Headteacher Update as at 27 March 2020
It has been a quieter few days on the educational landscape though we are all now having to live with social isolation and the problems that brings.
The School has so much to feel proud of at the moment and I feel now is the time to make sure that all in our community are acknowledged; my staff who continue to attend work, those staff and students grappling with distance learning, our key workers, but also everyone else. You are doing an amazing job as parents and you are supporting our students – your children – so very well. The new challenges that we all face have all come at once and in this time of uncertainty, you find yourselves juggling work, childcare and all the other commitments we have. Not only that but your own worries about the current situation. I hope you don’t mind me saying, well done!
We have been so grateful for the many messages of thanks and support. Apologies, but there have been too many to reply to, but please keep them coming, as they are all being read and kept. I have something in mind for them when all of my colleagues return! Equally, some parents have expressed concerns, as have some students, for which I also thank you for, as it is so important for us to be able to address things as and when they arise.
We will not be setting any work over Easter but for those who need us and are eligible, we will be open Monday-Friday for both weeks.
Emotional wellbeing is critical to us, so let me refer you again to Paula Matthews’ letter and the three email addresses set up for support: -
We have been having further thoughts about how we can stay close and keep the communication at the standards we have achieved recently. Three initiatives will now start, as of today:
An email address, firstname.lastname@example.org has been set up for you to email in any questions you may have. We will answer them on a podcast every few days, or as the volume requires.
Our students are doing wonderfully at the moment. Please send in photos of their work, their charts, their art work, their creations and we will celebrate these, by sharing them on social media. By sending them in, you are giving permission to use them, unless you explicitly ask us not to. Send it all to email@example.com.
Please, please, please don’t forget to raise a smile! Please send in photos of the crazy things going on in your households, away from screens. If it makes us smile, we’ll share it! Send your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Year 11 and 13
Finally, to our Year 11 and Year 13 students; I really had it in my head that I would be telling you exactly what is happening by now. We know for sure:
- All GCSE/A Level/BTEC exams for the summer 2020 series have been cancelled.
- Year 11 and Year 13 students will have ‘calculated grades' from teacher assessments, whole school historic achievement and individual student's prior attainment. The 'calculated grades' will be moderated externally by Exam Boards, to ensure the grade distribution follows a similar pattern to previous years, so that no student is disadvantaged in these extraordinary circumstances. Please remember that the grade teachers submit is not guaranteed to be the grade you receive. It is only one piece of information that Exam Boards will use to calculate your grade.
- These ‘calculated grades’ are expected to be released before the end of July 2020, including any AS entries.
- Year 11 and Year 13 students will have the option to sit an exam instead if you are unhappy with your 'calculated grade'.
We are still waiting to hear:
- Dates of the alternative exams – we still await information about when and how this can happen for those who opt to take an exam, if you are unhappy with their calculated grade.
- If students opt to sit alternative exams, will these grades override any summer 2020 ‘calculated grades’? We wait to hear which grade would over-ride the other e.g. if students opt for an alternative exam and the result is lower than the ‘calculated grade’ – which grade would stand? We do not know anything on this yet.
So we advise:
- All Year 11 and Year 13 students to keep working at home to study/revise the subject specifications, in case you opt to sit the alternative exams.
- BTEC students to continue with any coursework.
- All Year 11 and Year 13 students to undertake wider reading to prepare for next stages.
- Contact the School on email@example.com if there are any questions.
- Be re-assured that we will provide as much support as we can over the coming period. We also know how just how anxious you all are!
- If you need to contact a member of the Year 11 or Sixth Form Team, please email them directly.
Keep safe everyone and take care of each other. There will be a point in the not too distant future when these times will be a memory.
With my best wishes,
Mr A McGinnes, Headteacher, firstname.lastname@example.org
To view/download a copy of the letter, click here.