Message from Mr Jackson – 23rd Feb – reopening of schools

Yesterday saw the Prime Minister outline his ‘roadmap’ for England’s emergence from the current restrictions and Gavin Williamson’s accompanying document detailing the implications and expectations for schools. You can find his letter to schools here.

I am keen to update you on the implications for schools, however, it is important to highlight that last night’s statement forms only part of a week of announcements. Later today we anticipate details around the government’s catch-up programme will be shared with schools and on Thursday, we expect the outcome of the Ofqual/DfE consultation on the awarding of qualifications in the summer. We recognise the implications of these government decisions will be significant for all members of our school community, both for yourselves and for your child and their education.

We have had extensive conversations in school today, including with several local headteachers, to identify how we might overcome the inevitable challenges that these announcements will place on schools. As well as government decisions, we have our own decisions to make and this week will see the two day interview process take place for the Deputy Headteacher position which will become vacant when Mr Clarke takes up the Headteacher position in September.

We will be meeting as a senior leadership team on Monday afternoon to discuss these significant developments, closely scrutinising proposed plans before sharing with school staff and parents. In order to allow us to plan for your child’s safe return to school in the week commencing Monday 8 March and to communicate this effectively with all staff, we anticipate that Friday 5 March will be used as a strategic planning day for colleagues and as a result, will be a learning enhancement day for our students.

We hope that students will approach this day in the same manner as they did on Friday 5 February. The extract from the letter dated 29 January has been copied below:

‘There will be no work set by your child’s teachers and this will be an opportunity for students to catch up on any learning they may not have had time to finish or have an opportunity to pursue other interests that they can engage with offline.  If there are areas in which your child does need to catch up, their teachers may have made this clear.

If your child feels that they are up to date with all their work, they can spend their day on things they enjoy, ideally offline, which may include time reading, taking part in some physical exercise or participating in a hobby or interest. If students wish to pursue some educational activities they can access resources on our website, including Oak Academy or the new material provided by the BBC’.

The government have been clear that they feel schools will need to phase students back over the week commencing 8 March due to the expectation that they offer lateral flow tests to all students where parental consent has been given. We therefore know that not all students will be able to return on Monday 8 March and we will write to you again early next week to outline the specific arrangements for your child.

Best wishes

Mark Jackson