Update from the Headteacher regarding planning for the period of school closure – Sunday 22nd 2020

Dear Parent and Carer,

Along with everyone else, I have been spending the weekend trying to think through the full implications of the period of social distancing that the government is urging on us in order to slow the spread of Covid-19.

The following government webpage provides strong messages for us all: https://www.wilmslowhigh.com/noticeboard/new-government-guidance-about-social-distancing/

For the time being, everything we do needs to be informed by the measures we should all be taking to reduce social interaction between people in close proximity in order to reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Please note, therefore, that school is not open for unplanned visitors.

If you need to contact a member of staff about any matter please use email in the first instance. There will be a limited number of staff in school able to answer the phone but you are likely to find emails a quicker and more effective way of initiating a conversation.

How are our young people coping with the sudden change to routines and plans?
As I wrote on Thursday 19th March, our young people are having to get used to big and unexpected changes. They are also having to cope with the shock of challenges that they were preparing for suddenly being removed. To support them with this we shared with them last Thursday a presentation designed to explore some of the questions that students are asking about what the forthcoming period of school closure will mean for them. Please click here to access a copy of the presentation.

During the period of school closure we will be delivering a number of activities through FireFly designed to maintain connection with the school community and visual or audio social interaction with classmates and staff. For example, we will continue to publish High Notes every Friday so would welcome suggestions for news items or articles to include.

Similarly, once things have settled down into a new routine we will put our minds to providing our Year 11 and Year 13 students with the opportunity to properly move on from this stage of their educational journey.

How will we be delivering Home Learning during this period of school closure?
The edition of High Notes published on Friday 20th March was a special issue the provided a guide to Home Learning during this period of school closure for Wilmslow High School parents and carers.

This was sent out using the usual email distribution system. If you did not receive a copy please can you:

This is obviously new territory for us all so we would welcome any feedback regarding your experiences so we can consider how to develop this programme over the coming weeks and months. Please use the following email address for comments or queries related to the Home Learning Programme: mvincent@wilmslowhigh.com

How are we making exceptional provision for the children of Key Workers or those deemed especially vulnerable?
As I wrote on the 19th March, we have prepared a survey to help us plan the demand that might exist among our school community. Parents and carers who believe they may be considered as a ‘Key Worker’ have been invited to complete this online form.

We have used this information, the evolving picture of staff availability and the government imperatives in relation to social distancing to determine what numbers of children we are able to have in school and for how long. Parents who submitted a request by Friday 20th March should have received a direct communication setting out whether they have been allocated a place on this programme and what the arrangements are for it.

Please do not bring your child to school on Monday if you have not received this direct communication since we will not be able to accommodate any children that we have not planned for.

What are the plans for examinations and qualifications?
We understand that the sudden cancellation of the summer examinations has been a great shock for our students and parents – as it has for us also.

Our thoughts and good wishes are with all of our students in this.

On Friday the government announced further details of how grades will be awarded this summer. The following link will take you to the FAQ-style guidance that the government has published in relation to this issue:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-cancellation-of-gcses-as-and-a-levels-in-2020/coronavirus-covid-19-cancellation-of-gcses-as-and-a-levels-in-2020

We understand that this is a time of uncertainty for students, but we would ask that students and parents do not contact us at this moment about the implementation of this process and its implications since our current focus needs to be on supporting Key Workers. For this reason, any student or parent contacting any member of staff on this matter will receive a standard response.

When we know more about how this will work in practice we will be in contact with all Year 11 and Year 13 students.
We would ask for your understanding as we comply with government guidelines and we will continue to update you as we receive these.

What Free School Meal provision will be made during the period of school closures?
Student Services have begun the process of discussing with families about how they will be able to receive their entitlement to a Free School Meal during this period of extended school closure.

If you have not yet had this conversation please contact the relevant student manager by email using the contact details provided in the Home Learning During School Closure guide published on Friday.

As I wrote earlier in this letter, it is very important that our school community retains a sense of connection with itself. Consequently I look forward to the imaginative and creative ways in which staff and students find ways of doing this.

Yours sincerely,

J.H. Pullé
Headteacher

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