Headteacher’s Message — School is closed from Friday 20/03/2020 and onwards.
Following the announcement on Wednesday evening, Alderbrook School will be closed from 4:00 pm today (Thursday). School will only be open tomorrow (Friday 20 March) where needed for students where a single parent is a key-worker or in families where both parents are key-workers, and also to some vulnerable students (described as those with EHCPs or an assigned social worker). This closure on Friday will allow our staff the time they need, to be prepared for full school closure on Monday. From Monday the school will be running with a skeleton staff.
The global and our national situation due to Covid19 is unprecedented and was likened to “being at war”; only our grandparents or great grandparents have ever lived through times like these before. Many of us have friends and family members who fall into the vulnerable category and we are now relieved that we can begin to seriously limit the social contact in our community to protect the most vulnerable amongst us and delay the spread of the virus. We will continue to follow the government guidelines or advice as it becomes available. I know I can trust you all to make the decisions you need to keep your family as safe as possible over the coming months.
The situation around exams is not yet clear — your new Headteacher Mr Beveridge has also written a letter to you today to provide some comfort to you and our students in light of the understandable concerns and anxiety they will experience over this situation.
The school has a great deal of information already to help us predict student grades accurately, however teachers will be setting work remotely and they will be able to assess the quality of work students are continuing to complete at home, in order to fine tune our predictions. Clear guidance for students and parents/carers to support remote learning has been, and will continue to be, issued via parent/carer email to help support students’ learning at home. It is very important that all work and evidence whether at school or home is kept safe and available as it may be needed for evidence when these judgements are made.
We are in the process of producing appropriate, stimulating resources to support remote learning and effective lines of communication to sustain a long period of closure for all students. There is extensive curriculum support already available via our usual school web-site and online platforms, which our students are familiar with using. The main platform we all use is ClassCharts. The school also has GCSE Pod which is an excellent resource for all students from year 9 to year 11 with instructions on the school website for this. Teachers may also recommend different sites as we investigate the best way to continue to cover curriculum content.
My next step is to identify the small number of children of key-workers who still need to attend a childcare facility. I will be sending out an email for all parents/carers to enable any of you to identify yourself (and your partner) as belonging to this group. Then I will send a further email to enable you to secure verification from your employers of your key-worker status.
Similarly for our EHCP students and vulnerable children (e.g. those with an assigned social worker) whose family cannot provide childcare to support safe and remote learning, so that we can make arrangements to set up an appropriate childcare system. However EHCP and vulnerable students that are able to remote-study from home should do so, they will receive additional, often daily (remote) support from our Student Development team or Safeguarding team to help facilitate this — details to follow in a separate letter from our SENDCo / Safeguarding Lead, specifically and only, to identified parents and carers.
These changes are going to create uncertainty and some anxiety for all of us as we adjust to these much more extreme and long term measures of social distancing. We will send home links to support good mental health to help us all stay positive and find coping strategies in these uncertain times.
To help you describe how these unprecedented changes will drastically alter what future education will look like to your child, I have outlined how studying in school might look for the small number of students that cannot be safely kept at home. I must stress that normal lessons will not be taught, the students coming into school will experience a skeleton staff and will have education delivered to them in a similar way that their peers will be experiencing at home. For the few students that continue to attend school this will be as follows:
– Students will travel to school in uniform — so that the police etc. will be able to identify this movement as essential travel when needed to do so
– Students may wear trainers – as it is possible transport will be disrupted and students may on occasion face a long walk to school or to return home.
– Students will be housed together in just one area of the school
– Students will have access to the exact same instructions as their peers that have been set work remotely by their teacher and there will be adult cover in place to monitor that this independent learning is taking place
– Students will follow the same learning routine also expected from their peers at home P1, P2, take a break, P3, P4, Lunch and a break, then P5 and travel home. The likelihood is that sandwiches rather than a hot meal will be available further details to follow.
The school remains open for all staff for two more days while we plan and prepare for remote learning. Any queries should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
This is an unprecedented situation and we thank you for your patience and understanding in these highly unusual circumstances. The situation will be closely monitored, and updates will be sent via parent/carer email. You can also follow us on the Schools’ Twitter feed @AlderbrookSch
Please continue to take care of yourselves, and each other.
Hoping you, your friends and family, stay safe and well.
Dr Janette Smith