News - Sixth Form

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Update 3
20/03/2020

Dear Parent,

Following the publication late last night of important guidance from the Department for Education I am now able to provide you with accurate and detailed guidance in relation to the school closure which will commence today at 2.15pm. Please take a moment or two to read this update which contains information for all families.

Distance learning

For the vast majority of our pupils their education will continue from home with work set by each subject area and shared electronically. The teaching staff have been working hard to prepare for this eventuality and have put together appropriate work, initially for the next two weeks in the lead up to the Easter holidays. This work will appear as a homework issued from School Synergy and where necessary completed work can be submitted to the staff members school email account. It is important that all pupils are able to access School Synergy and their school email as the main forms of communication. Accompanying this letter is a helpful guide for those struggling to access their account.

As much of the work from home will be completed using the internet we would encourage you to remind your son/daughter of the well-established protocols in relation to online safety. Pupils have also been reminded of the need to use any online resources, including Microsoft Teams, appropriately. Please contact school if accessing materials via a home computer, laptop or tablet is presenting you with difficulties which cannot easily be overcome.

Our expectation is that pupils will engage in a significant amount of home based learning on each school day. Please support this wherever possible by reinforcing this expectation, providing a suitable environment for work to be completed and by talking to your child about the work undertaken. Our pupils will want to do well and will rise to this challenge.

Open school

A small number of pupils will have the opportunity to continue with their studies at school. The government have now clarified the groups of families for whom this opportunity will be offered and we are delighted to play our part in this nationwide initiative.

Vulnerable children

School will remain open for pupils who have particular vulnerabilities and needs. The parents/carers of these students will be contacted directly by Mrs Collier (Senior Assistant Headteacher) and encouraged to attend and it is likely that a child’s social worker will also be in-touch. The government have provided a helpful definition of this group:

Vulnerable children include those who have a social worker and those with education, health and care (EHC) plans. Children who have a social worker include children in need, children who have a child protection plan and those who are looked after by the local authority.

Children with parent/s employed as critical workers

The second and larger group for whom school will open will be for the children of parents who work in one of the ‘critical’ job/roles identified by the government in the last twelve hours. This list is extensive and can be found here.

This offer is open to children with at least one parent or carer who are identified as critical workers.

Please note, there is no requirement to take advantage of this offer. The government is clear that every child who can be safely cared for at home should be and that this offer should only be accessed where it is absolutely necessary.

The government’s most up-to-date information can be found here.

In order to plan properly for Monday’s limited school opening we require some accurate information from you if you fall into one of the two categories and where no viable and safe alternative can be organised. Please use this electronic form to provide this information.

The initial deadline for the receipt of this form is midday Saturday 21st March. On receipt of the form we will contact you again with further details.

Children who are eligible for free school meals will be offered vouchers or meals as an alternative. We are finalising our plans in relation to this provision and will contact eligible families shortly.
We have given all year groups a good send off today with a clear message of the need to stay safe and work hard. As a school community we have offered prayers for years 11 and 13 - those students for whom their education has been significantly disrupted. We have continued to pray for good government, for the expertise and hard work of front-line staff, and for the good health of our nation and world.

‘Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.’

Philippians 4:4-8

Please accept my prayers for you and for your family.

R D Jones
Headmaster