25 March 2020 update

Dear Parent, Carer, Student


I hope everyone is safe and well together in your families. Thank you all so very much for following national advice since Monday and limiting student movement to school. It has made our planning so much easier and helped to do everything possible to protect our whole school community.


I thought I would just begin with this...




I always meticulously prepare for my Leavers’ Assemblies. Toy Story 3 ending always works, I find! It was of course, sadly impromptu this time. No matter, Year 11 and 13 will have their day - and evening! - of celebration in due course. They will be all the more special because of it. I can’t wait to see you all together again!


The only available prop at an hour’s notice in my office last week was this wonderful gift I received from the University of Tsukuba, just outside Tokyo, where I was privileged to speak a couple of years ago on Olympic and Paralympic Values learning to their staff and students. How especially poignant now.


It says everything about what schools have always aimed to do, continue to do and will keep doing moving forward with you and the amazing young people with whom we are privileged to work. Hope, optimism, potential. This will pass. A focus for us all...


So, looking forward I am not now revisiting any of the information sent in my last full briefing letter on Monday, just highlighting the following points as of today, Wednesday 25 March:


Virtual Learning


  • Thank you for all your positive responses and suggestions so far. As a whole staff team, we are constantly reviewing and evolving provision following the basic aim of ensuring continuity of learning from the start of the week.


  • Obviously a common sense approach needs to apply all round in terms of the completion and supervision of work going forward. I fully appreciate how hard it is for parents who are themselves working from home whilst balancing with all the skills and challenges that come from parenting teenagers, almost teenagers and their younger siblings in normal times! Having regular breaks, downtime and exercise are vital. We are all learning together about what works best!


  • From a related perspective, we are currently not expecting any current work to be sent back into teachers or marked.  We will confirm arrangements for this during the first week after the Easter holiday. Feedback weeks for each year group are being planned with subject- and age-specific assessment activities.


  • Work will continue to be set for Years 11 and 13 to ensure continuity of learning until the guidance from Ofqual on Grading is clear and the process confirmed. I have just heard that this is likely to be next week.


Weekly Enrichment, ‘In-House’ and Fun Challenges


  • Watch out for a separate email from Mr Marshall later today about our first ‘In-House’ Challenge! You’ll be inspired! We will be launching our creative and physical challenges on Monday 30 March with lots of exciting opportunities for students and families as a whole, if you are brave enough!




  • Reception and phone lines are now unmanned.  Please direct communications by email to a specific addressee. For everyone’s’ safety, there is no visitor access to the site except for those children of key workers and vulnerable groups coming in on a daily basis.


  • For those students coming into school, we cannot now unfortunately guarantee a qualified First Aider will be on site at all times.


  • If as a parent you need to contact your child whilst they attending school, please contact them on their mobile phone.  We are not requiring them to turn their phone off during the study sessions.


  • I am advised that from tomorrow (Thursday 26 March) the 62412 Woolton Hill to Park House and 62413 and 42413 Highclere to Park House services will cease to operate until further notice - it obviously is not currently picking up any school passengers.


I will be in touch again on Friday with the final extended briefing of the week – unless of course there are any major changes or developments over the next two days.


Thank you once again for all your support. Thinking of you all.


Best wishes


D J Peaple