We sincerely hope that you and your families are safe, well and that you are all managing to cope as well as possible during these difficult times. Following on from the messages of hope running through last week’s USA inauguration ceremony, it was nice this weekend that we were treated to the undeniable joy that comes with a sprinkling of snow; a welcome moment of naive peace amongst the pressures of the pandemic. We hope everyone got the opportunity to get outside and enjoy such a rare treat.
The engagement in online learning so far has been remarkable. Last week a total of 973 lessons were taught live across the academy, which equates to around two thirds of all lessons. A remarkable effort from the teaching staff who are working tirelessly as ever to ensure our students get the best deal possible. Of those lessons, in Years 7-11 taught live, average attendance sat at 84% and the average engagement in Google Classroom at 94%. In the sixth form attendance at live lessons is at 97%, which is an astonishing figure, equal to what we would see in school during ‘pre-Covid’ times. These figures are a credit to our amazing students who are showing a fantastic level of resilience, and you as parents who are showing outstanding fortitude juggling the pressures of home schooling along with your everyday commitments.
We fully appreciate how difficult these times are and there has been much in the press recently about when the government will open schools. We can assure you that we are no further informed on this at present than anyone else. However, as always, we will endeavour to share any information that comes in as transparently as ever. What we will say is that given the outstanding quality of our remote provision, our staff are ready to continue to deliver our current style of provision to students for as long as is necessary.
As we have mentioned before, routines for all children are absolutely essential and hopefully the pastoral contact from both achievement teams and tutors are of benefit. It is hugely important given the context of this current lockdown (cold days, dark nights, no real insight into the end of the restrictions) that everyone ensures they make a conscious effort to invest in themselves and their health; both physical and mental. Enjoy a walk, get out on your bikes, read a book, take some time away from screens in the evenings and try and support one another as best we can.
If there are families that are struggling or that feel as though there is anything we can reasonably support with at school, please get in touch with your child’s tutor or achievement leader/assistant achievement leader. Whether it be resources, support accessing lessons, or even a friendly word to share thoughts on managing the inevitable teenage tantrums, we will continue to do our best to support in any way we can.
Continue to stay safe and look after each other.
Steve Huntington and Matt Jones
Executive Principal and Senior Vice Principal