1 June 2020

Principal's Parent Update - 6

Dear Parents and Carers,

Further to my letter that was sent before the half term break, I want to update you again on the position the College is in. We have all found ourselves in circumstances in which we have experienced uncertainty and at times a lack of clarity with what the future holds in both the short, and long term. From an educational perspective I wish to provide you all with a definitive answer of what you and your children should expect from the College over the next seven weeks as we lead up to the summer holidays.

I mentioned in my previous letter about the Government’s ambition for students in Year 10 and 12 to spend some time with their teachers before the summer holidays. Guidance has been provided on the potential return of these students and my team and I have conducted a full risk assessment to judge whether we will safely be able to welcome back some of our students. As you would expect, the priority for this risk assessment has been ensuring the safety of our students and our staff, but at the same time ensuring that any provision in College is purposeful and worthwhile for all of the staff and all of the students.

In these genuinely extraordinary times, all schools are trying to strike a balance between managing the circumstances for their staff, the students and their families with providing high quality Home Learning resources, providing childcare and protecting those children who are vulnerable. My job at this time is to decide how best to mobilise our staff to benefit all of our students in the most effective way. Although I fully understand the Governments’ ambition to prioritise those students who face exams next year, I feel that I have an equal responsibility all students, not just those who face exams next summer.

It is because I take this responsibility extremely seriously that I have taken the decision to keep the College closed for the rest of the academic year. This is for two reasons:

1. By inviting students back into College this term, I do not feel that I am able to provide enough assurance that doing so will be able to be done with a sufficient degree of safety at this time, and with enough purpose and worth to benefit all students. 

2. I feel that my staff and I can ensure a far greater educational benefit to all of our students through providing support by alternative means.

Please be assured, I have not taken this decision lightly, and I have done so in the best educational interests of all of our students.

In order to support our students for the rest of this academic year I would like to explain what remote support we will offer for our students to support their learning, to solve challenges they may face and to prepare them as well as possible for returning to College next academic year. This support will be offered in four ways:

1. Home Learning support through Google Classroom:
       - Through effective resources
       - Through assignments for students to demonstrate their learning 
       - Through secure dialogue for students with their teachers and Pastoral Leaders

This is currently in place and will remain in place for all of our students throughout the College closure and beyond. I will be instructing teaching staff to continue to develop the resources, the use of applications available through Google Classroom, to encourage students who are engaging with their Home Learning and to engage those students who are not. Students can communicate directly and securely with their teachers through this platform. I can now confirm that all Home Learning for all subjects is now available on Google Classroom and you can find guidance to access it and links to the resources on the Homework section of our website. If you have any technical difficulties accessing these resources, then please email us: techsupport@sjhcsc.co.uk.

2. Subject/Academic mentoring from teachers and Learning Mentors/HLTAs:
       - Face to face dialogue with teachers/Learning Mentors/HLTAs for students and parents through video conferencing (for Year 10 and Year 12 students in the first instance)
       - Dialogue with teachers/Learning Mentors/HLTAs for parents over the phone
       - Dialogue with teachers/Learning Mentors/HLTAs for parents via email

In addition to Home Learning support, we will provide parents/carers with the opportunity to request appointments with specific teachers/HLTAs to have time to discuss students’ subject specific progress and to help with any difficulties or issues that have arisen. Similarly, we will provide parents/carers with the opportunity to request appointments with Learning Mentors for more general academic support (please note the Learning Mentors will have limited availability).

3. Pastoral support:
      - Dialogue with the Pastoral team for parents over the phone
      - Dialogue with the Pastoral team for parents via email

The pastoral team will continue to provide support for students and their families either directly through appointments with a member of the Pastoral team, and/or through signposting families to a range of support that is available to them.

4. SEND support:
      -Dialogue with SEND team for parents over the phone
      - Dialogue with SEND team for parents via email

The SEND team will continue to provide support for students with SEND through appointments with a member of the SEND team. This could be for general academic support, for specific advice relating to learning needs, or through signposting families to SEND support that is available to them.

As a College we will now be working hard on making arrangements to offer all of the support that I have laid out in this letter and we will be in touch with you all as soon as possible to explain how the support can be accessed. In the meantime, please ensure your child (or children) continues to engage with the range of Home Learning resources we have available, and to explore the new resources that are now available through the Google Classroom platform.

We continue to offer childcare for our vulnerable students and children of key workers. If you wish to apply for this then please ensure you complete the survey on our website by 9.00am each Wednesday.

I hope this letter finds you and your families well, I would like to thank you all for your ongoing support.

I will write to you very soon to update you further.

Yours faithfully,

Mrs J Bevan