|From the Office|
|A message from the Executive Head|
Dear Parents and Guardians
When planning the reopening of a school, it helps to know which year groups will be attending!
During the first lockdown I vividly remember a conversation I had with Hugh Wilding about the first stage of getting children back to class. I confidently reassured him that in no way would the government select Reception or Year 1 in the first instance as there can be no expectation for children of that age to understand the concept of social distancing. Low and behold, Reception, Year 1 (and Year 6) headed back to school first, and I was left rather red-faced!
Nevertheless, it has taught me to expect the unexpected from the Department for Education (DfE). So what could happen on 8 March, the allocated return to school day?
Well, firstly, the date may get pushed back depending on the number of Covid-19 cases, Covid-19 associated deaths/numbers in hospitals, and regional variations. If March 8 is the starting date, it is highly likely that only certain Year groups will return, or they may choose for schools to use a rotational basis for having pupils in school. However, this can prove difficult for larger schools in regard to deep cleaning of areas and bubbling.
So which Year groups are considered, by the government, as priorities?
In my opinion, strong arguments can be made for every year group. Naturally, Reception and Year 1 pupils will find it most difficult to access online work without considerable support from parents, but then Year 11 and 13 are in the midst of their crucial national examinations. Year 7 have only got to know their new schools for a term...and now they are back home. And, what about Year 8 and 9 who it sometimes feels have been forgotten by the DfE. These children especially need those essential social interactions to support the creative areas of their brains, which can be valuable when responding to more resolution based tasks.
Year 10 and 12 have just started their relevant examination courses, Year 2 and 3 are seen as the vital age range for cementing the building blocks of learning they received in EYFS, and then Year 6 are in the final year of junior education and need support in making the transition to Year 7. Hang on, surely Year 4 and 5 is the children's first experience of gaining inference-based conceptual learning, isn’t that important, if not imperative?
Who knows! As you can see, all year groups have strong cases to return. What we can be sure of is this: we will continue to support you and your families no matter what actions emerge from the DfE, and when we are given the opportunity, we will have your children back in school as quickly, as happily, and most importantly, as safely as possible. We will keep you informed of details as they become clear.
Have a lovely weekend.
Executive Head Teacher
Lateral Flow Testing Consent
With the Government announcement that it hopes schools to reopen from 8 March, may we please ask you to complete the Lateral Flow Testing consent form. Many thanks.
Students coming into school for remote learning - details for after half term.
If your son or daughter is coming into school after half term, please can you complete this new form and submit to us. Many thanks.
DrugFAM Parent Talks - Tuesday 19 January
Elizabeth Burton-Phillips, founder of DrugFAM, recommends parents read the leaflet How to talk to your child about drugs (NHS) and further help and support can be found at Advice for the families of people who use drugs (NHS), which includes contact details for DrugFAM. Please find slides from the pupil presentation which include drawings done by her former pupils, who are now in prison as a result of their actions and consequences, illustrating the mental health damage caused by drugs and addiction.
Year 11, 12 and 13 Parents Exams Briefing - Monday 22 February
Mr Wilding, Mr Richards and Mrs Rogers will be holding a presentation evening at 6pm on Monday 22 February to clarify matters on Mid-term assessments and Public exams. Please join them using this MEET link (https://meet.google.com/orw-yeos-xpa) with your camera and mic turned off.
Year 13 Parents - Save the date - Thursday 4 March 12.45pm
On Thursday 4 March from 12.45pm to 1.15pm, Mrs Rogers will be holding a meeting for Y13 parents on UCAS-the next steps-and Student Finance. If you would be interested in attending, please note the date and more information will be sent out after the half term holidays.
Senior Head’s Open House MEET - Tuesdays 10am Weekly
Please feel free to drop in here (https://meet.google.com/tau-udad-gch) to speak with Mrs Rogers, Mr Richards and Mr Wilding from 10am to 10.30am every Tuesday morning.
National Apprenticeship week Monday 8 to Friday 12 February
Students interested in apprenticeships should make sure they take advantage of all the resources available during this week. They can meet and speak to employers who will be able to give them a flavour of what is on offer on apprenticeship programmes, from companies such as Virgin Media, Rolls Royce and Barclays. There is a Q&A session with apprentices, and workshops on creating a CV and interview technique. You can find out more here.
Brufut Challenge - 24 hours from Saturday 6 to Sunday 7 February
During lockdown we are all very aware that we all spend too much time on our screens, our phones in particular. We have devised a way to cut down on screen time and raise money for our partner school in The Gambia in Brufut.
In the 24 hours from 9am Saturday 6 February to 9am Sunday 7 February, students will hand over their mobile phones to their parents, in return for their parents sponsoring them a fixed sum.
This sum can be donated on the parent portal under the heading “Brufut Challenge”. The students have their own sponsor form to collect sponsorship. We hope you will help us and take part in this by sponsoring your sons and daughters who take up the challenge. It costs £250 to send a child to school in Brufut. We would like to see if we can raise enough to send a few children to school.
The parents' guide to what's next?
How can you help your child choose what to do after Sixth Form, if you’re not sure what their options are? “The Parents’ Guide” gives you an introduction into different levels of education and what options are most suited to which type of student. You can download their free 'what's next' guide and also see support articles and Q&As which might help. Obviously, Mrs Rogers and Mr Hope are always available to answer your questions too! You can find the Parents’ Guide information here https://www.theparentsguideto.co.uk/support