As this half term draws to an end it seems hard to believe that students have completed six weeks of remote learning. A huge amount of credit must go to them, and to you for the commitment, dedication and sheer resilience that is being shown by everyone.
There is no doubt that this lockdown seems harder and more challenging than the previous one for a number of reasons, not least because of the level of uncertainty over a sustained period of time we continue to face.
We are still unsure as to when students will return for face-to-face teaching, and whilst we have some indication of the way in which Year 11 and 13 will be assessed this year, we are still awaiting the outcome of the OFQUAL consultation to provide clarity. None of this is easy and the resolve students are showing in adapting to the frequent changes is nothing short of remarkable.
We know that our students will not be back in school before 8th March, but I very much hope that we will have clear guidance in the week beginning 22nd February as to when we will be able to welcome students back for face-to-face teaching. As soon as we have any information about when, and how, students will be returning to school, we will of course share this with you.
There is increasing optimism as the vaccination programme rolls out at speed and transmission rates start to fall, that we can look forward to returning to some kind of normality over the next few months. I really hope this will be the case!
During the last six weeks we have worked hard to successfully set up our Lateral Flow Testing centre in school where we have been regularly testing staff and our students who remain in school. When students do return, we are ready to implement mass testing, helping to ensure we protect everyone as much as we can. In order to test our students we need parental consent, and a form has already been sent out via SMS, MyED and Email to parents. Thank you to all of you who have already completed the consent form. If you have not done so yet then please check your email, text messages or the MyED app for your link. If you haven't got one please get in touch and we will send this to you.
We fully appreciate that it’s not just our students who might be finding this period challenging. Balancing home schooling, working from home, supporting your family, and dealing with all the other day to day events is not easy, and we recognise this. Your feedback on how we can help to make things easier at home is welcomed, and where we can, we have made changes to try and make things better.
I want to update you on a few things:-
- Live Lessons – Thank you for the huge number of positive comments we have had about live lessons. We work hard to ensure as many lessons as possible are live. There are, however, times where due to staff illness or staff training courses students will be set work on Teams rather than the lesson being live.
- Attendance - We are delighted by the levels of engagement in our live lessons and thank you for your support in ensuring students are ready to learn. However, if your child is too ill to participate in online lessons, please inform us in the usual way, just the same as if they were absent from school.
I also hope that students who took part in the well being activities last week during Mental Health week continue to use the strategies they learnt in dealing with these challenging times. In case you didn’t get chance to see what was sent out I have included them in the links below.
- KS3/4 Activity Mat for Children's Mental Health Week Feb 2021
- Sixth Form Activity Mat for Children's Mental Health Week Feb 2021
Once again, thank you for your continued support; it means a great deal to me and all the staff at Countesthorpe Academy. I hope to be able to update you very soon about about a return to face to face teaching and provide clarity regarding the Year 11 and Year 13 assessments.
Wishing you all a safe and restful half term break.