Our first full week in school with our students seems to have flown by. Students attending our key worker and vulnerable student provision have settled back into school life fantastically well. The classroom climate is one of calmness and commitment to learning. All students have access to IT, have their own work area and spend the school day following their normal school timetable working through the Google Classroom. Students in school attend their ‘live’ lessons when scheduled, offering interaction with both teachers and peers. We continue to operate the school in bubbles; I am proud to report that all students are following our very strict Covid safety measures with respect.

As a school we have learned from our lockdown one experience; we reviewed our practice and have amended our approach to offer an even greater educational provision. Key colleagues have met to ensure all elements of running a school remotely are in place. We have completed welfare calls on many of our students we know, or anticipate, might find a second lockdown challenging. We have supported families who need additional IT equipment to ensure all students have access to work and lessons. ‘Live’ lessons have been initiated promptly to offer continuity to learning and check-in opportunities for our students. We have responded to many requests for password resets, the Christmas holiday did indeed result in a few memory lapses! And thanks to our admin team we have processed our free school meal vouchers for those entitled to this support.

We wish to share the amazing work that is being produced, along with the activities and projects students might be embarking on at home. We will be using Twitter and Facebook to share our students’ achievements, please look out for their work and celebrate with your children at home.

Finally, we urge you to encourage those at home to attend all ‘live’ lessons. We are working together in school, sharing ideas and resources to make ‘live’ lessons engaging and worthwhile for our students. The ‘live’ lesson is our opportunity to check understanding, to explain the next topic of learning and to model what this learning looks like; it is essential that student attendance is high to promote and develop their understanding. Form tutors and Assistant Heads of School will be tracking engagement and contacting those who seem to be struggling. As a school team we are doing all we can to minimise the impact of this second lockdown on the education and learning of our students.

We continue to use the Lateral Flow Testing weekly for staff. However, we have decided that we will close bubbles immediately following a positive case for students, this decision has been made to enable us to act promptly in order to minimise the spread of the virus in school. I have spoken to lead Covid co-ordinators this week who have nothing but praise for our risk assessment and the safety measures we have put in place in school. I thank you as parents and carers for your support, but also our students and teachers for their role in helping us to keep school as safe as we are able. We do appreciate that home learning is not always easy for students or parents and carers, but we are thankful that where possible you are following the ‘stay at home’ guidance allowing us to keep our numbers in school as low as we are able. With this in mind, if you or your child(ren) are struggling, we are here to help, please contact your child’s tutor in the first instance or approach our Student Support Team and we will do all we can to offer guidance and support.

Stay safe,

Mrs H Philpott
Head of School