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Par­ent home: Lat­est news

T3 Letter

6th Jan­u­ary 2021

Dear Par­ents and Carers

I had not antic­i­pated writ­ing to you with another change and update quite so soon!

You will have seen the news and heard the lat­est announce­ment about school clo­sure and the move to remote learn­ing for all stu­dents for term 3. We are so frus­trated for our young peo­ple that, yet again, they have a huge dis­rup­tion to their learn­ing and edu­ca­tion but it seems that the lat­est news is unavoid­able. Fol­low­ing this announce­ment about National lock­down and school clo­sures, I wanted to clar­ify as much as pos­si­ble. As always, we will pull together to do our utmost to keep stu­dents safe and on track.

Remote Learn­ing:

All year groups will now be remote learn­ing from home – the school will pro­vide remote lessons and learn­ing accessed via Show My Home­work in the usual way. Do get in touch if you are expe­ri­enc­ing any prob­lems with this, includ­ing IT access, or you need any sup­port. Form Tutors will be run­ning remote tutor times at the start of the day, to check in with their groups and check they are set up for the day.

Les­son Timings:

We have some con­cerns about con­tin­u­ing to use the stag­gered times through­out the day now that stu­dents are work­ing at home. Given the restricted day­light hours, there is much less oppor­tu­nity for stu­dents to get out­side or take any exer­cise at the end of the day and 1/​2 hour breaks are not work­ing as well. Some stu­dents are feel­ing rooted to the lap­top for extended peri­ods as a result. For well­be­ing rea­sons, to ensure that pupils get ade­quate breaks​and to elim­i­nate the split lessons​for some stu­dents,​from Mon­day we will be mov­ing to our pre-​Covid school times, so this will be the same for every­one, as follows:

Tutor time 8:559:15

P1 9:1510:15

P2 10:1511:15

Break 11:1511:35

P3 11:3512:35

Lunch /​exercise 12:3513:20

P4 13:2014:20

P5 14:2015:20

Key­worker and vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren in school will fol­low the same tim­ings. They are few in num­ber and so we are able to treat them as one bub­ble tim­ings wise but still spread them all out well in the class­room. ​Stu­dents should arrive at school between 8.45am and 8.55am at their usual entrance point and must take care to socially dis­tance from all other students.

Work Packs:

We pre­vi­ously sent paper packs of work to some stu­dents but this is expen­sive, time con­sum­ing and does not always align well with their actual learn­ing. We also con­tinue to work hard to avoid passing/​sending mate­ri­als between home and school where it can be avoided for infec­tion con­trol rea­sons. Now that lessons are all live streamed or recorded and that we use a num­ber of inter­ac­tive plat­forms, we will not be read­ily offer­ing paper resources unless there is a very spe­cific learn­ing need or SEN. Please con­tact our SENCO in this instance: This email address is being pro­tected from spam­bots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Key Worker and Vul­ner­a­ble students:

The school will con­tinue to pro­vide super­vi­sion for those vul­ner­a­ble stu­dents and chil­dren of key work­ers who need to be in school whilst they access their remote lessons and learn­ing mate­ri­als as per the tim­ings detailed above. School uni­form as usual please. Please can parents/​carers of these chil­dren con­tinue to keep us informed in advance, of the days they need their child to attend using MyEd to allow us to plan. This group is based in the IT Plaza in the red build­ing as before and should go directly there at their usual arrival time. Stu­dents will need to bring head­phones to plug in to the com­put­ers to lis­ten to their remote lessons indi­vid­u­ally to avoid dis­turb­ing other stu­dents in the room who will all be access­ing dif­fer­ent lessons. Vul­ner­a­ble stu­dents will also have some sup­port from our Teach­ing Assis­tant team when capac­ity allows, to ensure they make progress despite the challenges.

Exams and Exam groups:

  • BTEC and Cam­bridge National exams con­tinue this week and next, as planned for those Y10-​13 stu­dents involved, along with the revi­sion ses­sions and warm ups. As a school we want to keep this oppor­tu­nity in place for stu­dents who have been work­ing hard to pre­pare. We con­tinue to work hard to min­imise all risks and we obvi­ously have very few staff and stu­dents on site cur­rently. Stu­dents will be seated 2m+ apart. How­ever, the Gov­ern­ment has also been clear that stu­dents who are unable to sit the exam will not be dis­ad­van­taged by this. The exam board has issued the fol­low­ing guid­ance: “We have agreed the fol­low­ing with Ofqual and the DfE to ensure that no learner is dis­ad­van­taged. We will cer­tifi­cate any learner who is unable to take their exams and has enough evi­dence to receive a cer­tifi­cate that they need for pro­gres­sion. Learn­ers unable to take their assess­ment this Jan­u­ary may be able to take their assess­ment at a later date. If that is not pos­si­ble, we will put in place arrange­ments to ensure no learner is disadvantaged.”
  • IB exams for Y13 in April /​May are also still con­tin­u­ing. Y13 need to con­tinue to pre­pare for their IB exams, IA com­ple­tion (as per the dead­lines) and BTEC com­ple­tion; Uni­ver­si­ties will cer­tainly be need­ing these results, as will appren­tice­ships and employers.
  • The DfE have can­celled the other sum­mer pub­lic exams. Regard­ing these, the DfE has said: In these cir­cum­stances, we do not think it is pos­si­ble for exams to go ahead fairly this sum­mer. The Sec­re­tary of State for Edu­ca­tion will be ask­ing Ofqual to con­sult rapidly on an approach for alter­na­tive arrange­ments that will allow stu­dents to progress fairly.” We do not know any more than this cur­rently but it is likely that any alter­na­tive arrange­ment will include some form of inter­nal assess­ment and work evi­dence base and so Y11 stu­dents need to con­tinue with their learn­ing and the syl­labus with their teach­ers, both to evi­dence their progress and cover the learn­ing to pre­pare them for next steps.
  • Any ques­tions or con­cerns relat­ing to exams should be emailed to This email address is being pro­tected from spam­bots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Safe­guard­ing and Wellbeing:

Safe­guard­ing remains a pri­or­ity to all our stu­dents and our Des­ig­nated Safe­guard­ing Team will con­tinue to work hard to keep in con­tact with all those who need our sup­port. Please remem­ber you or stu­dents can report any con­cerns (the reports can be anony­mous) by email­ing This email address is being pro­tected from spam­bots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Our DSL is Mr. Dan Ben­nett and you can also con­tact him directly or the school via MyEd if you have a safe­guard­ing con­cern. There is also a range of use­ful infor­ma­tion on our safeguarding/​online safety sec­tion of the school website.

These are dif­fi­cult times and your child’s well­be­ing is also impor­tant to us so we have put together a book­let which may help sup­port your child if things are a lit­tle dif­fi­cult. This is attached at the end of this let­ter. There is also some very use­ful sup­port and guide­lines on the NSPCC web­site https://​www​.nspcc​.org​.uk/

If you or your child feel they need to speak to a pro­fes­sional coun­sel­lor then there is a free online ser­vice they can access www​.kooth​.com this has proved to be use­ful in the past and well worth vis­it­ing if they are struggling.

Lat­eral Flow Testing:

The school con­tin­ues to have rig­or­ous pro­ce­dures in place in line with guid­ance and Pub­lic Health advice, in order to min­imise risk. Part of the sys­tems to date has involved timely track and trace when a mem­ber of our com­mu­nity tests pos­i­tive for Covid and the sub­se­quent iso­la­tion of bub­bles and close con­tacts but these have con­tin­ued to dis­rupt learn­ing for many. The new lat­eral flow test­ing presents us with logis­ti­cal chal­lenges but will also make a huge dif­fer­ence in reduc­ing these dis­rup­tions. We con­tinue to plan for test­ing of staff and stu­dents on site whose par­ents have given con­sent, start­ing with the vul­ner­a­ble stu­dents and those of key work­ers who are cur­rently attend­ing school. The extent of the test­ing we are able to accom­mo­date, as stu­dents return in due course, will depend on a num­ber of fac­tors, includ­ing staffing and resourc­ing but to aid with our plan­ning, we will be send­ing fur­ther infor­ma­tion and con­sent let­ters and ask that you com­plete and return these as soon as pos­si­ble so we can plan and be ready. We are hugely grate­ful to those par­ents, car­ers and friends of the school who have vol­un­teered to help us with run­ning this valu­able pro­gramme, which will help our young peo­ple resume their edu­ca­tion with­out the level of dis­rup­tion that they have been hav­ing to endure.

If any par­ent or carer or mem­ber of our com­mu­nity would be will­ing to vol­un­teer to be part of the test­ing work­force when the school reopens fully and stu­dents return, please con­tact the school for more details, by email­ing your name, con­tact details and avail­abil­ity to This email address is being pro­tected from spam­bots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

These rapid tests are to detect asymp­to­matic cases and are not the same as the PCR tests which you need to book if you develop symp­toms. It is imper­a­tive that any­one feel­ing unwell con­tin­ues to stay at home and book a PCR test.

We await fur­ther clar­i­fi­ca­tion from the DfE about a num­ber of these issues and we will keep par­ents and car­ers informed as and when we know any fur­ther details. Once again, our bril­liant staff team have stepped up to nav­i­gate all the changes and we will con­tinue to do all we can to sup­port our young peo­ple. Do not hes­i­tate to get in touch if there is any­thing you wish to discuss.

Send­ing you and your fam­i­lies all best wishes,

Vicky Willis

Head­teacher

The KES well­ness guide can be found and down­loaded here from the Infor­ma­tion sec­tion of the website.