Dear Parents and carers

I will begin by thanking you all for your tremendous support over the past two weeks. Thank you in particular, to those of you that have sent in so many messages of support. They really are valued, particularly at this challenging time for us all. I would also like to thank those of you that have contacted us regarding online and remote learning, and some of the issues you are experiencing. We are continuously refining and trying to improve this, and as I’m sure you are all aware, not only are schools not set up to work in this way, but we are also trying to do it on a very limited budget. As with all things, we have many successes and some things that need tweaking. In terms of workload for students we are trying to balance this and I would ask you to refer to the guidance we sent out on 20th March regarding suggested timetables for each day. All the staff email addresses are now on the website so I would encourage your children to contact the teachers directly in the first instance if there are any issues.

We also recognise that this new way of working involves far more internet use by students. Please click this link which gives some help and support for parents and carers regarding this.

I appreciate this is a particularly difficult time for Year 11 and 13 students who now have no reason to complete work towards their exams. However, I would encourage them all to start research, work and reading for the next phase of their education, whether this be Sixth Form, College or University.

Today we have received guidance on how the exam grades will be calculated, and I attach a letter from OFQUAL regarding this. School now has a great deal of work to do regarding this in a very short amount of time and we are not going to be able to share grades with either parents or students, as these have to remain confidential until the grades are released in the summer. Once we have submitted our grades, the exam boards will then apply their own criteria which means grades could go up or down from our predictions, as is true in a normal exam season.

We have also made Unifrog, our online Further Education tool, available to all Y11 and 13 students. I would encourage anyone going to or considering university education to log on and do some research. They also offer a range of MOOCs (online courses) which are available for anyone to study. Again, these are really valuable for university and college applications so I would encourage students to consider using their new-found free time investing in one of these.

During the Easter period school will still be operating as it has been for the children of key workers and vulnerable students. My previous advice still applies, that this should only be used as an absolute last resort and that a message should be sent to [email protected] at least 24 hours before this is needed, so that we can ensure staff are in school. This will be on a supervision only basis. There will be no formal teaching and strict distancing rules will be in place to protect both staff and students. Please note that the Pastoral Team will be making contact with some students and parents/carers during the Easter break, but this will be on an ‘as needs’ basis.

In terms of trips and activities for this year, please DO NOT make any further payments. After Easter we will be making final decisions about Activities Week which is due to take place in the summer.

Finally, the next two weeks are the Easter holiday. Please do not expect work to be set during this time, although I know some staff will be setting some ‘holiday tasks’ for students. Where students have not completed the work that has been set so far, they can use this time to catch up, but I am also aware that all of you (parents/carers, students and staff) need a break from school after what has been an incredibly challenging few weeks.

Stay Safe and look after one another,

Adrian Ward