Tours and Open Evening

Headmaster’s Letter 12th June

Posted on 12th June 2020

Dear Parent,

Year 10 & Year 12 return

School reopens on Monday to a very small number of students in Year 10 and Year 12 who have reserved places for face to face support sessions. I’m delighted that we’re finally there!

Nothing new is being delivered in these sessions. They will focus on looking at work that has already been sent out. With this in mind, those who are attending should come with some questions about the work that has been covered. We plan to repeat the process again in the last two weeks of term. There will be no support sessions w/c 29 June. I will write to parents in Years 10 and 12 again w/c 22 June to ascertain demand. (It won’t be on a Friday so please look out for this email.) I have sufficient space to accommodate everyone who wishes to attend and meets deadlines.

Remote learning

We’re now well into remote learning using Teams. I’ve been asked by a couple of parents why attendance at these sessions cannot be mandatory. I hope this response explains why.

Before we went into lockdown, we surveyed students about their access to IT and the reliability of their broadband connection. Some families have several devices at home while others are sharing one PC. In addition, broadband connections vary depending on location. Making attendance compulsory is therefore impossible to achieve. Further, I do not want to create additional anxiety in homes by placing demands on parents supporting children which cannot be met due to sparsity of facilities.

If lessons were mandatory, it would also be challenging to verify every excuse that a non-attendee presented. Sometimes broadband does slow down and sometimes electronic devices and PCs do malfunction. The amount of time it would take to investigate each non-attendance fairly, objectively and remotely would take time away from preparing resources, offering additional support for some, and assessing work for all.

September 2020 return

The return of some primary students on June 1 and Year 10 and Year 12 students on Monday means that nationally the focus returns to what September will look like.

I attended a virtual meeting with the local authority’s education department on Wednesday and they advised to plan for a 20/21 school year where learning would be a mixture of school-based and remote.  I cannot comment any more on that: we are planning for several different scenarios in anticipation of DfE guidelines. We will be looking at different structures and approaches, including liaising with the private transport contractors, to ensure we can deliver the best experience of school possible while making school as safe as possible. I hope to be able to publish plans for this by the end of term but I concede that this is optimistic.

To ensure you are as up to date as possible, I will continue to produce the Friday newsletter throughout the summer holiday. On occasions, it might be very brief if there is no news to report but it is important to maintain communication throughout the summer.

Towards the end of this month I will also start to survey parents and students about their expectations for September and beyond working within current contexts.

End of term

The school year will formally end on Friday 17 July, two school days earlier than published. Students will not be required to attend Teams sessions, etc. on the following Monday or Tuesday. Key worker and vulnerable student supervision will continue to operate on the Monday and Tuesday. We will continue to fulfil our safeguarding duties on those days too.

By Saturday 18 July, it might be the case that more restrictions will have been removed to enable families to visit relatives in their home that live in different parts of the country, make non-essential journeys, etc. I hope this will give you a little more flexibility to resume your lives. Staff will be coming into school across the Monday and Tuesday to plan for September.

Medics remote work experience

Restrictions in medical setting means that work experience for anyone looking to enter Medicine is limited. I therefore recommend students and parents consider this alternative to work experience.

https://www.face.ac.uk/blog-post/6000-aspiring-medics-register-for-online-alternative-to-work-experience/

Studying in the USA
Mrs Watson, the Schools career adviser, often receives enquiries from students in all year groups about studying in the USA. The Fulbright Commission are running a webinar on Tuesday 16 June at 5pm. You do need to register beforehand to have access. More details available here. http://www.fulbright.org.uk/events/study-in-the-us-webinar-june-2020

Uniform

Greenswear’s shop, one of our two uniform suppliers, will be open from Monday 15th June. The shop has been marked and sectioned in order to allow for social distancing inside and outside the premises. There will be no trying on of garments in the fitting rooms and all uniform will need to be purchased and taken home to try. All staff are very experienced in the advising of sizes.

The website (https://greenswear.co.uk/) has been updated and is available for parents to shop online to help reduce the footfall at the shop.

Gary Bray

Mr Bray, our site manager, leave​s us on Monday to start his new job as an estates manager with the AET multi academy trust. He will be looking after a range of primary and secondary sites in the Yorkshire and Humber region. Mr Bray thoroughly deserves this exciting opportunity.  In his two years with us, he has used his considerable skill set to undertake a whole series of repairs and upgrades to the site. He worked with the contractor over the dining hall conversion and put in a lot of time supporting the leadership team with our current Capital Investment Fund bid. His service to our community has always been with an optimistic, ‘can do’ attitude. I am sure you will join me in wishing him well for the future.

Thank for your ongoing support,

Alistair Hopkins

Headmaster