Lockdown Update: School opening policy and online learning

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Dear Parents and Carers,

If you are like me I expect you are really fed up with the lockdown and also with the constant changes to government direction to schools. I am writing to you in light of the government lockdown from last night.

Lockdown and school opening

The evidence and government policy now say that the safest place for your children is at home unless they need to be in school for matters of mental health and wellbeing. As a result, Newhaven will continue to be open throughout lockdown but it is very much a decision to be made with you whether your child is better off at home or in school. There will be no attendance penalties if the decision is made for them to stay at home and we will continue to be in contact with you so any decision can be changed if this seems to be for the best.

Online learning

The curriculum will mainly go online from tomorrow. Your child can access these lessons through their Google Drive. They will have received training for this in school and I have attached some guidance for you here:

They can access lessons through the links in their Google Calendar or links in emails from teachers. If you have no laptop or trouble accessing the internet at home please get in touch. We have a number of laptops that we can give out to support with this. If you have already received a laptop and it isn’t working then we can’t replace it, but let us know and we might be able to fix it. I have also attached a student and parent participation agreement for you to read through:

From Wednesday to Friday, we will trial this using your child’s normal timetable. If possible, please encourage them to log on as much as they can and let us know if there are any problems. The idea is that by Friday we will be able to iron out any glitches and will then send you a timetable with 2-3 hours of online lessons a day for your child which will be supplemented with other work to be done. This may look different in some areas of the school, such as the Foundation classes. Again, we will be in touch. This timetable will start next week.

Ongoing communication and support

If your child is at home we will be contacting you at least once a week and often more, just to check that everything is OK with them and you. Please feel free to contact us if you have any concerns. We will continue to offer support through our pastoral staff, clinical psychologists and referral to other agencies. This is a tough time for everyone so please let us know if you are struggling.

Exams

All we know is that the exams are off for Year 11s and 6th formers this year. We don’t know what the replacement assessment procedure will be yet. I expect, however, that any grades students get will have to be based on firm evidence of work samples. It is therefore really important that Year 11s and 6th formers access their online lessons. We may also invite them in at some time to complete specific bits of work.

Free School Meals

We have had no news yet about the provision of vouchers for free school meals but the school’s aim is that we will be providing these. I will update you as soon as the government lets us know.

Finally, a happier New Year to you all and hopefully a more stable period where we can just get on with teaching your kids the best we can. See you soon.

Yours Faithfully,
Jon Kelly (Headteacher)

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