Letter from Mr Bellamy 08/01/21
We are at the end of our first week ‘back’ to school, and I wish to thank all in our school community for the commitment, spirit and determination to make this week, and future weeks, successful with regard to our fundamental aim to keep our students learning and learning well.
The high levels of engagement with Remote Learning and the support it entails, both in and beyond school, have been magnificent. Again, thank you to staff in school, staff at home, students at home, students in school and you as parents and carers, for the support and encouragement you have provided.
We have had many positive comments about the Remote Learning taking place, with the general consensus being that the commitment to regular taught, face to face lessons is making such a difference to that of the lockdown last year. Of course, new methods of teaching, largely through Microsoft Teams, mean there will be the odd ‘glitch’ and for the small number of students and parents affected by a problem, we thank you for your patience. As the week has progressed, almost all issues have been rectified and it seems that almost all students now confidently know their school password!
I am delighted to tell you that throughout this week, we have been preparing our Hilbre High School Covid Testing Centre and will soon be sending you further details about testing we will be holding in school.
Prior to the end of term, we shared with you some details about a Mid-Term Assessment Week, to take place in February. This will no longer be happening. Instead, we will be ensuring we have a system for assessing our students, whilst they are learning from home. However, this will not be in the format of a full assessment week as initially planned. Equally, we are reviewing mock examinations and how we might deliver them or an equivalent form of assessment in a fair and secure capacity for our students. Looking at the latest updates from the Government and exam regulators Ofqual will help us make the decision as to exactly what the best process will be.
Now for some practical information I can share with you. After a review of our online learning this week we are making the following amendments:
- Lessons will be fifty minutes long instead of an hour. Over this week, we have learned that both students and staff have sometimes not had sufficient time between some lessons to get set up for the next lesson, get a drink or have a toilet break. All lessons will start at the published time but will finish ten minutes earlier.
- Core PE throughout the school will be through a set of suggested activities that are available in Microsoft Teams. These will not be run as lessons and will not be registered. Some parents have requested to use this time for the family daily exercise. Alternatively, if you wish to take some exercise at a later time, students can use this time to complete work set in lessons.
- Core RE in Years 10 and 11 ONLY. These lessons have been set up in Teams and are delivered through the Oak National Academy. We will not be registering these sessions. Core RE in Years 7, 8 and 9 will be delivered as 'live lessons'.
- Citizenship lessons in Year 8 ONLY, will also be delivered through the Oak National Academy; again, we will not be registering these sessions.
- We will continue with the hour-long session for lunch.
All other sessions will be registered, and we are monitoring lesson attendance. If a student is unwell or has a medical appointment, please let school know by emailing the firstname.lastname@example.org to prevent any calls from school. As you are already aware, our expectation is that students will attend all online sessions.
We are endeavouring to have as many live lessons as possible but please be aware that there may be occasions where students have a taught part of the lesson and are then set an independent task. This is wholly appropriate and mirrors what we would do in school. There may also be times when staff absence requires students to access their work via the file provided for that lesson on Teams and to work through that. We are monitoring the impact of this.
For our students who are attending school, if they have a parent as a critical worker or are classed as vulnerable, we will be able to provide PE sessions from next week. These students can now attend school in their PE kit, but this must be the school regulation kit, not their own gym or sportswear, and we thank you for your anticipated support.
I’d like to finish as I began. We feel the first week ‘back’ to school in 2021 has been a success for our young people. This is most certainly because of the commitment from all in our Hilbre High School community. Once again, my thanks to you, for the contribution you are all making.