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Headteacher’s letter 20 April 2020

Monday 20 April 2020

Dear Parents and Carers

WELCOME BACK

I hope that this letter finds you well and managing the various demands on your lives, including the resumption of home learning this week. Having spent several hours with my daughter on her work today, I was again reminded of the precious time this crisis has given family life, but also how hard it is to restore and maintain good habits and rhythms after a more relaxed holiday period.
Only yesterday, the Government released information regarding the provision of laptops and routers for a small number of disadvantaged students / families who do not have access to a device. Do get in touch with Ms Hancock if you wish to discuss further.  Furthermore, the BBC has now released its ‘Daily Lessons’ and as teachers and parents or carers we can begin to explore what is available and either use the content to supplement home learning or begin to base some of our lessons around the resources.  I anticipate that teachers across the country will now explore what is in there and see what matches their various curriculum plans.

£1615 Raised by Mr Trainer
You may have been one of the families that responded so quickly to Mr Trainer’s local food bank fundraising appeal. His initial target was £300 and within hours this was raised and the money rolled in with him securing over five times his original goal over the Easter break.
From Mr Trainer and local food bank managers, a huge thank you for all of your generosity!

Year 11 and Year 13 Updates
I wrote to all Year 11 and Year 13 students and their families yesterday. My letter set out in more detail the available information relating to how teacher assessment grades will be generated over
the coming weeks. There is very little left for Year 11s or Year 13s to do now and so the hard work certainly falls on teachers and Heads of Department as they generate this data in line with all
schools, by the end of May. In a few weeks’ time, we shall be working with Year 11s on the commencement of their bridging courses as they begin to prepare for Year 12.

Year 10 and Year 12 Updates
Right back in mid-March, I mentioned that we must not forget how this crisis has also very significantly affected our Year 10s and Year 12s – who will of course be sitting the usual
examinations in the summer of 2021. All school leaders and teachers are conscious of the fact that these two years groups could be at a major disadvantage if we fail to ensure that their home
learning is not tightly planned or uniformly completed.

Whilst we are only at the start of the third week of home learning, we are mindful that if school closures continue beyond the Whitsun half-term then there will be a national, not to mention very
local, rethink about how we can support Year 10s and Year 12s when schools finally reopen. At this stage, I have no plans to flesh out except to reassure students and families that we know and
understand the worries you will have and that we are exploring all the possible scenarios and what that might mean for those students to give them an added advantage.

Year 9 Updates
Families will be aware that we usually start the new GCSE courses in the final six or seven weeks of Year 9 in an attempt to get a head start on the GCSE curriculum. It is our intention to continue with this approach and therefore there will be a timetable reshuffle which will begin after the half-term. Meanwhile we shall now complete the Year 9 options process. I wish to thank Mr Trainer, Ms Hopkins and Ms Coombes for having made significant progress on this before we closed and we are, therefore, in a very good position to avoid having to delay the confirmation of GCSE options for all Year 9 students in the coming weeks. For now, do not try to contact Mr Trainer, Ms Hopkins or Ms Coombes about this process. They will be in touch with you shortly to confirm or discuss any issues with your options.

Year 7 and 8 Updates
Thankfully, these two year groups are least affected, in the long term, by the school closures. Nevertheless, this period presents the most wonderful opportunity to finesse those independent
learning skills and that habit of just settling down to complete work without interruption. There are many thinkers in education who feel that these two year groups may well grow or flourish in ways we do not expect when we have the chance to look back in the years to come.

And finally…
You can always drop me an email ([email protected]) if I can be of any help and I shall do my best to get back to you quickly. Meanwhile, Ms Hancock (Wednesday), Mrs Smart (Thursday) and Mr Gent (Friday) will send out their weekly newsletter as planned and between us we hope to keep you well informed and keep our community close.

Yours sincerely,
Barry Doherty, Headteacher

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