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Headteacher's Update - Thursday 1 April

The following update from the Headteacher was emailed to parents and carers on Thursday 1 April:

Dear Parents and Carers

As we approach the end of another very unusual term, I would like to reiterate how pleasing it has been to see students and staff back in school again and participating in face-to-face lessons.

I have been proud of the manner in which all members of our school community have responded to the challenges presented by the ongoing pandemic and how quickly daily routines have returned. Students and staff have demonstrated a level of resilience that has surpassed all expectations and there has been a collective appreciation of the need for short-term adaptations around the school. I have been impressed by the sense of everyone ‘pulling together’ during this difficult time.

As students return safely to school, we must now focus on ensuring that learners are not disadvantaged by the enforced periods of school closure. We have robust catch-up plans in place and these are supported by targeted intervention programmes, such as the National Tutoring Programme. We have also appointed two experienced learning mentors who have been highly effective in working with our students to ensure progress is maintained in literacy, mathematics and science. Our highly experienced staff team will build upon the excellent work of students during their remote lessons and will ensure that learning gaps are minimised.

Students in Year 11, Year 12 and Year 13 are now completing assessments which will contribute to their final summer grades. Our assessment model will ensure students are given the opportunity to revise content in smaller chunks and they will know in advance that marks will contribute towards their final grades. This phased approach will also safeguard against any enforced periods of self-isolation due to Covid. The evidence collected, alongside wider evidence, will enable students to achieve final grades that reflect their knowledge and abilities within each subject area.

Throughout this exceptional period, we have consistently maintained our position of following all government advice and recommendations. This, I believe, is a sensible approach and in the best interests of students, staff, and our wider community. Safety has always been our top priority. Transmission rates have been low amongst our school population and this has been facilitated by our students who have adhered to school rules and protocols. Our adapted site will continue to operate with year group bubbles and designated recreational areas next term.  Our revised lunchtime arrangements and enhanced cleaning procedures will be maintained.

We are awaiting a number of announcements from the Department for Education over the next few weeks. These announcements will inform our future decision-making and any changes we make will be based on the guidance we are given. I will update you with any further news as soon as I am practically able to do so. Unfortunately, we occasionally receive information later than we had anticipated or had hoped for, so the timing of our communications cannot always be guaranteed.

Therefore, unless you hear directly from myself or the school, please assume that all current arrangements will continue at the beginning of the new term, including the wearing of face coverings.

We appreciate your continuing support of our school. Thank you in particular for the feedback we have received regarding a number of our recent events, including the many positive comments relating to our virtual parents’ evenings.

I hope you have a relaxing and enjoyable Easter.

Regards

Gary Peat
Headteacher