29th January 2021
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.
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.
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.
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,