Dear Parents and carers,

Thank you for supporting another successful week of learning, both in school and at home. The plans for Year 10, 12 and LAW school provision continue to work incredibly well in practice and we are pleased that our attendance for these sessions is so much higher than is the case nationally. We are incredibly appreciative of your support, this genuinely could not be achieved without you, and please do thank your son or daughter, if they have been in school, for following the guidelines so carefully.   Thank you also for continuing to support the completion of work at home and attendance on interactive lessons. We want to encourage students to work hard for the final two weeks of term and be ready for the new academic year in September.

Apologies in advance for the length of this update – we are back in the realm of links to multiple guidance documents, but my judgement is that it is better to have too much detail than risk uncertainty or unanswered questions.

 

Start of term arrangements:  September 2020

The Government published guidance yesterday to all schools in England regarding how to safely provide a return to full time education from September. The good news  is that we can implement the necessary controls at Wollaston School and can facilitate a full return for all students in all year groups on a full time basis. This will not happen in a way which is just a restart of  “normal” school, as we will need to make several adaptations to normal ways of working, which we will publish in full before the end of the summer term. We will resume full curricular provision, but in order to comply with national requirements, there will be fewer opportunities for practical work and specialist workshops or facilities as each Year group will only have access to a limited proportion of the school site.  We will also make available our full risk assessments and detailed guidance as I know this level of detail has been reassuring to families who are concerned about a return to school.

As has been the case throughout, our aim will be to deliver the best education possible, in the safest way possible. I know there are numerous media reports which claim to explain exactly how schools will work. As ever, I know that this can be slightly disconcerting as reports and articles are often contradictory. At Wollaston School, we will adopt the approach that has served us well so far. We will study the guidance carefully and publish a clear and detailed plan which explains how we will make the guidance work for our school.  However, the important point is that all families should be prepared for, and hopefully look forward to,  a full return to school in September. Please also note that we will return in full school uniform – and all items are available to order HERE

The start of term arrangements have been planned to allow a phased introduction to school for all year groups as there will be significant induction required to outline new processes and procedures.  We are also ensuring that Year 7 and Year 12 have the opportunity to benefit from the induction programme that we were not permitted to run during this term. Please do read the details below carefully, as not all students will be attending each day. Please do also note that the details below represent a slight change from those outlined last week, to ensure that all year groups are in school during the first week of our return.

Tuesday 1st September 2020: Staff professional development day

Wednesday 2nd September 2020: Year 7 and Year 12 only

Thursday 3rd September 2020: Year 7, Year 12 and Year 13 only.

Friday 4th September 2020: Year 8, Year 9, Year 10 and Year 11 only.

The department for Education have published updated information for parents which can be found HERE

The full guidance for schools regarding a return in September is available publicly and can be found HERE

 

Summer Holiday Arrangements

As outlined last week, we have taken the decision that we will not routinely open during the summer holidays, although we are going to be incredibly busy preparing for results days for BTECs, GCSE and A levels, in addition to the necessary site and logistical preparations for September. The DfE yesterday have supported this approach by explaining that they will not be asking any schools to provide additional provision during the holidays. They have also made it clear that it is for schools to best decide how catch up funding should be utilised to best support student progress and seem to recognise that summer camps or similar, run by external groups, may not be the most effective way of ensuring full coverage of the curriculum. Our plan will remain – that is to provide students with additional support, resources and teaching in tandem with their  existing studies, once we return in September. These programmes will be planned and designed by Wollaston staff.

On a different point regarding the summer; if you are planning to travel abroad, please do be mindful of potential quarantine arrangements for your return. We would like a full attendance in September and we are of course reminding staff of this, to ensure that we are not caught out by any travel restrictions!

 

Qualifications 2020

A couple of updates here in relation to students in current Year 11 and Year 13 who will receive their qualifications in August 2020.

  • We are yet to have guidance regarding how we can proceed with results days, so will plan for both a remote and “in person” provision. If we are able to host face to face results days  – we are likely to stagger arrival times by tutor group to ensure appropriate social distancing. Further details will follow before the end of this term.
  • Please do be aware that we are not permitted under any circumstances to discuss or reveal centre submitted grades to parents or students. This applies both now and once qualification grades are released.
  • There will be an opportunity to appeal against grades awarded if you feel these are not correct. The exam boards have a process for this and staff at Wollaston School can advise and help you with how to use these systems.
  • There will also be staff on site to support with entry to your chosen route of education or employment. This will include advice on entry to our own sixth form as well as to Universities and apprenticeships.
  • Ofqual and the DfE have announced  plans to run a full examinations series in the Autumn term for those who are unhappy with, or want to improve their calculated grades.  This series will only include the written exams in each subject, apart from Art and Design.  The DfE are not anticipating large scale entry, as for most students, this would only be appropriate if the grades awarded did not allow them access to their chosen University, College or sixth form.  Details of the Ofqual consultation and plan for these examinations can be found HERE
  • Pearson have also published a message to parents regarding BTEC qualifications, which can be found HERE

 

Qualifications 2021

There seems to be emerging clarity that next year’s exams season for current Year 10 and 12 will run as planned, although with certain “adaptations”.  Ofqual have now published a consultation regarding their plans to amend certain assessment requirements and processes to ensure that students are not disadvantaged. There is also consideration of a delayed exams series which may take place in June / July 2021, rather than beginning in May.  However, please do be advised that all of the above is currently proposed for discussion, rather than a definitive plan. The Ofqual consultation document can be found HERE This document is open to parents and students to comment on, and details of how to respond can be found in the document above. We will be asking subject leaders to comment on proposals for their individual subjects, but from a school viewpoint, there seems to be a pleasing amount of joined up thinking here which aligns with the DFE guidance on re-opening schools. This recognises that not all practical work will be possible and that students will not necessarily have access to practical equipment or workshops.

 

Staffing Update

As we approach the end of the year, it is time to wish some incredibly valued colleagues farewell and best wishes as they embark on the next phase in their careers. We also welcome some incredible new staff to our school, whose Wollaston journey is just beginning! I have also included a list of colleagues who have been successful in gaining internal promotions and positions for the start of the 2020/21 academic year.

Staff leaving at the end of this year:

Mrs Bradley is leaving to take up a position in a school in Corby.

Mrs Hobson has been promoted to a SENCO role at a school in Rushden.

Mrs Fitzpatrick is leaving to teach in Kettering.

Mrs Murts is also leaving to teach in Kettering.

Mr Rowland has gained a promoted post at a school in Northamptonshire.

Ms Bunyan has also gained a promotion and will work at a school in Northamptonshire.

Mrs Dawes leaves us to take up a teaching position in Bedford.

Ms Sumner has gained a promotion to a school in Kettering.

Mrs O’Neill  leaves Wollaston to teach in Northampton.

Mrs Hawkins leaves Wollaston to relocate and teach in Yorkshire.

Thank you to all who are leaving for your incredible service to our students and to our school. Your work and contributions have been greatly valued and we are sure that your new schools will benefit from the  Wollaston magic that you will take with you!  All best wishes for your future careers and we wish you every success.

 

New staff joining Wollaston School

Once again we have enjoyed an effective recruitment cycle, and are delighted to introduce the following members of staff who will join us in September. We know that all will be made to feel most welcome by the entire school community and we look forward to welcoming then to the Wollaston team.

Mr Anderson – Head of School / Senior Deputy Headteacher

Ms Codner – Assistant Headteacher (Inclusion and SENCO)

Mr Jones – Head of Health and Social Care

Ms Monsell – Head of Art and Photography

Mrs Thacker – Exams and Data Manager

Ms Pearce – KS3 Lead for English

Mrs Carter – Cover Supervisor

Ms Bruxmeier – Teacher of MFL

Mrs Hoarau – Teacher of English

Mr Gowler – Teacher of English

Mr Dwyer – Teacher of Geography

Mr Brutus – Teacher of Maths

Mr Blincow – Teacher of Maths

 

We also have a number of internal promotions to announce, which have arisen from both staff leaving and some leadership team re-structuring. Congratulations to the staff below and we know that they will have a significant impact in helping us to realise our mission of Excellence in Education.

Mr Stevenson – Assistant Headteacher (Data, Exams, Assessment and Timetable)

Mrs Walker – Assistant Headteacher (Safeguarding and Personal development)

Mr Bevan – Head of Year 10 (currently Year 9)

Mr Jackson has also now been confirmed as the full time, permanent Head of Year 8 (currently Year 7).

 

Thank you, as ever, for all of your support and kind words particularly over the last few weeks and months. This has been all at once a devastating and inspiring time. I appreciate that as an entire school community of students, parents and staff, we have met these most unwelcome of circumstances with a real sense of unity, purpose and care for one another. We will finish the term well in the final couple of weeks and return even stronger in September.

Mr J Birkett

Headteacher