14 May 2020: Message from the Principal
Please find here my latest communication relating to future school based arrangements.
Further to the address from the Prime Minister last weekend, and subsequent guidance and messaging from the Department for Education, secondary schools have been instructed as a part of national arrangements for easing Covid-19 related lockdown, to assess the possibility of providing some face-to-face contact with pupils in year 10 and students in year 12. This is to supplement online learning and provision in place at this time. Learning is of course important for all our young people, regardless of their age. At this time, I do support prioritisation for year 10 and year 12, being the 2021 public examination cohorts.
You will be aware from media messages, that in any event, schools will not be asked to welcome even relatively small numbers of children back into school, whilst risks assessed at a national level are too high. Whilst therefore, any start date to invite any year 10 and year 12 children into School remains moveable, I am working with leaders at our School on various plans that could come into effect from Monday 8 June, or thereafter.
In our planning, we have some core principles. These are for proposals to be purposeful (so would provide direct teaching and instruction, rather than supervision); manageable (from the perspective of my staff’s workload); and foremost safe. We will provide fuller information and action plans as we move into next week – but in relation to safety, we are focusing on three themes: hygiene, distancing, and staggering (within daily routines).
Home learning, support, and current school-based systems will continue for all pupils and students. This includes those in year 10 and year 12 who will in any event be invited on to the school site most likely for only a part of any week. You will understand that this arises from social distancing restrictions.
We are also continuing to supervise and support children of key worker families and vulnerable pupils continuously – much as we have done since 23 March.
Leaders and I recognise fully that any return to schooling, physically, may not be straightforward for you, your child, or your families. Please be assured that planning ahead for us centres on minimising and controlling risks where we reasonably can. Once we are in a position to circulate fuller details of this, we shall be keen to invite views or queries from you as parents/carers – in attempting to allay any additional concerns you may have – or indeed to address any aspects we may by then not have thought of given that we are responding to such extraordinary circumstances. I shall be understanding where, as parents/carers, your thoughts and choices may be ultimately to continue to keep your child away from school in June/July – but I would ask you to only make that decision once we have our fuller plans together to share with you, and so that you can be appraised of and find confidence from our attention to detail and people’s welfare.
I shall be in further contact next week – and in the meantime I send my continued best wishes for your family’s well-being.