12 June 2020

Dear Parents, Carers and Students,

I hope that you and your families are well. This week’s update is comparatively brief after the more detailed update shared via the website on Monday 8th June.

Please click here to read Monday's update. 

Our main focus this week has been on preparing the school for the return of Year 12 students on Tuesday 16th June, with Year 10 due to return for some ‘face to face’ contact in the following week. We are thinking very carefully about the provision that might be possible for students in other year group too before the end of term. We are very keen to welcome students back and our main priority will continue to be their safety and wellbeing.

I would like to thank the parents and carers of Year 10 students for completing our survey about face to face contact. We now have a clear overview of who will be accessing provision which is very helpful in terms of planning. The Local Authority have also provided additional advice regarding transport. I would recommend that the families of students travelling by bus read the protocols very carefully. They can be found on Durham County Council’s website and can also be accessed here:

Please click here to read DCC's transport protocols.

The guidance emphasises the importance of social distancing and all students returning to school, regardless of their method of transport, need to maintain a 2m distance whether possible. As of Tuesday 16th June we will meet students at the main entrance gates to the school. This is to ensure that the children of key workers and Y10/12 students use separate entrances at different times. Please also be aware that parents and carers will not be allowed on site, either by car or on foot, in accordance with Department for Education guidance. The only access to school will be via two pedestrian gates for our students and via a separate route for those travelling by school bus.

All Y10 and Y12 students have been given detailed guidance regarding their return to school and that parental information letter can be found here:

Please click here to read the parental information letter. 

We have added new transition materials to the website this week and an increasing number of students are accessing Teams. We are currently developing protocols that will make the student experience more consistent and are working on support materials for students and parents. We have also listened to those parents and carers who have asked for one manageable task to be set per week. We will write to you soon to identify any improvements or modifications that you feel might help us to improve further. As an example, we recently received a request for additional guidance on how to structure home learning and have produced the following ‘Guide to supervising Home Learning for Years 7, 8 and 9.’

Please click here to read the guide.

We completed our final round of PPE production last week, making use of the last funds and materials that had been donated. Our Support Staff and Design & Technology Department managed to provide 7300 individual items of PPE to local hospitals, care homes and surgeries. Our main responsibility will always be to educate students, to offer support and to provide opportunities for progression and personal development. However, we are very proud to have been able to support the NHS too.

A J O’Sullivan