Teacher at the boardOne week back after half-term and there is a lot to think about. The great news is the return to school from Monday 8th March. As most of you will be aware, this will be a little complicated as we implement the testing processes and procedures but we hope to have all students back in lessons on site by the middle of the week. We are currently finishing working through how testing will operate and will be in touch with the precise details at the start of next week. Thankyou in advance for everyone’s patience – we need to be sure that we do everything in line with the Government guidance and this does take some time but it will be worth it in order to have our school community back together again.

As I write, the information is starting to come through about the replacements for examinations for Years 11 and 13 for this year. These young people have been exceptionally patient in waiting for this information and this has been so very impressive. We will take stock of the information and be in touch with families of students in both year groups next week with further details.

Thank you to all of those parents and carers who completed the Parents and Carers’ Survey about remote learning before the half-term break. We had almost 300 responses which was very healthy and there was also really good coverage across year groups.

Key points from responses to the survey were that:

  • 96% felt that the morning Teams tutor session helped to structure the day and connect with peers
  • 60% felt that a combination of live lessons, recorded lessons and independent working is most effective for learning; 36% felt that live lessons on their own were the most effective way of learning
  • 85% felt that the amount of work set each day was appropriate to make progress
  • 90% felt that communication from the school had been good during the lockdown
  • 95% felt that the range of virtual events provided (including Parents’ Evenings) were useful
  • 95% were pleased with the school’s leadership and management overall during the lockdown

The key areas which we recognize that we need to particularly focus on are the quality of feedback when learning remotely and encouraging students to maintain healthy and balanced lifestyles over this period. We hope that there will not be too much remote learning moving forward but will be prioritizing these areas in particular in the weeks and months to come following the return to school.

My summary would be that we have come a long way in a short period of time with remote learning and that was reflected in the open comments section. Even those parents and carers who had reservations in some areas seemed to feel that provision in the early months of 2021 was much stronger than it had been previously.  Surveys are an important part of informing our provision as a school and we appreciate the positive and the negative, the strong feelings and the concerns. Thank you again to everyone who contributed.

Next week I will provide an update on the construction of our new teaching block which is tremendously exciting and is going to make a real difference to our school.