Welcome to the first blog in what promises to be the strangest Summer term any of us has ever seen! I hope that you and yours are keeping safe and well and coping with this unique set of circumstances.
I am sorry to start the blog on what might seem to be a negative note, but our first priority is to ensure that all our students are safe. With this is mind, I must share with you a message from Greater Manchester Police about social distancing. GMP has asked all Headteachers to pass a message on to parents and students to express their concern that some young people across the borough are not observing social distancing rules. In particular, they are concerned about small groups of young people gathering in public areas such as parks. It goes without saying that this is, in the current circumstances, dangerous for the young people themselves, for members of their families and for the wider community. I would stress that this is a general message to all Wigan parents and there is no suggestion that our students are involved, but it is a timely reminder as the good weather provides extra temptation to spend time outside.
Of course, “home schooling” officially starts again with the opening of the new term and it’s time to get back into whatever routine works for you and your family circumstances. We understand the challenges of home schooling and I would like to thank you for the work you are doing to help students in tackling the work being set by teachers. Most students are engaging well, but a small minority are not and they do need to engage with the work if they are to avoid being behind once we return to school. As a minimum, all students should be checking in with Show My Homework every day. It is even more important for current Year 10 students to engage with the work being set. There are no plans for exams to be scrapped or changed in 2021 and Year 10 students will need to be ready for the challenges of moving into and through Year 11.
Please be assured that teachers are working hard to make the work as relevant and accessible as they can. It goes without saying that everyone in the country is managing this unprecedented situation and you can ask for help and support through our dedicated email address at email@example.com. Heads of Year and other key staff are already making regular contact with a number of students and parents where there are identified needs. If you want to supplement your child’s educational diet, you will also find some really interesting challenges and ideas for activity on our Twitter feed. Added to this, the BBC has just launched their Bitesize material aimed at children of all ages.
Of course, Year 11 students are not forgotten! I hope that all our Year 11 parents received the information about the arrangements for exams just prior to the Easter break. Essentially, there is nothing that needs to be done by the students as grades will be based on their progress and attainment up until the closure of the schools. Please be assured that work has started on the provision of suggested grades to the various exam boards and that we will make absolutely sure that the information we use to create these grades is robust and fair. However, the exam boards will moderate our suggested grades and the final grade awarded may be different from any previously reported projected grade. On Friday last week, it was also announced that Key Stage 4 results day will be on 20th August, as originally planned prior to the current crisis. We will be in contact about arrangements for the receipt of results
nearer the time when we know what social distancing measures will still be in place on the big day.
Finally, I am sure you will be pleased to hear that we have made some good use of the Science equipment that is not currently being used at school. Our protective goggles, usually used for Science experiments, have gone to good homes within Wigan NHS. We also heard that the theatre nurses at Stepping Hill Hospital were running out of this vital equipment, so some have been donated to them.
Keep safe and well in these strange times.