8th January 2021
It has been a very strange week again, with the first few days of term unlike anything we had this time last year. In these changing times, we have become more accustomed to the need to adapt and change and this has certainly been one of those weeks.
I have been very pleased with the provision and response that we have had from students this week. There have, of course, been some glitches, but the positive approach of staff, students and parents means that we are tackling these and finding solutions - I mention some of these below. With a couple of days to reflect over the weekend, I am looking forward to an even more successful week next week, with routines and procedures becoming more embedded and learning continuing well.
We have scheduled examinations next week and have been in communication with all students and parents who are affected by them. We have made arrangements so that those students who wish to still undertake the assessment are able to do so.
In terms of the summer examinations, we are still awaiting further information from the government. Although head teachers were asking last term for there to be a plan B, it is clear that one was not put in place and so I sympathise with all students and their parents who are now anxious about the summer.
There are two clear messages that I want to give from school to all of our year eleven and thirteen students. First, it is vital that you continue with your studies, completing tasks set and submitting work to your teachers. These may be in the form of assignments or other work and these will continue to build your knowledge and understanding and also provide the school with more evidence of what you can do. It would be a serious error to believe that there is nothing you can do now about your results in the summer. We will do everything we can to ensure we have a solid base of evidence to take to the assessment arrangements when they are decided.
The second is to more delicate and I say the following with the hope it does not cause offence, but it is essential that teaching staff are able to continue to do their work of teaching and supporting students without also dealing with communication from parents who are hoping that teachers will respond to enquiries about grades. We will do our best for students but will also assess those students on the evidence we have and as objectively as we can. I fully appreciate that parents want the best for their children, but we must be allowed to concentrate on supporting students through our teaching, rather than discussing or negotiating potential grades.
On line learning
We have been really pleased with online lessons this week, and now have arrangements in place to be able to collect information on students' attendance in Google Meet sessions.
We are also amending break times as these were staggered in school to help social distancing. As we are now all online, the new times are as follows:
|9:10am - 10.50am
|10:50 am- 11:10am
|11:10am - 12:50pm
|12:50pm - 1:20pm
|1:20pm - 3:00pm
Google chat will be enabled at times in lessons for students to engage in feedback and dialogue with teachers as well as spoken interaction.
We also have a dedicated email address for any issues to do with logging into Google Classroom and Google Meet. Please use this for any technical enquiries to do with our network.
Free school meal vouchers
These will continue to be issued to parents of students eligible. If there are any difficulties in accessing or receiving these, please let us know.
We have now set up a testing centre for students and staff who are in school and will begin our testing programme next week. We will inform you of any future arrangements for any students who are currently not in school.
Thank you again for your positive messages of support. We wish you well.