I had a fabulous opportunity to break a school record on Monday – something I have not had the chance to do since my own school days when things were very different indeed! Whilst the technology let me down for a short while (I became muted), I was able to speak to all students and staff across the School in a short assembly on Microsoft Teams via staff laptops. Now we have tested the system and had the chance to consider how to improve it further, we will repeat this again next week and are likely then to introduce a more structured Form time assembly rota for all year groups. Our days in the Main Hall look far away at this stage, but this will go some way to replacing the old style assemblies but within the government guidance.
Another week passes and we continue to be impressed with the way the vast majority of our students have conducted themselves as they get used to new routines so that we can provide them with the best teaching and learning we can. As anticipated there have needed to be a few tweaks to what we are doing in order to continue to minimise risk. This includes small alterations to when classes end their lessons in particular areas of the School so that the risk of congestion in the corridors is reduced further. We have also reminded students not to stop in the corridors but to move quickly to the outside and onwards to their next lesson. Key to our risk assessment is that the time in the corridors is relatively brief compared to the time spent in close proximity to others in classrooms. Senior staff are monitoring the corridors and are pleased that initial issues have settled down as a result of these enhancements. Please ensure your child has access to a face covering should we decide to make these compulsory at any stage in the future. Thank you to parents who have spoken to us or written to us expressing their views on this.
A small number of parents have been in touch this week regarding our plans for when the weather becomes much wetter and/or colder. We usually only rarely bring the children inside as we believe it is important for them to have fresh air between lessons wherever possible. This is even more the case currently. On the rare occasions it rains very heavily for a long period of time (such as this morning) we will make use of inside spaces that are available. This morning students were allowed to go to their Form rooms. Senior staff will make the decision at the time based on the conditions, room availability and impact on the children and the School. Please help us in our endeavours by ensuring your child brings to school a warm, preferably waterproof coat (plain dark brown or plain black only) with a hood. They may also bring an umbrella.
We appreciate all your help and support and, from the feedback I have had, I know as a community we have pulled together well to get the School open and functioning as safely as we can. Our focus currently is on ensuring the School day runs smoothly and that teaching and learning are as high a quality as possible. Our Communications Policy on our website sets out how parents/carers can contact the School and expectations around this. I am sure you will appreciate that at this time we may not be in a position to deal with non-urgent matters as quickly as we might normally for which we apologise.
We are continuing to enhance our remote learning and build capacity in case it is needed in greater amounts over the months ahead. We are aware that many parents liked homework being set in Bromcom as it kept parents and carers informed, but this does not work well with our new remote learning and homework plans. The School has moved towards using Microsoft Teams to set homework and assessments, wherever possible. This new homework and home learning system works well with our current systems, but we would like to ensure parents and carers are as informed as possible. We have worked to find a potential solution for this, and will run a trial over the next week whereby parents and carers are sent a summary email of their child’s homework completion. Please do not contact us about any issues relating to this at this stage. Once the emails are sent out we will be checking the content of a sample of them to check for accuracy and any issues we need to follow-up on.
Boards and pens for all
All students are, over the course of this week, being provided with mini pen boards and a pen. These are given to students for their own individual use. Students will be expected to bring these to school every day, and they will be responsible for looking after them appropriately, including cleaning them. Using the pen boards will allow teachers to quickly and effectively assess understanding and progress in a variety of ways. Students should not share their pen boards or pens, and if pens are lost then students will have to acquire a new one. Board pens will, in turn, be added to the required stationery list.