Home > News > Message from Headteacher – 17th April 2020

Message from Headteacher – 17th April 2020

April 17th, 2020

Dear Parent/Carer

I hope you and your family are keeping safe and well, and you had a lovely Easter break. So, the summer term officially starts on Monday, but there is, in my view, no sign of us returning for some weeks. 

We are four weeks into choppy waters, four weeks since lockdown started, and life, as we know it, stopped. Our home, school, and social environments all changed overnight. We’ve found new ways of teaching and leading from home, checking on students, and innovative ways to keep our community feeling and operating as a community, despite our social distancing. Harrow Way was open over the Easter Holidays for the children of key workers and vulnerable students and will continue to be open for these students after the break.

Thanks to all you parents too for your continued support and kind words. A number of you, now with more time on your hands to reflect and put pen to paper, have very graciously been in touch this week to express your gratitude.

Home Learning Year 7-10

I hope the work we have set for the first two weeks went well. Thank you so much for taking the time to complete our Parent Survey. Your views are important to us and have informed our practice for next term.

The majority of parents felt that there was a reasonable amount of work set. A few parents requested more work, while others wanted less. We wish to provide work to ensure our students do not fall behind in their learning, but we do understand that the circumstances for home learning are not ideal.

We appreciate your feedback about access to resources, so we will keep this in mind when setting new tasks. We share your concerns about students sat in front of a screen all day, but please bear with us while we adapt to this new way of working. Many teachers have set tasks via Google Classroom, and we realise that some students have struggled to use unfamiliar technology. If you have any concerns or questions about an assignment, please do contact the class teacher. You can do this through ShowmyHomework or email. Do remember that most teachers interact with 150 students on a typical day, so please give us time to respond to any questions.

Next week teachers will be updating ShowmyHomework using the Gradebook to support parents. In this way, parents will be able to see if tasks have been submitted. While teachers are aiming to set reasonable deadlines, the most crucial detail is that work is completed.

Be aware that not everything on Show My Homework is home learning. We add house competitions, optional extra learning activities, and information on there to keep you updated and busy! If you are finding it difficult to access work or are struggling to cope then, please email your tutor in the first instance. Thank you for your ongoing support.

We are looking at how we may keep in touch with our students as well as set work for them. While some of our teachers are adept at using new technologies, we are also aware of safeguarding concerns regarding video-conferencing, so we will be exercising significant caution before using such platforms.

We hope students do gain a good chunk of the knowledge they would have had access to in school and sustain some momentum, but the work is primarily there to provide some routine, a distraction, to alleviate the boredom. We have to accept that on their return, students will have completed different amounts and be at different stages of their learning. We will diagnose that as and when and respond appropriately. Just trust us!

Home Learning Year 11

Thank you so much to our Year 11 parents. We have received so much support from you and have shared all of the lovely emails, letters, and cards that you have sent. As a school, we are keen to support Year 11 but appreciate that setting work for each subject might not be the best approach now that we know that final examinations will not be taking place. Instead, we have worked hard to produce a meaningful offer for Year 11 that will benefit them in the future. Firstly, we have put together a directory of resources to support students with the courses that they are going on to take at college. Students need to work through the links to complete independent e-learning that will give them a headstart in Year 12. As we have said to the students, every Year 11 is in the same boat, so it would be worth spending some time getting ahead in their chosen courses. If your child is planning on studying a course that is not on the list, then it would be worth contacting the college to ask for tips on how to prepare.

In addition, we have managed to secure a place for each Year 11 student on an online course provided by Eton College. The famous and prestigious school – attended by royalty and future world leaders alike – is one of the very best in the world. These courses usually cost £250 per person, but we are offering this to students for FREE. Each student will have the opportunity to complete the Creative Problem Solving course. Once this is finished, they can print off a certificate to put into their portfolio – this will be impressive to employers and college/ university during interviews. Mrs. Lowing will be sending out further details next week.

Year 11 Centre Assessed Grades

We sent a letter to students and parents before Easter about the process that will be followed this year. For this summer’s awards, schools are being asked to provide centre assessment grades for their students. These should be fair, objective, and carefully considered judgements of the grades schools believe their students would have been most likely to achieve if they had sat their exams.

Updates – eNews and ‘HW Cast’

Do continue to look at the weekly eNews, websiteTwitter feed, and our HW Cast to keep in touch.

Year 8-9 Pathways

We are particularly proud of our Year 8 Pathways programme that then feeds and guides our Options programme in Year 9. A series of Pathways are offered to Year 8 students for study in Year 9 that prepare them for the rigours of Key Stage 4 study and also allow them to experience subjects that they have not yet encountered as part of the National Curriculum or to explore those they have engaged with in more detail.

Careful guidance is usually provided to families and supported by information evenings and individual appointments with senior staff to discuss the right pathways for each student.

This year we will be recording a presentation of what would have been covered at the Pathways Evening due to take place on Thursday 23rd April. Further details will follow early next week.

Thank you for your support.

M J Serridge


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