Emerson Park Academy

Endeavour, Persevere, Achieve

Letter from the Head Teacher - 19th May 2020

Dear Parents and Carers,

Firstly, I would like to say I hope you are all well and coping under such extreme circumstances.

This message is intended to give you a brief update on our current position.

As we know, the Prime Minister has recently announced changes to ease the lockdown.  One of the key components of his message was that Primary Schools should begin to re-open from the week commencing 1st June 2020.  The plan also included the following statement referred to secondary schools:

‘We will ask Secondary Schools, Sixth Form and Further Education Colleges to offer some face-to-face support to supplement the remote education of Year 10 and Year 12 students who are due to take any key exams next year alongside the full-time provision they are offering to priority groups.’

This does not mean Year 10 will be in school from 1st June, only that plans will be made to the way they are supported.

Yesterday there was a meeting of the Havering Head Teachers to discuss the ways forward with this.  I also had a meeting with the School Governing Body until late in the evening.

We are very keen as a school to get back to some sense of normality as soon as possible.  We are fully aware that pupils in Years 7, 8 and 9 have not been mentioned in the Government plans as yet and we look forward to seeing how they will be factored in to future planning.

The concept of balancing any ‘face-to-face’ support for Year 10 and ensuring the environment is safe for all pupils and staff is a very complex one and we are looking at a variety of options to make this happen.

Formal risk assessments will need to be undertaken to ensure the school is as safe as possible and we are working with the local authority to achieve this.

The Government are now working with the unions to come up with a plan that suits all parties and ensures Year 10 (initially) can start to get the support they will need in the preparation for their GCSEs.

A large part of the discussions I have had with other Head Teachers and members of my Senior Leadership Team have centred around online support.  We are fully aware that not all of our pupils find it easy to get Internet access and not all pupils have their own laptops to complete the work. 

I am also aware that commercial videos and teaching resources are no compensation for being in the classroom having a familiar face supervising the lessons.

We are currently looking beyond this term and just how we can support the learning of more than 1000 pupils should the restrictions caused by the virus continue.  There will be a lot of planning going into this in the coming weeks.

As soon as we have a more definitive response from the government, in consultation with the unions, we will be able to give more details of what changes will take place regarding Year 10.

May I take this opportunity to thank you again for your support during such difficult times.  I know how hard it must be for you to juggle work, family life and home schooling. 

I am sure you would like things back to normal and I share that sentiment. 

I know how anxious you must be regarding the education of your children.  Sticking together as a school community has never been more important and by working together we can bounce back from this and ensure your children go on to successful lives.

Please stay safe and my best wishes go to all of you and your families.

Regards,

 

Scott McGuinness

Head Teacher