Letter from Headteacher 22.01.2021

Following the announcements by the Prime Minister and the Education Secretary yesterday, we do not yet know when we will be able to reopen as normal and your child will return to full-time face-to-face education. We have all been promised at least 2 weeks’ notice of any plans to reopen schools more widely, to give parents and school staff time to plan for the new expectations of us all in education at that point in time.

Despite not being able to teach your children on site, we have been so impressed with student’s engagement in their remote learning and with the work that they are producing. The mixture of both live and recorded lessons is working incredibly well across the school with exceptional attendance at live lessons. Many parents and students have commented on how positive it is that students can follow their normal timetable and keep to a familiar routine which helps to support students learning. Those routines are so important to maintaining good health and good sleep patterns too.

Our remote education offer ( content/uploads/2021/01/Information-for-Parents-on-Providing-a-Remote-Education-V1-22.01.20.pdf ) replicates the normal curriculum that we would have been following in school wherever possible and because so many students are engaging in this positively, we are confident that students are not falling behind with their education. Online learning and all the different technologies involved is new to us all, and staff are continually looking for ways to refine and improve upon how remote lessons are being delivered. Staff have commented on how much they have enjoyed seeing students supporting one another, and their teachers, as we all become more proficient users of technology in lessons.

For our families who have experienced problems with their child having access to appropriate IT facilities, we have been able to provide support in a range of different ways, so that every student has full access our remote education provision. We are extremely grateful to the individuals who have kindly donated devices (new and used) to the school to help with this and have made sure that these have were given to children who needed them.

On behalf of the staff, I wanted to thank you for all your positive feedback and messages of support which just reaffirms what a great learning community we have with staff, students and parents all working so closely together. Please do make sure that you communicate with your child’s tutor and let them know if you have any worries or concerns that you think we can help with. For all of us, knowing that we have one another to lean on for support becomes even more important to our wellbeing at times like these when normal life is so disrupted.

Since the start of term both staff and the students who are on site have taken part in the opportunity to have twice-weekly on-site lateral flow testing which is a further precaution in addition to all our procedures to keep everyone as safe as possible. After half-term, we will also have the opportunity for staff and students to have weekly saliva tests, which are taken at home and are less intrusive than the lateral flow tests. We had a positive test result in the first week of term, but we are pleased that in over 500 tests administered there have been no further positive results.

Please do remember that Monday 25th January is a planned INSET day when remote education and Key Worker School will not be provided. Staff will be available again to provide remote education, on site learning and to answer any queries you may have from Tuesday 26th January.

Take care,

Nys Hardingham
Executive Headteacher