17 April 2020
Dear Grey Court Community
As the official Easter break comes to an end, I would like to take this opportunity to update you on all things Grey Court and our plans and expectations moving forward. I do hope that the Easter holiday has provided an opportunity for some well deserved rest and that the wider reading/listening and watching pack that was issued prior to the break has been beneficial in terms of keeping your children busy. I also hope that you have managed to enjoy the splendid weather and have made the most of the daily exercise opportunities.
From Monday we will be returning to remote learning with the expectation that students are following (as far as possible) their normal timetable and completing homework. As stated previously, students are not expected to spend more time than allocated on their timetable on any lesson. Breaks can be longer if needed and children can participate in exercise when and if required. The purpose of Grey Court continuing to produce lessons is mainly to keep children engaged in learning and to provide structure and routines to support families during these difficult times. Ultimately the students are now in your care and you can choose to further support their learning with additional material if you deem this appropriate. The curriculum packs are available on the website and give an overview of the topics that will be covered in the summer term. Some families have decided to look for additional resources to support the teaching of these topics and if that is something that a family decides to do I am fully supportive.
We are working hard towards encouraging and providing more training for teachers to use Google Meet and take advantage of the more interactive elements of Google classroom. Please be mindful that for some staff this is a very steep learning curve and if they wish to facilitate learning through slides and written instruction then they have my support. Staff are a key component of our community and their wellbeing and anxiety is something we must be mindful of.
The Year 7 and Year 8 exams that are scheduled for the 27th April will be postponed. At this time it would seem inappropriate for the school to impose any additional stress or anxiety onto the young people that we serve. In addition, as these exams would need to be conducted remotely and not under exam conditions the results would not have the required validity to inform any type of set changes and/or subsequent interventions. Given the uncertainty in terms of the timing of our return, it is possible that we will not undergo exams for these particular year groups during the academic year.
Year 9, 10 and 12 should be working under the expectation that they will sit examinations at the end of the summer term. Given that these year groups will be GCSE/A Level students from September the need to assess, and subsequently analyse gaps in understanding and/or knowledge base is clearly heightened. It is imperative that students try as far as possible to keep up with the curriculum being delivered, as given the present uncertainty, we may not be in a position to teach/recap all of the course content in the time that is left to us prior to the public examinations.
Year 11 and Year 13 students will continue their daily diet of remote lessons until the 11th May. This date would have been the first official day of the GCSE/A Level exams and by this time all course content should have been delivered. Upon our return we will be carefully following the guidance from OFQUAL (click here) as we embark on the process of estimating GCSE/A Level grades. I would recommend that parents and children read the Ofqual letter to students. Prior to the forced shutdown, both Y11/Y13 students were prioritised in terms of the resources that would enable them to keep up with the remote learning being facilitated by the teaching staff. This was done so that no child would be disadvantaged in terms of the work that they could complete and submit. Student work that they produce over the next 3 weeks is very important and could be included in the classwork/homework category of assessing student progress and attainment. If any student cannot complete the work set and is therefore disadvantaged, it is imperative that they contact their Head of Year as soon as possible so we can work together to find a solution and enable distance learning to continue. Post 11th May, we are working on a collection of resources that can support the Y11 students in their transition to A Level. This will be supplemented by the opportunity to embark upon an Extended Project Qualification. We will be issuing further guidance over the coming weeks but will certainly be maintaining the opportunity for academic study for the foreseeable future. Y13 students will also receive guidance on how to best prepare for their chosen university courses through online learning recommendations, wider reading and writing tasks designed to help them bridge the gap between their school and university education.
As you know already, Grey Court was one of the few schools that remained open (including bank holidays) for the Easter break; we also supported other schools who had closed. Our staff have shown their creativity one again in organising activities that ranged from Easter egg hunts, gardening, baking, Arts and Crafts, quizzes, a UN promotional film and many more fun activities which have been enjoyed by the small group of students who attended. I would like to publicly thank the staff who came in over Easter (unpaid) to support key workers and other groups of children.
We have also been supporting families whose financial circumstances have been acutely impacted as a result of the current situation. Ms Ogun and Ms Price have been instrumental in this process, by liaising with food banks, supporting those families who haven't been able to get to the shops and accessing financial assistance from Richmond Parish Lands. If your family is in need of any assistance then please contact Tessa on email@example.com and we will contact you.
We are also very proud to say that we have been supporting the NHS by providing shields and safety equipment. We have been taking regular delivery of perspex and sending this to our physics teacher Mr Curran who has been using his 3D printer to make vital PPE equipment. I would like to thank the parents who have supported this cause by donating funds to buy the materials.
Finally, I would again like to thank everybody who has provided support and encouragement during these difficult times. Have a great weekend and return refreshed and ready to go on Monday.
Take care, stay safe.