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Update for parents of students in Years 7, 8 and 9

Update for parents of students in Years 7, 8 and 9

Friday 29 May 2020

Dear parents and carers

I hope this finds you all safe and well in what are difficult times for many of us. Given the increasing amount of discussions in the press around the reopening of schools I want to update you on what has been happening, what the plans are leading into the summer and what the potential situation is for September.

Since the Lockdown
In the first days of the lockdown we were having to provide children with email based work, this was positive as it made sure work was being sent but hard for the children as each teacher was setting work in different ways. To try and improve this we moved all children onto the Google Classroom platform which made it easier for them to keep track of what work was being set and for them to be able to communicate directly with their teachers. This did not fix the problem for those of you struggling with IT and paper based work has been supplied for some in this position.

Form tutors are also expected to make weekly contact with every child, either through a telephone call or on the Google Classroom platform.

We have also had a group of children in the building whose parents are key workers or where families are in need of our support. All staff have been both working from home and on a rota of supervising the children in the school building.

We have now been informed, by the Prime Minister through his national briefings, that we are to begin re-opening for Year 10 from the 15th June but with very clear restrictions on how and what we do.

Government expectations from 15 June – Year 10
From 15 June, secondary schools are able to offer face-to-face support for a quarter of the year 10 and 12 cohort at any one time. Alongside this the government is asking secondary schools to:

  • continue providing full-time provision for vulnerable students in all year groups (including Year 10 and Year 12)
  • continue providing full-time provision for children of critical workers in all year groups (including Year 10 and Year 12)
  • provide some face-to-face support to supplement the remote education of year 10 and year 12 students, with a clear expectation that remote education will continue to be the predominant form of education delivery for these year groups and that this should be of high quality
  • continue to use best endeavours to support all other students remaining at home, making use of the available remote education support and ensuring a high quality offer

Currently, the academy is only open for children of critical workers and vulnerable students from all year groups. These students will still be able to attend after the 15th June and will follow the current times and structure.

Years 7, 8 and 9
Years 7, 8 and 9 are currently not allowed to return to school unless they have parents who are key workers, following the same Government guidance that has been in place since the lockdown began. I fully appreciate that this will be massively frustrating for many of you, as it is for all of us here at the school. We want all the children back but currently it would simply not be possible to do that and maintain the social distancing required. If you consider that to keep socially distanced we could only have a maximum of 10 children per class, if all the children returned we would not have the rooms or staffing numbers to manage this even before thinking about social times, lunch or toileting arrangements.

Judging by the national situation, I think it is very unlikely that we will see Years 7, 8 and 9 back before September. In my opinion, it is also not clear what a September return will look like yet as some controls will be needed until a vaccine is developed and widely in place. This may change as the Government reviews the impact of their control measures and we are unfortunately left having to react to national announcements, as are all of you. Rest assured, any return will only happen if and when we can put as many safeguards in place as needed for all the children. I feel that the impact of the new Government Track and Trace programme will be key to seeing if schools can begin to return to something closer to normal in the future. Until this is clear we remain in a position of trying our best to support you, your child and their learning without being able to see them face to face.

Please stay safe and well, if you need our help please get in contact and we will do all we can to support you.

Yours faithfully
Mark Harrison, Headteacher

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