SCHOOL CLOSURE information for students
Of all the emails I thought I might have to write in my first year as a Head Teacher, and all the different jobs (nice and nasty ones) I thought I might have to do, I can confidentially say I never thought I’d be writing to you to tell you that we would be closing the school from Monday 23rd of March until further notice.
However, it does go to prove that one should always be prepared to be flexible in one’s thinking, and adapt to the circumstances with which one is faced, and I know the education at Rugby High School will have prepared you for this.
Your independence, your resilience, your kindness and your good humour that I see every day as I walk around the school will be exactly the things you can draw on in the coming weeks.
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 your safeguarding as our number one priority, and secondly, throughout the ensuing weeks, you will continue to 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 you all. 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:
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 friends or another adult you have any concerns about a student, email firstname.lastname@example.org
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, given the need for remote learning that you are careful online. There will be lots of news circulating, there will be use of social media, and of course these are perfect ways to spread mis-information. I would ask that you always fact-check any information you might come across in the news or on social media, and of course, our expectations of you treating each other with kindness and respect extend to our interactions online. Now is the time to look after each other more than ever, and I trust in your mature use of the internet to learn and to communicate with friends and family.
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.
If the school is closed, then I would ask that your parents continue to alert us of student illness through email@example.com if you are in the main school, or firstname.lastname@example.org if you are 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 students 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 on your 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.
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 – Years 10, 11, 12 and 13
Firstly, years 11 and 13, I absolutely understand your anxieties, frustrations and annoyance at the news that your exams have been cancelled. To have worked as hard as you have, and been building up to them, only to have them removed seems dreadfully unfair, and I understand the mixed emotions you’ll be feeling.
However, 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. To pay attention to any student chat-room, or media speculation will also be to no avail: 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. So until you see an announcement from OFQUAL about how grades will be awarded, you are better to pay no attention to any speculation (I know that will be difficult.)
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 parents 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 the disappointment of year 11 and 13 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 saying that I will continue to write a weekly newsletter, the rest of the staff and I will continue to work hard for your education, and continue to ensure that your voice is heard throughout the next few weeks.
I am well aware that for some of you this might all sound terribly serious, but the most important thing we can do is to look after each other and our families, follow all the governmental advice, and continue to treat eachother with kindness and respect.
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,