Headmasters Weekly Update for Parents

Dear Parent,

Welcome to the seventh of my weekly updates.

Tentative Plans for ‘face to face support’ – Years 10 and Lower Sixth

You will have seen umpteen news items on the government’s proposals for some pupils to return to school. Absent amongst all the hot air generated by both sides of the debate has been a discussion about secondary age pupils and students. We were promised something from the government about this yesterday, hence my holding back on this week’s Update, but I have still to receive these guidelines. Without these we are limited in what we can plan for beyond that which has already been shared, that it is the government’s ‘ambition’ that ‘some face to face support’ will be offered to pupils from year 10 and students in the lower sixth. The intention of this interaction will be to ‘supplement remote education’ and will not constitute a return to school on a full-time basis in order to receive a full timetable.

The earliest date signalled by the government for this partial return to school is June 1st but only if it is safe to do so. The government prefaces existing guidelines on school reopening with a sentiment that we would all applaud: ‘The safety of pupils and staff is our highest priority.’ Our current planning suggests that an anticipated return to school date for some pupils, in some form from 8th June. I will of course let you know further details a little nearer to the time.

Online School

For most pupils, for the rest of the academic year we face the prospect of a continuation of online learning. Thank you for working with our teachers to ensure that so many pupils are continuing to work hard and make progress. As I mentioned in last week’s Update, the prospect of a longer period of remote learning has led to an increasing number of subjects offering taught lessons, either live or recorded, in an effort to better replicate the classroom experience. We hope that this helps.

There are seven weeks left of the school year and school has been shut for a similar number of weeks. It seems sensible at this stage to stop and take stock. As a result we have decided that the week commencing Monday 1st June will be a week of consolidation and increased pastoral support. You can expect that during this week:

1. No new work will be set by subject teachers. Rather the emphasis will be on consolidating work, finishing off tasks and reviewing learning. A chance to take a breath and prepare for the final push (for pupils, teachers and parents!).

2. Form teachers (personal tutors in the sixth form) will make an telephone call to you and then ask to speak to you son/daughter. The intention of this call will be to check that all is well, identify any gaps in provision and answer any questions or queries. As we have emphasised throughout the current period, we want all of our pupils to be happy and to feel that they are progressing, admittedly in challenging circumstances. Mrs Parkinson (Assistant Deputy Head Teacher) will contact you later this week with more information and a suggested date and time frame during which the phone call can take place.

Open School

We continue to encourage some pupils from all year groups to attend school. Up until this point we have offered this provision as a last resort for parents but now encourage all pupils who are identified as being vulnerable and/or are the children of parents who are key workers to take advantage of this offer. If this is something you are now interested in and you fit the criteria, please contact Mrs Moran (Snr Deputy) –

Centre Assessed Grades – GCSE and A-level

Parents of pupils in year 11 and 13 respectfully will I’m sure appreciate a brief update regarding the school’s work in relation to the submission of centre assessed grades. All subjects have now entered pupil grades and these are currently being quality assured by the leadership team and later this week by an external body. Once we are confident that this process has met our commitment to grades which have been determined in a way which is transparent, professional, fair and ethical will we then proceed to final submission to the exam boards. A reminder that A-level results will be published on 13th August, with GCSE following a week later, on the same day that the sixth form will be open for enrolment and registration.

You too may experience the strange coincidence of a book which you are reading containing a sentence or phrase which seems to apply to your current situation. Over the weekend I was reading some E M Forster and came across this sentence…

“… a shamefaced world of precautions and barriers which may avert evil, but which do not seem to bring good …”

Let’s hope and pray that we can fashion a way forward which offers security and goodness, or in the words of our foundation scripture allows us all to ‘prosper’ and not to ‘wither’.

RD Jones