Dear Parents, Carers and Students,
Thank you for your patience as we got the first week of Term 3 under way – and also for the hard work and flexibility you have shown as we continue to teach and learn within the new national lockdown restrictions.
This year has not started in the way that we would have wanted but we have excellent resources to support learning from home. We learned a lot from the first lockdown experience, which has helped us put procedures into place quickly. As far as we know, we will be teaching and learning in this way until after February half term.
Awarding of formal qualifications for Years 11, 12 and 13
On 6th January, the Secretary of State for Education made a statement about examinations, having cancelled GCSEs, AS and A Levels earlier in the week. Gavin Williamson said that, instead of exams, there will be, “a form of teacher-assessed grades, with training and support provided to ensure these are awarded fairly and consistently”.
We await clarification and guidance from the examination boards, Ofqual and the Department for Education, on how this should be delivered. We are in touch directly with those students on vocational courses about their examinations.
What is clear is that students in exam year-groups, and indeed all students, should continue to engage as fully as they can in their education, to be in the best possible position whatever the assessment details are.
For us at The Cotswold School, the emphasis is on awarding the grades that students are working hard for, enabling young people to take their next steps with confidence, be that into Year 12; apprenticeships; employment; or to university or other further and higher education colleges.
Learning from home using Satchel:One
Each day starts at 9.00 am with tutorial. Work is set on Satchel:One for the rest of the day’s lessons following the timetable and is issued at the start time of each lesson. Many lessons are live on Microsoft Teams. You can read more about logging into Satchel:One and learning from home here.
Technology and learning resources
We are making sure that all children have the resources they need for home learning. Live lessons require an internet connection, but in most cases, you can also complete your work offline. Please check Satchel:One and follow your teacher’s instructions.
The government continues to promise digital equipment and support so that all can learn online. If you are concerned that you do not have the digital resources you need, please email Mr C Edwards on: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vulnerable children and the children of critical workers
The vast majority of us are working and learning from home. If you need your child to be in school and you are defined as a critical worker, please email Mrs Carter on email@example.com to arrange attendance.
Free school meals
We await further details from the Department for Education on how free school meal vouchers will operate over this lockdown period. We will send out an update as soon as we have firm information.
Making the best of home learning
I have been impressed by the way in which all our students have adapted despite so many restrictions so far during this academic year. In particular, I am thinking of our youngest and newest students. They had very few of the fun introductory activities that most year groups enjoyed at the start of their secondary school career.
If Year 7 families in particular have any questions or concerns about expectations or procedures relating to learning from home after reading this letter, please contact your child’s tutor or Mrs Carter, Assistant Principal and Head of Key Stage 3.
For general enquiries about learning, please email Mr B Edwards, Assistant Principal, Teaching and Learning on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Year 12 virtual parents evening
This will go ahead as planned this evening, Thursday 7th January. Please visit https://cotswoldschool.schoolcloud.co.uk/ to book your appointments if you have not already done so and contact email@example.com if you have any difficulties with this.
Year 13 mock examinations
These mocks will take place from home between 14th and 20th January. Students have worked hard to prepare for these and are aware of the rescheduled dates. We’ll hold a second round of mocks later in the spring.
Volunteers and testing
Finally, a thank you to all the members of our school community – over 150 of you – who offered to come into school to deliver the mass Covid-19 testing programme. We were overwhelmed by your support.
As and when we are required to start mass testing pupils we will be in touch. In the meantime, we will be regularly testing the limited numbers of people who are in school during the lockdown, using school staff volunteers.
Thank you again for the many kind messages of support that we have received.
With best wishes,