I do hope that the Easter holiday period has been as enjoyable as possible for you all. We all recognise the many challenges that families are facing and admire the sustained contributions of the very many individuals – public and hidden – who are sustaining vital services for us all.
The school is committed to making generous, appropriate and relevant contributions to the national effort in support of the NHS and others who are working exceptionally hard – and at significant risk – in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. You may have seen on our school’s Twitter feed, the donation of protective goggles from our Science Department to the Basildon/Wickford Integrated Care Team and the Art department’s co-ordination of student artwork to be sent to the ‘Thank you wall’ at Broomfield Hospital. We will however continue to explore every avenue to be of assistance, offering active and constructive support as and when we can.
With yesterday’s government announcement that the lockdown will be in place for at least another three weeks, we wanted to update parents with arrangements from the start of term on Monday 20th April. The school will remain closed however as you will have realised the ‘closure’ announcement requires the school to remain ‘open’ to provide supervised activity for the children of ‘key workers’ as defined by the government and for students supported with an Education, Health & Care Plan (EHCP) or those who have a social worker. We require parents/carers who fall into these categories to inform us via email@example.com by midday the previous day if they wish their child to attend the school, which will be open from 9.00am to 2.00pm. If it is possible for your child to be at home then they should be.
Staff will continue to set work for students via our Edulink platform. We have received some enquiries regarding the marking of students’ work and also the possibility of virtual lessons via video link. Many teaching staff are parents and home educating themselves therefore whilst some staff are conducting virtual lessons and receiving students’ work to offer feedback , not all staff are in circumstances where this is possible. Of more importance is that all tasks are completed with genuine determination and a focus on ‘maximising learning’. From Monday however, teachers will try to ensure they have mechanisms in place for monitoring student’s completion of work and use Edulink used to record achievement points for students completing work. To further support parents and schools with home learning, from Monday you will be able to access regular daily lessons in English and Maths, as well as other core subjects, in an expanded version of the BBC Bitesize website and also on special programmes broadcast on BBC iPlayer and BBC Red Button.
It is also vitally important to maintain the family’s well-being while children are at home; social connections, alongside exercise, sleep, diet and routine, are important protective factors for our mental health.
Resources that you mind find useful to support you and your family in these difficult circumstances include:
- MindEd educational resources for adults about children and young people’s mental health, which is relevant for parents and carers as well as volunteers, teachers, and other professionals working with children
- The Every Mind Matters platform which supports looking after your own and other’s mental health
- guidance on looking after well-being and mental health during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
- guidance on supporting children’s well-being and mental health
Linked to this, from Monday 20 April, we require all students to log-in to their online tutor group on Microsoft Teams at least once a week where they will be expected to complete a weekly ‘check in’. This will enable the form tutor to quickly identify any issues and give support as appropriate. Activities, guidance and advice may also be posted in the tutor group classroom. This will ensure that communication between tutor and tutee remains strong (as the tutor is their first point of contact in school) and offers your child the opportunity to raise any concerns that the tutor can assist with. If your child does not respond to the weekly ‘check in’, we will email you and, if necessary, follow up with a phone call to ensure that all is well. Instructions on how to set up Microsoft Teams and for students to check-in will be emailed home on Monday and placed on our website.
The current circumstances continue to be challenging for all and we appreciate your ongoing understanding and support. Please continue to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.