Dear Parents / Carers
I hope you and your families remain safe and well. It has been fantastic welcoming back our year 10 students on their phased return to school this week, it really was great to see their faces again and hear their experiences of lockdown. They too looked really pleased to be back in the building, seeing friends, staff and returning to some form of normality. They handled all the new safety guidelines and protocols with ease, showing real maturity. We look forward to welcoming back year 12 students towards the end of next week. In addition, the numbers of pupils attending our daily ‘care provision’ has increased considerably in recent weeks and school is starting to feel more like school again. I really hope we are all starting to see the light at the end of what has been a long tunnel but it remains vital we all continue to follow and role model the government guidelines when it comes to keeping ourselves and others safe and trying to control the spread of this virus.
Many thanks for all the positive feedback we have received from parents / carers about the ‘live lessons’ we have been delivering as part of our remote learning. Both students and staff have said how much they enjoy them and how nice it is to interact with people again when it comes to learning. As I have mentioned previously, this is a new way of working for us all and with practice, we will all become more skilled in using this new technology. As far as I am aware, I believe we are the only secondary school in Cheshire East that is offering ‘live lessons’ to all year groups. That is something we should all be very proud of.
I have also had feedback from some parents / carers about press speculation on the wider reopening of schools and my comment in my last update that “I’m afraid I cannot see school returning to ‘normal’ in September and there may well be a blended approach to education for a while yet, with children spending some time in school and sometime learning remotely from home.” Please understand that all schools have to follow strict government guidance when it comes to social distancing; what % of students can be in the building on one day and at any one time, the idea of students being placed in ‘pods’ or groups which must not mix with other ‘pods’ and many other points which have to be adhered to. So long as these restrictions remain in place, or even a slightly relaxed version of them (eg. the much talked about 2 metre rule), then there will clearly be a limit as to how many people we can have in the building at any one time. Obviously, these decisions will be taken at national level and based on scientific advice. My previous update about what school might be like in September was to forewarn parents / carers, that even though the media are talking about schools ‘opening’ in September, it may well not be in the guise we hope it to be. I really hope I am wrong and the virus is under control by then – we shall see.
I would also like to publically thank our brilliant staff here at Alsager for all the work they have done and are doing, during this difficult period. I feel very lucky to work with such a professional and committed group of people. Staff have up to four different timetables and commitments running simultaneously.
1. All are on a daily rota for caring for the children of key workers and vulnerable pupils.
2. All have their regular on line / remote learning timetable for their classes.
3. All are involved in the face to face teaching for year 10 pupils.
4. All will be involved in the face to face teaching or supervision of year 12 students.
In addition, the government deadline for submitting all the centre assessed grades for this year’s GCSE and A level candidates was last Friday (12/6). This was a mammoth task and involved every teacher. I hope this indicates that, contrary to some media coverage about schools, the staff here at Alsager have been and are working hard during this time.
Finally, due to the sudden closure of schools at the end of March, we have a huge number of our school textbooks still in the possession of year 11 and year 13 students. I am proposing a ‘textbook amnesty’ for all year 11 and 13 students. If you have a school textbook at home, please pop into school reception before the end of term (17th July) and put them in the labelled boxes that you will find there.
As I say in every update, we are here for you should you need us. Please contact your child’s Head of College or firstname.lastname@example.org if you need help, support or advice. This includes if your child is struggling to access the work, they can access it and participate in the ‘live lessons’ through our ‘care’ provision here in school.
With best wishes to you and your families.