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The Buckingham School

The Buckingham School

Headteacher Update as at 21 April 2020

I hope this letter finds you and your families in good health. We “returned” from the Easter break yesterday morning and I addressed all of our staff in an online meeting. I still haven’t got used to holding a briefing with 100 people when I can’t actually see them!

We have done our level best to be bold and to stay ahead of the curve. I feel we’ve done a pretty good job of this. For example, the Government are now talking about IT support for vulnerable and disadvantaged students, something we put into place a month ago!

The tweaked distance learning launched this week and we remain as keen to hear and respond to feedback as we have been so far. However, so far the feedback is strong…

Your Feedback
Thank you for taking the time to complete our recent survey. We have been overjoyed by the results:

  • 99.5% have said that we have communicated well
  • 70% haven’t needed to raise a query with School, but only 3% have experienced any issues (don’t give up – please be in contact again)
  • We have provided a good school/home balance, according to the vast majority of families
  • Only 4% have experienced unresolved issues with distance learning (don’t give up – please be in touch again)
  • 98% feel that we have provided information to support well-being
  • 78% say that we have made contact to check on their child’s well-being – check with your child and if their form tutor hasn’t been in touch, please contact their head of year
  • 3% have experienced issues contacting us on well-being matters. If you experience issues, don’t forget the email addresses below.  These can also be found on our website, or by clicking on this link: https://www.buckinghamschool.org/page/?title=Coronavirus+Info&pid=299
  • 96% agree that we have made safeguarding a priority. It will always be our first priority

In the Open Comments section, it was a delight to see so much support for the School. It was a joy to relay the nature and volume of the feedback to my colleagues yesterday morning. Thank you, thank you.

Any Well-Being Concerns?
Please do not hesitate to contact us with your concerns via any one of the following email addresses.  More information can also be found on our website in the Coronavirus section. The link given above will take you directly there. 

There are also links there to other providers of support, such as Young Minds, Childline, Kooth and more.

Year 11
Our plans are nearly finalised and Mrs Pykett will be writing to you before the end of the week. In the meantime, I can reassure you that:

  • Teachers will continue to provide tuition where courses are not quite finished
  • We are developing the grades that we will be proposing to the Exam Boards – please do not ask, we cannot tell you what these are
  • We are speeding up our Sixth Form admissions process and will be able to confirm offers of places in the next few weeks – we won’t be waiting for the results
  • We will be providing Sixth Form teaching from after the May half term, to get our students ahead in their next studies. Students who are not staying with us in September will be welcome to participate
  • We will be offering opportunities to “retake” examinations, when the government clarifies how this will work

Has your child applied to our Sixth Form? Why not? In March Ofsted were full of praise for our provision:

“Leaders have created a strong Sixth Form curriculum that provides progression for all students who continue studying at the School.”

The Sixth Form is a real strength of the School. With all this uncertainty around us, it might be the time to make the decision to stick with what you know and, more importantly, where you are so well known.

Year 13
The current situation is much the same as it is for both Years 11 and 13:

  • Teachers will continue to provide tuition where courses are not quite finished
  • We are developing the grades that we will be proposing to Exam Boards – please do not ask, we cannot tell you what these are
  • We will know more about opportunities to “retake” examinations in the Autumn, if needed and how we will offer this opportunity, when the Government publishes more information
  • For entry to next stages, please do utilise any support that you need from the School. For University entry, please see the guidance at the following link:

https://www.ucas.com/undergraduate/after-you-apply/coronavirus-covid-19/what-does-mean-your-application
Remember, your child is one of ours and we will do anything that we can to support them. Please ask for any help that you, or they, need.

Reopening
There is a great deal of contradicting briefings circulating at the moment, from government ministers to unhelpful articles in the press as well as idle speculation about when and which students, will be returning. 

At this time, this is just speculation and no official date of return has been announced.  What we do know for sure at this stage, is that when we do return, we will not simply be expecting 1100 students to pick up where they left off in March. There will be some careful planning about how we reintegrate our students back into a more normal routine.

Finally
Students: many staff have moved mountains during this time to make sure that you receive some kind of education and stay in touch with the School. If you get a minute, I’m sure none of them would mind receiving a few messages of thanks from you directly.

One more thing: Whoever chalked “Thank You” on our steps…Thank You!

With my best wishes
Mr A McGinnes, Headteacher
aallen@buckinghamschool.org