IMPORTANT: School life in 2021
5 January 2021
As you will be aware from the Prime Minister’s announcement last night, we have been instructed to close school to most pupils from tomorrow until February half term. Obviously, having worked so hard to keep our children in school all last term this is not what any of us at St. Peter’s would have wanted, but in the face of the current situation with Covid-19 we have a duty to follow this guidance and work to provide the best possible education and care for all our pupils. The announcement has overtaken the plans I shared with you at the weekend and we are now planning to get things up and running for this half term as soon and as effectively as possible.
Provision for vulnerable children and the children of Key workers.
Thank you to those parents who have informed us via Edulink of their requirements for school places this week. Throughout this half term we will be open to the children in the categories above who need a place, but as you clearly have done, we ask that you only use us when you need to so that we can keep the numbers of pupils in school low, social distancing and other measures as effective as possible and everybody as safe as possible.
• A form will be sent to our list of key workers on a weekly basis to help us to plan our numbers for the following week. We would be grateful if you would complete these promptly even if you do not require a place for the following week.
• School transport will be available as normal.
• Pupils should attend in full school uniform and bring the equipment and books they would normally bring to school if they have them.
• The normal school day start and finish times will apply.
• Pupils should bring a snack and a drink for breaktime, there will be a canteen service for lunch serving hot food but pupils can bring a packed lunch if they choose to do so.
• In addition, if they are able to bring their own device (laptop, tablet, smartphone) and headphones / ear pods they should do so.
• Pupils will be working in small class ‘bubbles’ and need to stick to these bubbles including at break and lunch time. Masks should be worn in communal areas of school indoors.
• The pupils will be following their 2-week timetable and completing the work / taking part in the Teams lessons that pupils working remotely will be doing. Staff will assist pupils where necessary.
• No pupil displaying symptoms of Covid-19 should attend school – a test should be taken and if positive the pupil should isolate for 10 days. Please inform school as soon as possible of a confirmed case – we will need to trace and isolate contacts.
• We do not yet know what the expectations are for February half term – but we will inform you in good time of the arrangements for the children of key workers.
Provision for pupils learning remotely.
We have learnt a lot about remote learning and have developed our platforms and skills. Remote learning needs commitment and perseverance from both sides – pupils and staff at St. Peter’s did really well with this during the first ‘lockdown’ I am confident we can do so again; however, I think it is important that I share what we expect from pupils and what you can expect from us.
• As we are adapting rapidly from our previous plans, it may be that pupils receive tasks to do via Edulink from Wednesday to Friday this week. There may be some live lessons on Teams – so please check both platforms.
• From Monday 11th January all pupils should follow their 3 period 2-week timetable. This week (4th January) is a Yellow week, next week from 11th January will be a Blue week.
• Lessons will be via a mixture of Teams and Edulink – pupils will need to check both. For live lessons pupils will be expected to be ‘present’ at the times set out in our Remote learning policy which I have attached to this message. Parents should send a message to class teachers where pupils are unwell. Registers will be taken for live lessons and non-attendance will be communicated back to parents unless a note has been sent in. In a Teams lesson, pupils need to follow the remote learning policy and conduct themselves in the way that they would in a school lesson. Failure to do so may mean that a pupil is asked to leave a lesson, parents contacted and further sanctions as would happen in school. This is so that everyone gets the best chance to learn remotely. Use of the ‘chat’ function needs to be responsible and appropriate. For some lessons, particularly in practical subjects, live lessons are not always the best vehicle and work / projects may be set in other ways. In a live lesson, there will be a mixture of direct teaching and independent tasks as there would be in the classroom, this is for each teacher to plan and deliver. Remote learning does not always work seamlessly and I would ask for your understanding when technical and other issues occur.
• When teachers are part of the rota for the children physically in school they will not be able to provide live lessons – work will be set via Edulink.
• Pupils can use their subject exercise books to do remote learning if they have them, if their books are in school they can use their independent learning books instead. If they fill these replacements will be available to collect from the school office.
• Pupils will need to submit work as requested by teachers and they will respond to this in the way that is most appropriate to what is set – this may be individual or group feedback.
Year 11 Pupils
• We will not be inviting Year 11 pupils into school for mock exams as planned.
• However, those pupils in Year 10 and Year 11 sitting the Cambridge National exam in Sports Studies should plan to sit this on 11th January as previously. The BTEC Digital Information Technology exam on 4th February will go ahead as planned. Pupils attending for exams need to wear full uniform. Masks should be worn until seated at exam desks. Any pupil due to sit these exams who is unwell or isolating needs to inform Mrs. Fairclough (Exams Officer) as soon as possible.
• The PM announced that Summer GCSE exams will not go ahead as planned. I know for many of you this might be frustrating and the uncertainty of what will happen will create anxiety. All I can say at this moment is that we will communicate with you and work with you to get the best outcomes for you and we’ll tell you what we know as soon as we know it. For now you need to continue to attend your lessons and learn as effectively as you can so that you provide us with as much evidence of your achievement as possible. Your lessons will follow your normal timetable as with other year groups.
Pastoral Provision and Safeguarding.
• Even though most of you will not be in school we are still here for you. Form tutors will send messages to stay in touch and if there is anything outside of subjects (where you should ask your class teacher) that you need our help with your form tutor is there for you.
• For more serious issues or in the event of a safeguarding issue please contact your child’s Head of Year who will refer it to the appropriate person in school.
• There will always be at least one member of Senior Leadership in school every day who can be contacted for very serious issues.
• For pupils in receipt of Free School Meals who are not in school we will be issuing e-vouchers to cover this. It may take a few days to set this up, but the amount will be calculated from Wednesday 6th January.
• The Year 10 Parents Evening planned for the 14th January will now take place at a later date – we will be in touch regarding this in the next couple of weeks.
As always, I would like to thank you for your support and understanding. By working together, I am confident that we will support our young people through this new period of restrictions. I am very aware that this lockdown has implications far beyond our school and if there is anything we can do to support your child and your family at this difficult time please let us know and we will do our best to help.
With very best wishes,