Principal’s Letter to Parents – 22nd May 2020

Principal’s Letter to Parents – 22nd May 2020

22nd May 2020

Dear Parents/Carers,

I hope that you and your families are all still well and managing to keep safe.  As we now approach the end of what has been a rather strange term, and in view of the recent announcements from the Government, I wanted to write in order to provide you all with an update.

However, I wanted to start by thanking you all as parents and carers for your fantastic support over the last 9 weeks.  I am particularly appreciative for everything that you have been doing to support learning from home.  With two young children myself, I know how difficult it is to juggle working from home with supporting your own children with their schooling, and this is of course in addition to dealing with all of the normal challenges of family life.  The school has also received a number of messages of thanks and support from so many of you over these past few weeks, and these are all received very gratefully indeed.  Thank you.

I would like to thank once again all of the teaching staff who have continued to work exceptionally hard to ensure that the students are able to continue with their studies.  I hope that your son/daughter has continued to find accessing the work via the Google Classroom to be straight-forward and helpful.  As said previously, although nothing can replace the impact of students being in school to receive the direct instruction and immediate feedback from their teachers, the use of the Google Classroom has enabled us to provide the students with the next best thing.  With home learning continuing next term, please remember to refer to Mr Lawson’s guidance, including some very clear and helpful video tutorials, to support students and parents in navigating the Google Classroom.  This information is available via the students’ Google Classroom accounts but can also be viewed from the school website (Working at Home).

I would also like to thank once again all of the Assistant Heads of College, Family Liaison Officers and College Co-ordinators for helping to provide so much support to the students during these very challenging times.  However, they have not just been providing much needed pastoral and wellbeing support but have helped many students to organise their time sensibly at home and to establish good working routines.  As said previously, if you have concerns because too much or too little work is being set, or the guidance is not sufficient, then please ask your son/daughter to email the relevant teacher or contact them via the Google Classroom to politely raise their concerns or to ask for help.  If you are still concerned that your child is struggling, please email their Form Tutor or College Co-ordinator who will forward your email on to the relevant teacher.  They will then establish how to appropriately manage your concern.

Please note that we are not expecting the students to be completing work over the half-term holiday.  We would encourage all of our students to use the time to rest and recharge in preparation for the new term.

I hope that you have all enjoyed receiving the regular college newsletters which really do reflect the school in such a glorious way.  They are proving to be an excellent way for the students to stay in touch with their college communities and are helping us to provide additional support and guidance.  Moreover, they have become a brilliant means for the students to share all of the different activities that they have been undertaking in recent weeks.  As I said in one of my recent messages to the students, I have been really impressed by everyone’s productiveness and ingenuity and would encourage them all to continue to use their time at home as productively as possible.

I would also like to congratulate once again all of the students who have been recognised in the newsletters and/or through being nominated to receive one of the school’s special recognition certificates for their hard work and achievements whilst at home.  Do please encourage your son/daughter to maintain their efforts, because all of the staff are very keen to recognise what they have been doing and to share and celebrate their successes.

Mr Mills and I have been really pleased to hear from a number of our Sixth Form students recently who, in addition to working very hard with their studies, have been sharing with us some of the excellent ways in which they have been supporting others in their local communities.  Their activities include volunteering and helping to support those who are particularly vulnerable and required to self-isolate.  I never cease to be amazed at the ways in which our students act with such thoughtfulness and maturity, and particularly so when it comes to supporting others.  I continue to be extremely proud of them.

I am aware that many of the school’s staff have also been very busy helping to support others within the local community, and no more so than Mrs Falder and Mrs Hayes who have continued to be run ‘PPE Team Tenterden’.  To date, they have produced over 10,000 items of PPE, which is just remarkable!  The growing list of recipients now includes care homes and GP surgeries as well as hospitals, both locally and across the country, as far afield as Exeter, Chesterfield, Jersey and Scotland.  Mrs Falder’s achievements have also seen her participate in a number of local radio programmes, and she was even given a ‘Workplace Standing Ovation’ on KMFM earlier this week.  Well done once again to Mrs Falder, Mrs Hayes and the amazing team of volunteers.  What a wonderful way to make a difference during the current crisis.

There has obviously been much media opinion and speculation following the Prime Minister’s address on Sunday 10th May and the subsequent information published by the Department of Education outlining plans for the phased re-opening of schools for more groups of students over the course of Term 6 – all subject to the Government confirming that their specific threshold points for schools have been met.  As Mrs Lees said in her recent letter, we do realise that this will raise many questions for parents.  You will, of course, want to know exactly which children will come back first, how they will be kept safe, how social distancing will be managed, and much more.

Whilst we are currently using the Department for Education guidance for Year 10 and Year 12 students to make plans for a phased and partial expansion of our current on-site provision later in Term 6, we will only be able to do so when we can offer a safe environment for all students and staff.  I would like to once again give you my complete and sincere assurance that the health, safety and well-being of all staff and students will continue to be the paramount concern.  Once we have received further details and clarity from the Government and have been able to finalise our plans for moving forward, I will contact you again with an update.  In the meantime, we will continue to offer our on-site provision for vulnerable students and the children of key workers, and we will also obviously continue to support all of the students remotely.

If you require your  son/daughter to now join our current provision for key workers, please email us with the name and tutor group of your child, your occupation/place of work and the days which you would like them to attend. Our email address is:

keyworkers@homewood.kent.sch.uk

All students need to have registered with us prior to their arrival at school. Without parental arrangement, it will not be possible for students to attend the current on-site provision.

I am very mindful that these continue to be unsettling and difficult times for students, staff and parents.  However, through working together so positively over these recent weeks we have demonstrated just how much can be achieved within such a cohesive, assured, caring and supportive community such as ours, and from this we should continue to draw much strength.

Please do remember to contact us if you need any support.  In the meantime, I send my very best wishes to you and your families for a safe, happy and restful half-term break.

Yours sincerely,

J K Single

Principal

To view this letter as a PDF file, please click here.