As we move further into this very strange Summer term, I wanted to share with you some feedback from our Heads of Year. They are hard at work contacting selected students and have also been in touch with a number of parents who have asked for support in dealing with the challenges of distance learning. They have asked me to pass on to you all their sincere thanks for the work you are obviously doing to support your children in their learning. They have very much appreciated the conversations they have had with you and have said that their jobs have been made much easier by the proactive and positive approach being taken by the vast majority of our parents.
The message coming back to us through these contacts is that most parents are happy with the work being set, but that the most difficult thing is to establish and maintain routines. Routine is, of course, very important; we believe that it is vital not just for learning but also for the mental health of our students. I would add, however, that the routines have to be manageable; we are not expecting any child to be sitting for 5 solid hours at the computer every day and we are not expecting you, as parents, to replace the teachers! The key message remains that as long as they are tackling the work set as well as they can, students will not be disadvantaged when we come back to school.
In order to get more widespread feedback about how students feel about distance learning, we have asked Year 10 students to complete an online survey. I strongly urge you to encourage your child to complete this survey, because we will use the results from it to plan future learning. Please be assured that the data from the questionnaire will ONLY be used to help us to refine our offer to our students and parents.
Of course, our offer is evolving all the time; as I mentioned in my last blog, we have been experimenting with live lessons for selected groups in Year 10. The feedback so far has been very positive and we are looking to continue and develop this approach as we move forward. Students seem to have enjoyed the live interaction with their usual teachers and, of course, the contact with their usual classmates. The focus at present is on Year 10, as we are particularly concerned that these students will, we currently believe, have to sit exams as normal next year.
Finally, a second letter was emailed directly to Year 11 students and parents at the end of last week. If you are a Year 11 parent and have not received this letter, you may want to check that we have your most recent email address so that future correspondence reaches you. In the meantime, the letter is on the website.
I hope that this blog finds you and yours safe and well.