29th April 2020
I am writing with a further update. Obviously as you will be aware we do aim to stay connected during this difficult time and I intend to update you regularly. It is important to remember that although school life is significantly changed we do want to continue to provide the best education and pastoral care that we can.
The most important thing is for us all to stay safe. We are hearing that more are beginning to be affected through family or friends becoming ill and we have been saddened to hear that some have been affected in the worst way and lost relatives or friends. Can I urge all of you to follow Government guidance on social distancing? It really will help save lives.
I have asked staff to be making contact with parents either via email or by phone to check in and ensure that students are safe and able to cope with their work and this challenging situation. It may be your child’s Tutor, Year Leader, office staff or a member of staff who is on Duty in school that day. In some instances, it may be myself as I’ve rang quite a number. Please don’t be concerned about this. It is a basic welfare check and just trying to remind students that we care and are interested in how they are doing. Please feel able to raise any questions, concerns or worries if you need to – the person on the phone may not be able to answer them but they will pass on your concerns to the relevant staff.
I know most of you have these but just as a reminder- Year Achievement Leader emails are;
- Year 7 – email@example.com
- Year 8 – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Year 9 – email@example.com
- Year 10 – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Year 11 and incoming Year 6 – email@example.com
If you are worried about your child’s well-being at this time, please contact us to make us aware as there are on-line resources and contacts that we can utilise. If you feel the need to contact our Designated Safeguarding Lead directly then please contact her by email on firstname.lastname@example.org
As expected the conversion is delayed. Again this is not anyone’s fault or work on our part not being ready or completed, I just believe it is to do with timing. In the final analysis, whilst very important for the future of the school it can wait and at this moment in time, a delay is not a problem or something to be concerned about. I will update you as and when I believe we are about to convert.
Working from Home
I know that for some parents and students this is a challenge. It is a challenge for us too. I think everyone is getting better at it and more used to it. I was on a conference call the other day and was interrupted twice by my son, three times by my youngest daughter and about eight times by my dog who kept trying to get on my lap. Given she is a full size Labrador that is not an easy task. We are fortunate that it is 2020 and we live in the times that we do. Technological developments have made all of this possible and I know that social media, which I am not a fan of is proving to be a lifeline for some young people for keeping connected.
I remain delighted with the efforts put in by the students and am extremely grateful for the support of parents. I know it might not always be easy but I would ask you to continue to encourage your children to complete their work and spend adequate amounts of time on it. Firstly, it will help them to maintain a sense of purpose and routine. That in itself will help with their well-being. It also will help them from falling behind. Whilst it is not and cannot be as good as the support and level of education provided in person with a teacher it is still highly purposeful. If there are any problems or your child is struggling or unable to complete anything, please encourage your child to contact their teacher or Year Leader for support.
Can I stress the importance of building in family time and time for everyone as an individual during this lockdown, including yourselves? It is so easy to get on each other’s nerves at the moment, especially when people are trying to work from home. This is a good chance to ensure everyone has time to relax or be on their own a bit if needed. It is a good time to play some games, although in my house that has been known to cause World War Three. I am being much more relaxed about the time my children are on IPADs or my son is on his X Box. I’ve built more Lego models than I have for generations, joined in with on-line Bingo, quizzes, scavenger hunts and filmed my son doing a Toilet roll challenge (among others) for his football club. The important thing is to build in some quality time when possible. I’ve introduced all my children to the washing machine and the dishwasher. It has been great to see some of the photographs of art work, cooking and baking on Keeping Connected in addition to the Tik Tok clips on Facebook.
Free School Meals
Please contact the school via email@example.com if you now think you may be eligible for FSM. Circumstances are changing for a number of families which means they will now be eligible. If you are in any doubt then please contact us. Similarly if you are having problems with the Voucher website then please contact the school via the following email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will endeavour to help you. I know the Government website is struggling with the sheer volume of numbers logging on.
Recently, the Government announced that eligible students will be provided with a laptop in order to access any online work from home. I am still awaiting more details regarding this from the local authority who are managing this for maintained schools. I know Academies have already had some details direct from the Government. I have asked for information and been told we will receive further information this week.
JD Fashions have notified us that all is well with the supply of uniform for September 2020. They now have a Facebook page under J.D. Fashions and Schoolwear for any parents with enquiries. They have also set up a simple website under www.jdschoolwear.co.uk
Re-opening of School
We have no news in terms of when school will re-open. We are preparing for it to happen and are beginning a programme of deep cleaning classrooms and then locking them off so that we know no-one has been in those rooms. We are starting to think how social distancing might work in our school but I can assure you we will be guided as always by Government and Public Health advice. The Education Secretary did imply yesterday that it was likely to be a phased return and that the Government would provide plenty of notice.
Once again I am grateful to all of you for your support. Please stay safe.
Mr G.W. Lumsdon