Dear Parents and Carers,
Please click HERE to read the detailed guidance in advance of our full return in September. I would be extremely grateful if you can read this carefully alongside your son and/or daughter and ensure that they understand the new arrangements.
In line with Government guidance, the school will be organised into Year group sized bubbles (The VI form will be treated as a single bubble). Each Year group will have all lessons and social time together in a single bubble. There will also be considerable investment in signage over the summer holidays to ensure that it is clear which doorways, rooms and staircases can be used by each Year group.
During the Induction process in September, we will specifically teach each Year group the necessary routines and also publish Year group specific guidance which can be taken home and kept as a reference point.
There is currently no time scale proposed for these arrangements to stay in place – although we will of course review regularly, both to quality assure our own systems and processes and also to adapt when new Government, Department for Education and Public Health guidance is published. We will also again publish a full and updated risk assessment on the school website before the start of term in September. I will notify parents when this is available; this is likely to be in late August when all site work and arrangements are in place.
The new arrangements mean some changes to current practice and require different ways of working for everybody. We will be expecting exemplary standards of behaviour throughout the school as this will be required to ensure the safest possible return for every individual. There will also be some necessary compromises to both curriculum and delivery as health advice, Ofqual changes to exam specifications and the arrangements of the bubble system mean that individual and whole class teaching will be the predominant mode of teaching and learning.
Thank you in advance for taking the time to read this carefully and discuss with your son or daughter. It can be difficult to deal with uncertainty, but we should take confidence from the way in which LAW school, Year 10 and Year 12 provision has worked so successfully by careful adherence to our published guidance for this term. Students, staff and parents have worked as one to implement all aspects of the system. I have no doubt that we will be able to accomplish the same sense of individual responsibility within a shared commitment to making our school community work as safely and as effectively as we are able. The mission for the Autumn term remains to deliver the very best education possible in the safest way possible. We are looking forward to having everyone back in September!
We are anticipating a full return in September and guidance on shielding and the re-opening of wider society facilitates this. We will then resume all policies and procedures in regard to encouraging attendance at school. However, if you have particular individual concerns or circumstances which you would like to discuss, please contact the relevant Head of Year – contact details are below:
One change that is of significance is that we would ask parents to adopt a precautionary principle regarding illness, particularly if any symptoms are associated with Coronavirus. In these circumstances, the message is clear: please do not send your son or daughter into school and arrange for a test at the earliest opportunity. We will of course adopt the same policy for our staff. We are probably used to coping with minor illnesses and still attending school or work and this is likely to be a change throughout society. However, please do note the availability of mass testing https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/get-an-antigen-test-to-check-if-you-have-coronavirus/. As soon as a negative test result is received, students and staff will be able to return to school.
Year 11 and Year 13 Results Days
We are currently in receipt of slightly conflicting information regarding our ability to host results days on site at Wollaston School during August. Whilst the DfE and Professional Associations have advised that we are able to host results days on site (for small groups at allocated times) if we follow social distancing procedures, we have received a letter from the Director of Public Health Northamptonshire asking us not to host results days on the school site on the grounds of minimising risk of transmission of coronavirus.
Obviously – this does make decision making difficult. However, we have worked throughout this difficult period of time by fully following all health protection measures, and it would seem reckless for us to act against the advice of the Director of Public Health. We will therefore be facilitating an online issuing of grades on results days. Further detail for each Year group will arrive in a letter from Mrs Lydon, Mr Mills and Mr Stevenson before the end of term. A reminder that the dates are: 13th August 2020 for Year 13 and 20th August 2020 for Year 11. We will of course keep this under review and if advice changes we may adapt our plans accordingly. Please do be assured that we will of course be available on site for personal appointments if students need help with their grades, entry into the VI form or college or any other enquires. A full team of staff will be available on the days and throughout each week. We will provide details of how to book an appointment and get in touch.
2020 Qualifications: Appeals and Requesting Grade Information
As mentioned in a previous letter, our understanding from Ofqual is that all centre assessed grades should remain confidential and an extract from their FAQs can be found here:
“Can I see the grades my school or college submits for me?
No, this information will be confidential. Please don’t ask your teachers, or anyone else at your school or college, to tell you the grades they will be sending to the exam boards or where they have placed you in the order of students; they will not be allowed to share this with you.”
However, again frustratingly this seems to be an area where there is emerging and conflicting advice from various stakeholders, particularly around GDPR and Subject Access requests. Obviously the last thing we would want to engage in at such a busy time when we need to be working with students on the next stages in their education is a raft of GDPR requests. In order to bring some clarity to the situation, as part of the post results day service, we will include a pro-forma to request further information if you feel that the grade that has been awarded is incorrect. The first stage of this would be an in school check on the data submitted, the outcome of which, we would feedback to students and parents. As mentioned in the previous letter, if this did not resolve the issue and there seemed to be an error at exam board level, we would help navigate the appeals process which Ofqual have said exam boards must have in place. Please do note that these appeals can only be based on potential errors in the system, there is not a facility to appeal their judgements or moderation procedures.
In the meantime, despite this confusion at a national level, we are looking forward to seeing our students receive their qualifications in August. We are incredibly proud of our Year 11 and Year 13 students who have worked so hard during their time at Wollaston, and whose achievements will be doubly deserved in the current circumstances.
Thank you as always for your incredible support. I will write again briefly on Friday to conclude this academic year.
Mr J Birkett