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Headteacher's Update

As we approach the end of the first week following half term, I wanted to share the college position more formally and explain how we plan to continue to do all that we can for the children and community we serve.

During half term, 28 staff (including 18 teachers) or their households, were forced to isolate due to Covid-19. To have this many teachers and vital support staff absent, even for one day, means that the operations of the college cannot be carried out safely.

The decision to move to a system where a dedicated day is issued to a Year Group to work from home, ensures that we do not have to rely on supply teachers and accept provision that is not up to the standards we would wish and whereby costs accelerate far beyond our budget will allow.

As of today, the college has 24 members of staff absent including 13 teachers. Some are 24-hour issues; however, most are related to Covid-19. I can assure you that where a positive test is confirmed or ‘Track and Trace’ have issued direction, the college insists that staff present evidence to support their absence.

Whilst this number is declining, it is still too high at this stage to stop the use of a ‘dedicated day of home learning’ for Year groups. As such, I will be asking that we continue this system of home learning for one year group per day as illustrated and confirmed below.

This will be reviewed on a daily basis. Current projections show 6 teachers returning for Tuesday 10th November.

Our goal is simple, to have all back and to offer the best education we can. We cannot risk the safety and welfare of students in this process, acknowledging that their education, mental health and general outlook may all be affected during this difficult period.

Routine Lessons and Learning

Those teachers isolating at home who are fit to work, are delivering their lessons from home and being streamed to the classroom where another teaching colleague is in the room. This ensures subject specialism alongside continuity of the learning. A small number of lessons do have supply teachers, but the majority of lessons are delivered by Newman staff. Where a Year Group is working at home, work has been added to MS Teams in the ‘Assignment’ section alongside links with Oak Academy (National Support School) materials or other areas. Additional information is included to support with Mental Health, alongside links to contact trained staff if needed.

May I remind parents to continue to provide a reusable face mask for your child, encouraging its use, and ensure that they arrive equipped for learning and school.

Finally, I ask that you continue to support the college during this challenging time. We have all been witness to the multiple challenges, conflicting advice and, at times, divisive views on how best to manage the situation. Our strength and resilience will not improve unless we continue to work together, placing the needs of the students, second only to the immediate health needs of others. I pray that you continue to show the faith and support you have so far as we navigate through this difficult time, knowing that this is perhaps not the end; put hopefully the end of the beginning. I wish you and your families every well wish and ask that the grace of God fill your home and those you love. Please, stay safe.

Thank you for your support and understanding.

Yours sincerely,

Mr G R Potts DL