Executive Headteacher’s Weekly Message

The term concludes like no other – no frisson of happiness at our students enjoying their final moments of their summer enrichment week activities and work experience; no palpable reflection of an of anticipation for those endless days of summer on student faces in the final celebration assembly of the year. A term like no other. However, what I have seen are students and teachers coming together to ensure optimal learning; acts of genuine kindness from our student body towards their friends, family, teachers and community to ensure morale remains high; examples of brilliance and a genuine love of learning through the various Trust competitions and work completed via ‘Google Classroom’ and ‘Google Meet’. Even without the School we all cherish being physically open to all students, its heart still beats.

Although this is the traditional ‘end of term’ bulletin to you, we will remain in contact over the summer holidays to provide you with updates in relation to the start of the new academic year in September. We will write to all existing parents on Monday 24th August at 9am to confirm the arrangements for the start of term. As the various news bulletins and ‘leaks’ so far this week suggest, there will have to be a very good reason for us not to be open – albeit with new routines. We had of course hoped to be in a position to update you fully before the summer; however, the timing of the Government’s consultation is such that I doubt that we will have the full picture until early August.

Thank you to parents and carers for completing our surveys and for attending the Parents’ and Carers’ Forum. You told us that your top priorities for September are:

Please be assured that we will address each of these points in the letter you will receive from us on Monday 24th August. We will also respond to the more personal questions and queries that have been raised.
In addition, there are some decisions that have already been taken that I can share today:

  1. Curriculum plans and overviews have already been adapted across all subjects in preparation for September.
  2. At least for next academic year, we will be continuing with ‘Google Classroom’ for the setting of homework, as well as for support with some interventions and catch up sessions. Continuing with ‘Google Classroom’ also means that we would be ready for a ‘second wave’ were this to happen.
  3. There won’t be any formal assessments during the first three weeks of term. Our priority is to build confidence, re-establish routines and to allow students to enjoy being back in school. In lessons we will use quizzes to help us to hone in on any gaps in knowledge and skills and to inform our planning.
  4. Should there be a ‘second wave’ at some point that affects the number of students who can be in school at any one tine, all year groups will have access to ‘Google Meets’ and live lessons. Whilst we have needed to act with caution since March to ensure online safety, we now know how to use all of these platforms safely and in line with safeguarding procedures and so will be able to move quickly should ‘Google Meets’ be needed again.
  5. Progress Evenings will go ahead from September. We recognise that there is no end of year report and that you as parents and carers have limited access to teaching staff. Arrangements and logistics for the Progress Evenings may well be different to usual but we will confirm in good time.
  6. Year 10 will be set work to complete over the Summer. Details are in each Google Classroom.
  7. Years 7-9 will be set a Summer reading challenge. The parent and carer guide will accompany this week’s Family Bulletin.
  8. The start of term for Years 8-11 will be Wednesday 2nd September. Tuesday 1st September is for the new Year 7 Induction Day as it hasn’t been possible during ‘lockdown’. Please note that the Monday of that week is a Bank Holiday.

Finally, I look forward to being back at the School gates welcoming you all in September.

With all best wishes,

Mr M Barrow
Executive Headteacher