17th March 2020
Partial School Closure Year 9 and Year 10 ONLY
I am writing to let you know that we have had to take the very difficult decision to partially close the school. On top of our normal staff absence with expected maternity and paternity leaves we now have a number of staff who have had to follow the new guidance and self-isolate for 14 days. This has left us with significantly depleted staffing and an inability to effectively maintain all students’ education and safety in school, which is of course our first priority.
From tomorrow (Wednesday 18th March) we will close for Years 9 and 10 only. Staff in school and those who are self-isolating will be setting work to complete at home, this will be sent home during the day and for each day that we need to remain closed until staffing levels allow us to safely educate students in school. We will review this daily and communicate as soon as the situation changes. Work will be set either on Go 4 Schools - Homework or sent to students’ school email accounts.
The document attached outlines expectations of staff and students during this time and also has answers to some questions you may have. We have done everything we can to try to maintain education and the school fully open but at this point we simply do not have the capacity to remain safely fully open. Thank you for your support and understanding during these challenging times.
While the school is closed to Years 9 and 10, we encourage you to keep monitoring the government’s advice – the information can be found on the websites listed below:
How will we keep in touch with you?
Queries over email to teaching staff will be answered, but we cannot guarantee that responses will be as timely as we would usually be able to manage. The email addresses of staff are stored on the school website (under Key Information – Staff List). Unfortunately, we will not be able to answer questions over the telephone.
The school website will remain a very important medium and will be updated with information as often as possible.
Will I need to register my child with you each day?
No. If the school is closed, you will be responsible for the care of your child during the day. We will not be monitoring their movements, nor can we be responsible for the extent to which your child engages with the work that is set.
Will the school provide work for my child to be doing while the school is closed?
Yes. Teachers will set work for students to complete and will be in contact through ‘Go 4 Schools – Homework’. Teachers may email students, but will only use school email addresses.
How much work should my child be completing during this time?
Teachers will aim to set a similar amount of work as would be covered during a lesson, and for any subsequent homework. That would mean that most students should be completing around six or seven hours a day of work at home. Clearly, they will have more flexibility around when that happens, but we would encourage them to maintain similar work hours to the existing school day.
Will work that students produce during this time be marked or assessed?
Where possible teachers will provide feedback. We will ask teachers to be as clear as possible about when work will be checked and what type of feedback can be provided. Doing this remotely is not as easy as it is in person, so we ask for your patience and understanding in this area.
Will I be expected to print off electronic resources?
No. Teachers will try to avoid setting work or sharing resources that cannot be completed on a screen.
Will planned trips, visits or events continue?
No. During the period of school closures, all planned school activity will cease.
My child tells me they can’t log-on to school systems. Who do I contact?
I am unsure what work my child should do. Who do I contact?
Before contacting teachers, please make sure that your child is following the instructions they have been given and have logged into ‘Go 4 Schools’.
In most cases, students will be advised what they should do by their teacher in ‘Go 4 Schools - Homework’. If this has not happened, or if you are unsure, please email the teacher directly. Should you not receive a response within two working days, please email the curriculum leader, subject leader or your child’s Head of Year. The email addresses of teachers can be found on our school website under ‘Key Information – Staff List’.
My child is entitled to Free School Meals. I am worried about the cost of feeding them during this period of closure.
The school will be able to provide a packed lunch for students who wish to pick it up from 11.30am each day.
My child is becoming very worried and anxious. I’m concerned about their well-being. What can I do?
We do not have internet access. What can I do?
This is not an easy situation to remedy. Where possible, we would advise you to visit a nearby centre, family member or neighbour where you can access a connection and download some of the work set to be completed later. Where families are in self-isolation, or where connection is temporarily lost, there may be a disruption in your ability to receive work under such circumstances. We recommend that as much work as possible is downloaded and saved to avoid absolute reliance on a continual internet connection.
We do not have a computer that my child can use at home. What can I do?
Please contact your child’s tutor and/or Head of Year to alert them to the situation. We do not have enough laptop computers or devices to provide equipment to students for use at home, but we will work with you to try and provide solutions where possible. It is important that you tell us if your child is struggling to access or complete the work set.
I think my child’s teacher is on Facebook or Twitter – should I contact them?
No. We have explicitly instructed staff not to use social medial to communicate with parents or wider members of the school community. We have asked them not to respond if approached, so please do not be offended if you receive no response.
We ask you, as parents/carers, to please avoid using social media to criticise teachers or the school at this time. It only tends to spread misinformation and place people under further stress. If you are unhappy with an aspect of what we are doing, please get in touch with a senior member of staff.
I have heard that another school is using a different approach. I don’t understand why you can’t do the same.
Please bear with us. The situation is unique, and schools will be learning a lot during this period about how best to work in this way. Schools and teachers also have varying types of software, resources and skill levels available to draw upon. We will be monitoring good practice throughout this time, and will contact you should alternative or new approaches be called upon or introduced.
How will we tell you when the situation changes?
We will use the usual e-mail methods as well as updating our websites and, periodically, our social media feeds.
At all times we will be guided by the latest advice from the government, Public Health England and the local authorities.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your patience and understanding. Together, I am confident that we will navigate this difficult period effectively.