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SCHOOL CLOSURE information for parents

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Dear Parents / Guardians,

I am writing to inform you that Rugby High School will be closed to all students from Monday 23rd March until further notice.

I am sure that you are, like we are, still trying to come to terms with the changes in our daily lives to which we are being subjected.  In the face of everything, I would like to reassure you of two things.  Whether open, closed or partially open, Rugby High School (like you) still takes the safeguarding of your child as our number one priority, and secondly, throughout the ensuing weeks, your child will receive work and teacher feedback to ensure that their learning and progress can continue.

Obviously, over the first few weeks, there may be one or two hiccups as we ensure we function remotely, and for your patience and understanding, I thank you in advance.

I am sure you would want me to extend your thanks to the staff who have managed to keep the school going this long, and who will continue to work to support your children.  Obviously we will all have families to look after, and anxieties and concerns, and we will all be juggling those and the demands of work.  Again, I am grateful for your understanding as we work our way through.

Although the following email contains more information regarding our closure and the coming weeks, there are two principles that I want us to remember above everything else:

Safeguarding

All staff, students, parents and carers have a duty to safeguard the young people with whom we work.  If, during an email conversation or at home or in discussion with your child, you have any concerns about a student, email safeguarding@rugbyhighschool.co.uk

If you have a concern that a child is at immediate risk of harm, you should contact the Warwickshire Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH): 01926 414144

It is vital as parents, given the need for remote learning that we monitor as closely as we can student use of social media and the internet, in order that students stay safe online. 

Pastoral Care

In terms of pastoral concerns – report them to the pastoral team as normal.  It seems to me unlikely that as a community, we will be exempt from difficult challenges, so if you are aware of news that you think SLT or the pastoral team should know, please do share it.

Attendance

I would ask that parents continue to alert us of student illness through attendance@rugbyhighschool.co.uk if their child is in the main school, or 6thattendance@rugbyhighschool.co.uk if their child is in the sixth form.

Setting of Work:

From Monday we will be working on the "long term closure" aspect of our plan: 

Our aim, of course is to ensure that education continues.
The following will hopefully offer some guidance as to how we intend to ensure students continue to learn and progress through the curriculum.

  • Work will be set for all Year 10, 11, 12 and 13 Lessons and during those timetabled lessons staff will be available on line to address student queries by email.  Should staff be unavailable due to illness, parents and student will be notified.  Years 7 to 9 will be set one piece of work a week that staff can assess, monitor progress and offer feedback.  All students will receive feedback on their work, Years 11 and 13 can expect weekly feedback.

We will continue to report student progress in some form throughout any prolonged closure.

Can I remind you that during any closure, we will all need to be a little flexible in order that teaching and learning can continue to happen, but the rapidly changing nature of events may lead to adaptations. 

I will communicate daily with staff, students and parents with a daily email and key information, and the website will be updated too.

Partial Opening for children of key workers and vulnerable children

You will have seen that schools should try to remain open to provide some education for the children of key workers, and we are committed to do so where there is a need.

I am in discussion with staff as to what that provision might look like, but at the moment, I would ask that you expect the school to be fully closed, until we can ensure we can safely open, albeit partially.

Should you fall into this category, and require your child to be in school, I would be grateful if you could email Helen Wallace on h.wallace@rugbyhighschool.co.uk by 11am on Friday 20th March with the name of your child, their year group and the key role you undertake in line with governmental guidance, in order for us to plan that provision, if we can, from Wednesday 25 March onwards.

I’m sure you understand that whatever the demand, we will be at the mercy of staff health, and the capacity to safely open the site.

Can I remind you that the guidance on self-isolation still applies.  Students should not be attending if they or anyone in the household is ill, for at least 14 days from the first symptom showing.

School buses should still be running, but drivers have been given clear instructions not to transport any student displaying symptoms.

Routines

During any prolonged closure, there will be a daily email at 9AM with any updates and guidance, and the website will be updated daily.

Exams and Grades

Although we know national examinations for years 11 and 13 have been cancelled, we do not yet know how final grades will be awarded, although we do know they WILL be awarded.  We are not in a position to discuss how they will be awarded, or what nature those grades will take.  This will be decided at a national level, and other than input through our professional associations and any national consultations, we are not in a position to discuss exams or grades of any sort with parents or students. 

To speculate would not be helpful in this case.

OFQUAL and the DFE will take the decision here, and it will be for us to implement.  The only thing to reinforce is that no student should be disadvantaged in the result that they are awarded, however that result is arrived at.

There is no point worrying about deadlines or what will happen, this will be a national decision.

It is therefore vital that years 11 and 13 continue to complete work in line with their courses, and will be expected to interact fully with the work set.  Teachers will continue to offer comments to support students in developing their learning.

This is just as important for years 10 and 12, who need to be thoroughly prepared to return to normal study at some point.

I shall be writing to students and staff to reinforce these messages, and we have spoken directly to students in years 11 and 13 today.

Year 11 and 13 leavers

I also fully understand students’ disappointment at not being able to have a celebration and leaving assembly to celebrate their time at RHS.  However we return to school when we fully re-open, we fully intend to invite all year 11 and 13 to join us to have those celebrations.  I would like to be clear that we happy for students in year 11 and 13 to attend in non-school uniform tomorrow, but will not expect there to be any form of tricks, japes or disruption.  Our entire school community requires some semblance of normality tomorrow, and I will take a very dim view indeed of students who think that at a crucial time for teaching and site staff, that they have to deal with any form of disruption to the site or lessons.  I would hate to ask for students to be collected early and taken home if any such transgressions occur. 

Free School Meals

The Government has stated that these will be provided for with vouchers.  Until that is resolved all students should receive supermarket voucher for the next four weeks either before they leave on Friday 20th or in the post.

Please do let us know if this is a concern, or you have not received them.

Can I close by expressing our heartfelt thanks for your understanding, but also our aim to ensure that your child’s education continues throughout the coming weeks.  We hope that you and we can see through the coming weeks with our families and our communities safely and calmly.

You are of course welcome to drop me an email with any questions or talk to any of the senior team if you have any concerns.

 

With very best wishes,

Mark Grady

Headteacher