Following the Prime Minister’s announcement last night, we have had to make a number of changes to our plans for this half term. This will have implications for all year groups and will raise different questions for each. In this letter I have tried to summarise the key issues that affect our students and their families.
Extension to the period of remote learning for all students
The plans for remote learning which I set out in yesterday’s letter will now be extended until at least half term for all students. From tomorrow students in Years 7 and 8 should access Edulink each day and follow the Zoom link for each lesson. Students in Years 9-13 should follow the links on Show My Homework. Where lessons are not delivered by the class teacher, for reasons such as illness etc, students will be directed to the work set for that period via the same method. If there are any technical reasons why your child will not be able to access online learning, please contact IT Support firstname.lastname@example.org or if there are any other issues specifically related to remote learning please contact Mrs. Parker on email@example.com. Please note the important information from Mr. Roper below:
Zoom has been pushed out to all school iPads. If your child uses their own personal device, they will need to download the app from the App Store. When joining a Zoom call, students must choose the ‘sign in with Google’ option and use their school email and password, otherwise the app may lock them out if your child is aged under 16.
Students have also been emailed guidance which should help them access these remote lessons. Please can I politely ask that you discuss this with your child ahead of tomorrow’s online learning.
Attendance and remote learning
Please note that if your child is not present for the remote learning sessions tomorrow morning you will receive an automated phone message informing you of this. Please let us know if for any reasons they will not be able to attend these lessons. This should be done in the usual manner by contacting the attendance team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Key Worker and Vulnerable Children
Vulnerable and key worker children can attend from Wednesday this week (as outlined in my letter on 31 December) but we politely ask that key worker children only attend school where this is absolutely necessary. These students should report to the school hall at 8.40am in full school uniform and they will be directed to a classroom from there. Students should bring their iPad with them, as well as any necessary books and equipment, as they will be accessing the same lessons remotely as those students who are learning from home. If possible, please could students also bring a set of headphones or earphones to avoid us having to lend these.
Vocational examinations in January
The guidance from the government yesterday was that these exams would go ahead as planned. Students will be aware when these examinations are and they should report to the sixth form theatre on the published date at least 15 minutes prior to the start of the exam. If there are any questions regarding this series of exams please contact your child’s class teacher for subject specific support or Mrs. Shaw, acting exams officer, at email@example.com for any practical issues relating to the exams.
Summer Series External Exams
In his announcement last night, the Prime Minister stated that the government recognises that the national lockdown ‘will mean it is not possible or fair for all exams to go ahead this summer as normal’ and that ‘the Education Secretary will work with Ofqual to put in place alternative arrangements.’ We are led to believe that this means that GCSEs and A Levels will be cancelled in the summer but this is yet to be confirmed.
I am sure that students and parents will have lots of questions about the implications of this. I was surprised at this announcement last night and I have been given no further information than you at present about the processes which we may be expected to follow. I am also sure that this is causing a lot of unrest and upset, especially for students in year 11 and 13, but I hope that the way the school managed this process last year and the fantastic results which our students achieved will provide you with some reassurance. We are confident that our year 11 and 13 cohorts would have performed well in this summers exams and we expect this to be reflected in any process we are asked to implement in the summer. What is absolutely essential is that all students engage well with the remote learning over the next half term and then continue to work hard throughout the rest of the school year.
Year 11 Reports and Parents Evening
Year 11 reports are due out next week and these will go ahead as planned. However, given the lack of clarity at this time around the summer examination process we have decided that it is not appropriate for us to include a predicted final grade at this time.
Year 11 Parents Evening
Parents evening for year 11 will go ahead as planned on Wednesday 13 January using the SchoolCloud system. Year 11 parents should have already received details for accessing this; please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if there are any queries regarding this.
Please be aware that I have asked staff not to speculate regarding what processes for awarding grades may be put in place, as these are not yet known. Similarly, they should not discuss the likelihood of any specific grade being awarded to your child through this, as yet, unspecified process. I hope you understand why this is the case and if you have any concerns regarding this please email me at email@example.com
Completing block assessments remotely presents obvious difficulties and therefore we have postponed the year 7, 8 and 12 block assessments until after half term. Year 7 and 8 teachers may incorporate the PRP tasks into their lessons and therefore these will be shared with year 7 students this week. Year 8 students received theirs prior to Christmas.
Year 13 assessments are currently calendared for the week after half term and we recognise the anxieties this may cause being the first week back. We are reviewing the timing of this assessment and further information will follow in due course. Year 13 mock exams may play a part in whatever process is in place for awarding grades in the summer, but please be assured that this would only be part of the process. Last year teaching colleagues used a range of evidence to award centre assessed grades, and these grades were not simply the result which was achieved in one single assessment. Similarly, whilst we do not know what the process will be for year 11, any awarded grades would not solely be based on a single piece of evidence and we understand that last term’s mock exams were not entirely completed under examination conditions due to the disruption caused by students having to self-isolate.
I am hoping that I do not have to write to you again tomorrow contradicting what I have just written above!
As always, thank you for your patience and messages of support that are very much appreciated as we try our very best to support all young people in our school.