Hoping to see you all again very soon!
(Posted on 20/03/20)
This week’s blog comes at a time of uncertainty, bringing many challenges for us all.
We informed you yesterday that the Government has instructed all schools to close by the end of today (Friday 20th March). Due to staff shortages, the school closed to our Year 13 students yesterday at 12:15 and to our Year 11 students at 15:25. Final assemblies were held in the gym; tears flowed from students and staff. We hope at some point to be able to invite both Year groups back into school for a proper celebratory send off!
Sad farewells after our final Year 11 assembly
The lads – I will miss watching your weird football game, I still don’t get the rules!
Year 11 and Year 13 students are understandably worried about exams. I have no answers for them at this point in time but rest assured, we will contact parents and carers once we have received an update from the Department for Education. Teachers have done their utmost to complete GCSE and A-level courses given the short timeline and are working hard to get all necessary teaching and exam materials onto on-line platforms for students to access from home, but it does seem that no exams will take place this academic year. We are expecting an update from the DfE later today.
School will close for all other Year groups at 13:05 today (Friday) – all bus transport has been arranged, but of course we will be open for any student who cannot get home at this time. The reason for the early closure is to give staff time to prepare for Monday, when we open for Emergency School Provision. This provision is for all students identified as being vulnerable and for the students of parents who are identified as key workers. Parents of eligible children will be contacted direct. We are still working on the exact nature of the provision, but we will ensure that we have a worthwhile curriculum to offer. We will update parents later today regarding this matter, but it is clear that, where possible, children should be cared for at home as part of the Government’s social distancing policy.
All students have been given work to do by their teachers – they all have access codes to Google Classroom and there is plenty of work on there – please supervise this work from home – staff will be monitoring completion of work, giving feedback and adding more should it be necessary. We will also be sending out other ideas to keep students mentally and physically active.
School times from Monday will be 08:30 to 15:30. We will be operating on a skeleton staff basis, but catering and safeguarding provisions will be in place. Entry and exit from school will be via Main Reception for staff and Student Reception for students – all other external doors will be inaccessible. All provision will be in the main school building and mostly in the maths area. The rest of school will be having a deep clean. We will also contact parents whose children are eligible for free school meals; we are still awaiting guidance from the DfE on the exact nature of this provision.
My sincere thanks to all parents and carers who have sent in messages of support – it is greatly appreciated by all of us. To know that we have your support and that you understand the difficulties we are facing has been a great morale boost. Throughout this time we have followed advice from the Department for Education and Public Health England, and I know that has not always been welcomed by some parents, but we have tried to be consistent to that advice and keep you updated with changes.
I want to assure you that student wellbeing is at the centre of all that we do, and that has not changed. We all need to follow the hygiene advice that has been widely publicised and generally take care of our health and wellbeing. We all need to look after each other, to be kind, to be tolerant and to show patience. I would therefore ask that parents and carers please monitor postings on social media to prevent any further upset, worry or misinformation. A recent and slightly alarming report on Cheshire Live was not issued by the school, but simply cut and pasted from various recent postings on the school website to produce a ‘sensational’ headline. Social Media has not always had a positive effect on school life, but may now be vital to maintain contact and friendships in the weeks and months ahead, but it needs to be used wisely.
I wish to publically thank all my staff for their efforts over the last week in particular. Our support staff have been amazing; they have dealt with an enormous amount of parental ‘phone calls and have calmly and efficiently coped with every demand we have thrown at them. Our site team and cleaning staff have been busy conducting a thorough clean of the school every evening and throughout the day and our caterers have kept us well fed! Our teachers are working harder than ever to upload teaching resources and exam materials to on-line platforms so that students can continue learning, whilst covering for absent colleagues and still managing to teach their own classes to their usual high standards. Your children, our students, have responded maturely and sensibly to the difficult circumstances facing us all. It is a privilege to lead this school and in times of crisis like this, we see the true measure of those close to us.
This is a challenging time for our country. As families, we face uncertainty and we worry for our loved ones. It will take a great effort for the nation to get through these difficult times, and I’m sure that we have the resolve to do just that. At Christleton, our values are summed up in the ‘5Cs of Christleton’: Caring, Collaborative, Creative, Commitment and Cheerful – I hope we can all live up to those values in the weeks and months ahead and show love, care, tolerance and patience for each other.
My very best wishes to you and your families.
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