My guess is that you will have been keeping a close eye on the news this week awaiting the guidance from the government on how their stated ambition of getting all students back into school will be achieved. On Thursday the guidance was announced and published.
There were several leaks earlier in the week and we were a little concerned about some the things that were being suggested. But it was good news, much of what was leaked and of concern was left out … and the guidance is workable. Given the improved position, the balance of risk is now overwhelmingly in favour of children returning to school. The return to classrooms will be based on separating groups of children into “bubbles” and minimising contacts between them, rather than social distancing. We have immediately started planning on how the guidance might be implemented effectively at Patcham High. Our aim is to return to normal educational routines within the confines of this guidance. We have 3 clear priorities:
- A guarantee that students can catch-up.
The Senior Leadership team have held a provisional meeting on Zoom and we are meeting again on Monday (in person and in school … a first since lockdown) to start firming up the details of the plan that we have started to piece together in the last 24 hours. There is much to think about, and many different approaches to consider as to how we might best deliver education at our school from September. We are determined to put the right package together and a great deal of thought, consultation and hard work has already begun as we set our intentions on welcoming all our children back to a Covid secure school site at the end of the summer break.
I appreciate that you are keen to know what school is going to look like and what arrangements we will be putting in place. But there are lots of logistical implications and these will take a bit of time for us to get our heads around. I will be sure to keep you informed and I will write to you with the full specifics before the end of term. What I can say at this stage is that although things will be slightly different, your children will continue to experience a rich, broad and balanced curriculum. The school will not deviate from its core values and we will continue to ensure that we offer high quality teaching and do the very best for each and every student.
There remain some unknowns, most significantly around the format of next year’s GCSEs. However, we have had full assurance from the Department for Education that exams and assessments will be fair and no student will be disadvantaged by the school closures. The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) are consulting on proposals to modify the assessment requirements for some GCSEs. The consultation window closes on July 16th and after this we should get some clarity. I will keep you fully informed.
Please can I remind you that you can make an appointment to meet with me on Zoom at one of the ‘Virtual drop-in sessions’ (Monday, Wednesday and Friday 9:00-9:30am) by emailing EHolmes@patchamhigh.org.uk
Thank you for your continued support.
Please take care!