6 May 2020 Update

Dear Parents, Carers and Students


I hope you all remain safe and well.


I appreciate that current conjecture regarding re-opening remains unhelpful and potentially unsettling. Clearly we need to await further clarity from any official announcements tomorrow or on Sunday, but I wanted from the outset to allay any concerns. Rest absolutely assured that all our current planning is predicated on the complete and overriding priority of the safety of students and staff and we will continue to assess our position in relation to it at all times. No more, no less.


It has been absolutely heartening to continue to receive so many wonderful good news stories about what students have been doing to support the local community. You are an absolute inspiration, and I couldn’t be prouder. Keep them coming; they provide such an uplifting relief from the apparently unending wave of Teams or Zoom meetings - with all due apologies to those on the other side of the iPad screen! I’m sure the feeling is mutual!


Alongside what has been going on ‘outside of school’ it’s been equally fantastic to see so many brilliant pieces of work that have been produced in online lessons, which are passed on to me by really impressed and proud members of staff. Thank you for all you are doing to work together so effectively as families at home. It’s so impressive and, once again uplifting.


Following on from that, I’m delighted to now be able to share our review of the parent and student questionnaires on the experience of online learning.


There were 112 responses to the parent questionnaire and 120 to the student questionnaire. Thank you.


Outcomes were overwhelmingly positive and reassuring, reflecting how well you have engaged with work set and the subsequent advice provided.


84% of parental responses to the question regarding quality of work set indicated that they were satisfied to totally satisfied


86% of student responses to the question on how they are coping indicated that they were generally coping to totally coping


Our Analysis indicates that of the 14% of students who felt that they were having difficulty coping, all are already subject to further support through appropriate staff contact and intervention. If you feel that you haven’t been contacted in this way or would benefit from more help please of course email your Head of Learning, a member of Senior Staff or myself directly. We are always here to help.


From this - and comments received on an ad hoc basis - we have also identified a number of common areas for further refinement, including:


  • Ensuring clarity of the expectation of the amount of work required in each one hour lesson and, if the work is an extended project over a series of lessons, making clear what ‘milestone’ should ideally be reached at any particular point
  • From a related point of view, allowing more time for students to read through tasks, open various links/documents in different formats, etc so that they don’t feel rushed or under pressure to ‘catch up’
  • Building in ‘flexi lessons’ every few weeks - opportunities to catch up and consolidate learning and knowledge, or extension activities for those who need a bit more stretch and challenge
  • Limiting - and aiming to be as consistent as possible - with packages and the number of links used to avoid confusion


Year 11 students and parents - please be on the look-out shortly for some fantastic pre-Sixth Form resources co-ordinated by Mr Hawkins from subject departments as the first phase in the Year 12 Induction process.


Finally, we should wish to apologise once again on behalf of Gazing Consultancy for the technical issues which prevented Monday’s webinar from going live on Zoom. They were genuinely devastated to let people down. I am however delighted to confirm that the session has now been rescheduled for 3.30pm on Wednesday 14 May. Joining details to follow on Monday.


Unless there are any substantive policy changes to update on tomorrow, this will be my last general communication of the week. I hope that you have a thoroughly deserved and restful long Bank Holiday Weekend.


Very best wishes

Derek Peaple