|22 May 2020
We continue to be very pleased with the engagement of the vast majority of your sons through the #LearnAtHome.
Staff have reported an excellent ‘turn out’ for lessons, with good responses to work set. It is not surprising that they tire of ‘chasing’ the less engaged and I would urge you all to work with your son’s teachers, tutors and Heads of Year to ensure that we make the most of #LearnAtHome.
Some teachers have told me that they are further ahead with aspects of GCSE and A level specifications – this is a testament to the work of our teachers and your sons. It has also been pleasing to see a good level of participation in the Senior Prefect Challenge - the cake competition resulted in 75 entries. Please do keep sending in photographs of great or unusual work - we have a growing band of Twitter followers who enjoy seeing what we are doing.
Please encourage your sons to watch the assemblies on Teams. Staff put a lot of hard work into these - they are excellent and deserve an audience.
Year 11 were keen to engage in a final push in some of their GCSE subjects and seem to be making the most of the A Level Preparation Course, now in its second week, which we have also made available to external candidates.
We have very much appreciated the feedback from you as to how we might improve what we are offering to you at this time, as well as the positive remarks about individual teachers or the School as a whole.
Below, you will see an outline plan for after half term. It does not have a huge amount of detail but is designed to give you an idea of what to expect. Please bear in mind that the situation is changing constantly – even whilst I have been writing these, the local Heads’ ‘WhatsApp’ group (that must be a hoot, I hear you say) is reporting yet more guidance.
The decision to ‘re-open’ a school rests with the Academy Trust. The Executive Team have undertaken risk assessments and consultations with staff groups. We have already one-way systems, physical distancing signage, etc in place, and some PPE has arrived, with other elements on its way. The Board will meet in the coming days, though we are not expecting any students on site before June 15 (save for our key worker and vulnerable student provision). The most recent guidance is that any student activity on school sites will involve individuals or the smallest of groups.
After half term, teachers will be grading your son’s attitude to learning in recent weeks. This will enable us to identify students who are not engaging with the work that has been set and these boys may be required to come to school until they have caught up with their studies. How we manage this will depend on the latest advice at the time.
We will do what we can to give the boys the opportunity to spend a short time in School before the summer holiday. We have a series of talks and subject specific sessions planned - we will make use of technology as appropriate to ensure pupils who are unable to come into school for these short sessions do not miss out.
We are unsure how long the School will face this current level of disruption, we want to use this opportunity to build on the excellent work students, staff and parents have done in launching and supporting #LearnAtHome.
With next half term planned, I am now looking ahead, working through what a virtual school will look like for the future as we are in uncertain times. We need to be regarding ourselves as a virtual school with a physical presence. We have made massive strides, and I know that we have much further to go. We will not, as an organisation, rest on our laurels but search out the best practice in a range of sectors and exceed it. I am planning a series of ‘think tanks’ with staff and students; if you have thoughts (practical and affordable) that we should be thinking about, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line.
The plan below may change, but I hope it gives some clarity and thus helps in management of our personal lives and our work lives too.
With my renewed thanks and very best wishes for an enjoyable half term.
There are two religious festivals which faith communities will find different this year; namely Ascension Day and Eid. My thoughts are with those of you that celebrate them.
We will meet again
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