What a week! We almost made it.
Corona virus certainly was not going to leave us alone this week and seemed intent on picking off staff and students until, once we had established who else needed to isolate using our very effective internal track and trace procedures, we found that we didn’t have enough staff left to continue to open the school safely. Unfortunately, this is one of the disadvantages of having a small school. So, it was a very reluctant head teacher who was left with no other choice but to make the decision to close for the last four days of the half term.
Once again, massive thanks are due to staff, students, parents and carers for their timely responses; everyone has responded brilliantly each and every time we have needed to call on them for their help and support.
However, in many ways we should be congratulating ourselves. Following the lengthy lockdown earlier in the year, and due to very detailed planning (and re-planning), we were able to re-open the school fully to our students in September and, not only that, we were able to open offering access to the full curriculum; a lot of schools nationally were not able to achieve this.
There is also some good that comes from closing earlier than planned. It means that the entire school community has two weeks apart, which will hopefully, if not stop the virus in its tracks, certainly give us all some breathing space and allow us press the ‘re-set’ button, ready for the second half term of the year.
The work doesn’t stop
So, the building may be closed but the work doesn’t stop. The holiday doesn’t start until next week and everyone is expected to attend school online. We need support from parents and carers here to get those sleepy heads out of bed, get them online and get them following their usual school timetable.
Staff have had to learn a lot of new skills very quickly in order to enable them to deliver effective lessons remotely. This has varied from uploading resources, adding assignments, monitoring work and marking. Some staff have been adding voiceovers to presentations for students to access while others have chosen to deliver some of their lesson live, in real time, using Google Meet. Unlike when the country was in total lockdown, there is an acknowledgement that students cannot afford to miss any more of their education. The most recent statement from government says that exams in 2021 will go ahead and the plan is to delay them by three weeks. Now, I’m not great at Maths but I’m struggling to see how an extra three weeks in June is going to compensate for the loss of four months earlier in 2020. This makes it vital that every student attends every lesson and completes every piece of work that is set online. This is the only way we will be in with a fighting chance next summer when we get to exam season.
We know that not everyone has access to a computer at home and in the last few weeks, thanks to the generosity of the Westminster Foundation, we have been able to distribute a significant number of brand new laptops to many of our students. The school cannot fund a laptop for all students but is working hard to investigate alternative sources of income to ensure that, eventually, every student will have the necessary equipment to enable them to access online learning.
Have your say about the future offer for leisure, health and wellbeing services in west Cheshire
Residents, sports clubs and fitness customers are invited to help shape the future of leisure services delivered by Brio Leisure in west Cheshire. Cheshire West and Chester Council and Council-owned company Brio are revealing their vision for affordable and accessible leisure services for all and are asking residents to have their say on the ideas.
The future vision outlined in the consultation, which launches today, Thursday 24 September, is for accessible and affordable leisure, health and wellbeing services designed for each area to support and improve the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities. These would offer a customised range of services to meet the needs of residents. Alongside this, services could also be delivered in different ways closer to communities – including making more use of existing community facilities, partner networks, green space, outdoor facilities and digital opportunities.
For more information and to have your say visit: www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/brioconsultation
You can also email: email@example.com or request a paper questionnaire by phoning 01244 478 590.
Information sessions will take place via Microsoft Teams on the following dates:
Monday 19 October 2020, 6-7pm
Monday 26 October 2020, 3-4pm
To book onto one of these sessions and to receive information about how to access them, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The engagement will close on Sunday, 1 November 2020.
Return to school on November 2nd
It is important that, even during the half term holiday that you keep an eye on the school website and on social media for the latest updates from the headteacher as things continue to change on an almost daily basis.
Remember that, when in school, masks must be worn at all times in communal areas of the building. Along with stationary, masks will be available to purchase from the school reception but please note that they are also available cheaply at many outlets locally.
Have a restful half-term, recharge and STAY SAFE!