As we come to terms with the new arrangements I wanted to write to you to explain some of the things that we will be putting in place this term to support you and your child through this difficult time. I also think it will be helpful if you know what to expect.
The key aspect of our work is to ensure that we are providing high quality live lessons as per the normal timetable. Attendance at these thus far this week has been superb from all year groups. It is important that pupils log in to their morning registration and then join live lessons at the required time with their materials ready for learning. Clearly it is preferable if they are sat at a table, ideally somewhere free from distractions. Pupils should join with microphones off but they should have their cameras on (if they have them) so that teachers can gage their level of focus, engagement and understanding. In simple terms, we want to be able to see that they are working.
Beyond this we will be tweaking a few aspects of our work this term to try to ensure that things run smoothly. For KS3 pupils we will be changing the timing of period 4. This is so that they have 2 periods, break, 2 periods, lunch and then 1 period. This brings them in line with KS4 and 5 and ensures we are maximising optimum learning time in the morning. We will also be adjusting homework slightly for lower years. We are very conscious of excessive screen time. Therefore, KS3 pupils will only receive homework which involves ensuring that tasks from live lessons are completed, they will not receive additional discreet homework tasks. KS4, due to the importance of the key stage, will still receive homework but it will be reduced and refocused. KS5 students are in a slightly different situation. Due to their non-contact time, if they only had live lessons they would be doing less hours than a Year 7 student. Therefore, they will continue to receive homework in addition to their live lessons which can be done in their study time.
At the end of term 3 we will be collecting and sharing grades in the normal way. Whilst there may be some challenges to this we think it is important to retain this so we can identify where pupils are struggling. In addition to the normal grades we will be collecting digital engagements grades, the criteria for which are below. They will also be shared with pupils shortly so they know what they are working towards.
Grade E – The pupil consistently takes part in all aspects of online learning with enthusiasm and is determined to be successful. All activities are completed to a high standard and they do not give up when faced with difficult tasks. Deadlines are always met.
Grade G – The pupil is self-motivated, positive and attributes value to the work they are doing. All online learning is completed to a good standard. Deadlines are met.
Grade R – The pupil is willing to expend effort to comply with the tasks set, their engagement does not always support progress and/or the pupil has to be given reminders to complete tasks set. Completion of work is sometimes inconsistent in terms of quality and/or the pupil does not always meet deadlines.
Grade I – The pupil’s digital engagement does not support progress and/or more than one reminder to complete work is necessary. The pupil has frequently failed to complete Online Learning and rarely meets set deadlines.
We understand completely that there are challenges for some pupils to engage with digital learning. We would ask pupils to do their best and would remind parents that if they face challenges with accessing this then that could enable us to bring their child into school to support them. In these circumstances you should contact the school.
Finally, I would add a comment specifically for Year 11 and 13 pupils and parents. Whilst some further information was released yesterday to say that summer exams are cancelled and that Centre Assessed Grades will be used, we anticipate that it may be some time before we get the full details of exactly how this is going to work. Therefore, until this clarity comes out it is very important that pupils continue to work hard and do their best. Year 13 were due to be doing mock exams this week. They will now take place in the first week of Year 13’s return to school. As with all work undertaken they will be a contributing factor in any Centre Assessed Grade calculation and so pupils should use the additional time they have to prepare thoroughly for these. For Year 11 the second round of mocks scheduled for term 4 will still take place. For both year groups pupils should take every opportunity to demonstrate what they are capable of, each piece of work they do is an opportunity to show this and should be taken as such.