Update from Mr Brady (11/06/2020)
These updates seem to be coming around more quickly than before and yet it is now the 12th week since lockdown began!
If anything, this tough time has shown us how strong we are as a community and that when we pull together, we can achieve anything. Let's take that spirit with us into the future so that we can all grow from this experience.
Looking to the future is something that we seem to be doing every day. It must be very confusing reading the different messages that get sent out in the media and I thank you for your patience in waiting for my updates so that I can let you know what we are doing and what we know. One thing we do know is that the rest of this school year will be carrying on as we currently are. By that, I mean that we will remain open for the children of key workers and some of our more vulnerable students. As I said before, we are now getting more Y10 and Y12 students in for 'face to face contact' and we are learning quite a bit about how the school might operate in September. It is important to remember that we have notified those students we need in and I am so sorry that this cannot extend to everyone at this time. We miss you so much, but we need to do this correctly.
I know it is not the same as teaching, but in response to the length of time we have been in lockdown, we have made a few more adjustments. As you know, Y9 students are now attending their GCSE option classes and this evening, the teaching staff will be attending more training on Google Meet in the hope that we can use it more and more with our classes. It has certainly proved popular.
Looking forward to September, we have been keeping a close eye on the engagement of each student and we are busy planning for how we can ensure that there is a form of 'rapid boost' for all of our students when they return. I do need to stress that we are not yet able to determine what that return will look like and I promise to let you know as soon as I get guidance on it. We are in discussions with staff about putting on our own form of Summer School. It is early days on that but I thought you should know that we are trying to look at all angles so that we can minimise the impact that this long time away from the building has had on all of our learning. I will update you more on that when we have turned the plans into some form of reality!
I had an email from a Y11 student this week, asking me if Prom was still going ahead. I think there were a few wires crossed there but I did want to reassure all of you that we are still looking to have a celebration, but you will need to be patient whilst we wait for more of an understanding on the logistics of this, bearing in mind that the hospitality industry is not up and running yet and there is still social distancing. I would much rather wait a bit than insist that you all wear the 2-metre hats I have seen in the news alongside your smart suits and dresses. I am sure you would too!
We are planning on sending out final reports for all year groups this term. Staff are about to begin work on that, but I wanted to reassure you that these will be written with the current pandemic in mind. If you have been affected by Coronavirus, either in health terms or in learning terms, this will not have a negative impact on the reports we write.
Staff have been hard at work recording their induction videos for our Virtual Induction Week. I must thank Mr Jones for the time and effort he has put in to directing and editing the videos. This has certainly shown us a new talent and I am just relying on his editing skills to make me look 10 years younger and a little less grey. I can dream!
I am sure that many of you are looking forward to hugging family members who you may not have seen or been near for quite some time. On a personal level, I cannot wait to spend some time with my Mum but I do need to urge caution for our community in the coming weeks. Easing lockdown doesn't mean things are as they were before the virus hit and we must all do our bit to ensure that the R rate for our area falls. It might be worth talking this through with your daughter/son as they are now out and about more than before and they must remember the role they can play in all of us getting back to normal.
As ever, I extend our support for you in any of these conversations and I want to remind you that we are still here for you if you need any support or just someone else to talk to!
Stay safe everyone and thank you so much for your continued support of all that we are trying to achieve together.