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Posted on: 05/01/2021

Update Email to Parents Regarding Lockdown

5th January 2021

Dear Parent / Guardian,

No doubt you have heard by now that due to the new variant strain of Covid 19 (being much easier to catch and to pass on) and the pressure this has placed upon the NHS as case numbers rise very rapidly – we are now in another National Lockdown including the closure of all schools in England until further notice.

I hope below to give you some further detail on how this will affect different groups of students and parents in our school community.

Who can still come to school?

As with the first lockdown, the children listed as vulnerable and the children of critical workers may still attend school during this lockdown period.

We are currently compiling a list of those who will be attending from Wed 6th Jan onwards.

Parents must notify the school by Wed of the week before their child will start attending so that staffing and catering arrangements can be put in place.

If already registered with the school as a critical worker this process does not need to be repeated but otherwise a photograph of your staff id or similar must be sent to verify your status.

As previously children who attend will be supervised and assisted in carrying out the same work set for those studying at home.

It will be necessary (given the highly transmissible nature of the new variant) for windows to be open in the classrooms where they work and therefore we are suggesting they do not need to wear school uniform but must wrap up warmly as the rooms may be colder than normal.

Masks must as normal be worn in transit around the school.

Entrance to the school for these students will be via the sixth form entrance (Hardinge Lane) and exact start times are as below to avoid congestion at the entrance point.

Years 7 and 9 - 9:30 am

All other years – 10:00 am

Lunch will be provided.

As with the first lockdown the general message is that people must stay at home wherever possible in order to reduce transmission of the disease (especially this new and more contagious strain).

Therefore if your child is able to safely stay at home unsupervised or alternative supervision is available they should remain at home to reduce the risk of them catching or transmitting the disease in school.

What about Year 11 and Year 13 Exams being cancelled?

Whilst we are waiting for the Education Secretary’s statement tomorrow on what form the assessment of students is likely to take, it is clear exams in June are cancelled and that they will likely be replaced with some form of Centre Assessed Grade as before or a calculation based on previous performance of some kind.

This makes it even more important that Year 11 and year 13 continue to work hard now.

Teachers only have their mock grades and the evidence of work in lessons or in studying at home to base these CAG grades upon.

We have completed December Mocks and whenever we return from this lockdown there will be a period of revision on the work set during lockdown followed by a second mock.

The progress made between the two mocks and the progress made during lockdown working at home will decide how much above the December mock grade is awarded for each student.

Therefore the work year 11 and Year 13 do now is more important now that exams have been cancelled – not less.

However despite June exam season being cancelled some 6th formers were due to take exams this month, in a few days time.

These exams are still supposed to go ahead.

Some schools have decided to cancel them all in the light of the recent announcement.

I am aware that some students will still want to sit them as they feel that the grade they are likely to get will boost their final CAG grade as it is better than their previous performance – and that if they don’t sit them and rely only on previous performance their grade would be lower.

Others who have previous performance they are happy with would welcome the reduction of pressure upon them by not having to sit these exams.

Therefore I would like all year 13 students to notify their Heads of Sixth form of their intentions to sit or not to sit these exams so that arrangements can properly be made.

All who want or need to sit them will be able to do so.

Those who choose not to sit them may do so knowing that this decision will have no effect whatsoever upon their final CAG grade.

The previous messages re the importance of current work and future mocks on that final grade still of course apply.

What about these Rapid Flow Covid tests they were all supposed to take?

The planning for and recruiting and training of staff for these tests is still going on.

They will not yet be available for those in for exams this week or starting as vulnerable / critical worker students this week but will be available for them soon and for all students when we eventually reopen.

As I have said before – these are only intended to identify the odd asymptomatic carrier of the disease – it is still vitally important that parents continue the excellent work they have done in being vigilant and responsible in spotting Covid symptoms, keeping children home and getting them tested.

In fact given how easy it is for people to catch and to pass on this new strain (which we know is already very present in our wider community) it is more important than ever – to protect your own family and the families of others – that you continue with this practice.

Can I thank and congratulate you all again for how well you have done this last term, despite the sudden very large pressure the new strain sweeping through the area put onto you all.

I hope that this email has answered at least some of the questions you may have and I wish you all a very Happy New Year.

Richard Fitzgerald

Executive Headteacher