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.

Thank you
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.

Sad News
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:

https://www.gofundme.com/f/fxp8y-the-reilly-family

Finally
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].

Thank you.

Stay Safe.

Adrian Ward