Letter from our Principal: Half Term
Dear Parents/Carers and Pupils,
As this half term draws to a close I wanted to take the opportunity to write to you all. I do hope that this letter finds you all keeping well and staying safe.
This has been a very unusual half term in that each week of it has been spent in lockdown and for the majority of our pupils, their learning has been within their homes. It continues to be a real highlight of my day to spend time looking through work that our pupils have produced, hear about the activities that you have been completing as a family and read of the many different ways in which our pupils are actively contributing to the communities in which they live. We have had to adapt to a ‘new normal’ and the different ways that so many of you have done this continue to inspire both myself and our staff at school – thank you. Please do continue to share your stories with us as these help to keep us connected and remind each of us that although we are not in the school building, we are very much still a part of it.
You will know from your child and from the regular phone calls from school that all work is now being issued through Google Classroom. Please can I continue to remind you that the minimum daily learning expectation is shared via a timetable with both yourself and your child and this is supplemented with ‘live learning’ sessions which your child can sign up to attend each week. Further details of our home learning offer can be found on our website by clicking here. It is critical that your child accesses this learning and completes the minimum learning each day, ‘turning in’ the work so that this can be assessed by their teacher. You will be aware that we are monitoring completion rates and alerting you to any concerns that we might have so that we can work together to fix these. We have also supported many of you with connectivity issues and continue to do so. Please continue to raise any concerns or questions that you have with the pastoral teams on this area so that we can support you. We know from the Government’s announcements that home learning continues to be the main mode of learning for all secondary children at this time with no plans for any return for years 7,8,9 or 11 before September, and it is therefore crucial that this minimum work is completed.
For those of you with children in Year 10, you will have heard the government’s announcement of their hope that there can be some ‘face to face’ contact before the summer holidays. At the time of writing there has been no further secondary planning guidance released from the Department of Education. We must therefore stress that our existing model of remote learning referred to above, continues after half term and completion rates continue to be monitored. We will also be sending out a Google form to all our Year 10 pupils to help us to receive further feedback from them about their individual learning, so please look out for this on our return from the half term break as this will need to be completed and returned. This feedback will be very important to us as we plan the future learning for our Year 10 pupils. Please be assured that we continue to consider the implications of any published guidance and the views of our school community as a whole as we move forwards with our planning.
As you will be aware from the resources that we have shared this week in both form time and on social media, this week is World Mental Health Awareness Week. I do hope that you have seen the messages from our Mental Health Ambassadors on our social media channels and taken time to look at some of the resources that we have shared with you. Do remember that these resources will still be there for all of you in the weeks and months to come, along with the resources that can be found on Google Classroom and on our website here. We continue to remind you to ‘reach out’ to us should you need anything and we will continue to work to support you.
The theme of World Mental Health Awareness Week is ‘kindness’. In my communication to staff at the start of the week I shared with them a film which I recently watched called ‘A Beautiful day in the neighbourhood’. I enjoyed the film immensely and I felt it had a number of really interesting themes built into it, but ‘kindness’ and the impact of this within our communities is something that remained with me from this film and I feel is really relevant to our current times. Mr Rogers, the main character in the film says, ‘Imagine what our real neighbourhoods would be like if each of us offered, as a matter of course, just one kind word to another person.’ As May draws to an end and a new month begins, I do hope that each of us can continue to commit to remembering to offer small acts of kindness each day, as these can and will have a big impact on both our families and our community, especially at this time.
May I take this opportunity to wish you a restful half-term break when it arrives and I look forward to being in touch with you again very soon.
With my best wishes to you and your families at this time.
Mrs Rebecca Smith