Headteacher Weekly Update – 31st December 2020

December 2020

I must confess I didn’t expect to be writing an update on the last day of 2020, but as this year has shown we never quite know what is around the corner! Following the announcement made by the Government yesterday I can now confirm the following arrangements for the start of term.

Week Commencing 4th January

Vulnerable students and children of critical workers attend school from 5th January. All students start at 8.40am.

  • Families of students falling into the vulnerable category were contacted prior to the holidays, but we will be in touch on Monday to provide further details of provision. These students are expected to attend school.
  • In the letter sent out before Christmas I shared a link to request a critical worker place for your child and again we will be in touch with parents who requested a place on Monday with arrangements.
  • In line with government guidance, priority will be given to remote learning for Year 11 students which will commence on Tuesday 5th January.
  • Students in Years 7 -10 will be able to access remote learning from Wednesday 6th January. Hegarty Maths and Communication resources are available from 5th January.
  • Lessons will appear in ‘real time’ in Google Classroom so students should log on and follow their timetable each day. Teachers will be available via the chat function throughout the lessons and will provide feedback for work where appropriate.

Please contact the school office if your child is struggling to access Google Classroom because they have forgotten passwords or are unsure of how to use it – it is very easy to use and the vast majority of students have accessed it already.  Additionally, if your child needs to loan a laptop in order to complete the work then please click on this link and we will provide one for them. Students will not be able to effectively access the work on a phone.

  • Free School Meal hampers will be available for eligible students. They will be delivered to school and we will inform you of collection points and delivery options on Monday 4th January.

Week Commencing 11th January

Vulnerable students and children of critical workers continue to attend school

Year 11 return to school from 11th January at 8.30am

  • Students in Years 7-10 will continue to access learning remotely.

Week Commencing 18th January

All students return to school at their normal times (Year 11 – 8.30am, Year 7-10 – 8.40am)

  • Remote learning will only continue for students self isolating.

Testing

Since the end of term we have received more guidance on mass testing in schools. We will be in the position to start testing relatively quickly, but only if the tests kits and PPE arrive in time. We are yet to receive any resources to train the people who will be administering the system so again we may not be in the position to start as quickly as we would like. Having said this, our plans are in place and will be confirmed following a meeting with Public Health on Monday, after which we will be sending out full details to parents.

I would like to emphasise that testing is not the solution to COVID in schools and, whilst it will reduce risk of transmission, we must continue to ensure that everyone follows the strategies we have in place in school to minimise risk, which are now more important than ever due to the increased transmission rates of the new strain of the virus. With this in mind, please ensure that your child attends school with their own face covering; last term we spent over £1400 as a result of handing masks out to students, some on a daily basis and whilst we will continue to do this it puts yet further pressure on our budget. We would recommend that your child brings their own hand gel to school as well.

The measures we have in place in school have thankfully proven themselves effective so far, but as we enter a critical time it is so important for us all to follow the rules for Tier 4 restrictions outside of school so that we can collectively reduce the number of people becoming ill and even worse dying from the disease. There is light on the horizon with the vaccines and I am sure that brings us all hope, but in the short term the community spirit and collective responsibility that has been evident throughout the crisis remains at the core of keeping one another safe.

The school office will be open from 8am on Monday 4th January for any questions you may have. In the meantime, can I take this opportunity to wish you and your family a very happy, and hopefully much more normal, New Year.

Best wishes

Jonathan