Dear Parents and Carers
Welcome to the usual Friday round up of weekly messages.
The words “last” and “minute” do not even come close to summing up the Government and Department for Education’s approach this week to the advice given to schools, their leaders and families. Mind you, this is January 2021, so perhaps it is not totally unexpected.
As a Headteacher acutely aware of the importance of the transformative power of education and the need for face to face schooling, I completely support the intention to keep open schools open for as long as possible.
However, it has been clear for weeks now that the virus is out of control nationally and further measures are needed. Closing schools to all but essential students is, therefore, the right thing to do. Please keep your child at home unless you need us to provide for them. They must be a vulnerable child or a child of a critical worker.
I am so so sorry that you – our pupils, parents and carers, and indeed my staff – have been caught in the crosshairs of confusing, opposing and often bewildering messaging that has led to significant disruption, increased anxiety and upset for many. Please be reassured that our role at All Saints is to serve you, our community, which is what we will absolutely continue to do throughout the duration of this lockdown.
My primary aim this week has been to re-establish systems of remote working for children that are an improvement on last time. We will not get everything right in these early days – that would be impossible. We will not deliver every lesson as a live lesson on Teams – that would be unhealthy for all of us. We will not be able to follow up every phone call or request immediately – the nature of schools is to run to strict timetables meaning commitments throughout the day are planned!
We will, however, continue to work with you and your children to follow up personally, patiently and persistently so that obstacles are removed and learning can take place, whether on site or remotely.
As a parent myself, I can identify with many of the home schooling memes currently doing the social media rounds – as can Mrs Cornish in particular! Please, please be kind to yourselves and your children at this time. Yes, we will offer the very best we can and yes, you should push them. We should also, though, remember that they are children and the trauma that they experience stemming from an unprecedented global pandemic and its attendant disruption to society will undoubtedly affect them. Above all, they need our love, care, support and guidance to get them through this.
2) Operational Matters
Please make sure you have read the letters on the website this week. They are numerous and important, covering:
– Laptops for vulnerable pupils: please fill in the survey if you have not yet done so
– Critical Worker Children: please complete the form to help use plan our provision
– Lateral Flow Testing: please give your consent via the form so that we can test your child
– Remote Education: please read the letter, watch the short video and email Mr Jennings for support
– Year 9 Options: please read the letter and watch the presentation
3) Next week:
A priority next week will be to gather Year 11 Parents, Carers and Students together to update you with the details as we have them so far.
The headline here is that Year 11 exam grades will be determined by Teacher Assessed Grades once again, although there may be tweaks to the process compared to last year. Please watch out for an invitation coming out soon.
Next week, we will also make some adjustments to the provision onsite so students can have a better experience that is more coherent than sitting in live lessons which is leading to a rather stop start experience. We are confident the updated system will be better for those on site and off site.
Thank you for all of your communication this week. We have had plenty of positive calls and emails, as well as some that rightly challenged us to fix issues and resolve problems. Please can I ask, though, that everyone remembers that we are here to help and really appreciate it when polite persistence is brought to bear!
We understand your frustrations, worries and concerns and will be here next week to do what we can to help you and your child with their education.
Have a great weekend – God bless you and your family!
John Cornish, Principal