15th October 2020
Closure of School for students in Years 11
As you will be aware, following three positive cases of Covid-19 in school, we now have 70 students from Year 11 self-isolating and 6 staff due to being identified as direct contacts. This combined with other staff absence related to Covid, has resulted in us having to make the difficult decision to close the school to all students in Year 8 and 11 in addition to those who are already isolating.
In order to operate safely for all students remaining in school and to manage the staggered timings to avoid crossover between bubbles, it is essential that staffing levels are at an appropriate level in school. As always, the health, safety and welfare of all students and staff is our priority. Up to this point, we have remained fully open to all students due to the way we have responded and adapted to the frequently changing rules.
All students will be able to continue with their learning remotely. I emphasise that this decision has not been taken lightly but in order for us to maintain safety in school, it is essential that I have enough staff to manage and support students. The school will also be closing to students in Year 8 and parents of this year group have been informed in a further letter.
Therefore, students in Year 11 should not be in on Friday 16th October or for all of next week, 19th-23rd October. I must stress that only those students identified as contacts have to isolate and they have already been informed; all remaining students in Year 11 do not have to isolate. All students should continue with their learning remotely.
In March and September, we conducted a survey with students to identify all those without access to a laptop or I-pad at home. All Year 11 students identified in the survey have been issued with a laptop, which was donated to us from the Westminster Foundation. We are extremely grateful for the donations and support from the wider community and Businesses to help us to support students in their learning at home.
There is now an absolute expectation for students who are not in school, to engage fully with Google Classroom on a daily basis. All staff are uploading resources and tasks for students to complete for every lesson, and in some cases, we will offer `live’ lessons or lessons that have other virtual elements such as voiceover to support students in their learning. This week it was announced that exams for 2021 have been delayed by 3 weeks. However, there is still much work to do so please encourage your child to engage with the work.
Tutors will make contact with all students next week to check on welfare and progress. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the school. I hope that you are able to enjoy a well-deserved rest in the forthcoming half term and we look forward to welcoming students back into school on Monday 2nd November.
Mrs Rachel Hudson