Dear Parents and Carers,
I’m sure you were as surprised as I was to hear last night that schools will now be teaching remotely until February half term at least. The first implication is that the letter I sent yesterday about testing is now irrelevant. There is no point in testing students who won’t be coming to school. We will continue to gather consent so that when we can reopen we are in a position to test as many students as possible. If you haven’t yet given your consent for your child to be tested, please do so via this link. We will of course still test all staff and students who are attending the key worker and vulnerable child mini-school.
I am especially disappointed for students in Years 11 and 13 who face new uncertainty over their exams. We are told those exams will be substantially cancelled but we don’t yet know what will be in their place. Those students have worked exceptionally this year to catch up from last year and have shown remarkable maturity and resilience. It is essential that they don’t lose heart now, but instead continue to complete their work to the best of their ability. We don’t yet know what evidence we might be able to use to support an exam grade, so let’s assume that everything counts.
Today is a training day so we will not be setting work, but as from tomorrow you should expect that your child will have work set in accordance with their timetable each day. That work will be available on Go4Schools from 8.55 every morning. Last year some teachers set work for a week or more in one go. Some students found that difficult to manage. This time we are setting five lessons of work a day and I strongly suggest that students complete that work in the time they would normally have been attending the lessons.
We are working this week to finalise the setting up of teaching groups on Teams and I hope that from Monday teachers will be present on Teams for the majority of those lessons to support students in the completion of their work.
I apologise that I can’t give you more detail just yet. We had completed a plan for the staggered return to school and the mass testing, then another for the delayed staggered return. We are this morning finalising a plan that reflects the current situation. I would like to assure you though that it is my intention that we offer students the best education we can over the next five weeks. One of the ways we’ll monitor the effectiveness of our provision will be to send out surveys asking for your views over the next few weeks.
If you are a key worker and need your child to attend school over the next few weeks, please contact Miss Powell at firstname.lastname@example.org
Children eligible for free school meals will continue to be provided with supermarket vouchers.
As a parent of two children myself, one in primary school, one in secondary, I appreciate the enormous stress and inconvenience of this upheaval. If there is anything we can do more of or do differently to support you during this next stage of the pandemic response, please do let me know.