COVID-19 RESPONSE

 

We are continually monitoring the Government advice. Please see our latest response below:

Friday 03.04.2020

Arrangements for GCSE & A-level Awards

The Government have now confirmed the process for assessing the outcome of GCSE and A-levels. The full details of this can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/how-gcses-as-a-levels-will-be-awarded-in-summer-2020

We will be working to implement this over the coming weeks (Mr Whitehouse is leading on this and has already communicated our plans to Heads of Department) to ensure that every student in Years 11 and 13 will receive fair grades.

One of the key messages for students is that there is no requirement for them to undertake any additional work or exams (including completing unfinished coursework). Our teachers and Heads of Department are experienced professionals and I am confident they will apply this system fairly. I would also like to draw your attention to the provision for confidentiality – as stated, we will not be able to share with parents or students any information about our grading or ranking of students. I know that this will be frustrating for you, but we must apply all of these requirements to the letter.

Mr Constable will be writing separately to all of the students who have applied for a place in our Sixth Form with an update on how we will be proceeding. The key message is don’t panic! We will be working with you all to support you through this process.

Thursday 02.04.2020

Tuesday 31.03.2020

Thursday 26.03.2020

Monday 23.03.2020

Friday 20.03.2020

Thursday 19.03.2020

Tuesday 17.03.2020

We will be partially closed this week for the following year groups:

Wednesday 18th March      School closed to Year 8

Thursday 19th March          School closed to Year 10

Friday 20th March               School closed to Year 9

Message from the Headteacher 

Following revised guidance from the Government announced on Monday the 16th of March, we are now escalating our response to the current situation.

The advice is now:

Symptoms of COVID-19:

  •  a high temperature
  • a new continuous cough

If you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus illness (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms started. (See ending isolation section for more information).

If you live with others and you or one of them have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill.

This means if your anyone in your household has symptoms of coronavirus infection (COVID-19), however mild, then all members of the household must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days.  If a student becomes unwell during the school day we will inform you and ask that they be collected and they then stay away from school.

These changes have immediately led to significant staff absence.   We have plans in place to ensure classes are covered and as always, we will strive to deliver the best teaching and learning that we can given the circumstances.   However, with high staff absence, this will not be easy and we will have to resort to combined classes and partial closure of the school. This situation is particularly challenging as we know that there will not be any improvement in staff attendance for at least the next 14 days.

In respect to partial closing of the school, I thought it would be helpful to set out our plans which have been devised with the Local Authority and other secondary headteachers across Wokingham.  It is important to emphasise that it remains the firm principle of all headteachers to keep schools open and we will do this until such a time where it is not operationally possible or that we are instructed otherwise by Public Health England.  We are proactively planning together to keep our schools open and this includes agreeing partial closing protocols.

Partial closing is due to a critical number of staff who are no longer available to work.   By partially closing the school to specific year groups over time we are better placed to keep open despite significant disruption.  Ordinarily partial closure means schools being closed indefinitely to a specific key stage over a fixed period of time.  In this circumstance we are clear that prolonged absence from school for students is not wise and therefore our plan is to rotate the partial closure so that different year groups only miss one day, rather than consecutive days.

Therefore, we will be partially closed this week for the following year groups:

Wednesday 18th March      School closed to Year 8

Thursday 19th March          School closed to Year 10

Friday 20th March               School closed to Year 9

 

Given that many staff are self-isolating for 14 days due to a family member displaying symptoms, I know that this problem will persit. Therefore I expect we will need to continue with partial closures next week. I will communicate plans for next week at the earliest opportunity.

By rotating the year groups to be absent for just one day we hope that students are not at home over a long period.  Other town secondary schools will rotate their year groups in their partial closing so that we can encourage social distancing of the same aged students.   As you will see, lessons are prioritised to continue for Year 11 and 13 in preparation for their public exams.  Regretfully it will not be possible to set work to be completed at home during any partial closing.  As set out in my letter of last week work would be set remotely, if the whole school were to close, only under the instruction from the Government/Public Heath England. 

If you work in the health, education, childcare or emergency services sectors and you require our support with your children so that you can attend work, your child can still attend school if their year group is not attending school that day. If this pertains to you please let me know in advance so that I can assess the situation and plan to make suitable cover in school .

We will also be suspending all non-essential activities. It is therefore with regret that tonights Senior Concert and tomorrow’s Year 8 GCSE Options Evenings are postponed. More information regarding the options process will follow. Next week’s Year 11 Parents’ Evening is also postponed.

Again following the Government’s advice no overseas trips will take place for the foreseeable future.  Regretfully at this stage there is no guidance offered by the Government regarding insurance claims in respect of payments.

We know many parents will be concerned about the impact the current situation may have on GCSE and A Level exams the students are due to take in May and June but there is currently no indication to suggest they won’t go ahead as planned.   We are in regular communication with Department for Education (DfE) and Public Health England (PHE) and will continue to send updates as and when received.

Thank you for your on-going support and understanding during this unprecedented period.   We will continue to prioritise the health and welfare of our students and our staff whilst being mindful of our ambition to maintain education provision.

Should you have any comments regarding this matter, then please do contact me directly (nmcsweeney@emmbrook.wokingham.sch.uk).  

Best wishes,

Nick McSweeney

Headteacher