10 February 2021
As we come to the end of this half term I would like to thank you all for your support over this prolonged lockdown period. To say this has been a difficult time for all of us is a huge understatement and I am sure we all hope that on Monday 8 March we return to something more like normal College life. I am also sure that the sustained period of ‘home schooling’ has presented challenges to you just as the remote education provision has created them for us, however, it will be good for all of us next week to try to relax, to turn our screens off and recharge our batteries.
The Prime Minister is expected to outline the government’s ‘road map’ of reopening the country on Monday 22 February and this will include plans for schools. We have also been informed that the results of the consultation on A levels and GCSEs will also be announced on that date.
I will update you fully on the implications of these announcements in my first update to you after the half term break.
Please Use our Online Communication System and Edulink
Please can I ask that if you wish to contact staff that you use our online communication system so that we can deal with your enquiry quickly whilst keeping an overview of any themes, issues or praise. Can I also ask that you download and regularly access the Edulink facility as so much important information is accessible to you at this ‘one-stop’ point of contact.
A reminder that Monday 22 February is an INSET day and therefore there will be no remote lessons or onsite provision on that day. Our final INSET day this academic year is on Thursday 1 April.
You will be aware that we are having a non-screen day tomorrow where we are suspending live lessons. We have been very mindful of the mental health and well-being of our students and staff and we recognise that the hours we are all spending looking at a screen can cause physical and mental fatigue. We do hope that this change in format will be well received by students and we will evaluate its success to see whether we might repeat the experience again in the future. Can I emphasise that this is a ‘non-screen day’ and not a ‘no-school day’ as described to me by a student this morning!
On the subject of remote learning can I remind parents that we have clear protocols in place for ‘live lessons’ to protect the safety of students and staff. Lessons are recorded by the College for students to access at a later stage for a variety of reasons and these remain the intellectual property of the College and conform to GDPR/DPO guidance. There is no need, nor would we expect, parents or students to record these lessons using their own devices as this could lead to serious GDPR issues. My thanks in advance for your cooperation on this matter.
Remote Formative Assessments
As you will be aware the planned mock examinations have been cancelled that were due to be held during the last few weeks of this half term. The Ofqual consultation is clear that students should continue with the curriculum to ensure they can progress confidently to their next stage of education. Further the proposals suggest it is likely that there will be some form of assessment in the summer term based on GCSE standard work in the form of ‘mini’ tests that will contribute to the final examination grades along with other evidence which we await confirmation in early March.
In light of the consultation proposals we are therefore having a Remote Formative Assessment fortnight from Monday 8 March to Friday 19 March which will be conducted for Year 11, Year 10 (RS short course) and Year 9 (one-year courses). We are providing this opportunity for students to prepare them for the proposed assessments in the summer and to receive feedback to support them to close any learning gaps. If we are back to College these assessments will be in normal scheduled lessons conducted in classrooms as they are one-hour formative assessments. Students will receive further details of these assessments from their class teachers. For Year 11 a ‘mini’ assessment timetable has been constructed as below to ensure students only have one assessment per day:
The MN/OP column relates to which side of the year group students are on. The code for their lessons will show that on their timetables.
Again, thank you for your support and I hope you have a healthy, relaxing, and warm half term break!
Mr E Tanner - Principal