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Category Archives: Year 13 Parents/Carers

Dear Year 13,

It is with a heavy heart that I write to you to tell you that our plans to celebrate you leaving can now no longer go ahead due to the extended restrictions. We proposed these plans in good faith and are beyond disappointed that we are having to communicate their cancellation to you in this way.
In terms of the liturgy, because you would be coming into school and this would be governed by the rules for communal worship, the guidance dictates that we would have to insist on social distancing and would only be able to be in groups of 6 in a venue large enough to ensure this, which just isn’t possible. We feel that this, along with the fact we couldn’t sing or interact in the normal way, really deflects from the whole point of the day – which is to come together in celebration and fun.
To add to this disappointment, we are unable to go ahead with our booking at the Staincliffe or even a celebration in college for similar reasons (social distancing, limits to numbers, no music / singing).
I cannot begin to tell you how sad the Sixth Form Team and the rest of the staff are about this – many of whom had planned to join us at the celebration. We wanted to give you the send- off you deserved and feel as frustrated as you will that Covid has prevented yet another important event in your journey with us from going ahead.
We are asking that you to continue to send your contributions / photos for the Yearbook which we want to give to you as a gift / free of charge when you come to collect your results in the summer. We will also be sending you a small token to mark how proud we are of each and every one of you, your efforts and your hard work during these unprecedented times. You will always be a very special year group and one we will hold close to our hearts forever.
I look forward to seeing you on results day and we will communicate information about this with you in due course.
With every best wish,
Mrs Hogarth and the Sixth Form Team

Dear Parents/Carers

I hope this letter finds you safe and well.

The vast majority of assessments are now finished. All will have been completed by lunchtime on Friday 28th May. Can I congratulate our students on the way in which they have applied themselves to this prolonged period of assessment. Thank you too, for the support and encouragement you have given them along the way.

Here is a link to the Ofqual document: ‘Student guide to awarding 2021’ 

The first section of this document outlines all of the key information that students and parents need to know about the awarding of grades this summer and where you can gain further information.

Friday 28th May will be the last day that we expect our Year 13 students to be in school as a full year group until Friday 2nd July when they will have a leavers liturgy followed by a celebration. Some students (for example some who are studying iMedia) may be asked to come in by their teachers and they must be responsive to this.

We have arranged for some treats to be distributed to them during their lunch break on Friday.

A level results day is Tuesday 10th August 2021. We look forward to welcoming our fantastic young people then – and hopefully celebrate their successes.

With every good wish

Stephen Hammond
Headteacher


Dear Parents/Carers

Can I firstly thank-you for your support over recent months as we have navigated the ever-changing landscape of this summer’s teacher assessed grades process. The exam board materials which were promised to us by the end of March were not provided until our return from Easter. This made it more difficult to plan the final summative assessments for subjects as Heads of Department needed to see the kind of materials and guidance that were being provided.  

As well as the letter I shared at the start of March, we followed this up with a podcast for students in March and then a further podcast on our return after Easter. These can be found on our school website (Letter to Year 11 & Year 13 Parents: Exams – English Martyrs (bhcet.org.uk) and https://ems.bhcet.org.uk/year-11-13-teacher-assessed-grading/

I have also placed the 10th May summative assessments schedule onto our website and shared this with students in assemblies this week.

I apologise that this has taken a little longer to share the final version. By trying to avoid doing the assessments in the sports hall the logistics of arranging these in classrooms needed some final alterations. 

I think we will all be glad to complete this process as smoothly as possible. It has been a challenging time for all concerned. 

Best wishes

Stephen Hammond
Headteacher


Please see below a short video from Mr Dickson of how Teacher Assessed Grades will be determined and how important it is to give your studies your full attention between now and 10th May.  The JCQ Guidance booklet he talks about can be downloaded here


Testing in school

Up to one in three people who have COVID-19 can spread the virus without knowing. This is because they have no symptoms. To reduce the spread of the virus, we need to identify those individuals.

As you are now doubt aware we are in the process of carrying out lateral flow testing in school and all students have been given the opportunity to be tested three times over a two-week period.  This process is almost complete and we are now asking parents to support us in continuing the testing programme at home.

Testing at home

We understand that each child has individual needs. Many children will adapt to testing becoming part of their routine, others will find it more challenging. Taking part in testing is voluntary and all children will be able to attend school whether they take part or not. We hope that the option to take the test in the morning or the evening will support families to test at home. 

If you agree that it is appropriate for your child to be tested at home, they will be able to collect their home test kits from their form tutors.  Sixth Form students will be given their kits during PDD

We would like them to take their tests each Sunday and Wednesday.

Tests are free of charge. Your child will receive a pack of 3 tests in a box with a leaflet on how to take the test and report the results.

Students should ensure that they have enough time to do the test before going to school. However, we understand that for some people this may be challenging. Therefore, tests can be taken the evening before if needed.

There is no need to keep used test equipment. After the test result has been reported, you can put it in your normal bin (household waste).

This does not replace symptomatic testing. If you have symptoms you should self- isolate immediately, book a PCR test and follow national guidelines.

Test results

Once you have completed the LFD test you should:

  • If your child or anyone in your household tests positive your household and any support bubbles you are part of should self-isolate immediately in line with NHS Test and Trace guidance for 10 days.
  • You need to report your result to both NHS Test and Trace and school.
  • You should order a confirmatory PCR test if you are testing at home (confirmatory PCR tests are not needed if the test was conducted at the Asymptomatic Test Site at School).
  • If the result of the test is unclear (void) you should do another test.
  • Negative and void results need to be reported to both NHS Test and Trace and school.
  • A negative result does not guarantee that you are not carrying the virus. So, you should continue to follow social distancing, and other measures to reduce transmission such as wearing a face mask and regularly washing your hands and observing social distancing.
  • If you or anyone in your household gets symptoms of the virus you should follow national guidelines on self-isolation and testing.
  • You need to report each test result by using the NHS Test and Trace self-report website: https://www.gov.uk/report-covid19-result
  • You will also need to tell the school the result of each test using the following link https://forms.office.com/r/ctmpp4Qrke

Taking part in testing is voluntary and all children will be able to attend school whether they take part in testing or not.  I am strongly encouraging all children to take part. Testing at home will allow your child and other children to attend school and help to reduce the spread of the virus. 

Please contact Sarah Tait, our COVID Coordinator, if you have any questions or concerns about home testing.

Yours faithfully

Stephen Hammond
Headteacher

 


Dear Parent/Carer

I understand that many of you will feel anxious about this summer’s exam grading. I am writing to you in the hope that I can provide more clarity and some reassurance.

Last week, the Government announced outline plans for the awarding of A Level and GCSE grades. Details are still emerging or yet to emerge from examination boards – but most of the guidance still to come relates to schools and how we are to administer the system.

From a student’s point of view there is now a bit more clarity. We know the following:

  • There will be no externally set A Level and GCSE exams this summer.
  • The grades will be based on teachers’ assessments of the standards that students are working at.
  • You can be assured that we will use a range of evidence to inform our assessments, so grades will never be based on a single result in a mock examination or class assessment.
  • We already have some evidence in the form of your Key Tasks throughout the last 5 terms; your mock exams in November (Y11) and Online Assessments in January (Y13). By Easter, the exam boards will be providing us with some additional exam questions we can use in school if we wish to. Our aim is to ensure that every student has the opportunity to demonstrate what they can do.
  • We don’t yet know the leaving date for students in the summer term – but we do know that the school has to upload all results by 18th June 2021. Students and parents can not be told their grades at this stage. Exam boards will choose a sample of schools and look at the evidence and procedures they have used to ensure that grades have been awarded fairly.
  • The school will work with the other 4 secondary schools in our Trust to run a moderation/standardisation exercise across each subject area, to ensure that all submitted grades are fair.
  • Exam results will be published and made available for collection on:
    • Tuesday 10th August (A Level results)
    • Thursday 12th August (GCSE results)
  • There will be an appeal system for any student who believes that their grade has not been fairly awarded. The earlier exam results dates provide time for Y13 students to have appeals dealt with before university places are finalised.

There will be more detail emerging in the coming days and weeks, but much of this will relate to school procedures and how we administer the system. If there is further information to give to students or parents, we will let you know.

Exam years are always stressful and this year is more difficult than most. It is important to focus on the big picture and students should be encouraged to keep working hard , to apply themselves whole heartedly over the remaining weeks and to prepare well for any assessments taken during their remaining study time. They should be reassured that the exam results they achieve will be a fair reflection of their performance across their two years of study and not in one single performance in an exam.

Yours faithfully
Stephen Hammond

 


Dear Parents/Carers,

We are delighted that the government have announced this week that we can begin welcoming all students back to school, to resume face to face teaching, from Monday 8th March.

A central part of the return plan is that students should take 3 Lateral Flow Tests between 3-5 days apart upon returning. This presents a logistical challenge for us and our only solution is to stagger the return of students across three days as outlined below:

Schedule of phased return:

Year 11, 12 and 13: Return to school Monday 8th March

  • Test 1: 8th March
  • Test 2: 11th March
  • Test 3 16th March

Year 10 and 9: Return to school Tuesday 9th March

  • Test 1: 9th March
  • Test 2: 12th March
  • Test 3: 17th March

Year 8 and 7: Return to school Wednesday 10th March

  • Test 1: 10th March
  • Test 2: 15th March
  • Test 3: 18th March

 

Lateral Flow Tests

Only students who have been given the consent of parents/carers will be able to be tested – it would be extremely helpful if you could indicate either you consent or refusal to consent by filling in the information for your child(ren) via this link: http://bhcet.org.uk/covid19 as verbal consent cannot be taken.

If a student tests positive on a Lateral Flow Test then they will be sent home and asked to organise a PCR test at an approved centre. Only if this PCR test is positive will close contacts be advised to self-isolate for 10 days.

After the initial 3 tests have been performed in school, all students will be issued with test kits to administer at home. Further information about this will be given nearer to the time.

Safeguards to reduce transmission

Over the next week, we will prepare for the wider reopening. We will work carefully through the government guidance to ensure that all controls are in place in order to ensure a safe environment for all.

We will maintain the discrete bubble system that was in operation in the Autumn term. Year groups will be taught within their bubble and break/lunch sessions will be split to avoid year group mixing. This will ensure that we are able to limit how many contacts each student has and in the event of a positive case will enable us to only have to instruct a smaller number of students to self-isolate.

Face coverings must be worn in all communal areas of the school building and the government guidance has now included a recommendation for this to include classrooms. Unless your child is exempt from wearing a face covering, it is important that they are prepared with a sufficient supply to last the full duration of the school day. Face coverings should be safely stored (e.g. in a zip bag) for when students are eating or are outside.

Attendance

The wider reopening of schools is a positive step forward in the country’s response to COVID-19. Once school reopens, all students (with the exception of those instructed to shield) will be expected to attend. As a result, our live online provision will not be provided in the way that it currently is.

Students who are absent because of shielding or the need to self-isolate will continue to access their learning resources via Teams

Uniform

It is important that we all work together to prepare all children for a positive return to school including organising your child’s uniform, planner and equipment, and re-establishing morning routines to ensure punctual arrival at school.

Our school tie will be optional up until the Easter holiday. When we return after Easter, all students will be expected to wear their tie. Ties will be available to purchase from school between the return to school and Easter.

Whilst I am sure you will appreciate we now have to work through our planning and the revised guidance, if you do have any further questions about your child’s return to school, please contact us via your child’s Pastoral Manager or via admin@ems.bhcet.org.uk .

With every good wish

Stephen Hammond
Headteacher

 


Dear Parents/Carers

May I begin by thanking you for your extraordinary efforts and support during this half term. The transfer of our curriculum to remote learning has been largely successful with over 96% of students regularly participating in their live lessons.

Feedback from our student voice surveys shows that the vast majority have coped with the transfer and have benefited from the support given to them by their teachers and teaching assistants.

I hope that students try some of the suggested strategies we have given them to support their mental and physical wellbeing – both today and continually during lockdown and beyond.

As you will be aware, The Government have said that they will review the national data on 22nd February before deciding the next steps in terms of a return to school. They have said that they will give parents and schools two weeks notice of any return.

In effect, this means that our current arrangements will remain in place after half term until at least Friday 5th March.

I will write again as soon as we are given any additional information which enables us to firm up arrangements.

May I wish you all a peaceful, relaxing and enjoyable half-term break.

Many thanks

Stephen Hammond
Headteacher

 


Dear Parent/Carer

I hope this letter finds you safe and well.

Having met extensively with Trust Headteachers over the last few days, I am writing to outline the approach that all 5 secondary schools within the Bishop Hogarth Trust will be taking during this period of national lockdown.

Lockdown

The first thing to state is that this is very different to the lockdown last March. Then we were told that schools would close and that our main function was to provide childcare for vulnerable students and the children of key workers. The education of other students became a growing concern as the duration of lockdown grew.

For this lockdown, the emphasis is not on school closure but on the transfer of education to remote learning for all students whilst the building remains open for vulnerable students (who must attend) and children of key workers (who can attend) to continue their education.

Remote Learning

The DfE have set out their expectations for this transfer to remote learning:

In terms of timing they said that secondary schools should take vulnerable students and children of key workers back into school from Tuesday 5th January which we have done. They expected remote learning ‘including some face to face’ sessions to begin for examination groups (Y11 and Y13) to also begin on 5th January which we have done. They expect us to deliver remote (including some face to face) learning for all other year groups for week beginning 11th January but for learning resources to have been available for this week for these students.

Our live learning sessions are due to begin for all students on Monday 11th January. This day will begin with a pastoral session in virtual tutor groups from 08:45-09:00. Students will receive an invitation via Teams from their form tutor. This session will run at the same time every Monday – it will allow students to touch base with their tutors and to have face to face contact with their fellow students.

As teachers invite students to lessons, they will appear on the calendar page of Teams – this will serve as a daily timetable.

The DfE guidance on remote learning says this:

When teaching pupils remotely, we expect schools to:

  • set assignments so that pupils have meaningful and ambitious work each day in a number of different subjects
  • set work that is of equivalent length to the core teaching pupils would receive in school, and as a minimum
  • secondary: 4 hours a day, with more for pupils working towards formal qualifications this year
  • provide frequent, clear explanations of new content, delivered by a teacher or through high-quality curriculum resources or videos
  • have systems for checking, at least weekly, whether pupils are engaging with their work, and inform parents immediately where engagement is a concern
  • gauge how well pupils are progressing through the curriculum using questions and other suitable tasks, and provide feedback, at least weekly, using digitally facilitated or whole-class feedback where appropriate
  • enable teachers to adjust the pace or difficulty of what is being taught in response to questions or assessments, including, where necessary, revising material or simplifying explanations to ensure pupils’ understanding

Research backs logic when it suggests that there are higher levels of student engagement when they can regularly interact with their teachers. This is why we are requesting that there are regular live lessons across all subjects – and that students have explained to them exactly what is expected of them lesson in, lesson out. Our teachers’ jobs remain full time as contracted and their timetables remain the same.

Certainly what we will not do is to upload a folder full of resources and say ‘that is 3 weeks worth; work your way through it’ with no teacher explanation of content, no feedback, no interaction. Students will quickly disengage. Our intention is to randomly sample students across all year groups on a weekly basis to get feedback on their levels of engagement and their experience across subjects. This will help enable us to make whatever tweaks we deem necessary.

We know from life within school that there are occasions were staff are unable to teach their lessons and need to leave cover work and this will be no different. The important thing is that students (and parents) know when a lesson is not going to be live and exactly what the students are expected to do for that session.

Rota system

We have agreed to put in place a rota for the supervision of Vulnerable/Key Worker students. Our rota system will begin next Tuesday (12th January) in order to allow all teachers to deliver live lessons on Monday 11th.  Teachers on the rota will notify their classes that they won’t be live teaching on the day they are supporting on the rota and ensure that their classes know exactly what they are expected to do.

As the emphasis this time is on continuity of learning and curriculum delivery, the students in school are wearing school uniform. They are following exactly the same learning provision as students at home.

Behaviour for Learning

Our expectations for student behaviour and attitude to learning during this time remain extremely high. Students who disturb the learning of others or who use the Teams facility inappropriately will be sanctioned as they would if they were disturbing lessons in classrooms.

We need to use this time to ensure that our students’ learning journey is as smooth as possible so they make as much progress as they possibly can. We will contact you should your son/daughter not engage in the way in which we would like.

I have said before that we are a human organisation. This means that we do not always get things right and we seek to improve when we fall short.

Many thanks for patience, understanding and support.

Stephen Hammond
Headteacher

 



Dear Y11 and Y13 students

As you will probably be aware, the Prime Minister announced that GCSE and A Level exams will not take place this summer in the normal way. In the coming days we will get details of what will replace them, but it seems reasonable to expect that students will receive grades based on a similar system to 2020. This involved teachers assessing students’ performance using classwork and homework, coursework, mock exams and other evidence.

I am aware of the shock and disappointment this news will bring. The government has consistently told students, parents and teachers that exams would happen this year and we all planned on that basis. Once the initial shock has worn off, however, I would urge you to consider these three points, as they aim to provide some reassurance.

1. Your hard work will still be recognised. None of the effort you have shown so far and continue to show in the coming months will be wasted. On the contrary, the system will make sure this is reflected in your final grade.

2. Your eventual results will be indistinguishable from real exams. In the long run, it won’t matter that your grades came from this system. You will still be able to progress to Sixth Form or to University in the normal way. The value of your GCSE and A Level qualifications is not being altered – only the way in which they are administered. None of your ambitions for the future will be affected by this decision.

3. The new system will be fair and balanced. Grades will be awarded based on objective evidence. Any grades that your teachers set will be moderated carefully, to ensure they are consistent within and between schools. If any student or parent were to be disappointed in the final grade, we expect there to be a mechanism to appeal and take follow up exams in the Autumn, just as there was in 2020.

I know that it is asking a lot of you all, on top of everything you have been through already, but you must take these points on board and keep going. Today you will be shocked and disappointed – anyone would be in your situation. In the coming days, however, you will process the news and in the long run you will be absolutely fine. Your teachers will guide and support you through the remainder of this year. For now, just turn to your online lessons, keep working hard and know that every piece of work you complete will still make a difference.

With every good wish

Stephen Hammond
Headteacher