Dear Grey Court Community,
Like many of you, I will be glued to the television on Sunday at 7pm awaiting the announcement from the Prime Minister on the future plans relating to the Covid pandemic. I am looking forward to this with a mixture of emotions: hope, trepidation and excitement will certainly be present. Whatever the outcome, it is important that all stakeholders know that Grey Court is here (virtually or otherwise) to support in any capacity we can. We have been holding several meetings where the principles of contingency plans have been discussed. We even have a giant Marquee on hold if we need to add capacity in terms of large spaces to observe social distancing.
As we prepare to enter the 8th week of lock down I would like to take this opportunity to thank all parents for the support you have afforded your children. The messages of support and the kind words are gratefully received but the efforts you are making around the table, and on the sofa, to help, cajole, motivate and reassure your children are making the key differences. Many of these efforts are being made in incredibly difficult circumstances, juggling work, the needs of other siblings, and maintaining a harmonious household. Even if the young people do not as yet realise, these interventions and actions are helping them to make progress and to maintain learning; they will thank you one day. Large numbers of staff have commented upon parental pro-activity and how it is helping their students. You are doing a great job so please keep going.
I have been greatly impressed with the way our KS4/KS5 team have managed to create the 'Grey Court Bridging School' in just under two weeks. Whilst I may claim credit for some of the ideas in those formative meetings the actual logistics and intricacies involved have been overcome by a mixture of sheer hard work and creative thinking. To be able to redesign a timetable, add small group tutorials that will be facilitated by one of the A level teachers and create subject specific google classrooms based upon the A Level subjects that Y11s wish to continue with has been a herculean effort. For the Y11 students who do not intend on continuing their studies at Grey Court our KS4 team along with our careers officer have put together a comprehensive array of materials and resources aimed at getting these students ready for the next stage in their educational journey. Both schemes are described in greater detail and include a FAQs section in the eBulletin.
Many of our children were due to attend trips this summer to Tanzania, PGL, Madrid or Paris. We tried to be optimistic about the possibility of travel in July in the sense that we did not rush to immediately cancel these trips at the start of Lockdown. Following advice from our insurers, they are stating that no trips should be taken overseas at least until September. We therefore have had no choice but to inform our travel companies and parents of the decision to formally cancel. Whilst this news will no doubt be disappointing for parents and children, I hope you understand our position. We will of course look to be running trips next academic year along similar lines. We are now attempting to seek a refund of monies paid so far from the travel company and then for the remainder, we will put in a claim with our school insurance provider. As our school insurance is via the RPA (Risk Protection Arrangement) run by the government I hope we can recoup most of the money, if not all of it. Thank you in advance for your patience whilst we go through this process. We will update you further at a later stage.
Please do take the time to read our weekly eBulletin as it showcases what makes our community so special. From some fantastic Drama work to recipes and photos of the students cooking to wellbeing; it is packed with great and uplifting information. Well done to our team of volunteers who continue to support the most vulnerable through delivering food parcels. Also, look out for the witty words of our head of sixth form, Mr. Clements.
Finally, our Y11s would have been revising this weekend with the 1st public exam scheduled for Monday. Along with their Y13 counterparts they have been cruelly denied the opportunity to shine on the public exam stage. We have included two final links that will hopefully lift your spirits in these testing times and hopefully bring a smile to your faces: photo and message
Take care, stay safe.