Headteacher Update

January 2021

As we draw towards the end of the second week of lockdown, I thought I would share the following link with you for Parent Info. The website provides lots of really useful advice and support for families during these challenging times. You can simply search for a subject and you’ll be able to find an article that will both help and reassure; it’s well worth a look – www.parentinfo.org

We will restart socially distanced PE lessons from Monday for students accessing our onsite provision. This will take place when students have PE on their normal timetable so students should wear their kit on these days; full school uniform must be worn at all other times. The remote learning for PE will be done in a 4 lesson block from now on. It has been designed for the pupils to get active and record what they do. The first lesson details the learning that will take place during the 4 lesson block and the last lesson will have a quiz on what they have learnt. The pupils will be expected to submit their activity log at the end of the 4 lessons.  It is incredibly important for both physical and mental health to stay active so please do encourage your child to get involved in the activities.

We will be making a slight change to remote learning from Monday in response to some concerns expressed by parents about the amount of screen time students are being asked to access every day. Lessons will now start five minutes later and end 5 minutes earlier:

Period 1:                                              9.00 – 9.50

Period 2:                                              10.00 – 10.50

Period 3:                                              11.20 – 12.10

Period 4 (Years 9, 10, 11) :                  12.20 – 1.10

Period 4 (Years 7, 8):                           1.00 – 1.50

Period 5:                                              2.00 – 2.50

As is currently the case lessons will be scheduled to appear in Google Classroom at these times. This slight change will also allow teachers to respond more effectively to students as they will have time to immediately follow up any questions or feedback for students between lessons. Student engagement in learning has been very good, but it is critical that current levels are maintained, or in some cases improved, as we move into week 3 so please do encourage your child to interact with their teachers in the chat facility on Google Classroom or verbally if on Google Meet  as this will help motivate everyone to keep going.

I’d like to again thank Mr McKeen and his team of drivers who again delivered nearly 300 food hampers this week. From next week we will be returning to the free school meal voucher scheme for eligible families meaning no more hamper deliveries. This is the same system used during lockdown 1 and for the Winter Grant scheme over Christmas so we do have up to date information on email addresses for most families, but where this is not the case we will be getting in touch. Parents whose children receive free school meals receive a £15 supermarket voucher per week for each child  – these will be sent out in fortnightly batches meaning that you will receive a £30 voucher for each child every two weeks.

We will be uploading all the information to Edenred as soon as we are allowed next week and we then expect there to be a delay of 2 days before emails are sent to families. I’m sure that the Edenred system will be much better than it was last Easter, but still expect some teething problems so do bear with us – we will keep families up to date with progress.  Please do get in touch with your child’s Head of Year or Mrs Blair if you are really struggling financially and are worried about the potential delay of the vouchers as we will be able to help.

This half term all Year 9 students will need to choose their options.  A full programme of support  and guidance will be delivered remotely and through discussions with senior staff so that students are able to make informed choices.  A video will be uploaded to both the school website and to Google Classroom so that Mrs Clay can outline of the process to you.  Activities to help students choose the right options will be part of their FFL lessons over the next 3 weeks.  I would encourage parents and students to watch the video together so you can help your child choose appropriate options.  It is a really important time for students and we will do all that we can to support and, as an aside, it does feel positive to be looking towards the future when we know that things will be on their way back towards normality!

Finally, please note that the school office opening times from next Monday will be from 8am to 4pm.

Best wishes and stay safe

Jonathan