26 February 2021

Dear Parents and Carers, 

 

You are probably very familiar with me starting these updates with a comment about it being a busy week in school. Whilst always true, that has certainly been the case this week. That is mainly a very positive development, as it means we are nearing a return of all students to school, which is to be welcomed. The Government had been clear about providing schools with a two week notice period and it is very encouraging that that commitment has been honoured. We are busy, but have been given time to plan and prepare.  

 

It is clear from my conversations with students, carers, and parents that there is excitement about a return to school. It is also understandable that some families will be nervous about the switch from remote to face-to-face teaching and learning. I will write to all members of our school community on Tuesday 2nd March to provide a detailed overview of our planning for a full re-opening in the week beginning 8th March. I hope to offer clarity and reassurance and would encourage you to contact the school if you have a question.  

 

There are some details that I would like to share in advance of next week’s more detailed update.

 

Lateral Flow Testing – We have provide detailed information for those parents who would like their child to access a test before returning to school. Please read the key documents identified in yesterday’s update. Specific dates will be set aside for different year groups and we will share additional information as soon as we have a clearer picture of the numbers participating.  Those documents can be accessed via the following link:  

 

Full re-opening and Lateral Flow Testing

 

Ofqual Decisions on GCSE and A Level Grading – We are currently reviewing the document that Ofqual shared yesterday. The document offers a broad outline, but lacks the necessary detail about grading and assessments from the different examination boards. We have been promised that information by the end of the spring term at Easter. It is understandable that students and their families will, rightly, want additional information. The school is genuinely not in a position to do so at present, but we will share our plans and any important documents as soon as we receive additional guidance. You can read Ofqual’s updated guidance via this link.

 

Remote Learning & Key Worker Children – We will continue with remote live teaching and learning until Friday 5th March. Similarly, we will also offer full provision for key worker and vulnerable students until that date. We will provide additional information next week on our plans for the week beginning Monday 8th March. Please contact Mrs Bell if you have any specific questions or needs regarding provision.  

 

Year 12 Parents’ Evening – 94% of parents and carers have signed up for the virtual parents’ evening on Monday 1st March which is excellent. We are aware that our students and families have had a wide range of lockdown experiences, therefore the primary focus of both the Year 12 Parents’ Evening and the upcoming assessments is to enable students and parents to have a clear picture of where students are: their strengths, and how they can make progress. Staff will be using the limited time available on Monday evening to focus on these areas and will not be able to share any further details regarding summer grades or how they will be calculated at this point. We understand that students and parents will be anxious for more information on how grades will be determined and how the upcoming assessments will be used in any decision making. I would like to reassure you that we intend to be fully transparent with students and parents about the evidence base and process that we will use when making judgements. We will continue to publish updates as appropriate on the website when we have additional information. 

 

We are looking forward to students returning and I would like to thank all members of our school community again for supporting the school and making the best of a difficult period. It is heartening that we are nearing the end of this national lockdown, but we need to work and plan together effectively in the weeks ahead.  

 

Thank you for your ongoing support. 

 

Mr O’Sullivan