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School Closure

Extension of partial school closure on Friday, 20 March

Unfortunately, due to the number of staff who are now self-isolating or sick, it has become necessary to extend the partial closure of the school to include students in Years 9, 10, 11 and 13. Students in these year groups will be asked to study at home on Friday, 20 March. Students in Years 7, 8 and 12 will have lessons as normal.

From Monday, 23 March

As you will be aware, the government has ordered the closing of all schools (for the vast majority of students) from Monday, 23 March 2020. We are well prepared for this eventuality. Our staff will continue to set work for students on a daily basis via email and the school’s VLE and packs of work will be provided to those students who, we believe, do not have access to the internet. We anticipate that this closure will last a matter of months rather than weeks.

We have prepared a Coronavirus contingency page with folders for all year groups and all subjects on our VLE. We expect all students to access these folders (organised by year group and subject) on a daily basis and complete all work set. Instructions for each piece of work will be sent on a daily basis to students via email. For GCSE students (Year 10 and 11), the following online resources are also highly recommended: GCSEPod, SAMLearning, GCSE Bitesize, Dr Frost Maths and Seneca. Students would be encouraged to take this opportunity to read more books, e.g. quality fiction, and avoid an overreliance on Xbox and other electronic devices.

Students who need to return to school to collect things from their locker, or to talk to staff, will be able to come into school on Monday, 23 and Tuesday, 24 March, between 9.00am and 3.00pm.

Key workers – NHS, emergency services, social workers and delivery drivers – and students with EHCPs or who are supported by Social Services

As a school, we are very keen to support those parents who are working on the frontline in the fight against the Coronavirus outbreak. In accordance with the government’s announcement on 18 March, the school will be open from Monday, 23 March for all students of key workers and other vulnerable students. Students will be supervised in the silent study area (first floor of the Manor House) with access to computers and other resources. A limited café service will also be available. Please email the headmaster if you would like your child to attend school next week. Please include the following details:

  • your child’s name and year group
  • the key occupational area you work in (where relevant)
  • the days they will be coming into school.

I would appreciate if you could please confirm these details by 3.30pm on Friday, 20 March. We have been assured that the Local Authority buses L1, L2, L3 and the school minibus will be running as normal on Monday.

Free School Meals

From Monday, 23 March, the school will be providing meal vouchers for free school meal children. Tesco vouchers to the value of £25 (to cover a 2-week period) will be available to those students who usually receive free school meals. To claim these vouchers, please email Kieren Hasler, the school’s business manager, clearly stating your child’s name and year group. Vouchers will be sent to those who have requested them via email. If you do not have access to email you will be able to collect the vouchers from the school office on Monday and Tuesday between 9.00am and 3.00pm. Going forward, the government has promised ‘a national voucher system’. As soon as we have more details of this scheme, we will share this information with you.

Year 11 and 13 students

Students in Years 11 and 13 will, understandably, be incredibly frustrated and disappointed that their final exams have been cancelled after all their hard work. We share their sense of loss. They have worked exceptionally hard and deserved the right to prove themselves in public examinations. We must encourage them not to be despondent. Students must remain positive, continue to keep up their hard work and complete all work set. This is particularly important as their final GCSE and A Level grades may well be based upon their predicted grades and subsequent work. We are awaiting guidance and clarification from the government on this matter. All GCSE and A Level students will receive grades at the end of the year.

I have to commend the students on the way they have responded to this virus outbreak in recent weeks. They have conducted themselves very responsibly. I would also like to thank my staff who have really gone the extra mile in covering for absent colleagues and taking on additional duties.

Supporting the local community

The role of the school during this period of uncertainty will be changing. We will no longer have a purely educational function and will be looking to support the wider community. Whilst the situation is evolving daily, we are uncertain exactly what form this will take, but it may involve services e.g. food parcels to local families and to vulnerable elderly people. We have great facilities and fantastic staff (many of whom have volunteered their services). I am confident that we can make a great contribution to supporting local families through this difficult time.

Please keep an eye on your email and the school website over the coming weeks. We will seek to keep in regular contact with parents and students.

I wish you all the very best.

Yours sincerely,

Andrew Mead