As I am sure you will appreciate, yesterday’s announcement from the government to “close schools” undid much of the planning done by my senior team and I. At 7.30pm the finishing touches were being made to our on-site mass testing facility, to be told at 8.00pm that this was no longer the priority and that we had to re-focus plans for remote provision. We have worked tirelessly to ensure that our evolved plans support the entire school community to ensure as comprehensive a provision as possible is available for all of our students.
To ensure consistency and quality of provision, we have decided to run with the plan for this week as previously stated. For clarity, as of Wednesday 6 January:
- Only “vulnerable children” and “children of critical workers” will be allowed on the school site. There will be classroom supervision for these students as there was throughout the initial lockdown period, but the provision for these students will be the same as other students in their year group, detailed below. Keyworker students should arrive at the main reception at 8.50am and may wear non-uniform (warm clothing is advised). There will be no on-site food provision and so students must bring a packed lunch and drink with them. It is important to note that if your child is coming into school tomorrow you should have already liaised with your child’s Achievement Leader/Assistant Achievement Leader today and they will need to undertake a lateral flow Covid -19 test once on site. Guidance around consent for these tests has been sent out separately.
- Year 11 and Year 13 students will receive online ‘live’ teaching via Google Meets, in accordance with their structured timetable. You will be emailed a copy of your child’s timetable and the code for all Google Meets
should follow this format:
YEARGROUP+TEACHERINITIALS eg. 11LHE or 13KJW
- Years 7-10 and Year 12 students will receive set work via Google Classroom to complete independently and staff will periodically be monitoring the Google Classrooms.
- Students who are involved in vocational exams will be on site for a pre-exam focus class and to sit their examination. Full details of timings for these students have been communicated directly with them.
Routines for all children are absolutely essential and we have tried to ensure that students are able to follow their timetables for all periods of the school day. For clarity, all students will follow a general school timetable:
9.10am Period 1
10.10am Period 2
11.25am Period 3
12.25pm Period 4
13.55pm Period 5
Each achievement leader has prepared an online assembly for students to watch tomorrow morning, guiding students through the plans for their day. Details of this assembly will be posted on the year group Google Classroom.
As we move beyond this week and receive further guidance and clarity from the government, we will continue to review our provision. Our plan will be to introduce more ‘live’ and recorded lessons to other year groups. Further
details of this will be ironed out later in the week, and we will communicate again with all parents on Friday 8 January.
For now we have taken the decision to postpone any calendar events until the national picture becomes clearer. As such this week’s scheduled Year 13 virtual parents’ evening event will not run and we will communicate in due course with revised details of when this, and any future events, will take place.
As always, I appreciate the support of everyone in our school community. Unfortunately the new strain of the virus is adding further pressure to the landscape of this pandemic. Last week in Amber Valley, our figures showed a
concerning rise of 44% in COVID cases. Our figures in Heanor and Aldercar last week sat at 415 per 100,000 people. This is alarmingly above the national average of 307 per 100,000 and dramatically above our neighbouring constituency across Derbyshire, with Erewash at 191 per 100,000 and Derby City at 212 per 100,000.
I urge you as parents and carers to grasp the severity of the current situation and keep your children at home. The whole philosophy of closing school is to reduce contacts and therefore limit opportunities for transmission. The entire local and national efforts will be undone if young people flout the rules and continue to meet up with their friends in the community. Click here for further information on the government’s stay at home guidance.
I think it is also really important to stress that whilst the staff and I will undertake our professional responsibilities with the utmost vigour we are also people that have our own families, issues, people we may care for etc. just like
yourselves. I therefore implore you to be mindful of that when you may feel our provision is not meeting the expectations and you wish to email staff with your concerns. If this can be done initially either through my PA or
your child’s Achievement Leader in the first instance that would be most appreciated.
Without any shadow of a doubt, teaching ‘live’ and at home remotely is far more challenging and consuming than being in school. We wish we were in school teaching as normal but until it’s safe to do so we will do our very best to give you and your children the highest quality provision we can in these difficult times.