COVID 19: School Update 14 May
14th May 2020
Dear Parents and Carers
I thought I would write to you all with a general update, it feels like it has been a while since I have been formally in touch although I know that Hub teams have been regularly talking to parents via various means and I hope that you have all been receiving the weekly newsletter to keep you up to date.
First and foremost I want to acknowledge just how challenging the last 8 weeks have been for everyone, and on a personal level, just how very humbling it has been to hear and see the efforts everyone has made to do right by our community. Whilst I appreciate that we have all been affected by the pandemic, both personally and professionally, some people will have had very raw and intense experiences that will have been emotionally devastating. It is of paramount importance that we support each other during these difficult times. The single most important message I can give in this update is to talk to us if you have any concerns, questions, queries or issues. If we can help, we absolutely will.
Key Worker and Vulnerable Students
Whilst our school site is currently closed we have maintained our provision based at President Kennedy School to support students whose parents are key workers and for vulnerable students. We maintained this provision over the Easter holiday, including the bank holidays and also over the May bank holiday. This provision will continue up to Friday 22nd May but will not run over the half term break (Saturday 23rd May to Sunday 31st May). On 1st June the provision for students whose parents are key workers and for vulnerable students will continue but based back at Barr’s Hill site which will reopen. We would strongly encourage all parents whose students are eligible to take up the place. If you are not sure if your child is eligible, please contact your child’s Hub Director, their contact details can be found on the virtual school page of the school website.
Will we re-open for Year 10 & 12?
No doubt, like us, you will have seen the news and government announcements over the last few days. We are still very uncertain as to exactly what we are being asked to do, like the announcements in lots of areas of our lives, there is not yet quite enough clarity. We are working with the Local Authority, the DFE, Public Health England, The Futures Trust (our own Governing Body) and collaboratively with other schools in Coventry to put plans in place for Year 10 and 12 students, but we do not yet know precise timings or what we will be able to offer. As soon as we do I will be in touch with the relevant parents. Please rest assured that the overriding principle in
all of our conversations and planning is to prioritise the safety of staff, students and parents. At present the Government has no plans to open schools for Years 7-9 before the summer although, as we have all seen, things can change fast. If there is any change I will of course contact parents straight away.
Learning from home… The Virtual School
Meanwhile our Virtual School continues to go from strength to strength. There are wonderful examples of work that students have produced and almost all of our students are working hard from home. Well done! This is not easy to fit in around challenges at home, internet connections, device sharing and other issues and challenges that we are all facing. A reminder that what we are hoping is that all of our students can keep active enquiring minds whilst they are unable to access direct teaching in school. All the information, links to learning resources and contacts are on our website here: https://www.barrshill.coventry.sch.uk/virtual-school/ If you have any questions or are unsure about anything at all please do not hesitate to contact your child’s Hub Director in the first instance. We will be more than happy to help with anything we can.
New School Uniform
Parents will be aware that in Jan/Feb of this year (prior to the Covid crisis!) we ran a consultation with pupils, staff, governors and parents to consider changing the school uniform. In February the Governors agreed to the change and a detailed tender process was run. Cat Ballou were successful in winning the tender and are now the schools uniform supplier. The new uniform can be ordered from Cat Ballou (see attached details from them about online ordering, click & collect and other options) and should be worn by all new Year 7 students in September. Existing pupils (the current Year 7-10 who will be Year 8-11 in September) can chose to either wear the new uniform in September or continue to wear the old uniform until Christmas. Our aim is that in January 2021 all students will be in the new uniform. Cat Ballou tell us that supplies are not an issue despite the current crisis. If parents do want to buy new parts of the old uniform, then both Andy Blair and Cat Ballou tell us they have some remaining stock. I understand that for many parents finance may be very challenging at the moment. If there are any issues with the cost of uniform please do talk to us. We have a stock of spares of the old uniform and will be most happy to support by lending or selling very cheaply elements to help you reduce costs.
Centre Assessed Grades & Post 16 Places
The school is submitting Centre Assessed Grades for all students that have been unable to sit examinations this summer. We have closely followed the Ofqal guidance and processes. For those students who have applied to join us next year in P16 Select, we will be in touch shortly with more information and a “Preparation for P16 Select” learning pack that will enable you to ensure you have consolidated the important GCSE content that will set you up for the courses you wish to study in P16, as well as some wider reading and more general preparation to be a P16 learner. Our Careers team are in touch with the small number of students that are considering alternative destinations such as College courses and supporting them in applications. If you would like to talk to our Careers team about anything to do with progression or destinations, then please contact them. Details are on our website here.
If you have any safeguarding concerns while your child is not in school please do not hesitate to contact us on our special Safeguarding phone line: 07724046375 with any concerns.
It does start to feel as if there might be some glimpses of blue sky through the very dark clouds we have all been living under. Whilst we wait for things to gradually return to normal I hope you and your family keep safe and well. If there is anything the school can do to support you please don’t hesitate to contact us. If we can help, we will.
Mr C Jupp