As we enter this phase of school closure I will attempt to send out an email most days with updates and information for parents and carers. We have been responding to emails from parents as quickly as possible and also taking phonecalls during the school day. I believe that it is important that we stay in touch at this challenging time.
Remote teaching and learning
Teachers are emailing work to students on a daily basis. Due to the unprecedented demand for online learning across the UK and the world several of the systems have been very slow or temporarily unavailable. These are national issues not related to us! I am sure that they will be resolved by the companies concerned in the coming days. We have been responding to questions around password resets etc... as swiftly as we can. Please let us know if your son or daughter is not getting any work - we have had a couple of instances where students have not been part of the right email group, for example. We are finding out who cannot access work online - if you become aware of people who do not have computer access and need work sending, please let us know.
Students in school
We have been providing supervision for a small number of students today (22 of them) whose parents or carers work in critical sectors and who could not be cared for at home, or who are defined by the government as vulnerable. The government guidance is very clear indeed "every child who can be safely cared for at home should be, to limit the chance of the virus spreading" and this has been strongly reinforced by messages from the Secretary of State for Education. Other secondary schools in the area have had between 1 and 17 students attending. We have to ensure social distancing, as I explained in my message yesterday, which means that school is very strange - everyone keeping 2m distance from each other at all times and working independently. Break and lunchtime have been particularly odd as no-one can come within 2 metres of each other. We will continue to provide supervision for students who absolutely cannot be at home, but please ensure that you make sure that you have notified us that your child is coming as we have to make appropriate provision for rooming and staffing.
Teachers are setting work online and that system will settle into a pattern over the coming days. We are also setting up systems so that we will phone students who will find it particularly difficult to work from home on a regular basis. We have also made online safety and safeguarding information available on the website
Year 11 exam results
BTEC examinations in Digital Information Technology, Enterprise and Health and Social Care were taken in February by Year 11 and some Year 10 students. The results are due on the 1st April and will be emailed to student email addresses by 3pm that day.
Vouchers for families eligible for free school meals
These have been ordered and will be posted out to families when they arrive. We are working on a value of £15 per week. Normal free school meal allowance is £11.50 per week, but we recognise that families cannot buy in bulk the way that schools can. The government is due to set a figure for the voucher value and we will use that value when it is published. We felt that it was better to act quickly in good faith rather than wait for the government figures to be published.
If you need to explain to your family why social distancing is needed then this video from the BBC may help....
Best wishes to you and all who you care for...