15th May 2020

Dear Parents and Carers,

I hope you are all well.  The announcement last week on opening schools has had a lot more impact on primary schools than secondary so far. We know that we are being asked to increase face to face support for Year 10 and year 12 in order to support their online learning, but not to replace their online learning with a full curriculum in school. We are working on our plans to see what is possible and desirable to offer, but we are also waiting for further detail from the government as to what exactly they expect. As a result, I’m cautious about sharing much detail with parents just yet. Once we are confident that our plans will go ahead we will share them with everyone concerned, giving you as much notice as possible. We won’t be expecting to invite any children into school who aren’t currently attending for the first week back after half term, the week beginning the 1st June.

Year 10 Q&A Drop-ins

One thing we can say for sure is that from Monday, teachers of Year 10 will be available for one hour a week per class for a live online Q&A Drop-in. This is an opportunity for students to talk to their teachers about the work they have been set that week to get some help or check understanding. These sessions are not compulsory, but anyone from that class who wants to drop in and chat to the teacher is welcome to.

The session will be hosted on MS teams and a timetable is attached.

This kind of live online contact brings with it some changes in our safeguarding routines. The first thing to say is that students can turn off their cameras if they choose and appear at the meetings in audio only. I strongly encourage students to join the meetings from a public area of their home where the conversation can be over-heard (the equivalent of us always leaving the classroom door open when we talk to a child). As a further safeguarding measure, we are suggesting that teachers record the sessions. Those recordings will not be watched unless there is a need to do so to protect either a student or a member of staff, and then they will only be watched by me or another designated safeguarding lead.

In Year 12 there is already a lot of live teaching going on which would make these sessions redundant, but where that isn’t the case we will introduce Q&A Drop-ins for Year 12 too.

I would like to be able to offer something similar for all year groups, but it isn’t practical to do so at the moment. We will see what impact the re-opening of the school, in whatever form it takes, has on our capacity and then go from there.

Free school meals

For those families who have been receiving the Government Vouchers form Edenred, we want to assure you that we will continue to provide these vouchers for as long as the scheme is operating during the school closure period. It has however been made clear to us that the Government will not be providing vouchers for the week of May half term and we wanted to be open with you now so that you can plan appropriately.

Sports Month

Mr Thompson has emailed all students this morning with details of the Sports Month that he has organised with the rest of the PE team to take the place of Sports day this year. I think it’s a great idea and I encourage all students to get on board.

Have a good weekend,

Andy Hunter