As you know we are all facing extraordinary challenges at this time and the situation is placing pressure on all parts of society. Our staff have been doing all they can to keep our school open since this crisis began and along with the Wade Deacon Trust and our Local Governing Body, I would like to pay tribute to their remarkable commitment.They have been extraordinary and we will continue to play our part over the coming weeks.
As you may be aware, the Government made several very important decisions on Wednesday evening (18th March) about schools. There will be further details to follow but I wanted to ensure you had as much information as possible as early as possible.
The first is that the Government has advised schools in England to close, except for certain groups of children, from this Friday afternoon (20th March) onwards as a further measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19. No date has been set for when schools will re-open for all students.
From Monday, the school will continue to be open for all the following groups of students;
Those classed as what the Secretary of State described as vulnerable children. These would be those who have a social worker and those with EHCPs.
For students in these groups, we have also been asked to try to remain open through the Easter holidays and we will do our best to achieve this.From Monday 23rd March and throughout this period our school will provide care for these children. I have sent a survey out by text requesting parents/carers declare their occupations. This survey is also on the school’s official twitter feed and website.If you have had difficulties completing this please contact the school office (0151 525 2630) or email: email@example.com so my leadership team can assess the level of provision that will be required on Monday.
For children coming to school on Monday, the building will be open for pupils from 8am and Registration will start at 8.45am. School uniform is not required, but we ask that you child dresses sensibly in comfortable clothing that is suitable for a range of activities including some sports.
The school day will follow the normal timings and food will be available in the usual way at Breakfast, Break and Lunch.
School will finish at 2.45pm and we would ask that pupils leave the premises by 3pm.
I hope you will recognise the difficult times schools and teachers now face.We are called on to provide emergency childcare at a time when many teachers’ first thought will be to remain with their families and children.It is essential that we will all pull together to support our emergency services and key workers and you can do this by minimising your call on our limited resources.Therefore, children who do not fall into the groups listed above should remain at home with the appropriate care. There may also be partners who work from home or other non-elderly family members who could provide childcare support. I must stress schools are closed for public health reasons and the provision we are putting in place is an emergency measure only.Please support our staff and each other by respecting the need for key workers to have access to appropriate childcare at this time.
It is essential that during the school closure pupils continue with their learning as failure to do so will result in them forgetting core content. Pupils have been sent home with packs of work to complete during this closure, and they all have exercise books to complete this work in. In addition to these physical resources the Pupil area on the website contains resources and links for all subjects and every year group, with a guide as to what work should be completed. Office 365 was launched with pupils this week and they should now know how to log on and access emails. If your child was absent this week there are instructions in the pupil area of the website to enable them to access this. Staff may email pupils with instructions for work, and pupils can email staff if they have any questions about the work set.
The second key Government announcement is that tests and exams will not take place this summer.For children and young people who have worked so hard to prepare for their SATs, GCSEs or A-levels this may be upsetting, and we sympathise with them.At the same time we understand the decision the Government has made and we are reassured that children’s grades in GCSEs and A-levels will be awarded on the basis of moderated assessment, in conjunction with the exam boards and Ofqual. This means that the hard work students have done will be rewarded. It may not feel quite the same, and nor is it, but they will receive grades that will progress them to the next stage of their lives.
I would like to take this opportunity to remind you that our text service, website https://www.hillsidehigh.co.ukand twitter feed @hillside_high will be used as the official method of communication during the period of closure to ensure reliable and clear communication from the school.
Finally, I would once again like to take this opportunity to thank you wholeheartedly for your understanding and ongoing support in helping us to manage this unprecedented situation.