Dear Parents, Carers and Students
Welcome back to the summer term. Unfortunately, it is clearly not a welcome back to school, but a welcome back to ‘virtual school’. Despite not being together physically in our wonderful school, we must remember that we are all here to support one another. I appreciate how difficult it is for many of you not being able to see and interact on a personal level with your friends, staff and colleagues. I have discovered on a personal level how difficult home working is. We have 5 adults living in our house. My 17 year old daughter is trying, like you are, to study online and keep up with her A level work. My son and his girlfriend are both home from university and having online lectures as well as completing finals exams, and my wife and I (both school leaders) are trying to do our jobs as well. It is tough. I know it is tough, and I know many of you are struggling to balance all these pressures. On Thursday it was announced that the current restrictions on movement and distancing will be in place for at least another three weeks. In my opinion it is likely to be longer, and when schools do reopen it will not be ‘business as usual’ and we will have to adopt a very different approach in terms on numbers in school, keeping safe distances and so on. When we reopen we will do our very best to return to some form of normality and stability, which we all need.
So, in order to support you all over the coming weeks, I wanted to signpost some ways of getting help and support. For students, if you have concerns about the work you’ve been set or need extra support (not easy but we will do our best) please contact your individual teachers via email. If you need emotional or pastoral support then please contact your head of year, also by email. This also applies if parents and carers have welfare concerns. There are also several resources to support both students and families on our website.
In terms of home learning, Mrs Horton has kindly put together some ideas to help parents and carers. This can be found on our website, or by clicking this link.
Not only will you find some helpful advice but also some links to other online resources such as The Oak Academy and BBC Bitesize.
From a wellbeing perspective, and to support our SMSC programme, I would also encourage students to have a look at Happy Life Academy. This provides an online course for students looking at resilience, self -management and other really important life skills. The link is here:
It is free to sign up. It does offer online live sessions at certain times. As a school we are unable to monitor these as this is provided by an independent company, and there is no requirement to log on to the live sessions in order to complete the course.
We have also been made aware of a free workshop for parents, if you are experiencing issues with challenging behaviour at home. Please feel free to access this if you need to.
Please click on this link to register for this workshop.
Exam Results for Year 11 and 13
As outlined in my email before Easter, we have now been advised of the system for allocating fair grades to students in Year 11 and 13, following the cancellation of exams this summer. We are now working to ensure this is completed and sent to the examination boards so that they can undertake their own moderation and standardisation processes. During the Easter break we were informed that results days in August will remain the same. This is great news as it will allow us some sense of ‘normality’ in being able to celebrate examination success with our students. We will let you know later this term about arrangements for these days. A level results will be published on Thursday 13th August and GCSE results on Thursday 20th August.
Information from Government: increased fraud risk during coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic PLEASE READ
Periods of instability, such as during the coronavirus pandemic, bring an increased risk of fraud. Fraudsters will actively exploit these difficult times and will target vulnerable areas for financial gain. We have been informed some learners and parents have received a letter from ESFA asking for personal learner bank details in relation to the 16 to 19 Bursary Fund. We never ask for personal bank account details. This is a fraudulent letter – please do not respond. Where possible, it would be helpful for institutions to share this message with parents and students through your communication channels.
Activity Week and Duke of Edinburgh Award
Despite our hopes, it is apparent that the current situation will not be resolved quickly, and when we do return it will not be ‘normal’ for some time. With this in mind, we have taken the sad, but inevitable decision to cancel both our Activities Week, and Duke of Edinburgh Award expeditions this term. We will be refunding parents and carers over the next few weeks but please be patient as this is quite a big task. We are hoping to rearrange the Bronze DoE expeditions for the Autumn Term, but again this is uncertain at present and we will update those involved once we know more.
Thank you all for your fabulous support both of the staff here at school, and of each other. It is at challenging times such as this that true friendships are forged. It can be easy to get caught up in the stress of completing work online, worrying about falling behind, and feeling like things are too stressful. The thing we all need to remember is that everyone is in the same situation. The most important thing to remember is that your family, friends and school are here to support each other through this, and when we get back to school, your teachers are already making plans to ensure each of you is able to achieve the best grades you can so that you can all go on to fulfill your dreams, hopes and ambitions.
We will get through this. Together.