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Update from Mr Solly 5/01/21

Please take some time to read the update from Mr Solly below (this has also been sent home via email)

Dear Parents and Carers,

I hope you and your families are all safe and well. 

The festive period was peppered with additional work for schools to complete, tracking and tracing close contacts right up until Christmas Eve, before a series of U-turns which Schools Week outline here - when you read through them one by one it really is staggering. This morning we find ourselves facing another lockdown period, which schools and the education system appear to be at the epicentre of. I know that families will look to us for support and reassurance during another uncertain and unsettling period and as a school we have a crucial role to play in helping our students navigate their way through it.

Home learning is far from ideal. It takes much longer to plan and prepare for this from a teacher's perspective and it is not something that comes naturally. Equally, it is very hard for young people to learn as effectively as they would do, compared to a normal classroom experience. However, this is the way we have to work currently, and we will do our very best to provide high quality lessons and resources for students to engage with. These will follow the normal timetable, with five lessons per day. The link to our website is here, where you can find guides on how to access Teams. Teachers will deliver either Live Lessons on Teams or post 'On Demand' resources that they or other professionals have produced. 

To support your son or daughter in engaging with remote learning, we would recommend the following steps:

  • if possible, try and establish a quiet and visible place in the home, where they can work from a table or desk
  • if headphones are available, we would advise these to be used to engage with live lessons or the 'on demand' resources teachers produce
  • support them in establishing routines (i.e. getting up on time, logging into SMHW before 08:55, eating regularly, exercising daily, going to bed at a sensible time)
  • where possible involve them in activities around the home such a cooking, baking etc

There was an announcement from the Prime Minister that not all exams will go ahead. It is still unclear whether this means that all exams are cancelled; we will seek further clarity on this matter urgently. However, it is really important that Year 11 continue to engage with all of the remote learning activities provided by their teachers. To announce such a major change without any detail is deeply unsettling for young people - all I can do is reassure our Year 11 students that we will support them fully in achieving the grades they deserve, regardless of what system is established. It is important for them to stay motivated, optimistic and focussed on their studies, and both school and home have a critical role in this.

I have asked form tutors to send out a weekly message to their tutor group via SMHW. Students can contact their form tutor or their teachers through SMHW or via school email if they need anything during this period of lockdown. Form tutors will not be able to make phone calls to their students, as this is very time consuming and the staff need to focus on delivering remote teaching. Our Personal Development Coaches will be regularly calling the families that they work closely with and our Teaching Assistants will call their key students daily for a check in. However, I know that during the first lockdown, some of our students did miss the interaction with their trusted adults in school, so if you feel your son or daughter would benefit from a phone conversation with a particular member of staff, please email them directly to organise a suitable time for this to take place. 

I am sure that over the coming weeks there will be further updates and developments. I will communicate as regularly as I can do during this time to keep you all up to speed with everything. I said to our staff this morning that I expect there will continue to be twists and turns for schools and education, however I am humbled and immensely proud of the calm, measured, kind, and thoughtful approach we take as a school to support our community. If we can be the constant source of safety, security and reassurance in an ever changing and uncertain world for our students, then we will have served them magnificently. 

Please take care, stay safe and I will be in touch again soon.

Mr Solly