12 February 2021: Message from the Principal
We reach the end of our first half of spring term 2021, and I write briefly to touch-base.
We are broadly a year in to variations and iterations of education for our children – and adjustments to our wider lives. It was around this time in 2020 where travel to and from certain areas overseas was being monitored at a national level – with health related cautions for people who had visited certain areas such as Hubei Province, northern Italy, Iran, and South Korea. Little did we know then the breadth of Covid-19 impact across the year that followed, and ongoing.
Thank you for your partnership with the School since the start of January, when we once again needed to ask almost all pupils, students, and staff to revert to working and learning from home. Whilst we continue to refine our remote learning provision and digital delivery, we are mindful that for many this different way of working presents its challenges, and we continue to support where and as best we can.
The next half of the spring term starts on Monday 22 February with our remote learning model continuing. We anticipate announcements from Government on that day around a wider roadmap out of this period of lockdown – which will hopefully address expectations and timeframes for schools and education. We also know that these timelines are necessarily subject to change. We shall liaise with you at the earliest opportunity once details are known – but at this time the direction of travel is that there will be some wider re-opening of schools from Monday 08 March.
With particular reference to our pupils in year 11 and our students in year 13 examination cohorts, we additionally and eagerly await clarity about assessment and grading processes ahead for GCSEs and A levels. The consultation initiated by Ofqual (the Examinations Regulator) closed at the end of January and I would hope that we are not too far off being able to shape future plans and guidance. As we have said throughout to children in those cohorts, frustrating as circumstances are, as best possible show continued resolve and commitment to remote learning and revision – following in particular the advice from various school leaders and teachers issued recently.
For our families eligible for free school meals, we move over the half term week ahead to using the voucher system put in place by the Local Authority – who are engaging a company called Sodexo. Voucher codes will be emailed to individual parents and carers known to be eligible – and after the half term week we shall revert to using the School based voucher system operated through Wonde. Any family experiencing difficulties with accessing vouchers is asked to contact the School by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
With my wishes for your family’s well-being, and a restful half term break ahead,
23 February 2021: Message from the Principal
Further to announcements yesterday from the Prime Minister and the Department for Education, you will be aware that pupils and students in secondary schools will return to learning onsite, across the week starting Monday 08 March. Not all children will be in School every day that week, whilst we phase and implement the return.
Leaders at the University School are presently planning the arrangements, and I shall communicate details, dates, and timings to you across coming days once we have collated all relevant information.
In the meantime, teachers and staff continue to set remote learning and are available to provide online support – and you may be interested to engage with the national information available on the DfE website here.
25 February 2021: Message from the Principal
Return to onsite learning – phased across the week commencing Monday 08 March 2021
Further to my brief message on 23 February, I am now in a position to share greater detail with you about our plans to welcome pupils and students back to onsite learning during the week commencing Monday 08 March 2021. Most pupils and students have been learning and supported remotely since the start of January as a result of national lockdown.
You may be interested to engage with the considerably detailed national guidance available here. I shall highlight the main points of awareness and summary information that you need to know, through this communication which you can download here. The information covers:
- Rapid Covid-19 lateral flow tests – asymptomatic testing.
- Covid-19 – home testing.
- Schedule for the phased return to School.
- Children of critical workers, those in receipt of an EHCP (SEND) or in vulnerable circumstances.
- Lunch arrangements.
- Maintaining a Covid-secure environment at School.
- Face coverings.
- Processes the School will follow when a person is Covid-positive.
- Standards and expectations.
- Clinically extremely vulnerable children.
- Pupils in year 11 (GCSEs) and students in year 13 (A levels).
Your opportunity to submit queries
Thank you for your attention to the considerable amount of information in this communication – and for submitting the online permission in relation to asymptomatic lateral flow testing via the link sent to you in the direct email.
We will be providing additional information across coming days. However, in the meantime, if you have any particular queries you wish to raise, please contact Anna Cosimetti: email@example.com and we shall get back to you as soon as we can.
Documents for your reference: