15 May 2020 Update

Dear Parent, Carer, Student


I hope you all remain safe and well. Thank you for all your continued support this week; a week which has probably generated more questions and converses in education, and indeed society generally since the lockdown came into force. It has made all that we have done together all the more special.


So, as you might expect from me, I therefore wanted to conclude this week with an analogy taken from the world of high performance sport; an analogy which I hope offers a degree of optimism and certainty moving forward:


‘Control the controllables’


For example, you can’t control the weather, how the opposition are going to perform, the quality of the pitch or the decisions of the referee.


But you can control the quality of your own team’s preparation, planning and attitude to the match.


For me, in the current context, I think this now comes down to three things:


Firstly, an on-going assessment of the local and specific preconditions for any form of what the Department for Education describes as an offer of ‘some face to face support’. More details will be issued on this on Tuesday next week, once the Trust Board has assessed our proposals, to supplement the remote education to school for Years 10 and 12’. This will ensure the health and safety of the whole community, and will follow professional association advice.


Secondly, our planning for the highest possible quality of virtual teaching and learning through to the end of the academic year.


Thirdly, our positive work together as a community based on shared values.


Given the obvious commitment to the former, let’s focus here on learning going forward. I wanted to give you an indication of the refinements we now intend to make to the current provision based on what we certainly know about timescales at present.


We have further reviewed our online provision with Heads of Department and Heads of Learning based on staff, student and parent feedback. This has concluded that:


  • In the week after Half Term ‘new’ learning for Years 7, 8 and 9 will be ‘paused’ in ‘Flexible Learning Week’ to allow students to either consolidate their understanding of work already set or, for those who feel completely up to date or wishing some further challenge, to be set optional, creative extension work. We have decided to do this after, and not before half term because there are still some assessments to be completed next week and work has in many cases already been set. No work will be set over the half term break. Everyone needs a break.


  • For Years 10 and 12 the timing of the ‘flexible learning week’ will be at departmental discretion to allow for the current flow of work already set. I will write again next week regarding any potential arrangements for what the offer of any ‘face to face support to supplement the remote education of Year 10 and Year 12 students who are due to take key exams next year’ may look like once guidance is further clarified.


  • We will be extending the use of pre-recorded lead lessons on Teams or teacher’s YouTube channels to all Year groups. Just to be clear, this doesn’t mean that there will necessarily be hour long videoed lessons. Rather, you should expect maybe one, relatively short video lesson per learning sequence to highlight key learning points, concepts, activities, etc.


  • In terms of basic information on Show My Homework, expect to now consistently see the date and the title of the lesson; the different options to approach the activities as appropriate; and if an extended project, the task broken down into lesson sized chunks which identify what students have to complete on a given day.


  • Our apologies, due to a technical issue, for the delay in sending Sixth Form induction materials to all Year 11 parents and students who will be joining Sixth Form in September. This has now been sent to students via Teams.


Finally, may I thank you all once again for all that you are contributing to the spirit of our school community. The examples of fantastic work that I am seeing every day are an inspiration, as are the stories about what you are doing as unsung heroes in the local area. Keep them coming in so we can rightly celebrate the very special difference that you are making in our Summer Edition of Personal Best.


In the spirit of our community, do also watch out for a particularly topical In-House Challenge from Mr Marshall this week. Inspired!


And to follow on from this, two announcements from the PE Department:


  1. Virtual School Games - Get Berkshire Active


In the absence of any sporting competition or volunteering, Get Berkshire Active are setting weekly virtual challenges to compete with other schools in Berkshire.  The challenges are very quick and easy to do, and lots of fun! We successfully entered a team last week for the Virtual Sports Hall Pentathlon.


This week is a Tennis challenge:




If your son / daughter would like to be part of a team, please simply ask them to drop Mrs Whyatt an email: awhyatt@parkhouseschool.org





  1. Sports Presentation Evening 2020


We are doing our best to put together a virtual Sports Presentation Evening for any student that has participated in Sports Teams during this academic year. Please can we ask that students are reminded to respond to the PE department as soon as possible by email, if they would like to be involved.


Coming back to my opening analogy by way of sign off for the weekend, I hope that everyone who joined the Gazing Consultancy Red2Blue Webinar on taking control, enjoyed a genuinely world-class experience yesterday afternoon. If you weren’t able to be there live, a link to a recording of the session will follow next week... Really thought-provoking stuff. You won’t be disappointed, trust me!


I hope that you all have a very good weekend. Please stay safe.


Very best wishes

Derek Peaple