The following message was sent out to parents on Monday 1 February 2021:

We are heading towards the February half-term break and I wanted to flag up the arrangements as we reach this milestone.

This email covers the following topics:

* Changes to Home Learning

* Half-Term Closure

* Half-Term Home Learning

* School Re-Opening

* Year 11 & Year 13 Exams

Changes to Home Learning

We actioned a series of home learning changes last week following the parent survey and the early feedback has been positive.

You can re-visit these changes here.

You can revisit the parent survey results here.

The aim of the changes was to make home learning more accessible, more flexible and more manageable and we think we have moved in the right direction on all these scores.

Half-Term Closure

The school will be closed over February half-term as normal – including for Key Worker and Vulnerable Children – as per the direction of the Department for Education.

There will be extensive building work going on on-site but the switchboard will not be manned. However, if you need to contact us then the school office email account will be checked on a regular basis:

Half-Term Home Learning

We do feel we could well be damned if we do set work, and damned if we don’t. There are good grounds to say children and parents deserve a break, and there are good grounds to say the catch-up is vital. Unsurprisingly, we’ve opted for something of a middle way so here are the plans:

Years 7-9 will not be set any new work. If they wish to do any work over half-term then we would recommend:

1.       Catching up on tasks set throughout the half-term – and ensuring one way or another that their SMHW account cleared for the new half-term.

2.       Completing the optional work set over the last fortnight; Eg – Music, Drama, RE, etc.

3.       Reading – with our recommend reading lists being a good starting point.

4.       Revising topics covered this academic year – with a  focus on the more sequential subjects of Maths, Science and French

Years 10-13 will not be set any new work but subject teachers will offer guidance this week through:

1.       A check-list of what key tasks should have been done over the last half-term.

2.       A check-list of key content for the term ahead for any advance prep.

The Year 10s and Year 12s should focus on ensuring they are bang-up-to-date and have their SMHW account cleared for the new half-term.

The Year 11s and Year 13s should also focus on these goals – but also remember that when they return they are likely to face internal exams / tests which will add towards the schools’ evidence base for their final grades.

School Re-Opening

The government have announced that they will give schools 2-weeks notice before any sort of opening and they will outline their plans on Monday 22 February. This suggests there may be some sort of return on Monday 8 March but this is far from certain.

If there is a return, it could well be a staggered one, but it is difficult to see how this can be combined with delivering home learning in the current format as well.

It does seem to be a case of ‘wait-and-see’ for us all – and when we know we will ensure you know.

Year 11 & Year 13 Exams

We are still awaiting the outcome of the DfE’s and OFQUAL’s consultation but the early indications are that there will likely be internal exams / tests which will add towards the schools’ evidence base for students’ final grades.

This means it is vital these students continue to revise and check over their work to ensure they are as well-equipped as they can be to deal with what comes.

Again, as soon as we get firm details, we will make sure it is shared with you all.

Matt Allman, Headteacher, added: “ Well we’ve pretty much survived a half-term now so we all deserve something of a break from it all. Ever-growing lists, eyes glazing over multiple Teams sessions, and wracking your brain on what you can recall from 20 years ago are not easy experiences to face. It will be tough to enjoy this half-term in the normal way, what with all the on-going restrictions, but please do your best and hopefully we’ll see next half-term having at least some time in school.”