Dear Parents and Carers
I am very proud again this week of both staff and students. There continues to be very high levels of engagement with remote learning and live lessons and colleagues in school are doing a magnificent job of both delivering home learning and providing supervision in school for vulnerable pupils and the children of keyworkers.
Communication with families
As you are hopefully aware it is our intention to contact all families at least once a week by phone for a brief supportive conversation regarding your child’s studies and any pastoral matters in order to provide feedback whilst also allowing parents/carers a straightforward opportunity to have an ongoing dialogue with a member of staff during lockdown. The feedback from the calls has been overwhelmingly positive and colleagues have passed on all relevant points and suggestions to the appropriate staff within school. All parental feedback is gratefully received and I hope you understand that although we can’t always act on every suggestion we do ensure that all comments form part of our planning.
Assessment and Feedback
Staff in school will be providing ongoing assessment and feedback through activities such as question and answer sessions in live lessons and through the assessment of key pieces of work this half term. Students should be aware that individual feedback can’t be provided on every piece of work submitted to SMHW but that all work is checked for submission and used to inform future planning of remote lessons to ensure that pupils remain engaged whilst continuing to make good progress. The system for assessment and feedback has been planned for the whole of the half term of remote learning so that pupils receive regular, appropriate and productive feedback. Further details on the range of assessment and feedback that pupils can expect can be found in my letter of the 8/1/2021.
We have received information from the Government today that they are currently pausing the use of the COVID-19 testing kits provided to schools for daily testing of confirmed positive cases. The reasons for the pausing of this aspect of the Government’s strategy has been well publicised in the news media over the last few days.
When notification of a positive test is confirmed in school we will now continue to ask students and staff to self-isolate as necessary and not use testing as a means to facilitate students remaining in school.
The weekly testing of staff is recommended to continue and testing of staff in school has begun this week. The Government is also still asking schools to test pupils on their return when consent has been provided and thank you to all those parents who have completed the online consent form to sign up for testing. (The consent form link was provided in my letter of last week).
Further information about the Government’s announcement: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/daily-contact-testing-in-schools-statement-from-phe-and-nhs-tt-about-next-steps
Year 11 GCSE Grades Consultation
Ofqual and the Department for Education have now released their consultation document regarding their plans for assessing and awarding GCSE grades to Year 11 students in the Summer. The pleasing aspect is that the document makes clear the importance of Year 11 students continuing to work hard and engage with remote learning and their studies in school when we return to face to face education.
The document provides some clarity on some of the proposed methods that schools will use to judge students GCSE and vocational performance and staff and myself have already contributed to the consultation on behalf of the school. It is however, vitally important that as many students and parents/carers as possible contribute to the consultation so that any decisions made by the Department of Education and Ofqual on the system of awarding grades can be fully informed by the views of our community. Please do read the document and fill in the online questionnaire if you are able.
The consultation can be completed online by following the link below, please be aware that the deadline for submission is Friday 29th January 2021.
When the consultation is complete and we have further information about the final format of the process for the assessment and awarding of GCSE/vocational grades I will write to you again to provide further details
Thank you for your ongoing support
God Bless and Stay Well