24 April 2020: Message from the Principal
A further school week, in a routine sense, draws to a close. I relay my continued appreciation for your support and collaboration with home learning and recognise fully the opportunities and challenges that the present circumstances hold for our families.
To complement the learning resources and welfare systems that we continue to embed, I would like to raise your awareness of a new home learning telephone helpline which has been launched to further support parents and carers nationwide. Please do not feel this resource replaces any provision available as a first port-of-call through the school; but sometimes having a full range of services to turn to can be helpful.
The service is called StarLine and further details can be accessed here.
StarLine aim to help parents and carers in the following ways:
- By providing access to a team of qualified teachers, education, and parenting experts.
- By focussing on providing practical ideas, support, and reassurance.
- By offering tips, techniques, and resources to enable parents to give their children the support they need to continue learning while schools are closed.
- By supporting family wellbeing and mental health.
- By covering all phases of education and subjects plus behaviour, pupil wellbeing, and SEND.
As best possible, I wish you an enjoyable weekend ahead – and to those families observing Ramadan, I wish you a very peaceful holy month.
22 April 2020: Message from the Principal
To: Pupils in year 11 – and their parents/carers
Students in year 13 – and their parents/carers
Now that the summer term has commenced, I write to raise awareness of some additional information that has been published around the awarding of grades for GCSEs and A’levels.
You will by now be aware that teachers and leaders will be required to provide forecast grades and ‘pupil ranks’ to the examination bodies for each of your subjects. We are working on processes here in school to be able to do that based on various evidence we have about the standards you would likely achieve had this summer’s examinations proceeded, nationally.
If you have not already engaged with this resource, please find a short video clip here from Ofqual (the examinations regulator) with a reminder of the national processes that have been agreed.
The forecast grades we submit to the examination boards for you will be subject to a moderation process and may not be the grades finally awarded. This is because grades submitted may be adjusted as a part of a process where examination boards seek to ensure that pupils and students in all schools, not just our own, are treated as fairly and consistently as possible.
I must also again stress the key guidance from Ofqual:
Can I see the grades my school/college submits for me?
No, this information will be confidential. Please don’t ask your teachers, or anyone else at your school or college, to tell you the grades they will be sending to the exam boards or where they have placed you in the order of students; they will not be allowed to share this with you.
Ofqual have launched a national consultation on the proposed grading processes. The consultation information and documents, whilst lengthy, can be found here if they are of interest.
The School will be reviewing this and submitting views where appropriate. It is right that we signpost you personally to the consultation also, as you may wish to submit your own response to Ofqual via the links provided. Do not feel that you have to – but if you should choose to contribute views, please note the quick turnaround on this national consultation with a cut-off date of next Wednesday morning (29 April).
It has now been decided that, nationally, results will be released to pupils and students on the following dates:
- A’level results – Thursday 13 August 2020
- GCSE results – Thursday 20 August 2020
Colleagues here at the school will be in touch with you over the coming days with further details about purposeful work and interesting learning tailored to your circumstances.
I would encourage all of our pupils and students to remain optimistic and upbeat, and I continue to send my best wishes to you all at this extraordinary time.
16 April 2020: Message from the Principal
In very many senses the phrase ‘we approach the start of the summer term’ is peculiar. However, all things being equal, it remains true. It is therefore timely that we reach out to you – in particular to seek any updates from you.
I am grateful to colleagues who have received children of key worker families over the holiday period. Whilst stressing current guidance remains that, children should be looked after safely at home if at all possible, we recognise at this time, that working patterns may have shifted since we first assessed the needs of our key worker families. It is possible that as one of our parents/carers you have been re-deployed or asked to work in a different capacity that now defines you as a key worker.
If as a key worker, you need at this stage of the national response to Covid-19 to request a place for your child here in school, where they cannot otherwise be looked after safely at home, please make contact with us at: firstname.lastname@example.org at the earliest opportunity, so that we can assess our staffing. We shall then communicate with you further.
There remains much speculation around when aspects of our lives will return to more regular rhythm – including when schools may once again welcome pupils and students back en masse. We are all looking forward to that time whenever it prudently arrives. Whilst we await national guidance and instructions about that, we return from Monday to the more structured routines and home-learning expectations that have been previously set in motion, and I am appreciative of your on-going support and partnership with this.
With continued best wishes for your family’s well-being.
03 April 2020: Message from the Principal
To: Pupils in year 11 – and their parents/carers
Students in year 13 – and their parents/carers
You will have received a range of information this week from teachers and leaders at the school, about studying and learning, whilst we continue to adapt to the circumstances in which we find ourselves. As a pupil in year 11 or student in year 13, we all recognise that there are added national uncertainties around the assessment and awarding processes for GCSEs and A’levels.
All aspects affecting our lives are rapidly changing at this time, with new information reaching us daily. You may have already seen today, that Ofqual, our country’s examinations regulator, have begun to provide more detailed information about requirements ahead. Ofqual have provided a letter to examination candidates which you can read here.
Leaders and teachers here at the School will now take a little time to digest in full the information received today, and early next week we shall communicate further guidance or any necessary actions, about assessment processes ahead, and purposeful learning in preparation for your next steps in life. At this time, and whilst perhaps of little consolation, do remember that all young people across the country, are in the same position as you – and we shall do our very best within that context to ensure that you are treated fairly.
Have as good a weekend ahead, as is possible.
02 April 2020: Message from the Principal
Dear Parents / Carers,
As we approach the end of week number two with our very different ways of living, working, and learning, our minds also turn to what will still in some respects be the Easter and spring break. Our published holiday period is 6 April through until the 20 April 2020.
In line with current guidance provided by the Department for Education, we intend to continue to receive children from some families of key workers on weekdays over the holiday period, and children known to be vulnerable. I have confirmed with Governors the exception being that we shall close to all pupils on the Bank Holidays, Friday 10 April and Monday 13 April, unless there is reason to review this further.
I would continue to stress that we should only be caring for children here on site where arrangements cannot be made to keep them safe at home – for example, in the case of those workers who would not otherwise be able to go to work as a part of the country’s critical response to Covid-19.
We are aware at this time, that working patterns may have shifted, since we first assessed our key worker families. It is possible that as one of our parents/carers you have been re-deployed or asked to work in a different capacity that now defines you as a key worker. Please find a reminder below with guidance on key worker definitions in the context of the Covid-19 outbreak.
So that we can if needed re-evaluate any of our provision and staffing for the weeks ahead, please send a reply to this email preferably by 10am Friday 3 April, if as a key worker, you need at this stage of the national response to request a place for your child here in school. We shall then communicate further with you. Also, during the weeks ahead, if your needs change, please make contact with us at: email@example.com
Leaders at the school have been working this week on additional information for you and your child, outlining the next steps ahead for pupil work, learning, and communication – and this will be relayed over coming days.
With my continued wishes for your well-being,
Key worker categories | Covid-19 (published 20 March 2020 – Department for Education)
· Health and social care
This includes but is not limited to doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector; those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributors of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment.
· Education and childcare
This includes childcare, support and teaching staff, social workers and those specialist education professionals who must remain active during the COVID-19 response to deliver this approach.
· Key public services
This includes those essential to the running of the justice system, religious staff, charities and workers delivering key frontline services, those responsible for the management of the deceased, and journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting.
· Local and national government
This only includes those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the COVID-19 response, or delivering essential public services, such as the payment of benefits, including in government agencies and arms-length bodies.
· Food and other necessary goods
This includes those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery, as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines).
· Public safety and national security
This includes police and support staff, Ministry of Defence civilians, contractor and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs and essential to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic), fire and rescue service employees (including support staff), National Crime Agency staff, those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff and other national security roles, including those overseas.
This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass.
· Utilities, communication and financial services
This includes staff needed for essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure), the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage), information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the COVID-19 response, as well as key staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 critical services), postal services and delivery, payments providers and waste disposal sectors.
If workers think they fall within the critical categories above, they should confirm with their employer that, based on their business continuity arrangements, their specific role is necessary for the continuation of this essential public service.