Information for all families
Friday, September 18, 2020
I hope that you are all well and in good health.
Firstly, a huge thank you for all of your support in these first few weeks back in school. It has been brilliant to have all of the students back in to school and learning in classrooms and other learning areas. The students have responded brilliantly and on behalf of the staff and governors we would like to thank you for sending your child to school and the confidence that this shows in us. Aside from the changes that we have made to the school day and lessons, it has felt very much like business as usual and this has helped us get back in to good learning routines.
Whilst our attendance last week was excellent at 97%, this week we have more students and staff off. This has also been the case nationally. We are aware of the difficulties in accessing a COVID test and how this can affect students and households access to school and work. If you are unsure about whether to send your child in to school, please can I ask that you communicate this with us and refer to this helpful table:
As you would expect, we have been analysing, reviewing and adapting our plans every day since we first welcomed Year 7 students in on Friday 4th September. This has led to some small-scale adjustments and I am pleased that the time and effort that we put in to planning the students’ return to school has been successful. As you know, we have tried to keep communication with families open and clear since schools ‘closed’ in March. We very much want to keep working in this way and with that in mind I’d like to share with you the following information:
- As I have already said, the students’ return to school has been excellent and they have excelled in their understanding of the situation, engagement in learning and behaviour. With this in mind we are keen to return to our normal school life as soon as possible and a part of that is the homework that the students complete. On Monday 21st September students in Years 7-11 will have Knowledge Organiser (KO) homework to complete each night again. Whilst these will be checked the following morning in AM time, for the first week there will not be any detentions given for incomplete work. Hopefully this will help students ease back in to competing homework. The KOs are a very effective way of helping remember key information from across their 5 years in school, all of which could be in their GCSE exams. These will be particularly important with students having missed their usual diet of classroom learning during the last academic year. This year, the KOs are on the student and family portals that can be accessed online so they will not be printed apart from in exceptional circumstances, and we have made some adjustments from last year to reflect the feedback that we received.
- To help students gradually adjust to this, subject-specific homework will not commence until Monday 5th October. Also, to allow students to return to good learning habits, there will be no homework detentions for the week beginning Monday 21st September and these will commence one week later.
- As you know we have not held detentions, except for serious offences, since returning to school. From Monday 28th September, we will run year group detentions after school. They will be in classrooms in that year group bubble and, like last year, students will receive a detention for:
- Not having the correct equipment (30 minutes)
- Being late to school (30 minutes)
- Not having completed the previous night’s homework to the expected standard (30 minutes) – beginning Monday 28th September 2020
- Receiving a C4 and therefore being exited from a lesson, or another serious offence (60 minutes)
If your son/daughter receives a detention you will receive a message from us, explaining that your child will be in detention on an afternoon in the coming days (no longer same day). The reason for the detentions being after school currently is that the complicated timetable makes it near-on impossible to hold lunchtimes detentions for each year group and maintain our ‘bubbles’. Previously a very small number of families have seen after school detentions as optional. This is not the case and all students must attend any detentions given.
- As we have had such low numbers of students accessing the ASD Base gate, and it is still a short way round to the main entrance, we will be closing this after today. Students should enter and leave the site via the main entrance or the Preston Rd gate from Monday 21st September onwards. This will also mean that staff from the Senior Leadership Team deployed to that gate can be used to supervise students at the other entrance/exit points.
- From Monday 21st September, face coverings must be worn by all students and staff when moving between lessons. As most of you know, our ‘main corridor’, and some other areas of the school, can get quite busy. We knew this would be the case but wanted to have 2 weeks at the start of the term when we assessed how the ‘bubbles’ worked and how this hopefully mitigated any risk. To ensure that all students and staff are safe, we will all put on a face covering when we leave a lesson/AM time, and will only take it off when we enter the next lesson or get to our designated social time area. This will help reduce the risk of passing viruses within those busy areas of the school. As currently, students or staff will not be required to wear face coverings during lessons or social times, but can if they choose. Therefore please make sure that all students have an appropriate face covering with them from Monday. Pupil Premium students will receive a free mask, should they want it, from their AM on Monday morning. Any student whose SEND need means that they would struggle to wear a mask will be exempt. If you would like to speak to one of the SEND team about this then please email them: SEND@prestonschool.co.uk
We strongly believe that these measures will help students return to their normal high standards of engagement and learning as quickly as possible, after the initial settling-in period, as well as safeguarding everyone in our school community.
Thank you for your ongoing support and, as always, if you have any questions please do get in contact with a class teacher, your child’s AM/LM or myself. All of our email addresses are on the school website.