Posted on 26th June 2020
A warm welcome to parents of Year 6 students
Before I update you on events in School this week, I wanted to extend a very warm welcome to parents and students who are joining us this September in Year 7. For the first time, I have included you in our weekly newsletter prior to the September start because it is important that you and your child are aware of how we are preparing for a full return.
I write to parents every week on a Friday. You can view my previous newsletters back to November 2017 via the school website here [link]. ParentMail is our primary means of communication. Almost 90% of new parents have signed up to ParentMail, so please encourage anyone you know who has not to do so as soon as possible. I plan to maintain the Friday newsletter throughout the summer holiday; it is vital that you are on our database if you want to remain informed.
Plans for September return
As I explained last week, we were working around three different scenarios: two metre, one metre and no social distancing. With the social distancing changes on July 4, and the introduction of one metre plus, we can now work with two possible scenarios. Next week, once the Department for Education releases further guidelines about how schools will operate, I can give you more information about our plans to maintain student and staff safety once we have the government information. We also plan to offer support for lost curriculum time and student well-being when we return in September as part of the school day.
Travel to school
We are looking to support the private bus contractors by running a survey on their behalf to discern how students will get to school. If your child usually comes to school by bus, or is planning to use the service, I strongly advise you to complete the survey. You’re not booking or confirming a place – the bus contractors will do this with you directly – but it will help us to help them in case bus service changes are a barrier to making it to school.
You can access the survey by selecting this link: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/5BCTG6N
Please complete the survey by 4pm on Wednesday 1 July. (Parents of students joining us in September who plane to send their child by bus should also complete the survey.)
In discussion with the governing body, we took the decision to move our entrance test from September to October this week. Applicants taking the test will have received a letter to confirm this. A new date will be published within the next three weeks.
I want to explain why we have altered our test plans.
Until very recently, it appeared that all primary school students would have received a month of schooling before they finished for Summer. This is now no longer the case.
Students will have had a range of different learning experiences throughout lockdown. In addition, the routine of ‘normal’ school builds self-confidence. If the first test had been on September 5th, this would have only been two days of ‘proper’ school.
In addition, I think that several students, when they return to an environment which is very different to what they left behind in March, will experience a sense of anxiety. Some students are very resilient to change and will do well, no matter what. Others will require more support, certainty and order before they’re back to their best. It’s important therefore that we focus on their well-being at this unprecedented time. It will be the same here for CGS students.
E-book and audio books
Accompanying this Head’s letter, there is a note and attachments for parents of students in Years 12 to 6, explaining that we have made access to our e-book and audio book library free for all until the end of the 20/21 academic year. Reading is good for you – there’s volumes of research to back this up.
We have two uniform suppliers – Shahs in Scunthorpe and Greenswear in Cleethorpes.
Shahs are now open for business. Like all shops, there are restrictions in place: only one adult and the child who requires uniform are able to enter. Changing rooms will be available as the shop is using anti-bacterial sprays. They recommend that parents come to the store, as assistants can help with sizing. They are taking orders online; it can be difficult to guess sizes. Finally, parents should purchase uniform as soon as possible as the limit on numbers in the shop will make ‘last-minute’ purchases in August a challenge. You can access their website here. [link]
UCAS Indicative Grades for Y12
All Year 12 students will receive an email next week informing them of their UCAS Indicative grades.
These are not predicted or target grades. They are based on the work in Year 12 but also indicate, based on professional experience, their teachers’ view about their potential. The grade is optimistic and is ‘owned by the student’ but is also reasonable in terms of next steps. It is important that staff and students have to be realistic so that students can make informed choices about their future courses beyond Caistor Grammar School.
There will be guidance for the students about what to do next if they are not happy with their grades. (We anticipate that this will be very few of them). This will involve independent work. However, this year, due to the disruption and because UCAS have not altered their deadlines, we have extended our internal deadline for the completion of this work to the latter part of September, because it is vital that students have a good break over the Summer.
Enjoy the weekend,
With best wishes,