HT Blog 22 May

Posted on: 22nd May




Headteacher’s Blog

I hope you and your families have had a good week and that you are all looking forward to the half term break.  It has been a busy week in the world of education, with our federation primary schools working hard to plan for the safe return of their children, and they deserve so much credit on remaining firmly fixed on doing what is right for their children and not being distracted by the swirling controversy around bringing them back to school. We have also been actively continuing to plan to offer ‘some face to face’ support for our Year 10 and 12 students. Unfortunately, whilst we are firmly committed to providing a face to face experience, and actually excited by that prospect, there is still no government guidance explaining what the expectations are and what is it safe for us to provide. Therefore, we will not be in a position to prepare the site and the provision until this is published. We hope to be able to share our plans with you during the first week after half term, but the assumption is we do not expect to be open to more students until the 8 June at the earliest. 

In the meantime, it would be of great help to us when planning to welcome as many children back as possible, if you could complete a parent survey by clicking on the link below.  Please do be as honest as you can be with your responses – we know that some parents will be worried about sending their children back at this time, and if you would prefer not to we will completely understand.  What is important is that you make the best decisions that you can for you and your family – we are all in this together.

Parent survey May 2020

What I can say, with some certainty, is that it is looking increasingly likely that years 7 – 9 will not be able to return to school until September.  We understand that this will be difficult for those children and we want to reassure you, that we are here to help and support their continued learning and well being at this difficult time.  Teachers will continue, wherever possible, to make themselves available to students during regular timetabled lesson slots to assist with work and offer support, however please be aware that the nature of this assistance and how it is presented may differ from teacher to teacher due to individual circumstances. ,Please do encourage your children to use Microsoft Teams to message their teachers and tutor with any questions or queries or just to stay in touch.  There are many documents to support to students with Remote Learning, which can be found on TDSonline.  (You can also access this via the public website of The Downs School.)

I would also like to take this opportunity to let the parents of year 9 children know, that as of Monday the 8 of June, students will be able to drop subjects that they have not chosen for their options.  They can then concentrate on core and option subjects that they are already studying, such as history, geography, etc.  Where students are picking up a new subject, staff will not necessarily set work, but may instead set tasks in the form of reading lists or fun projects to engage students with the subject before picking it up formally in September.  Parents will receive a letter confirming year 9 option choices in the week after half term.

Celebrating Students’ Successes

In all of my blogs, I have said how impressed I have been with how we, as a school community, have adapted to these challenging times and this new way of working.  As a result, the students have produced some outstanding work and to celebrate these successes we have produced a celebration PowerPoint to showcase their efforts, which can be viewed here.  The common message from each Head of Department on this presentation, is how incredibly proud they are of what the students have managed to achieve and how they continue to flourish and make progress.

Finally, I would just like to say a huge thank you to all those who engaged with ‘Thank a Teacher Day’ to lift teachers spirits and to recognise the enormous amount of work that they are putting in to support students and parents, whilst also managing their own family commitments.  I realise that as we enter half term, we are still all looking forward to a time when schools can return to something that looks more normal, but until then, safety has to be our collective top priority.

Thank you for your support during this very difficult time and take care and keep safe.

Mr Prosser

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