Principal’s Letter to Parents – 12th February 2021

Principal’s Letter to Parents – 12th February 2021

A PDF version of this letter can be found here.

Dear Parents/Carers,

As I promised in my letter at the end of last week, I wanted to write once again to predominantly wish everyone as part of the Homewood school community a very restful half-term holiday.

Following what has been another very busy and challenging term, and for some members of our community a very worrying and upsetting one as they have coped with all sorts of issues at home, I am really hoping that everyone is able to get at least some rest and enjoyment from the following two-week break.

I would like to thank you once again as parents and carers for your ongoing support and co-operation with remote learning this term. I would also like to pay tribute to the students who have in the vast majority of cases engaged so positively and successfully with their learning through the Google Classroom. Please do reassure them that through engaging with their studies and trying hard with the work being set that they will be making progress with their studies and definite strides forward towards achieving highly in the future.

Reopening of school

In terms of whether schools will actually be reopening for the week beginning Monday 8th March, we are still clearly waiting for further information from the Government. However, we understand that a Government announcement is due to be made by Monday 22nd February which will outline a roadmap for the weeks and months ahead. As always, as soon as we have received this information ourselves and are able to communicate the plans for Homewood with you, we will do so as quickly as possible.

I know that for students in Year 11 and the Sixth Form in particular the frustrating and nervous wait for more information regarding the exact nature of the examination and assessment plans for this summer is really difficult. Following the joint DfE and Ofqual consultation which closed at the end of January, we understand (and hope!) that the Government will be confirming plans for this summer in the announcement mentioned above.

Year 11 and Sixth Form Assessment

If students in Year 11 and the Sixth Form are to return to school from Monday 8th March – and I appreciate that none of us yet know how likely this is at the moment – we are currently planning for all students to begin an assessment period the week beginning Monday 22nd March (and, if necessary, over the course of the remaining weeks of the term). This will help gauge their knowledge and understanding, practise particular questions and topics, inform future planning and enable a well-informed selection of topics for final examinations if a choice becomes applicable. This may also provide some possible supporting evidence to help determine final grades – although this last part will only be the case if the individual assessments set are deemed appropriate to be used as such supporting evidence.

In the meantime, we thank you for your continued support in doing everything possible from home to ensure that your sons/daughters in Year 11 and the Sixth Form maintain high levels of engagement with their work and learning in anticipation of them still being required to complete formal assessments and examinations in the months ahead. With this in mind, and whilst we do appreciate that it is imperative for all students to have a rest, the next two weeks will provide students with a very good opportunity to undertake some revision, and I know that teachers have
therefore been advising students accordingly.

Option choices

Can I also remind those of you with children in Years 8 and 9 that the deadline for the return of choices for next year is fast approaching on Monday 1st March, as outlined in my letter sent in January. It is important that we have responses by this time in order to provide us to process all the applications and maximise the choice opportunity for students, therefore we would be most grateful if the above deadline was met. Information regarding the course selection process is available on the websites below:

Final course selection should be made using the appropriate Google form below:

I do hope that students from all of the year groups enjoyed the final two days of term and that these provided them with an opportunity for some less screen time. I am very grateful to Miss Kennett and to the student leadership team for putting this all together. Please do encourage your sons/daughters to share what they have done over these two days with their colleges – we are all really looking forward to hearing about their experiences and achievements!

School development work

I am pleased to say that, despite the current concerns and disruptions, we are managing to continue with much of our development work for the school. For example, work to improve the school site continues both in terms of buildings and landscaping, and during the half-term holiday we look forward to being able to complete the bulk of our planned refurbishment work to the school’s Reception area in addition to making even more progress with our ongoing improvement work to a number of the teaching blocks. We will also be starting a very exciting schedule of works to modernise and improve the Sinden Theatre so that both our own students and the local community can benefit even further from this fantastic venue. I will tell you more about this exciting work in future communications. We have also now started the process of designing a brand new website for the school. Thank you once again to all of you who were able to complete the communications audit from earlier this term as your feedback is really helping to inform the design of our new site. In short, there certainly continues to be plenty to look forward to at Homewood!

Before closing, I am sure that you would like to join me in thanking all of the staff at Homewood for their incredible efforts in doing everything possible to ensure that the school is able to run as smoothly and as effectively as possible. In particular, their dedication to ensuring that the students are able to continue with their studies and still receive the necessary support to help meet their individual needs and aspirations is beyond commendable. We are so fortunate to have such a dedicated and caring team of staff at Homewood!

Like so many people, and despite the fullness of the life he lived and the remarkable legacy that he has left behind, you will no doubt have been saddened by the passing of Captain Sir Tom Moor at the beginning of this month. As he has been an inspiration to so many during these difficult times, I thought it apt to end this particular letter with one of his typically positive and affectionate messages in the hope that it will encourage us all to look forward to much better times: “For all those finding it difficult: the sun will shine on you again and the clouds will go away.”

I wish you and your families a very safe, happy and restful half-term holiday.

Yours sincerely,

J K Single
Principal