I hope that everyone is keeping well and staying safe. Thank you to all the parents and carers who completed the Parent and Carers’ Survey during the week before the half-term break. We had almost 200 responses which have provided us with some excellent feedback, thoughts and pointers as to how we can develop our provision for students during this period.

We all know that this is a challenging time. We continue to adjust to new ways of working and homeschooling can be far from straightforward. As a school, we want to support our families and to keep developing our provision to get it as “right” as we can.

Some general points noted from the first part of the survey are that …

  • The vast majority of parents and carers feel that the amount of work being set and the challenge of this work is appropriate for their child
  • Parents and carers like that work is provided on certain days and feel that this adds some structure to the week
  • Parents and carers are less convinced about the virtual timetable and many don’t feel that it helps structure the day for their child
  • Virtual lessons, videos, worksheets are all felt to be effective in different ways but a particular preference is for online quizzes which provide immediate feedback
  • The vast majority of students are taking physical exercise every day or at least every other day and this doesn’t seem to be a particular concern for parents and carers
  • Communication with friends and peers varies from over half of students being in touch with friends every day to others who would benefit from more of a regular connection with their friends and fellow students

The comments provided by parents were very helpful indeed and it is probably useful to provide some pointers as to areas we are developing; most were in the pipeline before the survey and they confirmed that the direction of travel is the right one for our school community. Please note that these are not the only areas we are developing – much more to follow in a number of other areas.

  • “Live” Online Sessions – we have had some “live” learning going on in the Sixth Form and we are now looking to introduce it a little more widely, initially through tutor time and PSHE sessions
  • Key Stage 4 Transition Work – this will be provided for Year 9 students in a few weeks’ time to support the transition to Key Stage 4 courses
  • Year 11 and Year 13 Leavers Events – these have not been forgotten and we will be looking to mark the moving on of these students after the summer holidays
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing Survey – we are looking to conduct a survey across students, parents and staff as we prepare for a wider re-opening of the school in September
  • Communication – we said at the start of the lockdown that parents and carers would receive more communication than normal from the school and that has been the case; we know this has been appreciated but also that some forms of communication have been quite lengthy and we are working to keep messages as clear and succinct as possible across all formats and platforms

Further information will follow about all of these areas and several others in the coming weeks – and we’ll try to keep it short!

Finally, a huge thank you for all of the messages of support for the school and our staff within the survey. As with us all, a significant proportion of our staff have been juggling family commitments, often with young children, with their professional lives over the past weeks and they have greatly appreciated the warmth and appreciation expressed by so many of our parents and carers.