17 June 2020 Update

Dear Parents, Carers and Students


I hope that you all remain safe and well.


Thank you to so many of you for you continued and very positive feedback on virtual provision. They are greatly appreciated and continue to help us refine provision. Our next review and planning meeting with Heads of Department and Learning is scheduled for next Monday.


Individual contact to Heads of Learning also helps us to identify specific concerns about access or work set by teachers so that we can follow them up quickly.


Just for clarification in relation to a number of queries received regarding comparisons with provision in other schools, I obviously can’t comment in detail on what they are offering; there are broad discussions at our periodic Headteacher meetings where there would seem to be considerable consensus. I can only focus on doing the best that we can and what we believe is in the best interests of the welfare and learning of all students. I think it’s important to stress the overall balance and full picture of what we continue to offer based on personal and group specific rather than generalised, non-differentiated provision, for example:


  • Two face to face tutorials, with follow up specialist, individual class teacher support and intervention following them for Year 10 and 12 students at present
  • Small group specialist on-site practical subject sessions for Year 10 and 12 students at present
  • A weekly on site surgery for Year 10 students
  • Maintaining the full curriculum offer virtually, lesson by lesson with no reduction in lesson time for all year groups
  • Live, real time email response by the class teacher to queries for all year groups
  • On-going daily accessibility to Tutors, Heads of Learning, Directors of Studies and other support staff as required/requested


I can only reiterate that this offer represents, in our view the best means of ensuring the highest possible quality and continuity of learning in these extraordinary circumstances. As previously indicated, the travel logistics involved and non-group or individual specific nature of any further, necessarily very limited on-site ‘lessons’ in equally limited subject areas would seem counterproductive to learning across the curriculum. I also believe that it would be more frustrating for students to miss specialist online provision for what would be, with the best will in the world, a ‘cover’ lesson. I can only hope you appreciate and understand this rationale.


Letters regarding arrangements for practical subject provision have been sent to relevant students today. This is where we can provide specialist teaching provision focused on every individual. 


In terms of enrichment activities to supplement core learning through the virtual curriculum, Mr Miller is sharing the separately attached email from Rutherford Appleton Labs. It gives you some details and links about a number of virtual events that they are running over the next few weeks. If you are interested in any then please just click the link to register and enjoy. The short summaries give you the age groups for which the event is suitable.


It was good to be able to hold a virtual PHSA meeting last night and plan for an on-going series of community activities. I remain so grateful for all that the Committee is doing. Further to the meeting, the Committee wanted to share the following message:


Many of you will have had a clear-out recently - we would love to be able to take your bags of clothes etc, to add to our Bags 4 School project.  However, at the moment we are not able to have them collected, for obvious reasons, and the school is kept shut even when some pupils are there.  Please keep hold of the bags if you can, and when the school is formally open again, we will happily take them.  We do receive some revenue for the school for every bag donated.  


As ever - thank you for your support! 


PHSA Committee



With very best wishes

Derek Peaple