12 May 2021
The Government has confirmed that the next stage of easing of restrictions will go ahead as planned on Monday 17 May, meaning students will no longer be expected to wear face coverings in classrooms or in communal areas in secondary schools and colleges as a result of decreasing infection rates. The College will, as it has done consistently throughout the pandemic, follow government advice and therefore as from next Monday face coverings will not be needed to be worn in College, although a student can still wear one if they choose to do so. Students travelling to College on school coaches will still need to wear face coverings.
Parents/carers and visitors will still be expected to wear face coverings when on the College site.
In the coming months, the use of face coverings may be reintroduced on a temporary basis if public health officials advise us to do so in response to localised COVID outbreaks. Please ensure students are prepared to resume the use of face coverings at short notice if required.
My thanks again to all parents/carers for their support on this matter and to the students for their very mature attitude in complying with this guidance. Please note the twice-weekly home testing will remain in place.
Reminder: COVID-19 Testing (with and without symptoms)
The College will continue to issue students with home LFD test kits for asymptomatic testing for the foreseeable future so they can continue a regime of testing themselves twice per week.
Please note that these LFD test kits are not appropriate for testing someone who has COVID-19 symptoms. If you develop any one of the main COVID symptoms (persistent cough, temperature or loss/change to sense of taste or smell), even if you have a negative LFD test result, you and everyone you live with must self-isolate immediately. You should book a PCR test (https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or call 119). Only after a negative PCR test result is confirmed can the household stop self-isolating and students return to College.
Awarding of Grades 2021
We have published our Centre Policy which outlines our approach for determining grades this summer and, along with our previous communications on this subject, you can find this on Edulink within ‘Noticeboard’ under ‘Awarding Teacher Assessed Grades 2021’. We have also added a student guide released by Ofqual yesterday which can also be read with this link: ‘student guide to awarding grades summer 2021’ document. Students will also be emailed a copy of this document.
I would like to remind you again that any concerns need to be raised with subject teachers in the first instance or communicated via the dedicated email address firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday 14 June.
Year 11 Prom and Transition events
We are still waiting for clarity from the government on holding large scale events such as the Year 11 Prom and transition events. As soon as the situation is clear, I will inform you on how the guidance impacts on the College’s plans for these activities.
Dates for your Diary
A reminder that we have two early closures coming up, tomorrow (Thursday 13 May, finishing at 12.30pm) and Tuesday 25 May, also finishing at 12.30pm. Bus/coach companies have been informed of the early closures and will be operating at the early finishing time. Students will be set work to be completed at these times and they should obviously be working at home and not out in the community.
We are moving to Data only end-of-year reports this year as opposed to the previous written ones. The production of written reports is an exceptionally time-consuming one requiring input from Form Tutors, Pastoral Leads and SLT. We have often questioned whether the huge amount of time invested is worthwhile and given the extraordinary year we have just had and the exceptional pressure on staff due to managing the awarding of grades process, we believe that this is the year to follow many other schools who have successfully moved to this format.
I would like to congratulate all those students involved in the incredible success of our debating teams this year at both national and international levels. Their recent success in the International Competition for Young Debaters and the very competitive debates against teams from South Asia, China and India are a fitting finale to an excellent year. Well done to everyone involved and let’s hope that next year these competitions can be held in person and not via the internet.
Duke of Edinburgh Award
I would also like to congratulate the 26 Year 11 students who passed their Silver DofE Expedition section at the weekend with ‘flying colours’. It is fantastic to see activities like this starting again and I am, of course, so grateful to all the staff involved for the work they put in, especially at a time when they have so many other commitments.
COVID Local Support Grant
I would like to draw your attention to the COVID Local Support Grant that Surrey County Council has said that they will ensure help is available for any families who are struggling as we transition out of lockdown, through the Government’s COVID Local Support Grant. It is designed to directly help families and individuals who have been hardest hit by the pandemic, with the majority set aside to ensure children do not go hungry during school holidays.
The council, through schools, will ensure support is provided to all 17,000 children in the county eligible for Free School Meals. There will also be a grant for care leavers, and direct support to families of younger children eligible for the pupil premium.
The remainder of the funding will be given to the Surrey Crisis Fund and made available to residents who are struggling. This money will provide support towards food costs and utility bills, but also emergencies such as replacing broken white goods, to guide people away from long lasting debt.
Surrey County Council will administer the funds, which must be spent by 20 June 2021. As the funding is only available for a limited time, I want to share this message with any eligible families. Enquiries should be directed to the Community Helpline: 0300 200 1008. More information can be accessed on the government website or the Surrey Crisis Fund webpage .
Mr Tanner - Principal