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Headmaster’s Letter 8th January

Posted on 8th January 2021

Dear Parent,

We’ve reached the end of the first week. Inevitably, my last few communications have been reactive – I hope this demonstrates more forward planning as we navigate the next five weeks.

Remote timetable

We will be using the School timetable throughout the current planned lockdown. The structure is working well for students, based on the feedback I have received. It also enables parents who must work from home to focus on their job without organising their child’s day. We will review the structure as we go through the half-term. The lockdown timetable that we published to you in October met the Department for Education’s guidelines in terms of consistently providing students with at least four hours of work per day – but this was student-led as opposed to teacher-directed. You can see how we are reaching the statutory requirement here. [link]. If you are concerned that we are not, then please contact us with your concerns. We will discuss your concerns with you.

Pastoral support

Students working remotely will be arranged into groups and will take part in a feedback session via Teams with their form tutor during either their Monday, Wednesday, or Friday form periods. This will run every other week. Heads of Section will be coordinating this work – please contact them if you want to make us aware of any pastoral concerns. All students must attend their appointment.

Student absences

Please continue to complete absence forms if your child is going to be absent for a medical appointment, interview, etc. Absence forms can be completed online. Here’s the link. [link] It avoids their teacher raising an absence mark from the Teams register.

Social media

As approximately 85% of School is now working remotely, our mobile phone policy cannot be enforced. Younger students especially may find it too tempting to turn to social media platforms as a distraction from school work. It is possible to adapt your child’s settings on their mobile device to ensure functionality is at a minimum, etc. This is very much your decision. Here are a couple of links which will help you if you choose to do this. Ofcom explains your service provider’s role in keeping children safe on line [link]. This second link is for Android devices. [link]

Behaviour Policy update

The Behaviour Policy has been updated to reflect that we are now working remotely. Changes are in red. You can read the policy here. [link]

Minor change to the School day for Years 7, 8 and 9

From Monday, Year 7 lessons will finish at 12.05pm, 15 minutes later than currently. Year 8 and 9 lessons will start earlier at 12.35pm. All three years groups have gained time back as we no longer need to reduce lesson times to ensure all students have access to a hot meal.

Design and Technology Department

Design & Technology are working hard to add a range of tasks to their lockdown work. Mr Donington and Mr Birch have been creating new schemes of work especially for this and they will be sending out a packet of tasks for you to complete some practical activities while at home! These include a kit catapult and a selection of key components for a mouse trap powered car! We anticipate these leaving us within a fortnight and those Year 8 and 9 pupils who are working in School will be handed to them directly.

SEND and learning resources

The local authority has sent School a useful document with weblinks for our SEND students. There is some very useful information here on different resources that can be used to support all students. The second section on Social, Emotional and Mental Health might be useful. [link]

Public examinations

I wrote to all students in Years 11 and 13, explaining some of our principles surrounding the decision to cancel public examinations for Summer 2021. Parents of students in these year groups will receive a copy of the letter today. I, like them, am waiting to see how these will be assessed. In the meantime, students must work to ensure they complete their course. Year 11 mocks will be published next Friday. Year 13 mocks have been put in abeyance until we have some direction about how the teacher assessed grades will work. You will understand my concerns relating to students’ welfare. It is important to reiterate that no single piece of work will be used to determine the grades that we submit during this ‘phoney’ period while Ofqual and the Department of Education decide how work will be assessed.

Lincolnshire County School Transport

Further to the ParentMail message we sent out on Wednesday this week, LCC School Transport have informed us that their School transport will now run as normal until Friday 15 January 2021 to support schools and colleges for longer.  They have also extended the deadline for when parents MUST inform the Council if your child still needs to use education transport to Wednesday 13th January 2021. Parents should therefore complete the Request school transport  form by this date where applicable. [link]

If there are any other transport issues, please email TSG@lincolnshire.gov.uk

Finally

We have received lots of positive messages this week from parents and students. Please do keep them coming in. No-one likes working in isolation or in silence. They make a significant difference to us all here at CGS.

I hope you have a chance to pause for breath this weekend and above all to keep you and yours healthy and safe,

Kind regards,

Alistair Hopkins

Headmaster