I don’t know quite what to make of all this. I am desperately sorry for families who have been adversely affected by Covid-19, whether it be health, well-being or financial. It seems that most people are being sensible and abiding by the imperatives of social distancing. The quiet roads, the closed shops, the lack of visitors is very strange.
Schools are but a part of social fabric; I inevitably see much of the current situation through the lens of education. I am immensely proud of the way in which staff have stepped up to the plate to provide an uninterrupted virtual education for your sons. Our boys have, for the most part, engaged really well with this new means of delivering education and I’ve been delighted to hear some great stories.
I thought I should update you on a few areas. Some of this is dealt with in my talk to your sons, please see above.
- We have been very pleased with your positive feedback, which has been much appreciated by staff - thank you.
- Please do let us know if there are areas which you feel could really make the difference to your son’s experience.
- If your son seems not to be engaging with this new way of learning, please contact your son’s Head of Year for advice. We are trying to avoid an ‘equality gap’ when we return, so it is really important that your sons do not get behind.
- We have no idea how long this situation will last – there is talk of a return anytime from 24 April to 1 September. We will keep you informed.
- We have asked staff to follow the rhythm of the school timetable so that we all get into a routine. We will look at the sustainability of this next week, taking feedback into account.
- We fully understand the difficulties faced by boys who will not sit the exams they have been working for.
- Ofqual will make an announcement early next week regarding the awarding of grades. I have made representations to encourage this body to consider the context of selective schools.
- May I ask that teachers are not quizzed about what grades they will award. Teachers do not, at this stage, know what information will be required and it is very likely that teacher assessment will be only a part of the algorithm which will award the grade.
- Many students are naturally concerned about their A level courses, predicted grades and university prospects. The key is for all boys to engage with the lessons being provided.
- There will be guidance to schools about predictions and any alteration to exam content in the near future. As soon as we receive it, we will share it. END OF YEAR EXAMS
- At this time of year, boys become focussed on their ‘End of Years’ (as they are known). My advice is to assume that some form of assessment will be taking place - in the summer term, if we’re back, or at the start of the academic year if we’re not. HOMEWORK
- The setting of homework, this week, has not been consistent and is causing some confusion to staff and boys. One of my team are looking at this and will communicate with parents early next week.
- We should all be proud of what our boys have managed to do this week. I hope that they all feel that they can enjoy their weekend and have a break.
- Encouraging your son to get some fresh air, read a book, sport (of the social distancing variety), or ‘hang out’ (in a Google kind of way) is positive and restorative.
- The School is introducing a rolling well-being programme, starting with the launch of a Photography Challenge; details coming out today, all welcome.
I wish you good health.