Dear Parents and Guardians
On Wednesday, Gavin Williamson, the Secretary of State for Education, announced that as part of the country’s ongoing response to COVID-19, schools, colleges and early years settings have been asked to close to everyone except children of key workers and vulnerable children from Monday 23 March.
I am now writing to give further detail of the short term educational provision we are making for your children from now until the end of term, Wednesday 1 April. This information covers children from Reception to Sixth Form. Parents of Nursery children will receive separate guidance from Mrs Wilding and the Nursery staff. Our Key workers with children in the school are already in contact with us; we are running key worker cover from Monday this week through until we reopen.
Firstly for our young learners in school, and for whatever age, we wish to bring your children’s curriculum in each subject area to a logical close. For Secondary and Sixth Form students, their teachers will be setting their classwork via our digital ‘Hub’ & G-Suite tools on the days for when lessons are scheduled, coupled with the additional homework arising. This is their normal way of learning and we don’t envisage further explanation is needed at this stage.
For Junior Boys and Girls, as they follow the same curriculum outlines but in different ways, you can find our more about Junior Boys here – http://schl.cc/7G
and more about Junior Girls here – http://schl.cc/7H
Other countries have experienced shutdowns for these reasons for some 10 weeks now, and we have adapted our plans for the next 8 days in the light of their experience. A simple graphic that shows how best to plan such work can be found here http://schl.cc/7B. This first period of closure provides for an opportunity to consolidate, complete and reflect on their work of the term. For all Year groups, we are not expecting parents to take over the role of teachers, but we will need parents to assist in a variety of ways.
- It may be that the family does not have sufficient resources at home to support everyone with a suitable device to access our ‘Hub’. If you would like to loan an additional school Chromebook for home use, you can reserve one here via this Google Form. All devices reserved may be taken home from school tomorrow Friday 20 March by the boy or girl concerned. Please book a Chromebook here – http://schl.cc/7F
- Please make arrangements at home for where your child is expected to do their work. We always recommend that the use of a screen for school work is conducted downstairs and in public view. If you are able to set up a work station for them, so much the better.
- It is our plan for teachers to be at work during the day; they will monitor work being carried out in the morning, and provide feedback to completed work and in work streams during this time. During the afternoon they will be marking, planning and preparing the work of the following day, and liaising with their colleagues and sharing the load. Any questions from parents arising should in the first instance be communicated to the teacher concerned or the form teacher.
- From 4-5pm, teachers and senior managers will be working together to resolve key issues. We hope to respond to any key queries during this time.
- A considerable amount of the work planned to be completed is not digital in nature, though the communication about it may be. Our plan is not to tie the children to a computer screen for a long time, so please ensure that no single work session lasts longer than 45 minutes.
- Many parents too will be working from home. Putting the family needs first, confirming family time, exercise outside and the myriad of other opportunities available will be all part of establishing a suitable routine.
- With pupils being at home, they will be using the internet more than ever. This may cause extra anxiety for parents. Our visiting consultant in this area is Paul Hay, and parents can find lots of information from his website direct: www.pclstraining.com/links Paul is always more than happy for parents to email him direct with any questions they may have about their children’s use of the internet Paul.firstname.lastname@example.org.
During the break, the teaching staff are working to establish those packages of work required for the Summer term starting on Wednesday 22 April. As this is new work, we will have to devise the most effective distance teaching strategies to support each module. Fuller information will be provided prior to the start of term. The School’s Curriculum Statements, https://www.clairescourt.com/handbooks, cover the elements of the ground to be covered; we are fortunate to have the whole G-Suite set of tools already deployed plus the many bespoke subscription services for subjects we use. These are tools though, and teaching needs to be layered sensitively to support everyone’s learning, whether able or vulnerable learner.
The school is formally closing for its Easter break on Wednesday 1 April, and for most, End of Term reports and communications will follow this day. During the period Thursday 2 April to Monday 20 April inclusive the academic staff are on leave, so teaching and learning activities directed by school will cease during this time. I will be writing further to highlight the more extended opportunities for support we are making available during this time, from our Library service amongst others next week. Keyworkers’ children in school will move to a version of our holiday activities programme, though that is unlikely to be available for other users of this service due to the government restrictions and need for social distancing and isolation.
For Year 11 and 13, we await further news from the Government tomorrow on the mechanisms by which their GCSE and A level grades are to be awarded. It is vitally important that these students keep developing their skills and maintain their academic standards of speaking, reading and writing. We will be using Google Hangouts MEET to record speaking assessments, as well as the other tools in G-Suite to capture the very obvious improvements our students are able to make in these important final weeks of study.
I hope the above summarises clearly our arrangements to the end of term. If you have any further questions, please address these to your child’s headteacher.