Update for parents and carers

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Dear Parent/Carer,

I hope this email finds you all well and doing the best that you can at what is a very difficult time for all of us. School remains open for those who really need to attend and staff are working on a rota with some days in school and some days working from home. We have had a number of staff with Covid-19, some of whom have been quite ill, and we also have a number of staff self-isolating as they are clinically vulnerable. After the confusion from the government at the start of term, we do seem to have hit our stride now and things are running smoothly.

Our focus remains supporting you however we can to make sure your children are staying well and that they continue to learn as best they can under the circumstances. I know how tough it is having children at home and trying to get them to get on with lessons from experience with my own. Challenges are many from finding a space to learn, having the right kit, trying to understand what the school are expecting apart from dealing with the usual teenage resistance. Children are missing their friends and social contact and being under each other’s feet so much more than usual certainly isn’t helping the mood in my house.

Please let us know if you are struggling with any of this by talking to your child’s mentor/tutor or pastoral manager and if there’s anything more we can do, we will.

Testing

Thanks for all your feedback about daily testing for students and staff. Parents and the school’s management committee overwhelmingly agreed with me that daily testing is too ineffective and risky for us to introduce in school. The government have also caught up and made the decision to ‘pause’ this part of the programme.

We will continue with weekly testing for staff and will probably have the capacity to extend this to students soon. The advantage of weekly testing is that it does identify people who have no symptoms but are positive so it helps to keep us all safer. If you are ok for your child to undergo weekly lateral flow testing in school (when they return if they are not in at the moment) then please fill in the consent forms if you haven’t yet and email them to info@newhaven.greenwich.sch.uk. I will let you know before we start testing students.

Remote Learning and Exam students this year

The number of students accessing remote learning at the moment is not high enough although some of you are really flying at the moment and I know it is really difficult for some of you. Please, if it is proving too difficult, let us know as there are a number of ways we can change things and offer support. You can talk to tutors/mentors when they do the weekly check-ins.

For students who would be sitting exams this year, we are currently waiting for the final word on how these will be assessed. I’ll let you know as soon as I do. What we do know is that we will need a range of evidence from classwork to in school tests. The departments are assessing what we need for each child and we will be in touch to let you know. This will include sessions in school, where appropriate with, of course, rigorous safety procedures in place. Please be aware of this and make sure your children attend any sessions they are invited to if they can. This will include some mock exams in February- details will be with you soon.

Food Vouchers

Where appropriate, you should have received your vouchers by now. Again, apologies for the delay. We currently know these will run to half term. Any extension will depend on schools continuing to be closed which seems likely. The government are currently saying they will not pay for vouchers over half term, however Royal Borough of Greenwich are repeating the holiday code system for all students that have free school meal eligibility. This will be a code sent to either your phone or email entitling you to £15.00. If not, we will continue to support where we can but this will be in the context of a severely stretched school budget. I’ll keep you up to date as soon as we hear anything.

Yours faithfully,

Jon Kelly
Head Teacher
Newhaven

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