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Headteacher's Update

Dear Parent/carers

At the end of this first half-term of 2021, I wanted to write to you even though the vast majority of your children won’t have been in school since before Christmas.

It has been a strange half-term in many ways for us all, not least because we ordinarily would have had 750 pupils with us for 6 weeks yet they have been working from home.

I do get to see many of the wonderful pieces of work that your children are producing, and I have to say that they are showing real strength of character in engaging with the work in the way that they are.

Together with members of my senior and middle leadership teams, we continue to monitor the diet and volume of work our pupils are receiving and make any tweaks and amendments to provision where necessary.

We are all learning throughout this process and we will continue to develop our practice accordingly.  We want to ensure quality and rigour in our online teaching, just as we do in the classroom.  Using our new online newsletter, I hope to be able to share further examples of our pupils’ work with you.  I hope you enjoyed the first edition of our newsletter.  It’s more important than ever to keep lines of communication open and this is just one further way of doing so.  Our aim is to use this regularly to update you on forthcoming events, key news and generally to maintain a sense of community when it can be a challenge to do so.

It was great to get positive feedback in relation to the recent Y10 online parents’ evenings and many thanks for all the follow-up messages of thanks and support.  We are conscious that again, the appointments may be brief but we very much wanted the chance to convey key feedback and see how online learning is going for the pupils in the first year of their GCSE courses.  We constantly review all of our practices in line with the current restrictions and guidance and we will be in touch with details of the format and arrangements for any school events on the calendar.

One such example is the forthcoming Y9 Options Evening.  This is a really important event for our pupils who will be choosing their GCSE courses.  Even though this will be delivered remotely this year, there will be no less information covered and opportunities have been planned for parents to interact with our Heads of Department to find out more information about their subjects.  If you are a Y9 parent/carer you will be contacted directly and invited to make appointments within the subject meetings that your child is interested in.  The evening on the 25th February will begin with a welcome from myself, a presentation by Mr Giampalma and be followed by meetings led by the Heads of Department.  In the meantime our Options booklet February 2021 is on the school website under ‘Curriculum/options Evening’ and I would encourage you to have a look at this and discuss it with your sons/daughters in advance of the 25th February.

I really do hope we are coming towards the end of this period and that we can have all of your children back safely with us.  We miss them greatly and are very keen to try to restore a sense of ‘normality’ as soon as this is possible.  I will be in touch whenever further details are released by the government.

I hope you and your families manage to get a break over the holidays, thanks again for your support and cooperation.

Best wishes

Stuart Wetson