We have almost made it to the end of what we can all agree has been the most unique school year of our lives – just two more weeks to go. I have been very proud to be a part of our community over this time and have been inspired by the way people have navigated the crisis. I hope to provide you with a series of updates over the next couple of weeks as we begin to look towards opening up the whole school in September. I have made it no secret that I have personally found juggling work and home schooling difficult and as the term comes to a close I realise that my own children could have done so much more – I am probably not alone in feeling like that. Do I feel guilty? Well maybe a little. However, what I have come to realise is that just like me everyone has had to run their own race over the last few months. We have had to juggle our jobs with supporting our children. I am guessing that both have suffered. I have spoken about the phrase ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ before and for almost 4 months Honywood handed that baton almost exclusively to families. We have done our best to support from afar whilst being in exactly the same position ourselves. It is not long until we can receive the baton and get back to contributing to our village to raise our children. Roll on September.
I do hope that each and every one of you are able to switch off for the summer. If you have any concerns that you feel may be playing on your mind over the summer break please do contact us beforehand so we may help to address them. With only two weeks until we depart for the summer there are quite a few operational things I would like to share with you before the break to begin the process of pre-empting and answering some questions you may have. As we approach one finish line we are looking ahead to our next race: the autumn term.
End of term information
Please be aware that our last day of term for both Virtual Teaching and Physical Teaching in school will now be Friday 17th July. The final few days of school
will be used as staff training days so that preparations can be made for September.
Back to school in September information
As we approach the summer break we would like to make you aware of the new school year that begins on Thursday 3rd September for C7 learners only. The rest of the school (C8, C9, C10, C11) will begin on Monday 7th September. We shall send out further information about the start of term next week.
The guidance for opening school in September was finally issued yesterday. I shall be meeting with the leadership team on Tuesday to begin to look at the implications for us. As suspected the aim is for ALL children to be back at school – I am certainly delighted about that news. We will need to review and modify our risk assessments and plans but I am confident that we will be able to implement the guidance without any difficulty. I shall share our plans with you all as soon as we have put them together. In the meantime please don’t get bogged down in whatever threads appear in the media – I am sure there will be many. We are running our own race in our own context. If you wish to read the guidance in full it can be found here:
Results Day 20th August
The one thing we can’t escape is that results day is going to be very different this year. Usually that day represents a right of passage for 16 year olds. It marks their individual achievements and consolidates five years worth of work. GCSE exam results day is part of the high stakes accountability system that we have seen crumble over the last few months: ofsted paused; performance tables not relevant; exams stopped. What has taken its place is the less than perfect centre assessed grade system. I say less than perfect not to disparage the work that has gone into awarding each individual their grade but the sense of injustice we could potentially see as a result of statistical modelling that will ultimately override the work we have done. I think it is important for us to understand this.
The nature of statistics means that subtle nuances are often overlooked. In our case it will be harder for the system to recognize the improvements that our learners have all made over the last year when compared to previous cohorts. Exam boards will approach our results with one eye firmly on the past – a time when our results were not as good as they are now.
As you know, current restrictions prevent gatherings of more than 30 people. We have therefore, with much sadness, taken the decision that we will not be holding an in-person results day this year. Much as we love the opportunity to celebrate with learners, we don’t feel we can manage this in a safe way. All the usual hugs and tears just wouldn’t be right this year. Instead we shall be emailing out results on the morning of Thursday 20th August. We appreciate everyone’s understanding at this difficult time.
Social distancing and Staying safe
We have been looking at ways to unpick the differences in the guidance relating to social distances between this week and the week beginning 4th July as lockdown eases a little more and make them really clear for everyone.
The first thing that learners need to know is that we are still in lockdown in England and that everyone needs to continue to follow the rules. We will still be in lockdown on 4th July, although people will be able to do more things in a safe way.
Learners are allowed to spend time outdoors in groups of up to six people only. These can come from a mixture of households, but everyone should remain socially distanced.
The household a learner lives in can form a ‘support bubble’ with one other household where a person (for example, a grandparent) lives on their own. A ‘support bubble’ means that you can go into their house and they can go into yours.
From 4th July (this Saturday):
Learners can continue to meet in groups of up to six people outside, following social distancing guidelines.
The household a learner lives in can meet with one other household indoors or outdoors at any one time. Everyone should continue to practice social distancing from anyone who is not in their household or bubble.
People can stay overnight in the household of one other family, but if they are not in their bubble they need to maintain social distance.
- Can I meet 6 people and go close to them?
- No, social distancing is important.
- Can I stay overnight in a friend’s house?
- Only if you are socially distanced from them and they become your household’s nominated ‘one other’ household.
- Why are these measures still in place when shops, pubs and restaurants are open?
- Shops, pubs and restaurants will each have their own rules and controls in place, but the amount of contact people have with others needs to continue to be limited for two reasons:
- To slow the rate of infection.
- To make it possible to track and trace the contacts with anyone who becomes ill.
I hope this simplified version of the guidance helps and would ask that you share it with your child/children so that they understand the importance of following the rules. We will only be in a position to fully open in September by sensibly working together to protect our community.
The full guidance can be found via the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do-after-4-july