Click Here to download a copy of the letter to parents dated 06/01/2021
6th January 2021
Dear Parents and Carers,
In light of this afternoon’s announcement by the Secretary of State for Education, and the national lockdown implemented this week, I am writing to outline some important changes to future arrangements. I would also like to take this opportunity to commend the excellent start our students have made with their remote lessons. We are sad that we can’t have our whole school community together at this time, but I would like to reassure all parents that teachers and support staff are available in school during our normal school hours, if you need any support.
Cancellation of January Vocational Examinations – Years 10-13
After much consideration, we have taken the decision to cancel the external examinations that were due to take place from 11th January in Business, Engineering, Health & Social Care and Sport. We have received assurances that candidates will not be disadvantaged if they do not sit these assessments, and it is our judgment that it would not be fair on the students to continue with these examinations. However, I fully understand that many students will have worked extremely hard and some may wish to sit their papers as planned. If this applies to your son or daughter, please contact the school as matter of urgency, no later than Friday at 10am, for the attention of Mrs. J. Nelson (firstname.lastname@example.org or 0191 4877638).
The Secretary of State for Education confirmed that A Level, AS Level and GCSE examinations for Summer 2021 would be cancelled and replaced with a system of teacher assessments. So far, there are few details about how this assessment will be carried out. However, in the coming weeks, Ofqual will be carrying out a consultation to ensure grades are awarded consistently and fairly. At this stage, details have not been confirmed regarding BTEC, Cambridge Nationals or Technical assessments.
It is very important that Year 11 and Year 13 students realise that, however it may be reported, the government as not said that the assessment of students has been cancelled. Therefore, it is vital that Year 11 and 13 students fully engage with their online lessons, not only for the sake of important learning, but to ensure they are in the best position possible, for whatever system of assessment is arrived at in the end.
Due to the national lockdown from 5th January, learners in all year groups have moved to remote teaching until further notice, except for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. This is a change to the staggered start to the term outlined in my previous letter.
Thank you to all our parents and carers for supporting our remote teaching this week. The young people have made an impressive start to the new term and we have been very encouraged by the levels of engagement so far.
- We hope that all our pupils have enjoyed their lessons. It has been wonderful to see such high levels of engagement from all year-groups
- Years 10, 11, 12 and 13 have taken part in live Teams lessons this week and the staff team wanted to congratulate the pupils on their excellent behaviour and attitudes to learning.
- Tutors have been tracking pupil engagement in learning since Monday morning and they have started to contact families and offer support, where needed.
- Most of the logging on and password issues have now been resolved and I wanted to thank our office staff on your behalf for their proactive approach to resolving any issues.
- We will obviously be constantly updating and developing our remote provision. I will keep parents up to date with the changes, as they occur.
All scholars’ routes, including the Ouston bus, are running as usual. Please note there will be only one bus for each route. Students are reminded to wear face coverings at all times on the bus, and to sit in their year group bubbles.
The plan to begin the COVID lateral flow testing students from 11th January has been delayed due to the new lockdown restrictions. It is our intention that testing of consenting staff and those pupils attending school at present will begin later this month.
Please see my previous letter, dated 31st December, for information about access to devices, free school meals and provision for vulnerable/critical worker children.
Many thanks for your ongoing support of the school, as well your patience and understanding, at this challenging time for everyone in our community.
Mr. B. Robson