Letter to Parents 15 October 2020

Dear Parent,


I am writing to you at the end of what has been a challenging and unusual half-term for all of us. I would like to begin by acknowledging the efforts of everyone in the school community to make the return to school as smooth as possible and, in particular, I would like to commend our pupils who have co-operated with us so well in complying with all of the guidance and working hard to make learning as meaningful and enjoyable as possible.


As you will now be aware the Minister of Education announced yesterday that in an effort to curb the spread of Covid-19 all schools will now have an extended two weeks’ half-term break, with pupils returning on Monday 2 November.  The Minister has stated that there is to be no remote learning next week. We do acknowledge the importance of pupils and their families being able to rest and relax together and we hope that there will be opportunities for that. However, I am sure that you will understand that teaching staff are concerned about this further loss of teaching time. So, whilst no work will be set via Google Classroom nor will any uploads be expected, examination classes will be expected to do some work at this time, whether that be completing homeworks, essays or coursework or engaging in revision or preparation work in advance of next term. This would be the normal practice over half-term in any other year. Our hope this year is that pupils can complete all of this work next week and then have a full week to rest after what has been a challenging few weeks.


We know too that parents will be particularly concerned about the prospect of their children taking examinations after the ongoing disruption since March. As a school we are currently working on a document in response to the Minister of Education’s letter (dated 9 October) regarding the delivery of GCSE, AS and A Level qualifications in 2020/21. We raise a number of concerns in this letter and we want to assure you that we will do everything in our power to ensure that our pupils will not be adversely affected by circumstances which are completely beyond their control.


One thing we have learned as a school community after returning to school in August is the importance of working together as teachers, pupils and parents, as we move into a new educational setting. Google Classroom has been an important tool for us in this regard. We have already had half a year group having to self-isolate at home, an experience which underscored the importance of virtual engagement via Google Classroom. Unfortunately, there could be more pupils having to self-isolate as we move into the winter season; hence, the importance of all students being confident in engaging with learning via this platform. Pupils have watched a virtual assembly highlighting the importance of Google Classroom and helping them with additional features they may not be currently using. Please stress to your son/daughter the importance of keeping up to date with their studies and utilising the powerful tool that Google Classroom is.


This term has been challenging for everyone, but by working together – teachers, pupils and parents – we can fulfil the potential of every pupil. I would like to thank you for your continued support and wish you and your family well.


Please note when your son/daughter returns on Monday 2 November they will be on Week 1 timetable.


Yours sincerely