24 April 2020 Update

Dear Parents, Carers and Students


‘In that moment, a glorious day, it seemed that every colour was clearer, every air was fresher than on ordinary days - as though the world was having a birthday.’


Not a premonition of the day, hopefully not too far away, when we will be back together again as a community, but in fact the equally resonant thoughts of the novelist Winifred Hobby on the day the First World War ended on 11 November 1918.


For more on this, and a bit more Culture, ‘Club’ that is, do read this week’s blog on the website and our social media pages on the theme of Time...




That’s the segue into thoughts on the operation of the first week of the Virtual Curriculum, which in the blog and previous communications I’ve described as our - and schools’ in general - ‘adjustment’ to mid-term reality of remote learning over the next few weeks. We have been undertaking a staff review of practice this week to further refine and review provision and to this end we would be grateful if you could complete the parent feedback questionnaire here >>>

Separately, we would also be grateful if students could complete a questionnaire we have placed on their RM Unify landing page. Once logged in, students will see a tile called ‘Student Virtual Curriculum Survey April 2020’. Thank you in advance for sharing your views, we appreciate your support.

Moving on to briefing updates and announcements:


Free School Meals

We once again apologise for any issues experienced in relation to FSM. This is genuinely out of our hands and is taking on average 7 days to process each claim. We are regularly submitting our returns as required but subsequent allocation seems random and arbitrary. This problem is being experienced right across the country. However, everyone entitled to FSM should now have received an eCode via email yesterday which can be converted into supermarket vouchers and the link to the FAQ’s is here:






Minibus Fees

On the basis of the current suspension of services we will obviously not be requesting fees for the Summer Term at present. Those who have paid in advance will shortly receive a refund. We do however require all fees to have been fully paid up until the end of last term.


Iceland and Battlefields Trips

We are currently in communication with both companies and insurers regarding refunds and will write to all concerned once this is resolved.


Advance Notice: Free Webinar on Re2Blue from Gazing Consultancy on 4 May at 4.00pm

I am delighted that we have secured a free webinar from Gazing Consultancy on 4 May at 4.00pm on their concept of Red2Blue. Some students may (!) distantly remember my assembly on the approaches used by the All Blacks relating to this idea. The webinar will be available to the whole school community and is described by Gazing below:


‘Red2Blue’ was developed to support the mindset needed to perform at high level under great pressure. As we are now experiencing a time when our everyday working environments have been turned upside down and normal set routines are no longer possible, the pressure and associated anxiety are palpable.


In this webinar we will be positioning ‘Red2Blue’ as a framework to support your mindset and deal with the pressure of the Covid19 situation. It will focus on helping you and your colleagues to build the resilience needed to not only manage your current situation and your feelings around it, but also refocus your attention on the critical tasks and helpful activities linked to resetting and moving forward.


I hope that Gazing will also do some bespoke work later in the term on transitions to post-16 studies and university for Year 11 and 13 students respectively.


Advance notice: next week’s In House Challenge - The 2.6 Challenge


Some advanced notice. Mr Marshall and the PE Department have already been working hard on next week’s In House Challenge. This is going to focus on The 2.6 Challenge, with The Youth Sport Trust as our identified beneficiary. The note below from Youth Sport Trust Charity, which whom we have worked in close partnership for the last 25 years, explains the idea:


The Covid-19 pandemic is having a catastrophic effect on UK charities leading to an estimated loss of £4 billion for the sector. Charities, like ours, depend on income from fundraising events but thousands have had to be cancelled or postponed, including a number of our own fundraising events.


For many charities, 26 April would have been the biggest fundraising day of the year thanks to the London Marathon (which should have been celebrating its 40th Anniversary this year): it raised £66.4 million for charities in 2019.  The Youth Sport Trust is one of those beneficiaries and The Marathon is a significant element of our annual fundraising calendar.


In an attempt to fill this void, and do something which will lift the spirits of the nation, the UK’s mass participation sports event industry has come together to create The 2.6 Challenge, a nationwide fundraising campaign to Save the UK’s Charities. The 2.6 Challenge invites the public to dream up, and complete an activity based around the numbers 2.6 or 26 and then fundraise or donate to their chosen charity to help Save the UK’s Charities. 


The official 2.6 Challenge website is live as of today at www.twopointsixchallenge.co.uk and this will be accompanied by a significant public awareness campaign running up to the 26th April.  There is also incredible support building for this campaign including from UK government, Sport England, BBC, Institute of Fundraising, Virgin Money Giving and JustGiving and a whole host of businesses, celebrities and high profile individuals.  The 2.6 Challenge featured as part of the BBC’s Big Night In on 23rd April.  


All money raised will go directly to the charities, and those taking part will need to donate/fundraise via Just Giving or Virgin Money Giving and select Youth Sport Trust as their chosen charity. Please use @YouthSportTrust in any social media to help promote the fact that the Youth Sport Trust is a charity beneficiary of the 2.6 Challenge.


Mr Marshall’s briefing with Monday’s communication will describe the idea in more detail.


However, on what would have been the weekend of the 40th London Marathon, this is also personal!

To brighten, or maybe add trauma to your weekend, I leave you with the image of me in slighter slimmer (and moustachioed) times, some 16 years ago to the day, completing one of my six London Marathons, three of which were in support of the Youth Sport Trust. My future support, and in relation to the 2.6 Challenge, will now I hasten to add remain virtual!


Derek Peaple


Thank you as ever for your continued support this week. Please stay safe and have a good weekend.


Best wishes

Derek Peaple