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.
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:
The documentation can be found here:
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.
Dear Parents and Carers
I would like to start by thanking you for the support you have given the school this week, in what have been very difficult circumstances. As you know, on Monday we returned with a plan to start mass testing, and by 8pm we were in another lockdown. I would also like to pay huge respect to my staff who have managed the situation with great professionalism. The remote learning they are providing is very difficult to deliver and I know that many of you appreciate the lengths staff are going to in providing as ‘normal’ a timetable as they possibly can.
I cannot stress how important it is that students attend remote learning every day, as well as logging in for tutor time each day. At the moment we do not know how long this situation will last. Following on from the previous lockdown it is vital that we minimise any more learning loss, which is why Trinity staff are putting in so much effort to make online lessons as interactive as possible.
From Monday we are going to run all year groups to the same times of day. This will help with staffing our school rota for vulnerable and key worker children. The times will be as follows:
Feedback from students and staff is that lessons need to be slightly shorter when doing remote learning to allow people to ‘move around’ and get away from the screen. We have therefore shortened lessons by 10 minutes to help with this.
We have some Parents’ ‘evenings’ coming up over the next few weeks. Bookings are now open for Year 10 and Year 9. In order to help staff manage work and family life, I have decided to change the start time of these to 2-30pm so that they finish earlier. I am sure you will agree that teaching from a computer, from 8-45am and then having online consultations until 7pm is unacceptable. Thank you for your support and cooperation with this. This means that teaching on these days will finish at the end of Period 4 (1.25pm). This will also apply to vulnerable and key worker students in school, who will also finish at lunchtime.
Year 11 and 13 examinations
Not only did we go into lockdown with no notice this week, but we were also told that examinations for Year 11 and 13 this summer are cancelled. I think it important to stress that this does not mean there will not be any assessments. Grades will again be based on teacher assessments, but we await details on how this will work. It will be around another month before we are given any detail, and it is essential that student continue to attend lessons, and work as hard as possible. Without question, schools will have to produce evidence of how our grades have been awarded and given the disruption to Year 10 and 12 last year, we really need students to work to the best of their ability throughout this difficult time. We were due to have mock exams this month, but these have been postponed. It is likely that we will rearrange these at some point and we will write to you with details on this when we know more about when lockdown will end.
Vulnerable and Key Worker Students
We all know that the new strain of coronavirus is far more infectious than anything we have previously seen. The numbers of infections in Redditch are now much higher than the average for England. At the time of writing, Redditch stands at 617 cases per 100,000 of the population. This is the highest it has ever been and has more than doubled in a week. The government have launched a new campaign urging people to stay at home whenever possible. It is therefore vital that if your child is able to work from home then they do so. I have a duty of care to both students and staff. We MUST minimise the number of students and staff that are in school in order to minimise the risks. Unfortunately, the numbers of parents requesting places at schools during this lockdown has significantly increased and this places considerable strain on the system. In our situation, if staff need to supervise students in school then, inevitably they would be unable to deliver the same quality of remote lessons. At the moment we are managing this demand, but we have had to increase our staff rota for next week already. Please keep your children at home if at all possible.
For students who are in school we are introducing Coronavirus testing starting on Monday. We have contacted families involved separately and I would encourage all students in school to take part in order to protect themselves and everyone else. The testing is being offered to staff as well.
Devices and Connectivity
We have a limited supply of digital devices which we are prioritising for students with no access at present. Rachel MacLean (MP for Redditch) has contacted the Department for Education on our behalf to try and get us more devices. We hope to hear about these in the near future.
Some mobile phone companies have said they will help with increased data allowances, where students rely on mobile phones for connecting to the internet. Mr Khawaja has created a form to collect information from parents who may need help with this. The link for this is here.
A huge and heartfelt thank you to those of you who answered my plea for volunteers to help with Coronavirus testing. I was very moved by the number of offers I received, and it shows what a wonderful school community we have here at Trinity. As we are now in lockdown, we will not be rolling out testing at a whole school level. However, it is likely that we will need to do this when we return, at which point we will need additional support to make this work.
Unfortunately, I do need to pass on some very sad news. Many of you will have read about the sudden death of Emma Reilly this week. Emma was not only a previous student of the school, but she was also a highly valued member of staff who worked in our SEND department for several years. More recently Emma had moved to Manchester where she lived with her husband and young son. Emma contracted coronavirus at Christmas and tragically died in hospital this week. I am sure you all join me in sending our condolences to her family. A GoFundMe page has been set up to support the family, and the link is:
Thank you for all your support, both of the school and as home schoolers. This is an incredibly tough time for everyone but we are a very strong and resilient school community.
We will be making welfare calls to students over the coming weeks, in addition to the online lessons and tutor periods. This is a huge task, as we have almost 1000 students in the school and it may take a little while before some of you get a call. However, if there is anything urgent please contact your child’s head of year, or email [email protected].
Dear Parents and Carers
Following on from the Prime Minister’s announcement this evening, I am writing to confirm what we know at this point. Schools will be teaching remotely for all year groups for the rest of this half term. This is until mid-February. We will continue to provide on-site provision for the children of key workers, vulnerable students and students with EHCPs. A small number of you have confirmed you would like this provision and we will be here to welcome your children tomorrow. Please contact the school if you no longer wish to send your child in.
Given the rapid change to what has been planned, we will no longer be teaching online tomorrow. This will start for all students on WEDNESDAY, to allow staff time to collect resources, equipment and books that they need in order to teach online.
I will write to you again tomorrow (Tuesday) to give you a further update. This will include anything we hear regarding arrangements for examinations for students in January and in the summer.
Thank you for your continued support.
We are working to keep our school as safe as possible. You may have heard that testing for those without coronavirus symptoms is beginning across the country using new, quicker COVID-19 tests known as ‘lateral flow tests’.
Along with the other protective measures we are taking, these tests will help staff and students to remain in school safely. Up to one third of people who have coronavirus experience no symptoms. By testing we will help to stop the virus spread and help to keep our school open as safely as possible. The test is voluntary, but I would encourage everyone to take it.
Those taking the test will be supervised by staff. The ‘lateral flow’ tests are quick and easy using a swab of your nose and throat. For under 18s, staff can oversee the swab process. Staff will not assist you with the test. They are there to supervise only.
Results (which take around half an hour from testing) will be shared directly with staff and pupils participating. Where participants are under 16, parents or carers will also be informed.
Dear Parents and Carers
As you will have heard, the arrangements for the return to school of high school age children has had to be changed from what we had previously planned. Regrettably, these changes have been made by the government at very short notice and we know very little more than was announced to the public yesterday afternoon.
Lateral Flow Tests
Schools have been given the option of testing all students on their return to school. This is a huge task (particularly given the numbers involved) and we will be spending next week trying to get this set up. The biggest issue is staffing. We have calculated that we will need around 18 additional members of staff in order to facilitate this. Given that all schools are being asked to do the same thing, there are very few agency staff available. We are therefore looking for volunteers from our community who would be willing to help us, and undertake the training needed to support us. If you are interested in discussing this, then please send an email to [email protected] expressing an interest, and we will then contact you next week to discuss this in more detail.
Our priority for rolling out mass testing for students will be for Year 11 and 13 in the first instance, and then for other year groups, if and when we have the capacity to do so. The situation is changing on a daily basis so I will endeavour to keep you up to date as things progress. Our understanding at this point is that students will be offered a test once. After this, students will only be offered a test when they have been identified as a close contact of a positive case, in which case they will be tested each day for the following week. The idea behind this is to minimise the numbers of students needing tom isolate at home for 10 day periods.
In order for students to have a test, we will need parental consent for students in Years 9-11, and student consent for those in Years 12 and 13. Details of this will follow in the coming days.
Arrangements for Teaching and Learning
I have tried to summarise below our arrangements for the first two weeks of term. As I have said, things are constantly evolving, and these arrangements may need to change depending on government advice:
Week 4th-8th January
Monday 4th is now a Training Day to enable staff to prepare for online learning which will follow. No lessons will be happening on this day. For the rest of the week, all students in all year groups (with the exception of Vulnerable, EHCP and Key worker students – see details later in this letter) will learn remotely. Lessons will be taught online using Microsoft Teams. Further details and protocols regarding this will be sent separately. We already know that students will require paper copies of work, and these will be sent out to those who have previously requested it.
Week 11th-15th January
Year 11 and 13 students return to school as normal. We hope to be able to offer them a lateral flow test at some point during this week. All other students will continue to learn remotely.
Week 18th January
All students back in as normal. We hope to offer Lateral Flow Tests to other students during this week.
Vulnerable, EHCP and children of Key Workers
Schools have been asked to provide in school education for vulnerable, EHCP and children of key workers who wish to be in school. Those students who are deemed to be vulnerable or have an EHCP will be contacted by school to discuss this. For key workers, we are reque sting that the attached form is completed with all the necessary details. School will then contact these families on Monday 4th January to discuss this in more detail. However, it is important to emphasise that we wish to minimise the numbers of students in school until we have our testing systems running. Students who are in school will be working in year group bubbles. These will be in computer rooms and students will be required to log in and participate in the lessons that are being taught to all other students remotely. There will NOT be face to face lessons as this is not possible given staff will be teaching all other students online.
Any students in school will be required to wear FULL SCHOOL UNIFORM.
If you are a key worker and need your child to work in school please complete the form by clicking on this link.
A limited meal offer will be available to students who are in school and require a school meal. Free school meals will be provided for any student in school who is entitled to this. For all other FSM students, we will be arranging for vouchers to be provided (as preciously) for the time students are not in school. For example, Year 11 and 13 students would only receive this for the week 4th-8th January. Other students would receive this for two weeks. We would ask for your patience while we arrange for this to be put in place. This may take a few days next week before these are sent out.
Examinations will be continuing as planned. A number of students have public examinations in January and they should attend these exams as planned (this applies to any Year 12 students with exams as well). Year 11 and 13 mock examinations will also continue as planned, unless we are directed otherwise. Any queries relating to exams should be directed to the relevant Head of Year in the first instance.
Given the news that the latest Covid-19 variant is much more infectious, we will be reviewing our risk assessment and protocols. At present the DfE have not advised that any changes are needed, but given the huge increases in cases both locally and nationally, the school may decide to make some changes. If this is required, I will let you know.
Finally, there will be further advice and information over the coming days so please check your emails.
I would like to wish you all a very Happy New Year.
18th December 2020
Dear Parents and Carers
There have been a number of announcements over recent days relating to the start of term in January. These have been announced with very little time before the Christmas break, and with virtually no detail from government. As a result, I will be meeting with my Leadership Team between Christmas and New Year, when hopefully we will have been provided with some useful guidance (I live in hope). Given this uncertainty I thought it important to write to you and reassure you that once we have a plan, we will write to you with details. Please keep an eye on your emails over the Christmas and New Year period. Do not contact the school, we will contact you.
What we do know is that Year 11 and 13 will be in school as normal. Years 9, 10 and 12 will, for most students, work remotely from home for the first week. This will work as it did when bubbles collapsed, with all lessons and tutor time being delivered live on Teams. The children of key workers, vulnerable children and children with EHCPs may also come to school at this time, but we plan to deliver online lessons to them as well (this is the only way we can deliver effectively to students in this situation). Further details will be sent out before the start of term as to how this will work, and how we will need to verify key worker status.
In addition, we are expected to roll out mass testing of both staff and students in this week. Please be reassured that when we get more information, we will pass it on. However, we would encourage all students to take up this offer, but it will not be compulsory.
As you can appreciate, school staff have been on the front line of this pandemic from the start. At times it feels that we get very little recognition from government regarding this, but we continue to do the best we can under extraordinarily challenging circumstances.
I hope you all manage to have a good Christmas and New Year break.
Dear Parents and Carers,
I was informed this morning that unfortunately we have had further positive cases within the school community. I have spent the day working on this with Public Health England. After much discussion, and having done our own track and trace, they have advised us that we need to collapse two bubbles. We will write to the students who need to remain at home for 14 days, but effectively this means that half of Year 9 (X Band) and all of Year 11 will now need to work at home for two weeks.
Clearly this is not what any of us would want, but health considerations need to be our priority. We will also send out guidance to these students on how to access the lessons remotely, using Microsoft Teams.
I appreciate that many of you will have concerns but I have been assured by PHE that they do not believe the cases are linked. I would also like to draw your attention to the latest data on confirmed cases. Redditch has now overtaken Bromsgrove and has the highest number of cases in the county. In fact, the numbers are broadly similar to those in Birmingham, which had been in Tier Two restrictions before this latest national lockdown. I attach some graphics below to illustrate this. It is vital that all of us play our part in keeping the spread of the virus under control; both by obeying the ‘Hands, Face, Space’ messages but also by ensuring that we all observing the lockdown rules when we are at home. The school cannot control what happens in the community and we are relying on each other to ensure we play our parts in driving down the infection rates in the town.
Finally, please can I ask that you do not contact school and ask us to give any more details. We cannot do this. If you have individual concerns please contact the relevant Head of Year in the first instance.
Thank you for your continued support
Dear Parents and Carers
As you will be aware, the country moved to lockdown on Thursday. New guidance for schools has now been published by the DfE, and we are therefore making some small changes to how we operate. As of Monday all schools, where children are in Year 7 or above, will need to make face coverings in indoor communal areas compulsory. We have already implemented face coverings in corridors so we will only need to make some minor changes to what we are already doing. From tomorrow, in addition to corridors, students must also wear a face covering in the Dining Hall (unless they are eating) and Sixth Formers will now need to do the same in the Sixth Form Common Room. The guidance remains that face coverings are not required in classrooms, but as before we are allowing this for students and staff who wish to do so.
We have been advised by Worcester Children First that face coverings are not compulsory outside, but again we are allowing students to do so if they wish. It is vital that we continue to support the fight against the virus by adhering to these guidelines and by ensuring we all observe both social distancing and good hand hygiene. School continues to ask students to sanitise hands as they enter and leave rooms, and all rooms have a supply of sanitiser. However, I would encourage all students to bring their own to school so that they are able to sanitise their hands as often as possible.
The canteen continues to sell a variety of drinks but we have, in line with guidance, turned off all water fountains. Please can I ask that students bring water to school with them. We are unable to fill bottles up for them, as this would involve staff handling bottles.
Free School Meals
If your child is entitled to free school meals and is required to isolate, then school will provide a packed lunch. Initially we will be delivering these on a daily basis, but if the numbers increase, or we have significant staff absences, then we may need to change how we provide these. I will update you if this becomes necessary.
Protocols around Positive Cases
I would like to take the opportunity to remind you of the protocols around positive cases, close contact and possible cases. If your child, or anyone in your household, has any of the symptoms of Coronavirus please do NOT send them in to school. They should book a test and your household should isolate until you receive the result. If this is negative, then your child may return to school, and the household no longer needs to isolate. If the test is positive, then you will all be advised to isolate. Please adhere to the dates you are given by Public Health England. In all cases, please ensure you inform the school as we are not being told by PHE of cases and we rely on families to keep us up to date. As I have outlined before, if we do get a positive case at school you will be informed. Students and staff who Public Health England deem to be ‘close contacts’ will be asked to self-isolate and will be informed of this separately. All other students should attend school as normal. Please can I stress that we are NOT at liberty to give any more details to parents, so I would request that you do not contact school and ask. As I am sure you will understand, we must follow the guidance we are given, and we do not have the staffing capacity to answer individual queries regarding this. I do appreciate the concern many of you have over the virus, and this is reflected amongst many of the staff, but please be assured that in all cases we are following the advice given to us form both Public Health England and the Department for Education.
Where students are having to isolate, school will set work. This will take a variety of approaches and is unlikely to be ‘live lessons’, and I would appreciate your support and understanding regarding this. Teaching staff continue to work incredibly hard at this extremely challenging time. As well as moving around the school and teaching in bubbles, they are trying to set work for those isolating. There will be times when this may take a little longer, particularly as in some cases staff are also being required to self-isolate.
All of us also need to ‘do our bit’ when we are not in school. It is imperative that students wear face coverings when required, observe the lockdown rules and maintain social distancing. Click here for the latest guide as to the lockdown rules, for your information.
Finally, thank you all for your support of the school. I am sure it has not gone unnoticed that while the rest of the population is being told to work from home, school staff are in school, with almost 1000 students each and every day. In the last lockdown we were all asked to clap the NHS. It is now time to recognise the extraordinary efforts being made by staff in schools and I am sure you would want to join me in saying a huge thank you to everyone here at Trinity.
With very best wishes