Following the Prime Minister’s announcement of a national lockdown at 8.00pm yesterday, we now have greater clarity about your child’s education this term. Unfortunately, because of the incredibly high rates of infection seen across the country, the rapid rate of increase over the past 2 weeks and the potential risk of overwhelming our Health services, all schools and colleges have now been closed to the majority of students until half term. It is incredibly important that we all follow the Stay at Home guidance National lockdown: Stay at Home – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) so that we can bring those infection rates down again.
The announcement means that we will need to review everything that we had planned in our calendar and review how we can provide the best possible offer for your child’s education this year, despite the restrictions. However, as a result of the INSET days we had at the end of last term and yesterday, staff had already done a lot of work to prepare high quality remote education for your children.
Remote education started incredibly well today for children required to stay at home until February half term in Years 7 to 11. It was exciting for us all to see how many of our fantastic students engaged with the live lessons and the pre-recorded lessons, following their normal timetable. We are strongly recommending that students follow exactly the same routine as they would do at school; this structure will support them in being able to make progress at a similar rate to being in on-site lessons and will ensure that they don’t lose the learning habits that they need to then continue seamlessly back to school when this lockdown ends. Teachers will be making contact to advise you promptly if your child has not engaged in their remote education and your tutors are ready to support your child so that they can make the best possible progress with their learning at home.
Our Key Worker School also started really well today for children in Years 7 to 11 who have a Critical Worker parent (or who are classified as vulnerable). Students worked in small, socially distanced groups in classroom on their remote education provision, following their normal timetable.
One of the many challenging aspects of this sudden announcement by the Prime Minister yesterday was the decision that exams for Year 11 students will not now go ahead in their current format. We are waiting to hear from the Secretary of State for Education on Wednesday regarding what that will actually mean for children in Year 11. Please be assured that our staff understand just how tough a time this is for our Year 11 students, who have been working superbly in school this year, and we are all here to provide as much support as we can to help and guide them through the changes ahead. Hopefully, the government will work with OFQUAL to make speedy decisions and this period of uncertainty for your children will be as short as possible.
On a separate note, the chromebooks that parents have leased for their children in the latest round in December are due to arrive in school early next week and we will be in touch with parents directly regarding how we will swiftly distribute these to you in a safe manner.
Please do not hesitate to get in touch with your child’s tutor if you need any support. We have all learnt from our experiences throughout this pandemic that if we can rely on each other for care, kindness and compassion then that gives us the strength we need to be able to cope with these most challenging of times!
I am truly proud of our school community and the way we have all worked together in our battle against this Covid pandemic. Hopefully, the mass vaccinations planned over the next few months will allow some of the restrictions that we currently face to be lifted and we can look forward to better times ahead together in 2021.