I hope you and your family are well and coping in these extraordinary and extremely challenging times. All of us in school are very keen to see all our students again, as soon as it is safe to do so and we know that the time in school would be effective in supporting both their learning and well-being.
I know from conversations with headteachers across the North West, Year 12 students in all sixth forms are concerned about the impact of not being able to attend lessons as usual over the last few months. I hope it is of some comfort to know that all students are in a similar position, and as a school, we are determined to support our students through this very difficult time.
Last Friday, there was a meeting of the Education Select Committee and Sally Collier, the chief regulator of Ofqual, told MPs that schools and colleges needed to know what was happening with next year’s exams “before the summer break ideally”. This would appear optimistic, given that they are planning to consult schools on this, but have not done so as yet. Of course, I will let you know when any further information is made available.
It is unclear what schools will look like in September, but when some form of normality does return, one of the strategies we intend to implement will be to increase the teaching time for a number of Year 13 courses so the vast majority of subjects will have six periods per week, with most subjects currently having five. This should help support students to address any gaps in their knowledge and understanding.
Given the restrictions placed on schools to facilitate the return of Year 10 and Year 12 students, we have decided that from 29 June – 10 July all Year 12 students will be invited to attend a day in school for each subject they are studying. For example, students currently studying four subjects will be invited into school on four separate days for face to face contact with their teacher(s). The timing of the school day will vary according to the subject but will typically start at 9.30 and finish at 2.30pm.
Ms Marsland will be writing to you early next week to provide a plan for the next fortnight. This will provide information about the days and times of the subjects your son or daughter will be invited to attend.
As I am sure you are aware, the Sixth Form environment will look very different over these next two weeks, given that we need to ensure social distancing takes place at all times and we manage the school buildings in order to keep everyone as safe as possible.
The following guidance is in place to facilitate the above:
- Students are asked to wash their hands upon entry to the building wherever possible. Where this is problematic hand sanitisers will be provided in classrooms and students are encouraged to bring their own
- No more than two students should be in the toilets at any one time
- Hand sanitiser will be provided in classrooms, but students may bring their own
- There will be no food available before school or at break. Students are encouraged to bring a packed lunch if possible, but there will be a facility to order a standard packed lunch with a limited choice of sandwiches. Thecost will be £3.00 and this will be deducted automatically from ParentPay accounts if students wish to order one. Lunches will be delivered to classrooms directly
- To minimise unnecessary movement around the school building, students are required to stay in their classroom for break and lunch
- The water machines are turned off and students are encouraged to bring their own drinks with them, ideally a full water bottle. There will be the facility to order a ‘drink only’ and this will be delivered to classrooms along with any packed lunches
We understand the new arrangements will feel very different to normal, and it is essential that all students co-operate fully with all the above and with their subject teachers to ensure the day is both safe and productive for all. If we have a situation where a student does not adhere to these expectations, they will be removed from the classroom and parents will be contacted.
In order to facilitate planning I am asking all Year 12 parents to complete a survey by Tuesday 23 June to let us know whether or not your son or daughter will be returning to school. The survey can be found here. If your son or daughter is not attending, we need to inform the government as to the reason for the absence. The survey requires you to identify the specific set of circumstances / categories from the list provided. We hope that we can welcome the overwhelming majority of our Year 12 students back to the sixth form. Ultimately, the decision about whether or not your son or daughter returns this term, rests with the parents.