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So far Faisal Khawaja has created 19 blog entries.

January 2022

Parent Update 04/01/22

2022-01-04T13:08:07+00:00

Dear Parents and Carers

I hope you have all had a good Christmas and were able to enjoy some time with your friends and families. As you will know, the Omicron variant is now prevalent across the country, and infection rates are at their highest since the start of the pandemic. Although this variant appears to be less severe, it is clearly much more infectious and spreads much more easily. This will be a big issue for schools as we return after the Christmas break. We are therefore, in line with government guidance, asking for your support in keeping school as safe as we can for all of our community.

Testing
Your child will have been given a timeslot for in school testing this week. The schedule for each year group is in the table below, but if you are unsure of your child’s appointment time please email Mr Earles ([email protected]) and he will confirm your slot.

Year Groups Testing Day First Day of lessons
11, 12, 13 Weds 5th Jan Thurs 6th Jan
10 Thurs 6th Jan Fri 7th Jan
9 Fri 7th Jan Mon 10th Jan

We are also asking that ALL students continue to test at home, at least twice each week. School should be notified of any positive cases, and a confirmatory PCR test should then be taken.

Along with all schools we have been told to prepare for high numbers of staff absence due to this variant. I would ask for your understanding and patience while we manage this potentially difficult situation, and students may have cover staff taking some lessons. In the worse case scenario we may need to ask some year groups to work at home but we are doing everything we can to avoid this situation.

Face Coverings
You will also be aware that the government have issued new guidance on face coverings in school. This states that all students should wear face coverings in lessons, as well as in crowded indoor spaces such as corridors. All students will therefore be required to wear a face covering in lessons, unless they have a medical exemption. If they have a medical exemption, please contact Mrs Green ([email protected]), who will then discuss this with you. Any students with an exemption will need to wear a lanyard which school will supply (similar to the exemption lanyards you see people wearing in supermarkets).

Students MUST bring their own face covering to school. We have a very small stock of spare masks which we will make available for students who forget to bring one, but we will be contacting parents if this happens on a regular basis.

The guidance on wearing of face coverings in school will be reviewed by the government on 26th January. I will update you as to any changes when I receive them.

Rules on Self-Isolation
The guidance an the 10 day isolation period have also changed in the past few days. I have copied the guidance we have received on this below.

Information on the changes to the self-isolation period for individuals who test positive for COVID-19
Since Wednesday 22 December, the 10 day self-isolation period for people who record a positive PCR test result for COVID-19 has been reduced to 7 days in most circumstances, unless you cannot test for any reason.

Individuals may now take LFD tests on day 6 and day 7 of their self-isolation period. Those who receive two negative test results are no longer required to complete 10 full days of self-isolation. The first test must be taken no earlier than day 6 of the self-isolation period and tests must be taken 24 hours apart. This also applies to children under 5, with LFD testing at parental or guardian discretion. If both these test results are negative, and you do not have a high temperature, you may end your self-isolation after the second negative test result and return to your education setting from day 8.

Health and social care workers, including those working in education settings, should follow guidance for their sector on taking LFD tests on day 8, 9 and 10. For more information, visit COVID-19: management of staff and exposed patients or residents in health and social care settings.

Anyone who is unable to take LFD tests will need to complete the full 10 day period of self-isolation. Further information is available in the stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed COVID-19 infection.

Public Examinations and mock exams
Examinations (both external and mocks) will continue as planned in January. If a student is absent due to covid, school should be aware. For mock exams, these we will rescheduled where necessary. For external exams, we will inform the exam board who are likely to ask that the exam is sat at the next opportunity, which will be in the summer.

 

Thank you for your continued support, and I will update you with any changes if and when these are sent to schools.

Best wishes

 

Adrian Ward

Parent Update 04/01/222022-01-04T13:08:07+00:00

December 2021

Parent Update – 12/12/21

2021-12-12T20:15:42+00:00

Dear Parents and Carers

As you will be aware, the Omicron variant of coronavirus is causing great concern and is spreading very quickly. Schools have been issued with limited new advice, but I wanted to share this with you, as well as some other updates. I appreciate that many parents have already agreed to having their children vaccinated. I would encourage those of you that have not yet agreed to discuss this with your GP. It is important that we try to protect our community as a whole and to try to limit the development of new variants, and the disruption that they then bring. Vaccination is a key weapon in this fight.

Face Coverings in Schools
Guidance in this area has been strengthened by government.

Face coverings should be worn by pupils and students in year 7 and above (which would be children who were aged 11 on 31 August 2021), staff and visitors in communal areas, unless exempt. This is a temporary measure. Pupils and students in year 7 and above in these settings must also wear a face covering when travelling on public transport and should wear it on dedicated transport to and from school, college, or higher education provider.

It is therefore essential that ALL students wear a mask in indoor communal areas such as corridors. It is also important that ALL students remember to bring their own mask to school every day. We have a very limited stock of masks in school, and we are rapidly running out due to the number of masks we are having to give out. We can no longer afford to do this as it is costing over £100 per week for us to give masks to students who do not bring their own.

As we run in to the Christmas break, it is vital that we all adhere to these rules. Please remember that anyone who tests positive on or after Wednesday 15th December will be isolating for Christmas Day, and so this will have a huge impact on plans that you may have made. It is important that we also do all we can to protect staff, who are unable to ‘work from home’ like so many others are able to do.

End of Term Arrangements
The last day of school is Friday 17th December. This will be a non-uniform day and students should wear a Christmas jumper as part of this. We are asking for students to contribute £1 for this, and this will help support our chosen charities, including Batchley Support Group and St Basil’s. School will finish early on this day, with students being dismissed at around 12.30pm. Students should go straight home, and must not visit first and middle schools, who will be having their own Christmas celebrations.

Start of Term Arrangements
As part of the fight against the Omicron variant, schools have been asked to test students on their return in January. In order to facilitate this, we will be having a staggered start to the start of term. Please see below for details. Mr Earles will be sending out appointment times next week, along with information regarding consent. On the day of the test students will need to arrive in time for their appointment, wait for the result and then return home.

Year Group Test Day Return to Lessons
11,12, 13 Wednesday 5th January Thursday 6th January
10 Thursday 6th January Friday 7th January
9 Friday 7th January Monday 10th January

 

Finally, I would like to wish you and your families a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Best wishes

 

Adrian Ward

Parent Update – 12/12/212021-12-12T20:15:42+00:00

November 2021

Parental Update – 28th November 2021

2021-11-28T19:45:30+00:00

Dear Parents and Carers

With just three weeks to go to the Christmas holidays, I thought it was important to bring some information to your attention.

Covid
I would like to begin by thanking those students who were vaccinated last week for the very mature way they behaved. The vaccination team commented on their excellent behaviour, which is always very pleasing to hear.

You will also be aware that the Prime Minister announced increased precautions due to the new Omicron variant that has recently been discovered. This means that face coverings in shops and on public transport will be compulsory. This means all students will need to wear face coverings if going through the Kingfisher Centre or travelling by bus. This evening, Sunday 28th November, schools have been sent updated guidance from the DfE.

It reads:

Face coverings

Face coverings should be worn in communal areas in all settings by staff, visitors and pupils or students in year 7 and above, unless they are exempt.

Pupils or students (in year 7 or above) should continue to wear face coverings on public and dedicated school transport, unless they are exempt.

Students will therefore be required to wear a face covering when moving around the school, unless they are exempt for medical reasons. Unfortunately, we have experienced far fewer students bringing face covering to school recently. Last week we supplied over 700 masks to students at a cost of £100. This is not sustainable given the pressure on school budgets so I would I ask that ALL students bring a face covering to school every day.

We were also informed on Friday afternoon that schools will be asked to test students on their return from the school Christmas holiday. At this stage we have not been given any further guidance on how this will work, but please be assured that I will update you as soon as I have further information on this.

All students should be continuing to do LFD tests (home tests) at least twice a week. If any student has a positive LTD test result, please advise the school and book a PCR test. Your child needs to isolate and not come to school until you have the PCR result.  You can advise school by MCAS, telephone or by advising Mrs Green on [email protected]

We have seen a recent increase in cases in school, so it is really important that testing is carried out regularly to help protect the whole school and wider community.

Christmas Concert
On more positive news, we are holding a Christmas Concert on Wednesday 8th December. I am delighted that we are able to do this ‘in person’ and I look forward to seeing some of you there. The last time we were able to celebrate together was in 2019 and I think it is really important that we are able, despite our concerns around covid, to give the students opportunities to celebrate together. Details about how to book tickets, and our covid protocols, have been sent out separately.

End of Term Arrangements
On the last day of term, Friday 17th December, we will be asking staff and students to pay £1 to wear a Christmas jumper. This will help the school support our local charities, in particular St Basil’s and our local food bank. We will also be finishing at lunchtime and arrangements for this will be sent our nearer the time.

Student Update
I wrote to you earlier in the term to ask you to let us know immediately if a member of your family contracts chicken pox or measles. It is really important that this continues to happen as we do have a student who is undergoing chemotherapy, and we need to ensure they are protected from these diseases while his immune system is under such strain.

I have also been asked to draw to your attention that we do have some children at the school who have Tourette’s syndrome. This means that they will, at times, make involuntary sounds or movements (known as tics). This can be distressing for both the students concerned and for those around them but the school is supporting those affected.

Thank you for your ongoing support.

Best wishes

Adrian Ward

Parental Update – 28th November 20212021-11-28T19:45:30+00:00

May 2021

Parental Update – Covid Variant

2021-05-14T16:27:36+01:00

Dear Parents and Carers,

It has been a difficult week for many of us. For me this started on Sunday afternoon when I received a call from Public Health regarding a possible variant situation in the area. Since then I have attended numerous meetings and briefings. As you will appreciate the situation across the town has been developing by the hour. As a result, some of our plans had to be changed, often at the last minute. This is particularly relevant to those students who have had their isolations extended twice during this time. Please be assured that these were decisions beyond our control.

As you will now know, there have been several cases of the South African variant detected in certain areas of the town. Residents in these areas are being encouraged to have a PCR test, and a mobile testing unit has been set up for this purpose at The Abbey Stadium. There are different arrangements for students at the school, which are outlined below.


Year 9
All students in Year 9 should have received a PCR test delivered to their home address. This should be completed, as per the instructions that come with the test. Please remember to complete any personal information that may be required. These should be posted back using the envelope provided with the test.

Any year 9 students who have been learning from home over the last two weeks should return to school as normal on Monday, unless they have a positive test result or have Covid symptoms.


Year 10-13
This afternoon, we have had a number of PCR tests delivered to school.  On Monday these will be distributed to students in Years 10-13. These should be completed at home. Please remember to complete the information that goes with the test (name, address etc). DO NOT RETURN YOUR TEST BY POST. There will be collection bins in school into which students should put the completed tests. For Years 10 and 11, this will under the canopies at the start of the school day, so students should drop them off on their way into school. For Years 12 and 13, a collection bin will be located in the Sixth Form Centre. We are asking that these tests are returned on Tuesday, but there will be further collections during the week for students who forget.

It is really important that all students complete a test so that we can help eradicate this particular variant from our community. Staff will also be taking these tests. Thank you to all our students and families who have already taken the PCR tests sent to them or attended ‘surge testing’ at The Abbey Stadium. If test results (positive or negative) come back over the weekend please can we ask that they are emailed to [email protected]. Thank you for your support.


Face Coverings
On Monday 17th May, the nation moves to the next phase of returning to normal. For our community this has not come at a good time. Given the presence of the variant, and the measures being taken to control it, I have decided that students must continue to wear face coverings in corridors and indoor communal areas. This decision is supported by Public Health. I will review this at half term, in consultation with my colleagues in the public health team. My overriding priority is the health and wellbeing of the whole school community. I thank you for your support with this.

Thank you again for your continued support.

 

Best Wishes
Adrian Ward

Parental Update – Covid Variant2021-05-14T16:27:36+01:00

Confirmed cases of Covid-19

2021-05-02T11:08:10+01:00

Dear Parents and carers

We have been informed of two confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the school. Identified close contacts will have been contacted separately as these students need to isolate themselves, up to and including Sunday 9th May 2021. As a precautionary measure, we have decided to close the Y band of Year 9. Lessons will be taught on Teams, as they were throughout lockdown.  If students do not have access to a computer for remote learning, please contact Mrs Green. School will then try and provide a laptop.

Please can I remind you that students should be having two Lateral Flow Device Tests each week. This will help protect themselves, their families and the wider community. Should they have a positive test then we request this is reported immediately to the school, and that this is followed up with a confirmatory PCR test.

Lessons will return to normal. In school, from Monday 10th May 2021.

Thank you for your understanding and continued support. We appreciate this is not an ideal situation but the safety and welfare of students is our top priority.

 

Best wishes

Adrian Ward

Confirmed cases of Covid-192021-05-02T11:08:10+01:00

March 2021

Parental Update 3rd March 2021

2021-03-03T16:28:43+00:00

 

Dear Parents, Carers and Students

As outlined in my letter last week, we have been working to ensure a safe return to face-to-face teaching in school next week. This update includes important information about how various aspects of school will work over the coming weeks. Please ensure you familiarise yourself with this. At the heart of the measures outlined below is a desire to protect the entire school community: students, staff and families. We have already lost some members of our community and it is the responsibility of all of us to try and avoid spreading the virus to other people.

LFD Testing
We are strongly encouraging all students to consent to Lateral Flow Device Tests (LFD) on their return to school. This will help protect the entire school community. Unfortunately, we have not received a reply from around 30{0fa29e37a5ff5b819bc9d205477dcf2080d55da20457d57d8c85d351a6dec1cb} of families, which we are following up with phone calls. This has delayed the publication of our testing timetable. However, 6th Form students were tested yesterday, and will be tested again on Friday before their return to lessons in school on Monday. The table below outlines the testing timetable and return to school dates for the other year groups. Individual emails will be sent to students having tests later this week, giving a time that they need to come to school. After the test is complete students will be sent home again. Each year group will then start face to face lessons in school on the day following the tests.

Year Group Day of first LFD test Day of return to lessons in school
11 Monday 8th March Tuesday 9th March
10 Tuesday 9th March Wednesday 10th March
9 Wednesday 10th March Thursday 11th March

Students who have consented to tests will then receive two more tests during the following two- week period. We hope that all tests will be completed by Thursday 18th March. After this, students will receive test kits to allow them to test at home. We will send more information regarding this next week. Parents and other family members of school aged children are also entitled to home test kits, although we are unable to supply these. Again, more information regarding this will follow.

We appreciate that some students are nervous about having a test, especially if they have not had one previously. Mrs Stephenson has kindly put together a video walkthrough of the process explain each stage and what to expect. Please see the video here.

If you are bringing your child into school on their testing day and wish to wait for them, please use the overflow carpark to park and wait.  This is through the Grove Street gates, turn right and go down the ramp, continue across the lower car park onto the overflow carpark.  There will be signposts showing the way.  Please do not use the top or bottom carparks and please wait in your car and do not come up to the testing station with your child.

Vulnerable and Critical Worker Provision
Onsite provision for vulnerable and critical worker students will stop on Friday 5th March. Students should then attend for testing and normal lessons with the rest of their year group.

On-line Learning
On-line remote lessons will continue for Year 10 students on Monday and Year 9 students on Monday and Tuesday.  During the testing days consolidated lessons will be uploaded and available to those students who are not being tested.

Face Coverings
You will no doubt have read much comment about the advice for high school students to wear face coverings in the classroom. I am extraordinarily disappointed in the government over the stance they have taken on this. When I wrote to you last week, our understanding was that this was compulsory.  Since then, ministers have been interviewed on a number of news outlets and said this is ‘strongly recommended’, leaving schools such as ours in a very difficult position. Although we are now unable to make this compulsory, we are asking students to do this. In order to make the school as safe as we can for the entire community, including the adults that work here, we are ‘strongly recommending’ students adhere to this guidance. Unfortunately, where parents and carers do not support this, the rest of the community (including other parents and carers) will have to accept this. It is not for the school to enforce a rule on which government is not prepared to be decisive.

However, the wearing of face coverings in all corridors and communal areas continues to be mandatory and we expect all students (unless they have an agreed exemption) to adhere to this.

Guidance on exemptions can be found here.

I would also remind students that wearing face coverings is mandatory in shops and on buses.

Uniform
We are expecting students to return to school in full uniform.  However, we appreciate that at the current time obtaining new uniform may be difficult.  If you have any difficulties obtaining uniform, please email or telephone your child’s head of year.  A reminder that vivid coloured hair is not permitted, and neither are nose piercings.  This is particularly important in the Covid pandemic with potential transmission of Covid droplets.  We do not want children touching their noses.   We will accept a clear stud.

PE kit needs to worn on PE days.  Black tracksuit, sports leggings or jogging bottoms can we worn.  We would recommend wearing a coat, as windows and doors will be open in classrooms.  Hoodies are not permitted.

Laptops
During the pandemic we have loaned laptops to students who needed them.  If your child has been loaned a laptop or wi-fi dongle then this needs to be returned to the school on the first day they attend face to face lessons.  Students can hand over the laptop before school to an ICT technician located in the Dining Hall or during registration in the Library. 

Bubbles, Timings and Entrances
As I outlined last week, we will be resuming the arrangements we had before Christmas. This means that students need to arrive at school at the same times as the Autumn Term and use the same entrances to school. We will continue to keep students in bubbles and with separate break/ lunchtimes until at least Easter.

I look forward to seeing all the students back in school next week. At last, it feels like there is some light at the end of the tunnel, so let’s make ensure we all play our part in making sure we don’t end up in yet another lockdown.

 

Thank you for your continued support.

Best wishes

Adrian Ward

Parental Update 3rd March 20212021-03-03T16:28:43+00:00

February 2021

UPDATE ON RETURN TO SCHOOL 8th MARCH 2021

2021-02-26T12:04:33+00:00

Dear Parents and Carers

The Prime Minister announced on Monday that, as expected, schools would return to face to face teaching from 8th March 2021. I am sure this is a huge relief to you and your families. Staff are also very pleased to be returning to some kind of ‘normal’ having done a tremendous job of teaching remotely since the start of term. Mr Johnson did not go into much detail in his announcement, and this detail has become apparent over the past 24 hours, so I think it important to draw a number of issues to your attention.

Testing
As you know we were planning to test students in school from the start of January, but this did not happen due to lockdown. There is now an expectation that secondary aged students (Years 7-13) will be tested THREE TIMES in the first two weeks on their return to school. This is not only a huge logistical exercise (around 3000 tests for our school) but also relies on parents and carers agreeing to this. Unfortunately we only received responses from around 40{0fa29e37a5ff5b819bc9d205477dcf2080d55da20457d57d8c85d351a6dec1cb} of families when we asked for this consent in January. In order to make the testing effective we need a much higher take up. If you have not responded, the link for consent is here.

We will be starting the testing next week for years 12 and 13 in order to get a head start. Sixth formers will have received an email regarding this, so please respond to Mr Petit by Friday 26th February at 3pm.

We will be contacting families over the coming days where we have not received a response regarding consent. Once the three tests have been carried out in school there is an expectation that students will then carry out tests at home. Again, we have very few details on this at present and I will write to you once we know more about how this will work.

Staggered Start
Given the huge number of tests that are potentially needed, we will be phasing the return of students during the week of the 8th March. Details about this will be sent out next week. I should also point out that as there is a need to test students three times during the first two weeks, lessons will inevitably be disrupted during this time.

Face Coverings
Revised guidance this week is that face coverings are now mandatory in all indoor spaces where a distance of two metres cannot be maintained (this will be in place until at least Easter). This means that face coverings will be required in lessons as well as in corridors. The exceptions to this are in practical PE lessons or when students are eating. We expect all students to adhere to this in order to maintain the safety of the whole school community. Staff will not necessarily wear a face covering when teaching at the front of the class but will do so when working more closely with students. This guidance will be reviewed by the government during the Easter holiday, so I will update as to whether this will need to continue in the longer term.

Bubbles and zones
We will be maintaining the same arrangements  (bubbles, zones, staggered breaks/lunchtimes) that we had in place last term, at least until the Easter holiday. We will also be continuing with our Covid mitigation measures in school. These include hand sanitising on entry and exit to rooms, social distancing whenever possible and ventilation of rooms.

I appreciate that students have limited access to some specialist facilities due to the zoning of the school, and so we will review this as soon as it is safe to do so. I hope to be able to move to a more ‘normal’ timetable for all students in the summer term.

Year 11 and 13 examinations
It was announced in January that examinations, as we know them, will not be taking place this year. We expect to hear the results of the consultation regarding the arrangements later this week, but it is likely that students will still need to sit some assessments in their subjects in order to support the grades teachers are giving them. It is vital, therefore, that students return to school with a real focus and purpose so that they are able to work with their teachers in the most productive ways possible over the final few months of this year.

I will write to you again next week with more details on how the testing and phased return of students will work.

Thank you for your continued support and I look forward to seeing the students in just a few days’ time.

 

Best wishes

Adrian Ward

UPDATE ON RETURN TO SCHOOL 8th MARCH 20212021-02-26T12:04:33+00:00

January 2021

29th January 2021

2021-01-29T15:02:28+00:00

Dear Parents and Carers

We have reached the end of the first month of this lockdown. I know this has been extremely challenging and I would like to thank you for the encouragement you have given your children, both in terms of home learning and emotional support. As a parent myself I know how difficult it is juggling the demands of a job with the needs of my family. I know that many of the staff are in the same position and so it is vital we continue to support one another during this time. Thank you.

Lockdown Extended
As you will be aware, it was announced on Monday that lockdown will be continuing beyond the half term holiday. We are due to have another announcement regarding this on 22nd February, with a possible – but not definite – return of schools from the 8th March.

I can also confirm that school will be closed to all students for half term, 15th– 19th February. We are expecting both staff and students to have a break from online working during this week.

GCSE and A level Consultation
The consultation period for arrangements regarding the awarding of GCSE and A level grades ends today. I then expect it to be some time (probably after half term) before we hear the detail of what these arrangements will be. As a result of this, and the current period of remote learning, we have decided to postpone both Year 11 and 13 Parents’ Evenings. We will reschedule these for a time when we have more information that we can share with both students and parents regarding the plans for awarding grades, and any potential implications for assessments in school.

Reports
It is clear that in this period of uncertainty, our usual written reports need to adapt. We are currently working on revising our reporting system to reflect the challenges of online learning and I hope to be able to update you on this after half term. Our priority in the first instance will be reporting on Year 11 and 13, given the situation they find themselves in.

Consolidation Lessons
I know that many of you appreciate the welfare calls being made by our Pastoral and SEND teams. These are also very helpful in enabling us to pick up issues that are emerging over time. Parents, students and teachers have all expressed concerns about the amount of ‘screen time’ the current situation is causing. We have therefore decided to introduce ‘consolidation lessons’ from next week. These will be lessons where teachers set a task (often away from a screen) where students will have time to practice things that have been taught in lessons. Hopefully this will not only help with the learning process but will also introduce some variety into the learning patterns students are experiencing. We will monitor how this works over the next two weeks.

Thank you for your ongoing support,

 

Adrian Ward

29th January 20212021-01-29T15:02:28+00:00

School Closed Monday 25th January

2021-01-24T14:11:26+00:00

Dear Parents/Carers
Given the snow today and that predicted overnight temperatures will be well below zero, we will not be opening the school to students or staff tomorrow. Lessons will continue to be taught remotely. Students who normally come in to school will need to remain at home. We apologise for the inconvenience but hope to be operating as normal again on Tuesday.
Best wishes
Adrian Ward
School Closed Monday 25th January2021-01-24T14:11:26+00:00

22nd January 2021

2021-01-22T17:42:26+00:00

Remote Learning Assessment Arrangements
First, we want to thank you for your contribution to the success of our remote learning provision. We appreciate the many challenges that families face with home schooling and we are very grateful for your ongoing support in the continuation our young people’s education.

Now that the routines for online lessons have been established, we want to let you know how your child will be assessed during this period of remote learning. Assessment is fundamental to our students’ progress and so we would appreciate your support in making the process as effective as possible.

Years 11 and 13
You are no doubt aware that GCSE and A level examinations will not go ahead as originally planned this summer. Further details on this follow later in this letter. Coursework elements of subjects will be completed as normal, but for those subjects which would usually comprise of an examination, the way final grades will be derived has changed. There are a number of things that we do not yet know. We do not know the format of any assessments that students will complete; how many pieces of evidence we will need to collate per student, per subject; whether the exam boards or teachers will set the assessments or when and where these will be completed and marked. However, what we do know is that for Year 11 and 13, the work towards their final qualifications is not complete. We will need to have broad evidence base, in order that their final grade can be awarded. Therefore, it is absolutely vital that, during this period of remote learning, we provide our students with assessment opportunities, so that they can practice using their knowledge and skills and so that we can provide them with the feedback they need to make further progress towards their target grades.

We plan for our Year 11 and 13 students to complete two short, exam style assessments per examination subject, during this period of home learning, on which they will receive feedback. They will not be graded, however, because grades can only be derived from a collection of responses, covering a broad scope of the curriculum studied.

Therefore, we hope you agree that attendance to all online lessons is very important. Examinations aside, remaining engaged in education is vital preparation for the next steps in our young people’s lives, whether that be University, A levels or apprenticeship.

Years 9, 10 and 12
Students in Year 9, 10 and 12 are also facing considerable challenges in continuing to progress through the curriculum. Therefore, it is vitally important that we assess the progress they have made during this period of home learning, so that we can plan to address areas of weaker knowledge and misconceptions and so that our students have the necessary feedback to make further progress.

We will assess our students, formatively, on a lesson by lesson basis, using questions and low stakes quizzes. We also plan for our students to complete one significant written assessment per non-practical subject, whilst we are remote learning. Each assessed piece of work will receive feedback.

Our Year 9, 10 and 12 students still have a significant proportion of the curriculum yet to study, and so it is very important that they attend their live lessons, wherever possible; use the recorded lesson to catch up on lessons they have had to miss and, if completing work using paper resources, that they complete and return their work for timely feedback.

 

Attendance in remote lessons 
In order to ensure that we provide the best education and care that we can at this challenging time, we are monitoring attendance to remote lessons. We are texting parents or carers when their child has not attended one or more lessons on the previous day. We are doing this as a supportive measure so that we can identify students who may need extra support or who might be experiencing technical issues that we can assist with. Our Pastoral Team are continuing to contact our student cohort but as mentioned in my previous bulletin, this is a huge undertaking with the numbers of students on roll. Please continue to contact your child’s Head of Year, should you need assistance.

To help school, we would ask parents and carers to contact us in the usual way if your child is unable to attend lessons (for example if they are unwell). This will help avoid unnecessary calls home and ensure teachers are aware if students are absent for a particular reason.

 

Exams consultation
As you will now be aware, the government have cancelled GCSE and A level exams this summer. However, as predicted the methodology for awarding grades to students appears to be very complicated. One suggestion is to ask all students to sit assessments set by the exam boards to ‘assist’ teachers in awarding grades. That sounds awfully like exams to me, which we were previously told had been cancelled.

The consultation on this is live until next Friday, 29th January. I would encourage all parents and carers to read this and respond. Unfortunately, the consultation is very lengthy, and the cynic in me would say this is to put people off responding.

The consultation can be found here:

https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/8BYI4T/

The documentation can be found here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/953000/6743-1_GCSE__AS_and_A_level_grades_should_be_awarded_in_summer_2021.pdf

 

Year 9 Options
The Year 9 Options process has now started. Over the next few weeks you will receive a number of emails and reminders on how the process will work remotely. We are currently uploading subject Information videos to our website and these will be ready by the end of next week. You will also be receiving the Year 9 Options Pathway Booklet for this year by email.

 

 

Best wishes

Adrian Ward

22nd January 20212021-01-22T17:42:26+00:00
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