Update from Mr Yates - 22.06.2020
Please see below latest update from Mr Yates
Dear Parent / Carer
Last week was brilliant for us as a school, we saw an increase number of students returning as Y10 & Y12 came back to school on a part time basis. To be open again, even in such a limited capacity meant such a lot. Thank you for trusting that our work to make the school safe was good and sending in your children. We were able to welcome to maximum number we are legally allowed from both groups and the students were amazing. They conducted themselves brilliantly and followed every instruction. I know some found it hard coming back to a school that looked and felt quite different, but we met them with a smile and a very warm welcome and they soon settled in. Y10 & Y12 will be back on a weekly basis through to the end of term and they will be working on their exam subjects and getting ready for next year.
I know that for those student’s in Y7, Y8 & Y9 it must have been hard to know that others were returning to school. I promise, you haven’t been forgotten and now we have successfully managed some of the challenges the last couple of weeks have presented, you are absolutely at the front of our thinking. I know that being able to see and hear your teachers really helps with your learning and the Loom presentation videos and other audio-visual materials have seen good levels of engagement. To help you as much as we can, we are building a library of pre-recorded materials that you can access whenever you want to. There are currently over 100 that will be available across a range of subjects and ages. We will write to you soon with instructions on how to access them. We are also trialling other types of remote learning this week so you may receive an invitation to join a group to participate, please join in if you can.
It is good to hear that the government is hoping for a full return to school in September. Personally, there is nothing I would love more than to see all our students back in school as that should mean the situation is much safer than it has been over the last few months. For this to happen, there will need to be substantial changes to the guidelines currently in place for schools. I am currently working with a range of people planning for several different scenarios so whatever changes are made, we are in a good place to be able to respond. I am acutely aware that some students will not have been in school for many months come September and our plans include specific strategies to support those students in every way we can. However, as always, the national guidelines dictate the parameters we can work within. Although there have been some broad comments from government, there is still very little detail and we will be working throughout the summer to make sure we can do the best we can for your children.
The same is true for the recent announcements for national catch up programmes, we have very little detail about what is to be offered over the summer and beyond. We are also waiting for a consultation on the summer 2021 examinations and how they are to be carried out. I know that for many of Y10 & Y12, this is often their main anxiety. I will write to you once these elements become clearer. In the meantime, we are developing our own plans and strategies to catch up every student regardless of when they sit their exams. We know there will be a long-lasting impact for many students from this period out of school and we will make sure we do all we can to support each one. I would like to thank Brooke Taylor solicitors in Buxton for helping us secure a substantial donation to the school that will help us tackle some of the most difficult issues that the Covid-19 outbreak has caused for our school community.
One recent announcement that was very welcome was that the voucher scheme for families eligible for free school meals will be extended to cover the summer break. For those families who receive support through this scheme, I can assure you that the vouchers will be ordered and in place as early as we are allowed. The government is now planning for the scheme to finish at the end of August.
The most common question I am asked is “What do I think will happen in September, will be back to normal?”. I can answer honestly, that I simply don’t know. I really hope we will but it impossible to say right now and a lot of decisions beyond our control need to be made. What I do know is that we are planning carefully for every eventuality we can think of and whatever September brings, we will be ready to do our best.
Finally, I would like to thank again those of you who continue to send messages of support for the school. Despite the difficulties that we have all experienced, many of you have taken the time to write or call to recognise the efforts of the school or particular staff. No matter what the day has brought, these messages are always welcome and make a real difference for those involved.
Craig Yates - Headteacher