Weekly update from Mr Brady (w/c: 24/04/20)
I know I say this all the time, but I hope that everyone is safe and well. The return of some sunshine has really helped and most of you are probably now into something of a routine.
Lessons have kicked back in this week and thanks for working with us on the new set up. You will be experiencing a mixture of lessons with staff. Some are putting work out online in the form of packs or projects and others are trying out lessons using Google Meet. I do want to stress that those using Google Meet are trying this out for their own development to see how effective it is. I will not be asking the staff to all move to this as it does depend on the technology you have at home, certain safeguarding parameters and your own experience with ICT. We have had some really good feedback on the lessons being set and whilst it is never going to be perfect, these are not perfect times but I thank the staff for their planning of the lessons and to you all for supporting your daughter/son in engaging with them.
Talking of feedback, a number of parents have been asking how their daughter/son is doing during this lockdown. Rather than asking staff for reports, I would class 'doing well' at the moment as the following:
1. Are they getting up and following the routine of the school day?
2. Are you seeing evidence of them engaging in their 'lessons'? This is best done by dropping in and having chats about what they have been learning
3. Are they asking questions when they are stuck (remembering that it may take longer than normal for the response to come)? Are you asking if they are stuck?
4. Are they engaging with family and friends? Dare I say, helping around the house?
5. Are they getting on with tasks being set and stopping when they get stuck, rather than when they feel like it?
If the answer to these questions is 'yes' then in these unprecedented times, I would class that as currently doing well with regard to school.
If the answer to these questions is 'no' then please get in touch (as some of you have) and we will do what we can to help. 'Doing well' in classes may be different from 'doing well' emotionally. Please continue to talk to your son/daughter about how they feel and maybe what they are thinking regarding the situation we are all currently in. If the thought of that type of conversation worries you then do get in touch with either your Tutor or Student Support Mentor (or me) and we can give you some help with that. The same applies to you all as parents. We are here if you need us and whilst we cannot offer that cup or tea or the normal face to face support, we will continue to do our best.
Parents of students who qualify for Free School Meals should be getting vouchers from Monday (fingers crossed!). Matt Bishop will be leading on this and I know he has written to you all.
The news is still showing a period of time before we get back to 'normal' and I promise to keep you all in the loop when we get any guidance from the Government. For now, we carry on as we are. That also means that our students are not to go out and meet friends. As I said before, I would hate to be making a call to parents to discuss that scenario and we all owe this sacrifice of our personal freedom to those heroic people who are on the front line as well as those who have suffered during this unprecedented time. Putting it simply, we still stay home and we still do our bit to stop the spread of this horrible virus.
We are working in the background on trips and visits. Our hope is to try to move them to another suitable date in the future. You have probably been reading about the issues people are facing regarding holidays that were booked. Well, we are most definitely in the same boat but are trying to make it so that the students do still get to experience these visits. No promises though, as we just don't know what social distancing measures will be in place over the next months.
I was trying to think of some words of comfort or wisdom as we head into the weekend and as if by magic, The Foo Fighters are playing on my speaker and these words say it far better than i could.
It's times like these you learn to live again
It's times like these you give and give again
It's times like these you learn to love again
It's times like these time and time again
Thanks Dave Grohl!
I hope you all carve out a wonderful weekend for yourselves and those around you. As always, get in touch if you need us and I will be in touch next week.
Stay safe and stay positive.
You've got this!