19th March 2020
Re: Coronavirus update – school closure to most students
Following on from my last update, I’m now writing to let you know that we have now been instructed to close the school to almost all children after this Friday until further notice.
As advised by the government, we will do all we can to stay open for the children of key workers (e.g. NHS staff, police, others in frontline services) and children with certain needs.
All other children will need to stay at home, so we ask that you do not send your child into school from Monday onwards.
Please note that this is a national closure – as you may have heard in the news – so while it is a challenging situation, we are not alone. We will re-open fully as soon as we can and will let you know when this is by letters emailed out to parents as well as updates on our website: https://www.stratton.beds.sch.uk/
During this period of disruption, we recognise that communication will be very important. It is also the case that information and advice may change quite regularly. The potential for confusion and mixed messages will be high. We ask for your patience and understanding during this extraordinary period.
I would like to ask all Parents and students to log onto their Go4Schools account to ensure it is active and reset passwords if necessary.
While the school is closed, we encourage you to keep monitoring the government’s advice – the information can be found on the websites listed below:
We are committed to working together to maintain as much continuity of education as is possible. Things will, however, be different.
Schools are not able to instantly transition to a fully ‘virtual’ or remote service. Technology allows us to do a great deal, but the levels of infrastructure, skill and access that staff, students and parents possess varies significantly.
During this closure, our teaching staff will be directed to work remotely as much as is possible, but many of them will be affected by the current situation themselves, either though illness, self-isolation measures or caring responsibilities.
Not all of our support and administrative staff have access to equipment that would allow them to work remotely. This means that contact and communication with and between them may well be less consistent than usual.
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’. However, we are not able to run lessons remotely. Students and parents should not expect teachers to deliver content over Skype, YouTube, Social Media or through remote ‘chat’ facilities.
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 over ‘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 due to sit their GCSEs or A levels this summer. What is going to happen about their qualifications?
The government has confirmed that they will not go ahead with exams this academic year. They will be working with Ofqual to ensure students get the qualifications they need. We know that this will be a very worrying and uncertain time for our Y11 and 13 students and we will update you as soon as we have more information.
My child is entitled to Free School Meals. I am worried about the cost of feeding them during this period of closure.
The government have announced plans to continue to provide meals for students eligible. While we wait for a government plan to emerge we will continue to provide packed lunches or meal vouchers to those students needing them.
My child is becoming very worried and anxious. I’m concerned about their well-being. What can I do?
Can I contact a Student Support Officer?
Not all Student Support Officers have access to IT to enable them to work from home. Please contact the Head of Pastoral Care, Richard Scoot or your child’s Head of Year if you need advice.
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 Mrs Sarah Vincent or Mrs Zoe Smith 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 media 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.
This is as much as we know right now and we appreciate your continued patience with as we deal with this ever-changing situation. We understand that this latest news will have an impact on you and your family and it’s far from ideal, but we’ll continue to keep in touch with any updates as the situation develops.
And remember: if you or your child feels ill and you want to know what to do next, please use NHS 111 online.
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.