Information & Updates for Parents/Carers regarding COVID-19
27 March 2020: Message from the Principal
Dear Parents / Carers,
At the end of our first week of working, studying – and living – in very different ways, please find here a brief ‘touch base’ message.
We continue to actively listen for any further details emerging from Examinations Regulators linked to processes ahead for awarding grades to our year 11 pupils and year 13 students. There is nothing new to relay to you at this point – but please be assured that if you are one of our youngsters and families in those cohorts we shall respond and communicate with you once national guidance becomes clearer. Where in-house PPE examinations have recently been undertaken, we shall issue an appropriate report over coming weeks.
I take the opportunity to re-circulate the overview details and contact information provided last week, just in relation to any timely or necessary information, now that we have all had a week of testing out our newly introduced routines.
My thanks to all of my staff who continue to support the welfare and learning of our UoBS children in a wide, and often creative, range of ways.
Sending my regards to you and all of your family members, in relation to your wellbeing.
23 March 2020: Message from the Principal
Thank you for the enormous levels of support and collaboration we have received to date, at this time of national uncertainty.
You will have, by now, received further communication from our senior team with regards to accessing work and resources online via Class Charts. Our teaching staff have prepared resources for home learning to support all year groups. Any pupils in school, as part of the ‘key worker’ and vulnerable pupil provision, will follow the same curriculum and independent work as those working from home.
We have also now shared with parents/carers of year 11 pupils and year 13 students the latest guidance and information regarding the situation around GCSE and A level examinations. You can read more below.
If you have any queries with regards to access to home learning or general enquiries, please contact email@example.com or call 0121 796 5000. Please allow 24 hours for a response within working hours 09:00 – 16:00, whilst we operate with reduced staff capacity.
23 March 2020: Message from the Principal
To: Parents/Carers of Year 11 Pupils and Year 13 Students
You may be aware that some further details have now been published by the Department for Education and the Qualifications Regulators, around standards and grading, for pupils who were due to sit GCSE or A’level examinations in the months ahead. Please find further information here.
I draw your attention to the overarching aims from the Government that the priority is now to ensure pupils and students can move on as planned to the next stage of their lives – meaning that GCSE pupils and A’level students are awarded a grade which fairly reflects the work that they have put in. Teachers will be asked to submit judgements based on a range of evidence, which will be combined with statistical forecasts from prior attainment. The aim, across the country, is to provide calculated grades to pupils and students before the end of July.
In addition to this, if pupils and students nationally feel that their grades awarded do not reflect their performance, as things stand at this time they will have the opportunity to sit an examination at the earliest reasonable opportunity, once schools are open again – and there will also be an option to sit exams in summer 2021.
Whilst greater information emerges around the exact process nationally for teachers to assess and submit grades, please do not at this time contact teachers about grades, as they will not be able to tell you anything until we get more guidance from examination boards and awarding bodies.
Over the coming days and weeks, fewer and fewer people will be here on site at school as we accelerate guidance on social distancing and working from home where possible – but staff are working remotely from home. Leaders and teachers will be collaborating as and when any further details are announced about the grading processes ahead, and at that time we shall be in touch with you further.
We fully recognise the anxieties around this for your child given the education stage they are at. Please be assured that we shall do everything we can to secure fair and just outcomes for our children.
19 March 2020: Message from the Principal
Based on changing circumstances and information for schools in relation to Coronavirus, please find some School based updates here.
Please be reminded that we shall have an early finish to school today and tomorrow, with pupils and students being dismissed at 13.50 today (Thursday 19) and 12.50 tomorrow (Friday 20).
You will have engaged with the national announcements from Government yesterday, that from Monday 23 March next week, children should remain at home, unless they have parents/carers who are key workers in the current context – and we are anticipating additional central guidance later today around identified occupations. Additionally, children who may otherwise be vulnerable by virtue of their needs or circumstances are to be offered school continuity. We will shortly be asking you to let us know whether it is likely that your child will be in school from Monday, to assist with our own planning. In the meantime please do not respond to this message with that information.
We should stress, as I am sure will be understood, that regardless of above, if your child is displaying symptoms of Coronavirus, or if anyone in your household is, they should self-isolate, or continue to do so, away from school, whilst being cared for at home. The symptoms of Coronavirus remain: a temperature above 37.8C (100F) or a new continuous cough.
Staff here have been preparing details to outline our expectations about home learning, and resources to support this, for all year groups. Full details of this will be circulated before the end of tomorrow. Children who are in school next week, for example from key worker households, will work through this learning here on site supported by school staff.
There are discussions at a national level presently around providing for children eligible for free school meals. Until there is greater clarity around that, if a free school meal for those eligible is required for your child’s welfare, and they are not self-isolating, those will be available here in school as we move into next week.
We also await clarification from examination regulators around assessment arrangements, given the announcement that May/June examinations ahead are not to be held in their present form. The Secretary of State has announced that GCSE pupils and A’level students will in the normal way be awarded grades in August, and that there will be detail about the processes leading to this in further announcements tomorrow. We shall, of course, respond in any way needed to ensure that our children are fairly represented within any national plan ahead. In the meantime, whilst the information about examinations will be causing uncertainty, anxiety, and frustration for our year 11 pupils and year 13 students, I encourage them to stay focused on relevant learning and preparation so that they are as best placed as possible to respond to any assessment model that emerges.
We shall update you with further information across coming days.
With on-going best wishes as we all continue to adapt and support each other at this time.
18 March 2020: Message from the Principal
Early finish to the school day on: Thursday 19 and Friday 20 March
As you will recognise, we continue to open and operate the school at a time of increased staff absence, where in line with national guidance some colleagues have taken appropriate action in terms of their own circumstances, to self-isolate.
We are deploying teachers and staff in the most flexible and effective way – which may mean, moving forward, that your child is taught in a group or by a teacher not ordinarily on their timetable.
In order to balance the overall demands on staff time, we shall be finishing school early on Thursday and Friday this week. Lunch will be available at the normal times on both days. We shall however, be dismissing pupils at 13.50 on Thursday 19 March (not 15.40) and at 12.50 on Friday 20 March (not 14.15).
As we move into next week (from Monday 23 March) we shall assess whether it is necessary to implement any further measures to ensure safe, high quality learning, within our available resources. This will be communicated to you at the earliest opportunity.
Thank you for your continued support at this time.
17 March 2020: Message from the Principal
Thank you for the enormous levels of support and positive collaboration we have received to date at this time of national uncertainty.
I write to provide some updated information, further to the message that I issued at the end of last week. Since that point, as you will be aware, some aspects of national guidance in relation to Coronavirus has been revised.
It is still the case that, as a parent/carer, if your child themselves develops symptoms associated with Coronavirus – notably a fever above 37.8C (100F) or a new continuous cough – they should stay away from school to be cared for at home. Guidance has now been extended from national bodies, so that anyone who lives with someone who has a cough or temperature should stay at home for 14 days. In such circumstances, please telephone our attendance office through our normal channels, including option(1) from the main school switchboard, so that we may be informed. If your child should fall ill whilst at school, we will in the normal way make contact with you in relation to the welfare and safety of your youngster.
Under present Government requirements school leaders are doing all that is possible to keep schools open, and in that spirit we are doing all we can at this time to ensure that learning is as near to business as normal, as possible. We continue to make preparations for continued learning should we reach a time where schools are either mandated or instructed to close. Tomorrow, Wednesday 18 March, is a published non-pupil day, and my staff will be dedicating further time to the on-going preparation and coordination of resources. This includes modes of remote communication with classes and pupils/students in the event of any prolonged closure. We shall circulate details of this in a timely way. We remain especially mindful of fully supporting our year 11 pupils and year 13 students. There is, at this time, no new information for us to consider or communicate from regulators or awarding bodies, in relation to the summer public examinations.
In relation to social distancing, senior leaders, Governors, and I are taking the view that non-essential events ahead, which would bring people into close contact with others, should as a precaution be postponed. Therefore, the following events will not be going ahead, and where possible and prudent will be re-scheduled for a date in the summer term. The parents’ evenings (years 7 and 11); the information evening for year 13; the Duke of Edinburgh practice expedition scheduled for next week; and the end of spring term concert – will no longer go ahead. We aim to issue parents/carers of pupils in years 7 and 11 with assessment and progress reports, in the normal way.
I am aware that individuals and families will be faced with different circumstances, considerations, and concerns as we all adapt to rapid changes at this time. We shall update you with any further information or arrangements from the School’s perspective at the earliest opportunities. In the meantime, thank you for your understanding and partnership.
13 March 2020: Message from the Principal
You will be aware from various media, of the changes to national guidance announced yesterday, in relation to Coronavirus. Please be reassured that through briefing material received from Public Health England and the Department for Education, senior leaders and I are monitoring developments daily, and thinking proportionately about various potential scenarios ahead that may affect us as a School community.
In line with revised guidance, if you appraise that your child develops a persistent cough and/or raised temperature, I would ask that they remain away from school for a week, to be cared for at home. Please, in such circumstances, alert us of absence through our normal channels and processes, here at the School. This is option(1) having telephoned our main number 0121 796 5000.
Moving forward and in the event of school closures, we are collecting proposals and ideas to promote on-going learning, via online materials and various virtual learning platforms that we subscribe to. Foremost in our minds will be to support as fully as possible our pupils in year 11 and students in year 13 with their continued preparations for forthcoming public examinations, scheduled presently for May and June. Leaders and I are keeping a close ear to any details emerging from the Joint Council for Qualifications, and Ofqual, the examinations regulator, with reference to any implications nationally for young people entered for summer session examinations. Presently, I seek your support in reassuring your child that the best task in hand at this time is to remain committed to revision and preparation, and that all young people of their age are and will be in the same position.
Between now and the end of this Spring term (3 April), and into the early Easter holiday, we have a range of events and activities in the calendar, including parents’ evenings (years 7 and 11); an information evening for year 13; Duke of Edinburgh; and a concert. Leaders shall keep the prudence and viability of each of these under dynamic risk assessment over coming weeks, and through further messaging will keep you up to speed around any changes that might occur.
In the meantime, in terms of looking after self, and in showing consideration towards the welfare of others, please help us to reinforce messages we are relaying to children here in school, around practical hygiene promotion, such as washing hands or the use of sanitizing gels that we have located around the School.
27 February 2020: Message from the Principal
The Government has updated its information on Coronavirus. If you or your child has travelled to any of the areas listed below or on the maps accessed through the link below, since 19 February, I ask you to follow this Government advice, and also contact our school reception to provide details. The reception number as you will be aware is: 0121 796 5000.
From Public Health England:
If you have returned from these specific areas since 19 February, you should call NHS 111 and stay indoors and avoid contact with other people even if you do not have symptoms:
- Specific lockdown areas in Northern Italy as designated by the Government of Italy (please see map link below)
- Special care zones in South Korea as designated by the Government of the Republic of South Korea
- Hubei province (returned in the past 14 days)
Moving forward, I shall continue to keep you updated with any further information or guidance.