Principal’s Message to Parents – 6th January 2021

Principal’s Message to Parents – 6th January 2021

A PDF version of this letter is available here.

6th January 2021

Dear Parents/Carers,

Cancellation of January/February Examination Series

As you know, there has been a lack of clarity from the Government surrounding the current vocational examination series. After an initial statement that these examinations should continue as planned, schools were then seemingly provided with the choice as to whether BTec examinations could continue or not. However, it has since become clear that this was aimed primarily at those students for whom a final grade could not be awarded unless the examination was taken. As this is not the case for any of the examinations scheduled to take place at Homewood over the next few weeks, we have taken the decision to cancel all remaining examinations whilst the school is required to deliver remote learning.

External Examinations

You will also know from the news and media outlets that schools will be asked to provide Centre Assessed Grades in the summer to replace any cancelled examinations. Although it is not yet clear how this process will work, it is almost certain that schools will need to provide evidence of outcomes that have a high level of confidence in the extent to which work used to evidence grades has been completed independently by candidates. It is currently our intention therefore to look at ways in which we can move the PPE (mock) examinations originally scheduled for 18th January to an appropriate time following the return to face to face teaching. As such, it is vital that students continue to work as well as they have been and engage with their teachers through Google Classroom to ensure that they stay up-to-date with their learning and revision in order to be prepared for any assessments or internal examinations following their return to school.

We understand that this is both unsettling and disappointing for all concerned. However, for all external qualifications offered this year, we are assured that the Government, Ofqual and the examination boards will work together to identify ways in which schools can award students the grades that they deserve.

Parent Consultation Days

Whilst we await for at least a little more information and detail from the Government about plans going forward, and to allow some time for students to settle in to a routine for their remote learning, the Parent Consultation Days planned for next week will be postponed until later in the term for all year groups. We will also be postponing the deadline for Year 11 students to submit their applications to the Sixth Form. Please note that new dates will be published at the start of next week.

Remote Learning

Please be reminded that all students should now be undertaking remote learning until they return to school. Teachers are setting work for students to complete on Google Classroom. Students are being assigned work for each subject according to their normal timetable. For example, if your child is timetabled to have English, Science and Geography on a Monday, they will be given work from these subjects to complete and these tasks must be completed and submitted on that same day. Please could we ask you to speak with your child about this and ensure that they are ready to begin work at the start of Period 1 each day. Teachers and college staff will be monitoring the work being completed and providing feedback to students on a regular basis in order to help ensure that they are learning and making progress with their studies across the curriculum.

We would appreciate your support, as parents, in ensuring that your child understands and completes all assignments or tasks. In line with Government guidance for remote learning, students will be expected to work for a minimum of 4 hours each day

COVID Testing

Following my letter of the 31st December, I would like to thank very much all of you who have volunteered to assist our school staff in supervising the COVID testing that we are planning to organise for when students eventually return to school. We have had an incredible response and are very humbled by the numbers of you who are willing and able to help. If you have registered to be part of our testing team, please be aware that we will be in touch with you very shortly to inform you of the next steps.

We will continue to keep you updated as the situation develops and as we receive further information and detail from the Government. In the meantime, we do appreciate just how concerning, frustrating and unsettling things are at the moment, and once again thank you very much for the strength of your support.

Yours sincerely,

J K Single