Students working from home information

20th March 2020


Dear Parent / Guardian,

This letter is further to our previous communications around what the school will be providing and how on-line learning will work from Monday 23rd March 2020.

From Monday, work for your child will be placed on his or her Google classroom, by the class teacher. Work will contain resources and instructions to progress through. Our intention is to post the next day's work in advance, on the previous evening. The expectation of all students is that they follow as close to a normal timetable as possible. During the next few months it is very important that students form positive working habits which will help them progress. As such I would very strongly suggest that students should try to follow relatively normal routines during the week. This includes sensible sleep patterns, getting up and dressed ready for work and eating appropriate breakfast before starting work. We would not want to see students working unhealthily late at night. That said, we recognise that not all students will be able to follow the exact timings of the school day at home, and we are prepared to be flexible about this. Students should also try to work in an appropriate area and avoid unnecessary distractions so they can focus properly.

Teachers will assess work completed in a range of different ways. Some will be very superficial, for example asking students to confirm they have accessed the work and understood it. Some will involve asking for extracts of work to be returned, perhaps as an image, and then there will be more familiar methods of assessment, such as formal pieces of assessed work being set and marked. There will also be the use of on-line quizzes and tests to check understanding and subject knowledge. It will not be possible for teachers to assess every piece of work completed at home. We would therefore encourage parents to take a positive and active interest in their child’s work, looking through each evening what has been set and done and assisting us in setting high standards and expectations. Students must keep a record of what they have done. This would be best printed and stuck into books each night or could form a continuous record kept on-line to be printed at the end.

Whilst we will endeavour to set the right amount of high quality work this is a new venture for all of us. If you have concerns because too much work is being set, or too little, or the guidance is not sufficient then please email and put your son or daughter’s head of year in the subject line. They will then establish how to appropriately manage your concern. We would welcome constructive feedback on both the positives as well as any negatives. We will be sending a survey out over Easter to gauge how well our processes are working and how we could improve them. I would ask parents to be mindful that whilst we live in a digital age which enables swift communication, please do not expect an immediate response from either teachers or heads of year to any queries. Teachers will continue to have a very significant workload, setting, assessing and chasing work and many will be trying to juggle challenging circumstances at home, in the same way that all parents are. Enquiries from students are best submitted via their google classroom, rather than through email.

If your son or daughter is working appropriately through their home learning, then we will try not to deluge you with emails or instruction. However, if your child is not completing the work set to the expected standard we will be in contact either by phone or email. For some students who will find this particularly challenging we will try to be in regular contact to provide guidance, support and updates. We will continue to provide grades and reports according to our assessment schedule, the next time this will happen for most year groups is towards the end of term 5.

Finally, I would comment that whilst the novelty of this will be exciting for some students, the reality is that this is a hugely risky time for them in terms of their education. If schools remain closed until September, which appears to be a possibility, the difference between two pupils of similar ability, one of whom engages positively with this and one of whom doesn’t will be vast. This is particularly true of Year 10 and 12 pupils who will have very limited opportunity to catch up. It is important students understand that the work they are covering in the next few weeks and months cannot be retaught - there is simply not the time. Clearly as teachers we have a huge part to play in facilitating this as a positive experience, however, students and parents also have an absolutely vital part to play in ensuring no-one is disadvantaged through this process.

We as a school continue to be absolutely committed to supporting your sons and daughters. Please ensure you come to us if you need support and we will continue to do the very best we can.

Yours sincerely,

E. Hodges