Ordinarily, at this time of year, I would be writing in anticipation of having your children back with us after their Easter break. Like everything else at the moment, it will feel very strange to start the Summer Term in an almost empty school. As you know, we remained open throughout the Easter holidays for children of key workers etc and this will continue to be the case as the lockdown has been extended. I would like to thank my staff both teaching and non-teaching, who have covered teaching and administrative duties with continued dedication and professionalism for which I am extremely grateful.
I do hope that you and your families managed to enjoy the Easter break and find ways to perhaps make the best of such unusual circumstances. I even ran out of excuses for not tackling the garden, and whilst I don’t think it will ever be a passion of mine, it was nice to get some fresh air and have a tidy up! I have also taken up a new hobby and started running each day which I have really enjoyed, and I am quite determined to keep it up as and when things return to ‘normal’.
Not being able to celebrate Easter in church certainly made for a different liturgical experience, however, with extended television and online coverage it was good to be able to see and hear from Pope Francis. We must not underestimate the power of prayer at such unprecedented and challenging times.
While your children have been at home, I have taken the opportunity to ensure that our school has had a thorough and regular deep clean. Throughout this whole period, we have prioritised the cleanliness of the school site. Cleaning contractors have been working every day, and our site team are working tirelessly to make sure that St Mary’s is extremely clean and safe for the children on their return whenever that might be. We are also playing our part to support the NHS by donating essential PPE such as many sets of protective goggles from our Science Department.
Our educational provision for the vast majority of your children will begin again with work set via the school website. This has worked incredibly well thus far, and we will continue to make sure that tasks, projects and resources are regularly updated in order to help your children to learn effectively from home. Broadly speaking, work will be updated at least weekly (ready for a Monday) and I know that many of your children have established excellent links with teachers using their school email address, in order to get some feedback or further assistance. Please may I ask that if you or your child has any queries relating to the work on the website that you email the respective Head of Year in the first instance who will endeavour to assist you. From time to time, we will also add any other information to the ‘For Students’ section that we think may be useful or of interest to your children.
Working from home is different, and I recognise that. It brings with it different challenges and frustrations. We understand that tasks can take longer to complete or that there may be other unforeseen issues that need to be overcome. I am very grateful for your support and cooperation with this to date. Like you no doubt, I have heard speculation about when schools might re-open and resume, but I will continue communicating regularly with you on this so that you are fully informed.
We now know how the current Y11 pupils will be graded for their GCSEs and are working on the Centre Assessment Grades to be submitted by the end of next month. I have communicated further detail to the parents of the Y11s and we will do everything possible to ensure that these pupils are not disadvantaged in any way.
I hope and pray that as a school community, we can overcome these challenges together and look forward to better times ahead. Our strong school ethos has been recognised many times before and now we are calling it into action.
You and your families are always in our thoughts and prayers.