Dear Grey Court Community,
Following the PM's announcement last Sunday we received a slightly different message from the Department for Education on Monday. We have been requested to put into operation a plan for 'some' face to face teaching with Y10s and Y12s. We have not been given a specific start date. Whilst this is encouraging news, it is important that this is not viewed as a potential return to normal schooling for the students in these year groups. Given the need to observe social distancing and protect all members of the community, we are looking at a phased return which would focus solely upon core subjects for the Y10s. Option subjects would continue to be delivered through the online platforms. We are also considering the implications and possibilities of providing Y12s with some contact time with their KS5 teachers. I am conveying this message with the sole purpose of managing the expectations of parents and students who are longing for a return to some kind of normal schooling.
I have received several messages and held numerous conversations with understandably anxious parents of students in Y7, Y8, and Y9. These year groups have, as yet, not been mentioned in the conversation about when they will return to school. Without a light at the end of the tunnel it is becoming increasingly difficult to remain positive. However, I am reassured by the reports from staff about the level of engagement, enthusiasm and energy being put into their lesson work and home learning. I have requested that the teachers (who have so far coped admirably with the transition to online learning) focus solely on the primary objectives of interactivity and the subsequent affirmation of student achievement. We are planning an incentive driven work programme spanning all subjects for the Key Stage 3 students that will commence after half term. I would like to applaud the vast majority of the KS3 students who have remained stoic and have worked diligently during this most difficult time. Their hard work will not go unrewarded as they continue to progress and cover key curriculum content.
With the half term just over a week away I would like to inform parents of key workers and other groups of children that the school will remain open including the bank holiday. The staff are more than willing to work to support our young people and although there will be no online lessons, we will endeavor to keep the students engaged with a varied mix of activities. If any students are eligible to come to school (in holiday time or term term) and want to take up this opportunity then please contact the relevant phase leader and they will be made very welcome.
The majority of Y11 students have completed the first week of the 'Grey Court Bridging School'. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and I would like to thank all of the teachers for adapting so quickly to this new style of lecture based learning and the subsequent small group tutorials. I hope this approach is keeping Y11s busy and that they are acquiring some key knowledge and understanding that will serve them well at KS5. We are also working hard at putting together a yearbook for the Y11s along with messages of goodwill from the teachers. In addition, we will recreate the long standing tradition of the Y11s being able to see their transition in pictures from their first day at Grey Court. Looking at some of their photos from Y7 onwards is always highly amusing.
Our eBulletin is once again packed with lots of exciting competitions, wonderful pictures inspiring artwork and much more. It is great to see our sixth formers playing such a prominent role in supporting the most vulnerable, by continuing to deliver food packages to those most in need. The current situation has clearly added to the anxieties of the young people that we serve. The Bulletin's focus upon Wellbeing, Kindness and the promotion of Mental Health Awareness Week is a vital resource that can be used to establish a range of coping strategies that can help all of the community in these testing times.
Finally I want to reassure everybody that we are very much here for you. If students or parents want to discuss any issues then please contact our fabulous team of Student Support Officers who are EVER ready to go the extra mile to help our community. We miss you!
I wish you a happy and restful weekend.