Headteacher’s Letter – 18/05/2021
Tuesday 18th May 2021
Dear parents / guardians,
Although recent weather has not felt like the start of a summer term, we are approaching the “business” end of the academic year and are working hard on formal qualifications as well as considering how we support students with the crucial transitions, which they will need to make successfully in order to be ready for success in September. All of this and with some new Coronavirus guidance in place from Monday 17th May. We do hope that students, parents and families will be able to enjoy some of the relaxations in the guidance as well as ensuring that we keep ourselves and each other as safe as possible.
Revised COVID19 Guidance from 17th May 2021
You are likely to be aware that there are some changes in national COVID19 guidance, full details of which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
We have followed the national guidance meticulously throughout the course of the pandemic. As part of wider relaxations, there are some limited but significant national changes for school operations, and I will detail below how we will implement these in practice, as well as indicating what will not change.
- Face Coverings in School (students): The most significant change is that students are not required to wear face coverings in lessons or in communal areas of the school. Of course, any student who wishes to continue to wear a face covering will be permitted to do so.
- Face Coverings in School (staff):The guidance is now that it is not recommended for staff and adult visitors to wear face coverings in lessons or outdoors, but it remains guidance that adults should wear face coverings in corridors and communal areas when social distancing cannot be maintained.
- The Bubble System: Strict implementation of the bubble system remains, and there is no change to the systems that are currently in place. We are hoping for restrictions to ease when (and if) there are further changes on the 21stJune 2021. However, in the meantime, we continue with all practical procedures that have worked so well in terms of maintaining the integrity of each bubble.
- Face Covering requirements for Transport:Face Coverings remain compulsory on public transport. The only exception for this is for those students who are exempt.
Parents of students in Years 11 and 13 will already be aware of the plans for the awarding of qualifications this year and we appreciate how hard students have been working to produce a range of evidence to inform our grading decisions. We are now into the final days of this process and although we are missing the formal exams season, there has been a great sense of purpose and focus as students complete their courses.
This is of course new to all of us, and although we are meticulous in following all of the technical guidance, I am aware that these documents can make for dense reading for parents and students. Helpfully, Ofqual have now published a useful guide for students regarding the entire process – and this brings together numerous pieces of guidance in an easily digestible form. The link to the document is here and I hope that this makes the national process as clear as possible.
Although, of course, it is completely impossible to make predictions about next year, it is right that the Government are currently giving consideration to how students currently in Years 10 and 12 can be supported to achieve the qualifications which they deserve, despite the disruption of the pandemic. You may be aware that various options are under consideration – but crucially the assumption is that a formal exam series will run next summer, although perhaps with some modifications. The important message for the time being is that students in Years 10 and 12 should continue to work as hard as possible on the planned content and assessments, and teachers will continue to deliver all programmes of study as originally scheduled. We will keep parents and students up to date with any national decisions, but these are not expected to be finalised until next year.
Key Events for this Academic Year
Our half term break is fast approaching and runs for one week from Monday 31st May. Students return to school on Monday 7th June. Other key dates are listed below. Please check our website and social media feeds for regular updates.
Year 10 examinations From Monday 7th June
Year 12 examinations From Monday 7th June
Year 7 examinations Monday 21st June
Year 8 parents’ evening Wednesday 16th June – Thursday 17th June
Year 10 parents’ evening Wednesday 30th June – Thursday 1st July
Year 12 parents’ evening Wednesday 7th July – Thursday 8th July
Year 7 parents’ evening Wednesday 14th July – Thursday 15th July
Final day of the summer term Friday 16th July
Please note that the parents’ evenings listed above will be taking place online and that appointments will be available for parents over two evenings. Full details will be sent out in advance of each event.
Thank you as always for your continued support.