Update from Principal James O’Connell | 8 June 2020

Dear Parents/Carers,

As per my last letter, we have been moving ahead making plans for a partial return of some students from the 15 June, following the guidance and advice from the government (please find a link to this advice for parents here).

We are only allowed to bring in Year 10 and 12 students from Monday 15 June, and I am very sorry that it seems quite unlikely that we will be having any other year groups in before September.  We are ensuring that our plans are as safe as possible whilst also thinking carefully about what is most useful for students.  Separate letters to both Year 10 and 12 students and their parents/carers are being sent out early this week.  These contain individual appointment times for each student to attend a one-to-one meeting.  These will run over all of next week, starting on Monday 15 June, and will prepare the students for them coming into school to join very small groups of 8-11 students for just a few hours each from the week beginning 22 June.  I won’t repeat all of the details being sent out in the individual letters, but you can click on the letters here:  Year 10 LetterYear 12 Letter

For all students in secondary school, including those in Year 10 and 12, the main vehicle for learning will continue to be online, remote provision.  Educators are increasingly talking about ‘blended learning’ which means a mixture of teaching remotely and in school.  It seems likely that this will be how we move on with all year groups in September and for the first few months of next academic year at least.  As I wrote previously, we are consequently working hard to get better at doing this.  We ran some training for all teachers online last week and we will be stepping up our offer.  This will include more live or streamed content with teachers talking directly to students online, filming content and recording this in all subjects.  There will also be question and answer drop-in sessions available for each year group every week.  This should help with both motivating and supporting our students, helping them to work independently.

Although many do not find the remote learning easy, so many are making real progress and getting better at this new form of education.  Thank you so much for your support and patience.  It was also good to see many students enter into the ‘miles in May’ competition.  Well done to all who took part, but in particular our student winners: Ashley Morris – 305 miles; Sam Mayhew – 167 miles; and Evan Morris– 161 miles!  Well done to all, and if running or cycling isn’t your child’s bag, I’m sure you’ll keep encouraging them to take some exercise that they enjoy.

We will be congratulating and celebrating students who have been working really well from home in the coming weeks and we will still be sending some report data home in a few weeks’ time, concentrating on the effort scores in particular, to give you some feedback on how much work we have been receiving from students.  We won’t be able to hold the Year 8 Parents’ Evening that was scheduled for Tuesday 8 June but we will prioritise this year group for a parents’ evening early next academic year.

I hope all is going well in your homes and places of work.

Best wishes,

James O’Connell