Dear Parents & Carers

After a couple of days of trials and adjustments, we have started our weekly testing of all school-based staff and will begin testing students who are in school (our vulnerable and critical worker provision) on Monday. By the time all students return after lockdown (assuming we are still required to test) this will be a slick and efficient operation.

I will never defend the ham-fisted way the Government has dealt with their plans for education – it has been a mess of announcements, U-turns and re-announcements. However, as I have said before, if testing helps get kids back into school and keeps them there it is well worth the effort. And to be honest, we have found it quite an interesting process getting it all in place. Before school closures were announced we were planning mass testing of all students twice in a few days, so at full capacity, our facility can process 180 tests an hour (up to 900 a day) if we need to. As it stands, we need to do far less testing while most students remain at home in lockdown, but it is there for when we need it.

Meanwhile, it does occur to me that now we have sorted healthcare waste disposal (that was a learning curve), have all the PPE in stock and have installed computers in the sports hall with wired network connections, it would make a useful vaccination centre whilst the kids are not here. It is something I have mentioned to a few people locally who are involved in vaccinations or politics, but until the distribution of the vaccines is up and running, I believe our lovely testing facility will remain largely unused.

At the end of another roller coaster week, I hope that your child is settling into a routine of online learning at home. Please remember to email their Head of Year if there are any barriers to learning at home, including technology, and we will see what we can do.

In terms of GCSEs and A Levels, we do know that it will be teacher assessed grades again but the details have not yet been announced. Our message to students in Year 11 and 13 is to keep working hard and building up the evidence of what you are capable of. Please don’t contact us about your child’s likely grade; we are not allowed to discuss it. It is malpractice and we won’t return emails or calls on that subject – we aren’t being rude here, it’s just the rules when it comes to teacher assessed grades.

Stick with us and keep up with the online learning.

Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives

Andy Perry – Head Teacher

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