Headteachers Letter -12th February 2021
Dear Parents and Carers,
Thank you for your incredible support over the last half term and we have now reached the midway point through another fairly extraordinary academic year! Thank you for everything you have done so far in 2021 to support the wellbeing and learning of your son or daughter and for working in partnership with us to ensure that the remote learning and LAW school provision has worked so effectively.
I hope that your children do manage a well deserved rest over the next week as we will need to be prepared for a fairly intense few weeks in the run up to Easter. The next half term is the shortest of the academic year, but will be the one in which we hope more students will be allowed to return to in person education, and we are also expecting to receive concrete plans on the awarding of grades for Year 11 and Year 13 in the 2021 qualification series. Whilst it is impossible to predict the details of exactly how both of these will work in practice, I am fairly sure that it will be a stimulating and rewarding few weeks!
Lockdown Announcement: 22nd February 2021
Boris Johnson has promised to unveil the road map out of lockdown on Monday 22nd February, which will include details of the full re-opening of schools. There is not yet a scheduled time for this announcement, and it is possible that it will be during an evening briefing. With this in mind, I will wait until the evening of the 23rd February to write to parents with an update of how the national announcements will be translated into practice at Wollaston School. As throughout the pandemic, we remain completely committed to opening to the maximum number of students allowed, at the earliest opportunity to do so. In any event, we understand that there will be no wider re-opening of schools allowed until the 8th March 2021 at the earliest. Once the details have been announced we will review all risk assessments and procedures to ensure that they are fit for purpose and support our continued mission to provide the best education possible in the safest way possible.
Parents Evening: Year 10 – 4th March 2021
Thank you for all of the feedback regarding the Year 9 event and particularly for those who made positive suggestions regarding how we can make the system more effective for staff, parents and students. The overwhelming feedback from all parties has been incredibly positive, with some requests that we maintain an online option post pandemic. The only real barrier which we need to overcome, is to avoid some staff needing to be on screen for over 10 hours in a row, which is clearly not desirable. We hope that we have a plan below that is flexible enough to avoid this, whilst still ensuring that parents have a wide options of times available to book in consultation sessions with teachers. Please find details below:
Live lessons will be suspended on the 4th March 2021 with independent work set for all year groups, as per the Year 9 day on the 4th February 2021.
The Year 10 consultation event will be spilt into 3 distinct slots.
12 noon – 3pm
3.45pm – 7.45 pm
All subject teachers will be attend the evening session, with a full range of appointments available to book. In addition, to provide the flexibility which was so useful regarding appointment times, all teaching staff will also be available during either the morning or afternoon sessions. Full details will be emailed to parents after half term – and of course all availability and booking will show on INSIGHT as with previous subject consultation evenings. As a reminder, as all appointments will take place on Zoom, there is of course no need or expectation to book subject teacher appointments in a row or as a block of time. This increased flexibility seems to have worked incredibly well during the Year 9 event.
We are very much looking forward to meeting with students and parents of our Year 10 cohort and discussing progress during remote learning and setting targets for success in the rest of Year 10. As ever we will be keen to take feedback on the format of this event to assist with our future planning.
Positive Coronavirus Cases
If your son or daughter does test positive during the half term break, please do inform us using the email email@example.com. This is particularly important if your child attends our LAW school provision as we may need to undertake contact tracing as a matter of urgency. I will be available on email each morning during the holiday to pick up any cases and will then be able to provide any further support and advice.
We know that some students are racing through exercise books during their remote learning, which must be a sign of how much hard work is being undertaken! If you would like to collect additional exercise books for your son or daughter please do so from the Wollaston School Main Reception from Monday 22 February.
Please observe social distancing rules and where possible, we would be grateful if you could collect between 9.30-2.30pm.
The programme of works to build a two classroom block on the site of the former swimming pool (last seen in operation around the turn of the millennium!) is continuing ahead of schedule, and substantive parts of the building are now in place. We hope to conclude this work as soon as possible as this will make a significant improvement to both the accommodation and aesthetic appeal of this area of our site. I will post photos on the website as soon as the area is clear of the various building debris and infrastructure. We do not yet have a final date for opening, but we do hope that the building will be in operation after the Easter break. Exciting times to look forward to, and I hope a helpful symbol that there are better times ahead……
Enjoy a good half term – and despite the restrictions, I hope that you and your families manage some relaxing time together.
Mr James Birkett