Students and facilities at William Brookes School in Much Wenlock, Shropshire

Parental letter regarding teachinga nd learning during lockdown

(Posted on 11/01/21)

Dear parents/carers,

 

It has been a tricky week for us all given the announcement late on Monday night. We are now in a position to give you guidance on how things should work from Monday 11 January in order to allow you to support your son / daughter. The added complication for us is that we have a large number of students in school and so we are trying to provide two distinct packages.

 

From Monday 11th January lots of online lessons will be live with the teacher as per their scheduled timetable, using the new timings of the day:

 

  • Period 1: 09.00-09.50
  • Period 2: 09.50-10.40
  • Break: 10.40-11.00
  • Period 3: 11.00-11.50
  • Period 4: 11.50-12.40
  • Lunch: 12.40-13.10
  • Period 5: 13.10-14.00

 

This reduction in lesson length has been done following guidance and feedback about online learning cross a school day. Four hours of online learning seems to be the optimal learning capacity. It also gives time for afternoon exercise before it gets dark. Students at school and at home online, will follow these lesson times.

 

Teaching staff are working on a three-week rota and so they will not be able to deliver live online lessons at times when they are required in school. They will however post work using voice over PowerPoints or similar at these times. This means that there should be a variety of learning approaches used across this time of school closure. If there are problems with accessing lessons, please contact school and we will try and see how we can help. Lessons will be recorded on many occasions so that students can access work at different times where device access or personal reasons dictate. It is best if they can follow their timetable though.

 

In an attempt to keep a positive approach, we will switch off the weekly teams report of work missed and instead use classcharts to positively reward students who attend each lesson (see below). Once again this is a time for us to work together to do the very best job that we can. This puts you as parents / carers in a very difficult position and we appreciate this, as working with students both in school and online challenges the effectiveness of provision for us. Staff are committed to achieving the best balance at this time and we will keep our approaches under review at this very tricky time.

 

We are also worried about the impact of the messages around the summer GCSE and A Level examination. We are writing to parents and students in Yar 11 and 13 to clarify what is still a very unclear process. We have worked all year in the knowledge that this was a possibility, and I am confident that we can ensure that students will receive a fair and reflective set of grades. What we need now is to be provided with a clear set of instructions that inform our work to share widely. It is important that student’s education and learning continues in the coming months.

 

Frequently Asked Questions about Lockdown 3 

 

Questions about learning at home: 

How should I organise my child's learning at home? 

Where possible your child should follow their usual timetable, in line with the new timings. We recommend they treat this as the working part of the day. For students in year 7-11 they should finish schoolwork by 2pm and we do not intend to set extra work for them to complete outside of their allocated lesson time. 

What types of learning will my child be experiencing? 

Your child will receive two main types of learning if studying from home. Most of the lessons will be 'live' remote learning via Teams with a teacher guiding and directing students during the 50-minute session. Some lessons will be narrated presentations with tasks or resources to complete with instructions.? Most tasks will not be handed in for marking but teachers will try to provide self-assessment templates to help students understand and judge their work 

What if my child cannot, for some reason, access the learning at the allocated time? 

We are asking teachers to record their 'live' remote lessons and post on Teams for access at any time and the other lessons are not time specific and so can be accessed at any time. This will allow you some flexibility. If your child or children will find it difficult to attend the 'live' remote lessons at the correct time, please inform us and we will take this into account. 

How will you know if your child is attending remote 'live' lessons and completing the work set? 

We will be using Class Charts to award house points for attendance at these lessons and for completing work that needs to be handed back. If your child is in regular receipt of House Points (i.e. at least one per day) you can be confident that they are working. If not there may be an issue. We will be contacting home if we have concerns that any student is not receiving these house points. This will not apply if you have informed us that you will be following a different time frame for learning with your child. 

 

Questions about students attending school: 

What do they need to bring with them? 

Students should be in their usual uniform and should bring the same equipment as before the Xmas break. All students will be given one book to use in school, which they will keep in school. Students in years 10 or 11 may choose to bring their specific subject books too but those in years 7, 8 and 9 will not need to bring any other books with them other than their reading book. 

Will they still do PE? 

Yes, students will still have PE on their timetable and should wear their PE kit rather than uniform on these days. We will inform students about when they have PE so that they can be prepared. 

What about school lunches? 

Students can either bring in packed lunches or order food from the restaurant. Orders are taken each morning and the food is delivered to students at the start of lunchtime. The cost of the order is deducted from the account so parents using this option need to keep topping up the account. 

How will students in school be rewarded? 

The usual rewards and sanctions will apply in school just as the usual rules too. 

Questions about examination year groups 11 & 13: 

Is there any point children working if the exams are cancelled? 

Yes. Teachers will likely have to input Centre Assessed Grades (CAGs) to OFQUAL and so what students have done up to now and how they work over the next few months will influence these CAGs. We expect students to attend remote ‘live’ lessons and complete any work set. Teachers will still be setting some work that they will mark and assess to continue to build a picture of your child’s knowledge and understanding in their subjects. 

Will my child still be sitting mock exams? 

At the moment we are still planning to run mock exams after the half-term break. It is likely that these will be moved to later in the year if the return to school is delayed but we will keep you updated on the dates. The mock exams will be one part of the information we use to collate the CAGs and so your child will need to prepare for these as they would have done before the cancellation of final exams.