Dear Parents and Carers,
I hope you are all keeping well and your children have settled into their new routines. It is a strange time for all of us and school is very different, but the students have adapted remarkably and it has been a great start.
We have spent a long time planning for the students to ensure that safety is paramount. As you will be aware, this includes staggered starts and finishes, staggered break and lunches, a one-way system, limited movement around the building for Key Stage 3, additional cleaning, year group bubbles, the use of masks to limit the spread of the Covid-19 and social distancing from the teacher. The precautions we have taken are reviewed and improved daily.
Please be reminded of what you should do if you or your child has Covid symptoms https://bit.ly/35ZkLp9.
The education of all our students is our main priority, their future is in our hands and we take this responsibility incredibly seriously. We have been working on ‘Blended Learning’ and the ‘Recovery Curriculum’ is underway so we are able to continue to deliver high quality learning should we be forced to partially close.
You will receive a letter from Mrs Hurst by Wednesday, 30 September which will detail the specifics of the plans we have made relating to teaching and learning, but I wanted to give you an overview of the steps we will take in the event of a student needing to self-isolate or if we are required to partially lockdown.
Once we are directed by the Department for Education to send a student, group of students, bubble or year group home, we will inform parents immediately by text and follow up with a letter with more detail. We will then ensure that all students have the provision for online learning and that our Free School Meals children have a Sainsbury’s voucher for the period of isolation. Students will have the expectations shared with them and they will be sent home. These expectations will also be shared with parents. Please be aware that it may be necessary to do this in the middle of a school day, so please work out the arrangements with your son or daughter. If you would not like your child to make their own way home and would prefer they are collected please complete this short form: https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=4kFGXmlpVU61MQ_CEg-8Gia-h5c-uKpGq5LX5MfN2EhUMjFFTTU2R0k3QjcxNUtBMjdXSUsyOFVSOS4u
A brief overview of learning in the event of self-isolation, a positive test result or lockdown:
- If an individual student needs to isolate, we have a virtual form tutor who is making weekly phone calls to the students and who sets weekly timetables of work for students to complete. The teacher also holds some live lessons so there is some ‘face to face’ teaching. This has been operating successfully since the beginning of term, but may obviously need to change as numbers increase.
- Following a positive case, if we are directed to send a bubble home, students will be asked to isolate for 14 days. During this time a provision of online learning will be provided by their class teachers.
- In the unlikely event of a full lockdown there will be a full range of interactive teaching resources provided to the students in line with their daily timetable.
We are aware of the stress our students in the examined year groups are under and the uncertainty of the exam process is unsettling for our students. It is important that parents and students are aware of the steps we have taken to ensure students are well-prepared:
- We have increased the teaching time provided to Year 13 to five periods in the majority of subjects.
- Year 13 have a virtual consultation evening on Thursday 1st October, so that parents have the opportunity to speak with teachers.
- In Year 11, option subjects have more curriculum time than in previous years.
- Research tells us that students learning in Maths will be most affected, and therefore Year 11 students have an extra lesson of Maths each week.
- English intervention will run every Monday and Tuesday after school on a five-week rolling programme for Year 11.
- The early finish for Year 11 and Sixth Form on a Wednesday gives us the opportunity to run mock exams and bespoke interventions for students. This time means we can avoid using lessons, which would detract from the much-needed curriculum time. Students will be made aware of this in good time to ensure they can prepare appropriately.
Mr Iordanou will follow up with a letter explaining the specifics of how each faculty has prepared their recovery curriculum for Year 11 and 13 and what support will be offered. You will receive this letter by Wednesday, 30 September.
For the wider school it is important that I share the school priorities for this year with you:
- Attendance, it is important that all students attend school in case that right is taken away from them. We encourage all students to attend school every day, unless they are directed not to.
- Wellbeing. Following lockdown and the changes that we have made, it is without question that the wellbeing of our students and staff is a priority. We adore your children and we need to ensure that their mental health is looked after as well as their academic success.
- Education for ALL. We must ensure that our curriculum meets the needs of all students and we have a recovery curriculum in place to support all students in making great progress.
To complement ‘Education for ALL’ our teacher training is centered around three teaching and learning priorities:
- Knowledge retention. We know that the students’ time with us may be limited and it is imperative that the learning time is maximised. Staff are being trained in the most up-to-date research in how the mind works and the best ways to ensure knowledge is retained, rather than having to re-learn everything again for revision.
- Independent learning. We know that this is a vital skill for learning and it has never been more appropriate. With the impending threat of a lockdown, we are providing students with the tools to be more independent. This includes all of Key Stage 3 being taught how to make effective use of online learning, and we are providing videos for parents so they can check to ensure their child is making the necessary progress.
- Adaptive teaching / Teaching to the top. Again, we know that the time with students in school may be limited and so staff are being trained in the best ways to teach the hardest content and scaffolding everyone up to that standard. We are adaptative to and respond to the needs of the children in front of us, this way we can maximise the learning of all students.
We will always put your children first and will endeavour to do our very best to support them. Please wait for the updates from Mrs Hurst and Mr Iordanou and if your questions remain unanswered please do not hesitate to contact the school.
With kindest regards,