, from today England has entered a full lockdown which means all schools were advised to close immediately. I am writing to explain how this will affect your child and what the changes mean for us as a school. The current guidance may be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home.
For the week commencing Tuesday 5thJanuary, there will be no additional changes from when I wrote to you on December 31st. Year 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 students will be expected to follow their timetabled lessons online at home until Friday 8th January. These will be live lessons scheduled on Microsoft Teams unless a teacher is unwell or unable to present in front of a camera. Core KS3 PE is the exception; some ideas for physical activity will instead be uploaded to Skooler. Year 13 students are expected to continue to work remotely in preparation for their mock exams which will now take place online at home, further details will follow on how and where to access the exams.
Whilst our current provision for all lessons to be live has proved to be very effective for a week or two, we feel it is unsustainable for an entire half term. Reflecting on feedback from students, parents, carers and staff, and to avoid students being in front of the screen for prolonged periods of time, we have reformatted the structure of remote learning. From week commencing Monday 11th January we will adopt a blended approach of live and pre-recorded lessons.
Morning registrations and Wednesday PSHEE will continue as per our current provision; the register will be taken, and students may ask questions or request teacher support with issues they may be facing.
Principles for lessons across all key stages will be as follows:
If students receive three or more lessons for a subject in a week at least two lessons will be delivered live. Registers will be taken will be taken during live lessons and some will follow the format, including a recall activity (called a ROPE challenge) followed by teacher input, deliberate practice and teacher consolidation at the end of the lesson. All other lessons will be set on Skooler.
If KS3 students only have one lesson for a subject per week they will receive at least two live lessons between January 11th and February half-term. Those subjects include Geography, History, RE, Music, Drama, Art, Computing and Design & Technology.
The principles are summarised in the infographic below:
After completing their mock exams, Year 13 students will, in the week commencing 25th January, begin learning new content and receive the same remote learning as all other years seen above.
Exam Year Groups
Government guidance currently states ‘In these circumstances, we do not think it is possible for exams to go ahead fairly this summer. The Secretary of State for Education will be asking Ofqual to consult rapidly on an approach for alternative arrangements that will allow students to progress fairly.’
This guidance is ambiguous and we will need to await further information before we speculate too much. If the Department for Education decides to use a similar system to last year, we will base results on similar principles. Initially, results were collected from each individual teacher, the person that knows each student’s performance the best; once collected these were then standardised within faculties and departments where more than one class was entered for GCSE or A level. Various classroom assessments were used including mock results, class
participation, module topic tests etc. to combine classes into a single ranked list of students with grades. Discussions took place during this time to ensure that any students who had significant difficulties/challenges during these initial assessment stages of the year were not disadvantaged. All data collected at this point was collated and reviewed by the school’s senior leaders, where results were challenged/scrutinised to make sure they were both fair to all students and in line with the progression the school expected.
We intend proceeding with our planned Consultation Evenings and will schedule appointments on Teams; this has already proven to be successful for Year 13 and Year 11 students. Teachers will begin making appointment times with students this week during live lessons for the Year 8 Consultation Evenings that will take place on Thursday 14th January (X Half) and Tuesday 19th January (Y Half). We hope you and your child find the ‘virtual’ experience a pleasant one and anticipate that you will see a broad range of teachers during the two hour window of 5 – 7pm.
For Skooler and Teams issues the support number is 020 8344 2125.
For any IT technical issues please do contact the IT team via email firstname.lastname@example.org or, if the matter is urgent, on:
Tel. 020 8344 2104
Tel. 020 8344 2180
Tel. 020 8344 2102
If you feel there may be a day where childcare will be extremely difficult, we will do our best to accommodate your child if they are not self-isolating. Please do contact email@example.com with your request.
Mass Testing in Schools
We will follow government guidance about the mass testing of students when this lockdown period comes to an end, this will include obtaining the required consent for testing of all students under the age of 16.
For staff and students still attending school during the lockdown we will seek this consent and then test staff and students regularly. We are doing this to keep all staff and students in the building safe, as well as their families.
Due to the heightened number of cases in Barnet, we will raise our expectations even further about students correctly and safely wearing masks at all times in all communal areas. Students may also notice an increase in requests to wear their masks in classrooms while accessing the remote learning provision.
In the meantime, we wish to continually track the spread of the virus in the East Barnet Community. It is therefore vitally important that if your child develops symptoms, you arrange for them to be tested and contact the front office to make us aware of a positive test result.
If your son / daughter feels anxious or overwhelmed, then then please do use the online wellbeing platforms suggested below: www.kooth.com which has 24/7 advice for young people about their wellbeing https://youngminds.org.uk/ has a useful parent helpline https://www.annafreud.org/ has a number of podcasts explaining common mental health concerns for young people and offers support to parents.