Dear Parent / Guardian
I am writing to provide you with some updates as we reach the midpoint in this half term. I would start by passing on my thanks to both pupils and parents for the way that they have supported the school since Christmas. It has been lovely to receive the positive feedback that has been shared with us by many parents about the way teachers are supporting their children in the current lockdown. It has also been great to see the engagement and focus of the vast majority or pupils. This has been shown through factors such as 100% attendance in live lessons being entirely normal, pupils being on time, ready to learn and engaging in their learning as well as the circumstances allow.
Regardless of how well pupils have approached this term so far, as the situation continues it is very important that they stay up to date with their work, and there are a few points of guidance that I would like to offer to parents to enable them to support their children.
- Please check in regularly with your child about their work, what are they doing, do they understand it and so on. The more you can talk to your child about what they are doing the better.
- Please take the opportunity to look through your child’s books / work with them. Whilst we are looking at as much as we can, it is not the same as being able to walk round a classroom and pick pupils up on poor presentation or lack of care. If your child knows you might do this it will help their focus.
- Get your child to show you their ‘to do’ list in google classroom. This shows the work currently assigned to them, the work they have done and most importantly any work that is missing. There should be nothing in the missing folder. If there is, please get your son or daughter to go through this with you. It might be they haven’t handed it in, but it could be they haven’t done it.
- Give them as much encouragement as you can. We appreciate that studying as they are is difficult. The more positive we can make them feel about it the better.
In addition to these aspects there are a couple of practical updates that parents need to be aware of. You may have seen that the government has paused serial testing in schools. This is the testing for confirmed close contacts of positive cases. We are still able to routinely test staff and pupils who have not come into contact with a positive case. This began last week and will continue each week this term with staff in school tested twice a week and pupils in school once. Our systems for this are working well and it is a very positive development in terms of keeping staff and pupils safe.
In addition to this I would share with Year 11 and 13 parents again that the Ofqual consultation is currently underway, gathering views as to how grades should be awarded this summer. This has been shared with pupils as well and Ofqual are keen to hear the views of pupils and parents as well as teachers. The consultation finishes on 29th January and we can then expect it to take a few weeks for these arrangements to be finalised. As soon as these are confirmed we will communicate them to you, but in the meantime all that Year 11 and 13 can do is keep working hard and take every opportunity to demonstrate what they are capable of.
Finally, I would like to make a comment about screen time and balancing workload for both pupils and staff. We are very conscious about the amount of screen time that pupils are having at the moment. We’ve asked them about this in a survey and got the very honest response from many that if they had less screen time for school work they would probably replace it with screen time on phones or games consoles anyway, so it would not necessarily make a difference. This is not necessarily the case for teachers, but we feel our current approach is the right one and are not planning to adjust it at this point. However, over the next week and a half teachers will be entering Term 3 Working at Grades. This is a time consuming process and it is important that we get this right. In order to support staff in doing this and to prevent them having to carry on their screen time long into their evenings, we will not be delivering live lessons or putting work on Google Classroom for period 5 on Wednesday 27th January, period 5 on Friday 29th January or period 5 on Tuesday 2nd February (some individual teachers may choose to do this and will let pupils know if this is the case).We would encourage students to use this time to get involved in the house fitness challenge or take a break from their screens and read a book! I hope parents will see this as a reasonable and appropriate way to provide accurate information to them and support our staff in doing so.
If you have any questions or concerns then please contact the school in the normal way.
E Hodges | Headteacher