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Headteacher’s letter 8 June 2020

Monday 8 June 2020

Dear Parents and Carers

I hope this letter finds you all well and that the sudden turn in the weather did not put too much of a dampener on the first week back after half term.

Reopening Feedback from Year 10 and Year 12 Families

Since my last letter to you, we have been grateful for the near 100% return from Year 10 and Year 12 parents and carers regarding reopening later this month. Subject to receiving a satisfactory risk assessment, the vast majority of parents and carers feel confident about their children returning to school in a few weeks’ time.

Assessing Risk and Making Our Site Safe

In my letter to you last week, I set out the way in which we are currently assessing risks and agreeing mitigations to reduce and minimise those risks. This morning I presented the Governing Body with a risk assessment document and we hope to have this approved later this week so that we can put our reopening plans into action. As you can imagine, we have read a lot and listened a lot, ensuring that all of the questions that families submitted a few weeks ago have been addressed, as well as the questions and concerns expressed by my colleagues as well. The determination to reopen is obvious, but so is the commitment to do so as safely and sensibly as possible.

In my letter to you next Monday, I shall set out in more precise terms exactly how the school will reopen to Year 10s and Year 12s. I shall also provide a link to a new part of our website that will enable you all to study the risk assessment in a very user friendly manner. Let me reassure you that I know you are keen to return but equally keen to have all of your concerns noted and addressed.

The Way We Teach and the Way We Learn

When a learner is motivated and can see the value of the activity, then their learning is more likely to accelerate and succeed. Teachers are also learners and in the past few months we have had to learn new ways of teaching and design new ways of learning. We already had Show My Homework but we were only using a fraction of its potential. Few teachers had used Screencastify, Loom, Zoom or Google Meet. Behind the scenes there is a lot happening between us as we upskill and prepare for the next stages of how we shall teach and how they shall learn. We have discovered valuable new ways of approaching explanations, assessment, modelling examples or the submission of work. It is one of the ways that this pandemic will change the face of education and reinforce the notion that necessity is the mother of invention.

More on this in my next two letters.


In my recent letters to you, I have also referred to the possibility of families purchasing a Chromebook for their children.  It was my intention to write to you about this last week but I was unable to do so because I was still waiting on key information, which has now arrived.  This is why there is a separate letter from me accompanying this main letter, for those who are interested in purchasing a Chromebook.

Communication with Families

We also think it is the right time to reduce our communication to families from four to two letters per week. Starting today, you will receive a letter from me each Monday and it will also include any key teaching and learning messages from Mr Gent.

Mrs Smart’s family newsletter will still be shared each Thursday, but it will be forwarded to you with an introduction from Ms Hancock regarding any safeguarding or well-being updates.

We hope we have judged this correctly but do let us know if you feel we are not keeping you up to speed at this time.
Chipping Norton News

I have again been asked to publicise the latest edtion of Chippy News by either following this link or by copying this address into your browser: Please take a look to catch up on the latest news in our town.

And finally…

Last week our transition work with Year 6 students began in earnest with the delivery of their welcome packs. Health and safety risk assessments allowing, we shall try to visit all of the schools and make their transition as normal or at least as valuable as possible. No year group has escaped the effects of school closures but the anxiety that can often accompany transition to secondary school has certainly been greater this year and therefore we shall do all we can to remedy this.

Please take a look at my additional letter regarding Chromebooks and look out for Ms Hancock’s messages and Mrs Smart’s Family Newsletter on Thursday.

In the meantime, you can contact me directly at [email protected] (emails to my old address will forward automatically), if I can be of any help.

Yours sincerely

Barry Doherty

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