COVID-19 Update 01-05-2020
Re-opening schools, Centre Assessed Grades for Years 11 and 13, Supporting learning, Free School Meal vouchers and Community support
I hope this letter finds you as we enter the month of May. Lockdown continues to present many positives as well as challenges as we continue to feel a bit in limbo.
The DfE are relatively quiet at the moment and their updates do not tell me anything new. What this usually means is that an announcement is in the offing. This was backed up by the Prime Minister this week when he announced we will be told more next week about plans to reopen schools in phases. We have a range of possible plans, all depending on what we are told in the next seven days or so. Needless to say, I will be in touch once I know what I am dealing with but I remain quite relaxed that we have clear plans moving forwards whatever may be sprung on us.
Centre Assessed Grades for Years 11 and 13
After initial disclosure that schools would be submitting these grades at the end of May, this deadline has now been pushed back into June. We continue to work on this and have it well in hand. As mentioned in a previous letter, please ask your child not to contact their individual teachers for their grades. We are not allowed to release them as per my recent FAQs. We will certainly be doing our best to ensure all of our students get the grades they deserve. This is nothing more than an ‘FYI’ for students in those year groups and does not affect anything else you have been told.
We have submitted our order for laptops the government announced for disadvantaged students in Year 10, for those with a social worker and for those leaving care. We have been informed that this order will not be fulfilled until the beginning of June, which is the same across the country. Consequently, we have held off from contacting eligible families for now. In my experience, DfE timelines can be inaccurate and with this in mind, we are waiting until we actually have some news to share. Be assured, we will be in touch in due course as needed.
I am conscious that Year 7 parents’ evening should have been upon us for what is always an excellent opportunity for parents and teachers to catch up. As this will prove impossible for now, I have asked my data team to build a bespoke report for publication to all Year 7 parents to reflect our unique position. It is not really fair or reasonable to publish a written report for only part of the year without up to date assessment data so we are tackling this a different way. I hope to be able to build the system and publish out to you within the next three working weeks so that you arrive at the May half term with something tangible.
We have received reports of some delays to parents receiving options confirmation letters in Year 9. We apologise for this as these were all sent out several weeks ago. Please bear with the postal system as this is not of our making on this occasion. If you have still not received your letter, please let Mr Ward know at email@example.com. He is leading on this initiative and will ensure you are kept informed.
I am conscious that we have a small number of youngsters who do not have access to the internet at home. These students continue to receive hard copies of all school work in the post. However, the number of families requesting hard copies has grown exponentially in the past week or so to unmanageable levels and we cannot keep up. We are running a skeleton staff and are unable to meet all requests for hard copies at this time. In addition, my team cannot safely socially distance in the reprographics area to meet demand. I ask that, if you have the internet at home, you allow us to support the most vulnerable and least able to access the work as needed. We are doing our best to meet everyone’s needs but this is simply impossible in such fraught and difficult times. I value your understanding in this matter.
Free School Meal vouchers
As I mentioned in my last letter and it has been well-documented in the press, the national system for FSM vouchers remains overloaded. We are still trying to work through this blockage in the national system in order to support parents and students eligible for free school meals. I am aware that many parents are in receipt of the correct vouchers. However, if you have still not received your vouchers, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. Again, this is not of our making but we remain committed to supporting in the best manner possible.
I would be grateful if you would continue to keep up to date with the Public Health England guidance on Coronavirus via the website below, which is currently being updated daily:
As usual, I will keep you updated on developments via the Academy website and parent email. Curriculum plans will continue to go live each week by 9am on the Monday morning. Initial feedback from the first round of live lessons for Year 12 has been really positive. Please keep this coming. I will also ensure that our social media channels are updated accordingly. You may have seen that we have been updating our feed regularly and this will continue on Instagram and Twitter.
If you have any further questions with regard to whole school arrangements, please email the Academy at email@example.com.
Our visor project has ended on a high. Mr Palethorpe has become somewhat of a local celebrity after a successful interview on Radio 2 on Monday morning! It only took 90 minutes after that for Radio Lincolnshire to come a calling and he ably set the latest DT home schooling challenge for the county on Tuesday too. If you haven’t taken the chance to make your boats at home, please take a look at our social media channels for details of how to do this. I made a huge mess when trying to make mine and have asked for some extra tuition when we return…
I will continue to stay in touch with you during the rest of the lockdown and as circumstances change. By diligently keeping to the social distancing measures we have passed through the peak of the virus for now. I hope we can keep it that way and look forward to seeing everyone back in the Academy in the not too distant future.
In the meantime, please take care and stay safe.
Mr D Hardy