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Published on 12th May 2020
Dear Parents / Carers
In this letter I am trying to emphasise the need for ‘balance’ and ‘well-being’ as you do your very best in supporting your child’s education at home. The ‘teenage’ years have always been challenging and emotions can oscillate between extremes. This is a perfectly natural process and varies with each individual child. But in the current environment and the lack of an obvious escape this can become or appear to be more extreme – feelings of sadness, anger, loneliness or aggression etc.
All our families and extended families have concerns re personal health or the health of others, economic concerns and simply the lack of human contact that we all had become used to. I am aware that some of you have adjusted well and that many children are coping with the work set and have established a great routine. That is wonderful and worthy of praise. A routine is really important for young people including what time the day begins, exercise, school work, bedtime etc. If you have found this difficult to achieve it is not too late to agree one.
I am also aware that some children are more challenging at home. This is of no surprise and is more typical than you may realise. This is no different than in a normal classroom situation but at home it is more pronounced. Worry and fear are natural feelings for all of us parents and that will not go away. But worry and fear never have and never will offer solutions. So, I want to return to the need for ‘balance’ and ‘well-being’ of your son and daughter who may be a cause of some personal concern. As we all know, children respond to praise and encouragement.
The preference is of course for your son or daughter to engage with all the learning. But it maybe that some subjects are less enjoyable or accessible than others. Again, this is normal. Most importantly your son or daughter needs to continue to feel loved. Eleven to sixteen-year olds become increasingly sophisticated at hiding their insecurities. Feeling that they are ‘behind’ with school work or not being to ask each other for help may present themselves in frustrated or reclusive behaviours.
Finding the right time to communicate with your son or daughter may not be easy. I would encourage you all to persist! If your child has had a bad day I am suggesting it may be unrealistic to expect them to catch up on all the work. I know that we would all agree that well being of your son or daughter is the most important. Staff will do their very best to support where ever possible.
Year 10 Mocks were due to take place in June so some consolidation revision activities will form part of future learning. Likewise, Year 8 exams were due in June and Year 9 (core subject) exams were also due in June so consolidation activities will form part of future learning. The options process is now complete so after half term there will be no need for Year 9 students to complete work for subjects that they will be no longer studying. Year 9 students should spend that time doing their best to completing other work to a high a standard as possible. GCSE work has already begun for year 9 in many subjects.
Parents / Carers of SEND children: I fully appreciate that remote learning can be even more challenging. In short if this applies to you please focus on what your child is able to get done, rather than having everything that is set. In this way teachers will be able to see that they are engaging with the work.
Teachers will still be in contact where possible if they cannot see that students have engaged with the work. Teachers will also understand that you are the gatekeeper of your child’s well-being.
A number of you have enquired as to using more face to face web-based teaching. I am aware that some staff have provided clips to support certain activities. This will be reviewed in a balanced manner – as you will appreciate several staff are also looking after their own children .
As you can imagine I am inundated with advice and guidance as to opening a school safely should the government so advise. I hope that we are in a position to achieve a phased return before this academic year is completed. At the moment I cannot foresee a situation where that will be all children from all year groups at the same time given the need to social distance. I will update you as appropriate.
Please rest assured when your child is back in school we as a staff will do our very best to support your child in their development and academic success.