Dear Parents and Carers, 18th May 2020
Apologies for the absence of my weekly letter last week, but I wished to take time to consider the full implications of the recent government announcements and publications.
You have no doubt heard the Prime Minister’s announcement regarding the intention for Year 9 and 12 students to have “some face-to-face support to supplement their remote education”. We are busily processing this information, alongside information from Dorset Council, in order to plan the next steps for our school community.
Wider Reopening of Ferndown Upper School – Next Steps
- From 1 June, Ferndown Upper School will not be opening more widely for students in any year group.
- We will however continue with our current in-school provision for the children of key workers and other priority students.
- Along with our Governing Body, the senior team and I are planning for a gradual wider reopening of the school, but this will only happen when it is considered practical and safe to do so.
- Year 10 & 12 students will be first to form part of a phased reintroduction to school.
From everything that has been said and published, it seems highly unlikely that Year 9 students will be returning to school before September.
It is therefore imperative that they continue to work upon their new GCSE courses, and we are going to move to ‘live lessons’ to support this. We are also going to carry out small group tutorials with the students (in each subject) once a fortnight to further support them.
There may be a few students who have been tempted to ease off, thinking that they could pick things up again when school restarts. If this describes your child’s approach, then please ask them to take stock and reconsider, their GCSEs will be upon them before they realise and every lesson counts. Any year 9’s who are unable to engage effectively at home will now be invited into school to work.
Years 10 and 12
It seems clear that the government is expecting the vast majority of the work that these students complete to be along the lines of ‘remote education’ and whilst the students have responded brilliantly to our online learning, it does not replace direct teaching. We are therefore going to investigate Y10 and Y12 returning to school from the 22nd June.
Once we have constructed our plan, we will update you but please do bear in mind that we will need to balance a range of factors: the safety of pupils in school, the safety of school staff, social distancing, groupings and group sizes, enough teachers to teach the students, enough teachers to continue providing online learning for the students who will continue to work from home etc. We will do our absolute best to achieve a solution that suits everyone, whilst prioritising the health and the safety of our community.
To continue working upon their new A level teams work in preparation for starting their Level 3 courses in September. This head start will mean they are ahead of the rest of the country and this should translate into higher grades.
Please note that Mr Collins has sent out some key resources on the Y11 Teams page, especially for those students who are heading to college or an apprenticeship.
Important Information and Action
As senior colleagues and I continue to plan and risk assess for a wider reopening of school, please could I ask you to read the government’s guidelines for parents:
Your View Counts
Please may I also ask you to complete this school survey on how effective Ferndown’s Home Learning has been to date? https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/7PFGXBK.
We also wish to liaise with you about how this return to school could be organised and will be sending you a survey to complete after half term. Stay safe
- We of course will keep up to date over the coming weeks. And we have deliberately timed this so that our re-open is three weeks after the primaries start back (and we will learn from them). But our aim (and we accept that this could change at any moment, but we wanted to give you as much advance warning as possible) is to have the following.
- Staff back from the 15th June.
- From 22nd June Y10 & 12 in every other day.
- Technically only staff who are extremely vulnerable and have received a letter should not be returning but we feel that it is our duty of care to also allow staff who live with an extremely vulnerable family member or who are vulnerable to also work from home if that is their wish.
- We will therefore run a home learning team who will deliver online lessons to Y9, and who will provide them with feedback and who will carry out small group tutorials with them every fortnight.
- We will then have at an in-school team who will deliver Y10 and Y12 lessons.
- We will move back to 1-hour lessons for Y10 at this point.
- So, one lesson in class followed by one home learning lesson that you will set up in your face-to-face lesson – so no more online learning.
- Students to bring their own IT in.
- Staff to consider other ways of facilitating to ‘over the shoulder’ e.g. LAN school.
- Only 15 in a class.
- There will be a one-way system for moving around the school.
- Registration will take place in the quad where we will take temperatures. Any student who ‘fails’ will be taken to C7 where they will be retested and if they are still too hot they will go home. This will also ensure that students arrive to your class in a staggered manner.
- At the start of each lesson, the students will ‘sanitise’ their desk and chair.
- There will be markings around the school to help ‘socially distance’ e.g. toilets, café and the courts.
- We will sanction for improper behaviour with regards to distancing.
- This will mean that there will be around 140 to 230 students on site each day.
- We will look into a staggered breaks and lunches.
- We will offer PPE to staff (via a Survey monkey from Cindy) – but the best policy is probably 2m distancing and hand washing / sanitising.
- The X & Y approach will cut the options groups in half.
- We will use a ‘Teaching Teams’ approach for core – support teacher to record the lead teacher’s input on Teams for those students who cannot come in. Options to record themselves if possible?
- Adapted uniform.
- Teaching bubbles (2m exclusion zone around the teacher) – set up in the set-up week from the 15th.
- We cannot guarantee that the students will be socially distancing outside of school, so we need to strictly socially distance as adults.
- No queuing outside of lesson, straight in lesson to wipe down the desk and chair. We will also dismiss students one by one.
- Y12 will be using their own IT in the café when not in a lesson.
- 4 staffed rooms are available for the vulnerable, disengaged and key worker students in Y9.
- We will canvas parents so we will have an idea on who will be coming in.
- HOS are to assess Y10 & 12 at home before they return. Y9 are to be home assessed before the summer.