Tuesday 5th January 2021
Academy Closure – Tuesday 5th January until February half-term (although this may change)
As always, I hope this letter finds you safe and well. However, in reality, I know this will find you angry, frustrated and anxious.
You are not alone.
When I wrote to you yesterday, I did so with the knowledge shared with me by the Department for Education – insisting that the academy will be having a phased re-opening – in conjunction with the tier 4 guidance.
Yesterday evening, the Prime minister announced a second national lockdown similar to that in March. During this announcement, he stated that all schools and colleges will close to all but critical worker children and vulnerable groups. This is a directive from the DfE and therefore beyond my control. Sadly, yet not surprising, we find ourselves receiving this information at the last minute, causing some frustration and upset amongst school and college leaders.
However, at this moment we need to put this anger, frustration and anxiety aside. We need to pull together to ensure that, whilst we find ourselves in another lockdown, ALL of our students, you, have the best education, safeguarding support and well-being provision in place.
Therefore, we will be implementing the following:
- The academy will remain closed to all students except those who have exams, are vulnerable, have EHCP or require support with a safeguarding concern. These students will be contacted weekly to ascertain if they would like to come in. For those who are invited to come in we will be open Monday –Thursday 10am – 3pm and Friday 10am -1pm
- All students will have an online timetable uploaded to FROG by Friday 8th January to begin Monday 11th January until February 12th when it will be reviewed against government guidance.
- Students will receive weekly calls from a tutor or member of the support team, checking on your wellbeing and chasing any non-attendance in live lessons or non-completion of work.
- All online learning will be accessed through FROG with links uploaded for live classes.
- Registers will be taken for live lesson and attendance monitored along with completion of work. Non- completion of work or non-attendance will trigger the same sanctions as normal.
- Those of you in receipt of bursary will continue to receive full payment, however you must attend all your live lessons.
- It is incredibly important that all students attend all their online classes and complete all the work set, never has it been more important to maximise your grades in order for us to provide accurate grades for the awarding bodies. With exams cancelled, your course work and mock exam grades will play an important part in your end of year grade.
- Year 13 students please ensure you work closely with the careers team to deal with any UCAS queries and also to complete your careers interviews. These will be set up by the careers team and your careers appointment time will be uploaded onto FROG.
- If you are concerned about access to ICT, please let you tutor know so we can support you over the next few weeks.
I know for many of you, you will have concerns over how you will be assessed given you limited access to specialist equipment. Please do not worry, the curriculum managers will be working with the vice Principal and UAL to ensure any changes to assessments, a move to more research based tasks are all taken into consideration when grades are recorded.
You will receive a letter from Cyrus Armstrong-James next week regarding this.
As stated earlier in this letter, I know you are angry, frustrated and anxious about the decision but please be rest assured that, as we have done throughout the pandemic, all of the team at the academy will be supporting you each step of the way. We saw after the last lockdown how quickly students bounced back and re-engaged with the academy and lessons. We know you can do it again this time with the added excitement of being in the new academy building.
On behalf of all the academy staff, I thank you for your patience and understanding. This time is uncertain. This time is worrying. This time is upsetting. However, this time will pass and we will come out of the other side stronger.
I will send out further updates as needed.
Please take care and keep safe,
Sacha Corcoran MBE