Thank you for your ongoing patience and support at this difficult time. Staff have been overwhelmed by the positive responses they have received to the phone calls made this week. We have, of course, been working as rapidly as possible to change our plans to fit in with the new National lockdown and the change in guidance to schools which was announced by the Prime Minister on Monday evening.
We anticipate that most students will now be continuing their schooling at home until at least February half term. This means we have revised our approach to online education further, taking into consideration all the feedback we got from the parent surveys on this last term.
We are very conscious that there is now no time for ‘catch up’ when students return and whilst the vast majority have always engaged and completed their remote learning very well, a few have not. With this in mind, and having gained significant expertise over the past year, we are moving to a ‘school at home’ approach from Monday 11th January for all students. This will be the closest we are able to get to the in-school learning experience at home.
Students will be expected to attend online every school day and every lesson. All students will register for lesson one by attending a ‘Google Meet’ with their teacher where the register will be taken. Students must ‘arrive’ on time by logging into their lesson Google Meet. Students will attend each lesson with timings below:-
All students will also be expected to attend an assembly every Tuesday 15.00 – 15.15.
Currently, we do not intend to set additional formal extended learning (homework) during this period. However, teachers may suggest tasks that students can complete in their own time to further support their learning and understanding.
Students must attend the Google Meet for each lesson of the day which will be arranged via their Google Classrooms. The Google Meet may last for the entire lesson or only form a part of it, but every lesson will have a Google Meet for all students to attend, register and see their teacher. Attendance will be recorded for each lesson and any non-attendance/truancy will be followed up.
Each Google Meet lesson will be recorded for safeguarding and training purposes. We, of course, expect the highest standards of behaviour during Google Meets.
We would ask parents to try to ensure their child has a quiet place to work at home with the equipment and internet access they need for the whole day. To date, we have provided 200+ devices to families to support remote learning and a number of internet dongles. If you have any difficulties with devices or internet access for your child please contact Mrs Rust at school via firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible. If your child experiences any difficulties with connection during a day, they should email their teachers to explain.
Students should attend Google Meets suitably dressed in modest clothing (smart casual or uniform) and we advise that students have an appropriate break away from their electronic device at break and lunchtime to do something active where possible.
You will be able to see your child’s attendance, STEP points and any demerits on the Epraise app. Please check this and your child’s Google Classrooms regularly. Students are encouraged to have their cameras on during Google Meets as this allows staff to gauge student understanding most effectively and adjust their teaching accordingly. All non attendance to ‘School at Home’ will be followed up in the same way as not attending school. In extreme circumstances, where there continues to be non-attendance online, your child may be required to attend in-school provision.
Please be aware that our teachers will mostly be delivering their remote teaching from home in line with National guidance to stay at home where possible. This means that they may be managing their own children, caring for relatives or have distractions that might not usually happen in school. We would request your patience in these cases.
If staff are unwell or unable to attend the Google Meet, work will be provided in their Google Classroom and this will be managed by Directors of Subjects.
Families entitled to free school meals have been invited to order a food hamper which will support with food for a two week window. Those who have submitted a request will be contacted once these are available for collection. This will be offered on a fortnightly basis. At present a voucher scheme is not available, however, this may change if the Government makes arrangements in the future. Students attending our critical and vulnerable child provision in-school will receive a daily picnic lunch bag and will not be entitled to a hamper.
The delivery of a Covid Test Centre project is well underway. We expect the facility to be ready to start Lateral Flow Tests for students and staff next week. Only students and staff attending the school site regularly will be tested.
Further information about the Covid Test Centre will be available on our website next week. Parents/carers of children attending our critical worker and vulnerable child provision will receive information on the testing process by the end of this week. This initiative has been put in place to ensure the ongoing safety of students and staff during this pandemic.
We will provide further information about this testing when the rest of the school population are scheduled to return to school.
All students who are in school will be required to complete a Home/School Agreement which details our expectations whilst they are in school. If they do not follow these expectations, their place in school during this period will be jeopardised and we have the right to withdraw this.
Students in school will be required to arrive punctually at 8.45am ready to set up for their first lesson to start at 9.00am. They should arrive in full school uniform and adhere to the expectations detailed in the home/school agreement.
Students in Year 7 and 8 are required to come into school via the main gate where they will meet their PSM.
Students in Years 9-11 are required to come into school via the gate between the tennis courts and the MUGA where they will meet their PSM.
Any students arriving late need to sign in at student reception and parents will be informed.
At the end of the day, students will be dismissed and leave by the same gate as they entered in order to reduce the likelihood of the separate bubbles mixing. Parents should be aware that we are unable to prevent the mixing of bubbles on the way to and from school, but students will be reminded of the need to ensure that they do not mix outside their bubbles.
Covid-secure procedures continue in school as during the Autumn term and our risk assessment is currently being further up-dated. Any changes to this will be published on the school website.
Students will follow the same curriculum as they would in school and their teachers will be delivering these classes remotely via Google Meet. For this reason, all students will be based in computer rooms during the day.
For all lessons, students will be required to have headphones. They may bring their own or they can be provided by the school.
Students will not need to bring their PE kit to school at the current time but if this changes, parents will be informed beforehand. Students may choose to bring trainers to school for physical activity at break or lunchtime.
During the day, students will be separated into two separate bubbles and there will be no mixing of bubbles during the school day. For break and lunchtime, a bubble containing Years 7 and 8 students will be based on the tennis courts or in the Technology Department during inclement weather. A bubble containing Years 9,10 and 11 will be based on the astro-turf or in the dining area at breaks and lunchtimes.
Students will be required to bring a packed lunch to school or order a lunch bag using the form previously provided. Students entitled to free school meals will automatically receive a packed lunch at school.
Mr Mason has written separately to the parents of Year 11 students regarding Wednesday’s announcement that GCSE examinations will not be going ahead this year. We currently await details of how grades will be awarded and therefore all Year 11 work currently being undertaken is crucially important as it may form part of students’ final GCSE grades.
I recognise that this is another long letter and my hope is that we will now have a period of relative stability where things will not change further. I hope that this gives you all the information that you need and you continue to feel the school is doing its very best for your child and their education at this time. If you do have any queries or questions please do not hesitate to contact us either via email@example.com asking for your email to be forwarded to a specific staff member or you can email myself at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With best wishes for your continued safety and wellbeing.