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18th January 2021
Dear Year 11 students,
Thank you to all those that joined my assembly this morning to update you on the consultation process for GCSE and A Level examinations.
Up to this point, you have all worked diligently and maturely in the face of what I think have been the most challenging circumstances learners have ever faced. Despite this pandemic causing huge disruption to your learning last year and this year, you have all made progress and shown that you are strong and resilient.
We do however need to look to the future. The government is deciding how these grades will be calculated. Again, I need to stress that this is a consultation, no decisions have been made.
Below are some key points that form the consultation:
- assessments to take place in late May/June;
- grades to be based on student current performance and NOT where we ‘think they would be at’;
- teachers should assess students on the areas of content they have covered and can demonstrate their ability, while ensuring sufficient breadth of content coverage so as not to limit progression;
- exam boards to provide papers for students to sit and for teachers to mark;
- an opportunity to use coursework and own papers;
- exams boards to provide support on grading;
- exam boards would then quality assure the approach taken by each school, working together to ensure their approaches are consistent.
Students, parents and carers can comment on the consultation process. Please click on the link.
There were some frustrations voiced in the assembly today, a lot of you feel a sense of anger towards the way in which your exams are being handled. This is your opportunity to have your say. Following this, put your frustrations to good use and apply to your learning. We are all on this journey together and as always, we will support you in any way we can.
My final message continues to be- do not give up! You have been on an incredible journey; turn up to all your online lessons, keep working hard and know that every piece of work you complete will still make a difference.
08 January 2021
Dear students, parents and carer,
I want to start this letter by saying a big well done to all students for their work online this week, you have made a great start and must now continue this way. Also, I would like to thank parents and carers for their support and patience with the process. We have loaned nearly 500 laptops this week and are urgently trying to seek additional devices for families requiring more.
Earlier in the week the Government announced that GCSE examinations were not going ahead this year. We share the disappointment for year 11 students following their incredible hard work over the past four years. Despite this, they have continued to engage with their learning this week and I encourage them to continue to ensure that they achieve the Centre Assessed Grade they deserve.
Google Classroom update:
As often the case when something is new, we have faced a few challenges around student appropriate use of live links. I am therefore asking parents and carers for their support in speaking with students.
Students are expected to join the live lesson at the allocated time in their timetable and they should leave the live lesson when the teacher ends it. There should be no misuse of the live lesson links in-between lessons. If students are found to be misusing the links, we will have to take further action or reduce the live teaching offer.
Students should also be following their timetable that has been sent to them. Students are in their teaching groups to ensure that the work set by teachers is appropriate for their ability level. Students should not be sharing live links with one-another and going into other lessons.
As well as monitoring students online work we will also be making regular phone calls home to speak with parents/carers and students to see how they are getting on and supporting them in any way possible. To make you aware, there may be occasions where you are called from a withheld number due to staff working off-site.
Change of times for the school day:
From Monday 11th January, all students in all year groups will be following the same timing of the day.
9.20-10.20- lesson 1
10.20-11.20- lesson 2
11.35-12.35- lesson 3
13.15-14.15- lesson 4
14.15-15.15- lesson 5
Students will be sent their timetable which will reflect these times ready for Monday 11th January.
Yesterday I communicated with you around the positive news around mobile phone companies offering additional data at no extra cost. Availability is limited, please fill in this form: https://forms.gle/v1ayD7EHhRnfpgTNA if you would like to access this.
Academy Council meeting:
On Wednesday 13th January I will be holding a virtual Academy Council meeting. Please click on the link, it would be great to see you all there. Please find the agenda below.
Thank you for your ongoing support, I wish you all a restful weekend.
Virtual Academy Council Meeting Agenda
Wednesday 13 January 2021
6:30 – 7:30pm
- Introduction and apologies for absence
- COVID Update: Risk Assessment in school
Welfare calls home
- Hinterland offer – planned school trips
- Parental feedback: House system
Behaviour update/Road safety
- Agree date and time for next meeting and suggested agenda items
Dear Year 11 student,
Following on from yesterday’s announcement by the government regarding the cancellation of GCSE and A-level examinations this year, I am writing to you about the Creative iMedia examination scheduled to take place on Monday 11th January.
On Monday, the Department for Education and Ofqual stated that schools and colleges can proceed with the running of technical and vocational examinations “where they judge it right to do so.” In light of the current situation, we have decided to cancel Monday’s exam.
You will not be disadvantaged by this. Grades will be awarded based on objective evidence, and any grades that your teachers set you will be moderated carefully, to ensure they are consistent within and between schools.
We will provide more information about the grading process when we have it. In the meantime please continue to engage with the remote learning set for all your subjects.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get into contact.
5th January 2021
Dear Year 11 students,
Thank you to all those that joined my assembly this morning to update you on the Prime Minister’s announcement yesterday evening that GCSE and A Level exams will not take place in the summer in the normal way. In the coming days we will get details of what will replace them, but we expect it will involve teachers assessing performance using class and homework, coursework, mock exam results and other evidence.
The Government has yet to announce whether vocational qualifications will be going ahead, these include Hospitality and Catering, Creative iMedia, Business and Enterprise, Health and Fitness and Performing Arts.
I share with you all the shock and disappointment this news will bring following your incredible hard work over the previous four years. I strongly urge you all, that once the shock has worn off, that you consider the following three points:
1- Your hard work will still be recognised. None of the effort you have shown so far, and will continue to show in the coming months, will be wasted.
2- The value of your GCSE qualifications is not being altered, only the way it is being administered.
3- The new system will be fair and balanced. Grades will be awarded based on objective evidence. Any grades that your teachers set you will be moderated carefully, to ensure they are consistent within and between schools.
My final message is- do not give up! You have been on an incredible journey; turn up to all your online lessons, keep working hard and know that every piece of work you complete will still make a difference.
04 January 2021
Happy New Year!
Following on from my communication over the holiday period and the recent Government announcement, I would like to update you on the following plans around your child’s education provision and Covid 19 testing, for those that have consented, from Tuesday 5th January.
We will be using Google Classroom to support students with their learning. Students have previously had a lesson familiarising them with the platform and all students have their password and username. From Tuesday 5th January, work will be uploaded onto Google Classroom for students to complete.
Please find below an example timetable that students will follow, students’ exact timetable will be emailed to their school email address later today along with links for live lessons, they will need to click on the link at the desired times. Students are expected to complete all work set for them.
As a reminder, we expect students to conduct themselves appropriately on Google Classroom. All activity is trackable and any misuse of the platform will be addressed through the Trust’s behaviour policy. Teachers will be monitoring the engagement and attendance of students throughout.
|Reg 0900-0920||Live registration||Live registration||Live registration||Live registration|
|P1 0920-1020||History||Geography||Science||Maths- live|
|P2 1020-1120||English||English- live||English- live||Science|
|P3 1140-1240||Maths- live||Maths||Maths||English- live|
|P4 1315-1415||PRE||PE- live||Science- live||Maths|
|P5 1415-1515||PHSE- live||Science- live||Art- live||Music|
Students coming into school:
These students will be taught by subject teachers throughout the day. Students will need to arrive at school ready for registration at 9.00am and school will end at 15.15pm. There will be a lunch service daily for students entitled to a Free School Meal or wishing to purchase food. Students will be expected to abide by strict social distance expectations when in school. These will be explained to them on their first day.
Year 11 students:
In line with Government advice, year 11 students will be returning to school full-time on Monday 11th January.
Lateral flow testing- initial and daily testing:
I am pleased to announce that late this morning our testing kits arrived. We are working hard to prepare the sports hall, where the initial testing will take place. Staff are also completing the mandatory online training.
If you are yet to complete the online consent form and are happy for your child to be tested, please fill in the electronic Google form (here) or enclosed consent statement and return it to the school via submitting the Google form, emailing or hand delivering to the school office. If you do not wish to consent to your child being tested in school if they are in contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid 19, they must follow Government guidance and isolate for 10 days from the day they last had contact with the positive case.
Initial testing will commence the week beginning 11th January. All those who have consented will be tested twice, 3 days apart. I will be in contact later this week to further details around timings. Students must stay in school whilst they await their test result, they will be supervised during this time.
Daily testing will take place once students return to school. This is where consented pupils are tested in the morning for 7 days after being highlighted as being in contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid 19. Students must isolate over the weekend period, they will not be tested over the weekend.
Thank you for your ongoing support in ensuring that we are able to provide an effective and safe learning environment for students both in school and online.
31st December 2020
Following on from the Government announcement last night, I would like to update you with the following information:
- All students will be working online.
- Key worker students and students requiring additional support will be invited into school.
- We will begin planning for testing within school.
- Year 11s, children of key workers and students requiring additional support will be in school.
- Year 7-10 students will be working online.
- Mass testing to start within school for students and staff who have consented.
- All students back in school.
If you require your child to come into school from 5th January, please email the school, stating your child’s name and their form group.
If your child requires a laptop to be loaned to them, please come and collect from the school. For year 10 and 11 students between 11am and 3pm on Monday 4th January. For year 7, 8 and 9 students, between 11am and 3pm on Tuesday 5th January. Laptops and any other borrowed equipment will need to be brought back upon your child’s return to school.
I will be sending information out shortly for those students who are entitled to a Free School Meal. We will be providing these daily to be collected from the school.
I look forward to communicating with you again on Monday 4th January.
21 December 2020
Following on from my communication on Friday 18th December, I am pleased to be sharing with you further information around the mass testing of pupils and staff in schools, as a way of reducing the spread of the virus and enabling fewer pupils and staff to have to self-isolate. You can read more about how the government expects this programme to work here.
I am hopeful of testing all staff and pupils who want to participate from week commencing 4 January 2021. This will initially start with staff, year 11 pupils, key worker and vulnerable pupils; rolling out to our remaining year groups later in the week. This initial phase of testing is being termed ‘initial testing’ by the Government. All those who have consented will be tested twice, 2-5 days apart. The implementation of the testing will be dependent on the testing equipment arriving by 4 January 2021. The next phase is being termed ‘serial testing’ by the Government. This is where consented pupils are tested in the morning for 7 school days after being highlighted as being in contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid 19. All school staff will be tested on a weekly basis.
If you are happy for your child to be tested, please fill in the electronic Google form here or enclosed consent statement and return it to the school via submitting the Google form, emailing or hand delivering to the school office. If you do not wish to consent to your child being tested in school if they are in contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid 19, they must follow Government guidance and isolate for 10 days from the day they last had contact with the positive case.
Due to the large scale testing that we intend to be carrying out during the first week, we will be repurposing the sports hall. In future weeks we will then move to a specific area within school. Those taking the test will be supervised by trained staff. The ‘lateral flow’ tests are quick and easy using a swab of your nose and throat. Pupils and staff will be carrying out the swab themselves. Please click on the link for further explanation. Results (which take around half an hour from testing) will be shared directly with staff and pupils participating. Immediate contact will be made home for pupils where a positive test has been obtained.
Setting up this programme in schools is a complex operation. We have been sent some information about how it should work already, but more detailed guidance is expected to be produced by the government over the Christmas holiday period. Once I have this information, along with a timeframe of testing for the week I will ensure this is shared with you.
If you do have questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Due to it being the holiday period, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to answer these until Monday 4th January.
Thank you for your patience, and best wishes for a safe and enjoyable festive period.
What if a pupil tests positive?
Participating staff and pupils who test positive will be informed about their results individually. Where participants are under 16, parents or legal guardians will also be notified. Guidance on safe travel and additional precautions will be provided along with test results.
Pupils will need to take a further ‘PCR test’ (similar to those done in local and regional testing sites) on the same day (or as soon as possible). School will be able to provide these PCR test kits to perform at home or you can go to www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or call 119 to book a follow-up test. If ordering a PCR test yourselves, they should choose to visit a drive-through test site if possible, as it is faster than requesting a home test.
During this time while they wait for the PCR result (via text / email) they will need to self-isolate. If the PCR test returns a positive result you will have to self-isolate and follow the guidance from NHS Test and Trace.
What happens if the test is negative?
They will be able to stay in school and resume their activities as normal. A pupil will only be told if they test positive on a ‘lateral flow’ test, so if you do not hear you can assume it was negative. A small number of pupils may need to repeat the test if the first test was invalid or void for some reason.
What if a close contact at school/college tests positive?
A close contact of someone in school/college who has tested positive for COVID-19 will be able to return to school if they agree to be tested once a day for 7 days and the test is negative. If they do not want to take the test, they will need to self-isolate as per the national guidelines. This does not apply to household members or close contacts outside of [school/college] who will still need to self-isolate. Further details will be provided at the time, but if you would prefer to self-isolate instead of doing daily testing, you can.
What if my child develops symptoms?
This testing programme at school is for people with no symptoms. If your child develops symptoms at any time (such as a high temperature; a new, continuous cough; or a loss or change to their sense of smell or taste) they must immediately self-isolate, and book a test by calling 119.
NHS Test and Trace consent form for COVID-19 testing
• For pupils younger than 16 years – this form must be completed by the parent or legal guardian. Please complete one consent form for each child you wish to enrol.
1. I have had the opportunity to consider the information provided by the school/college about the testing, ask questions and have had these answered satisfactorily, based on the information presented in the letter dated 21/12/2020.
2. In the case of under 16s, I have discussed the testing with my child and my child is happy to participate. If on the day of testing they do not wish to take part, then they will not be made to do so and consent can be withdrawn at any time ahead of the test.
3. I consent to having / my child having a nose and throat swab for a lateral flow test.
4. I consent that my / my child’s sample(s) will be tested for the presence of COVID-19.
5. I understand that if my child result(s) are negative on the lateral flow test I will not be contacted by the school except where they are a close contact of a confirmed positive.
6. If the lateral flow test indicates the presence of COVID-19, I consent to my child having / having a nose and throat swab for confirmatory PCR testing, which shall be sent the same day to an NHS Test & Trace laboratory.
7. I consent that they will need to self-isolate following a positive lateral flow test result, until the results of the confirmatory PCR have been received.
8. I agree that if my child’s test results are confirmed to be positive from this PCR test, I will report this to the school and I understand that my child will be required to self-isolate following public health advice.
9. I consent that if a close contact of my child tests positive but my child has tested negative, they will continue to attend school college but will be tested every day at school for 7 days.
|Name of pupil to be tested (print)|
|Name of parent or guardian|
|Relationship to child if under 16|
18 December 2020
Advice regarding positive COVID-19 cases during the holiday period
We have worked hard over the past term to help in the national effort to limit the spread of the virus. We want you to be aware of the advice we have received from the government regarding positive cases in the holidays:
- For the first 6 days after teaching ends, if a pupil or staff member tests positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), having developed symptoms within 48 hours of being in school, please email the school on email@example.com where staff will assist in identifying close contacts and advising self-isolation, as the individual may have been infectious whilst in school.
- Where a pupil or staff member tests positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), having developed symptoms more than 48 hours since being in school, the school should not be contacted. Parents and carers should follow contact tracing instructions provided by NHS Test and Trace.
- It is important that you use the email address to contact the school as the telephone service on site will be closed. The email inbox will be monitored and the necessary actions will be taken.
- Where pupils are required to self-isolate due to contact with a positive case after the first 6 days following the end of term, school does not need to be informed about their absence until the first day of the new term.
Advice following the Government announcement around online learning and testing come 5th January 2021
From Tuesday 5th January only year 11 students, vulnerable students and students of critical workers will be in school. All other students will be supported with their learning online from home. I will communicate with you no later than Monday 4th January on what this will look like.
The Government also announced that secondary schools will begin testing staff and students from January 2021. Again, I will communicate again with you no later than Monday 4th January on what this will look like. I am still awaiting further clarification around a number of questions I have around the process.
Once again, thank you for your support throughout this challenging time.
I wish everyone a happy and healthy two week period and look forward to welcoming students back on Tuesday 5th January 2021, whether virtual or face to face.