Arrangements for the Start of Term (Updated 31 December 2021)

Dear Parents

It comes as no surprise that I find myself writing to you on New Year’s Eve. It seems an apt way to finish off 2020 from a personal perspective. I just want to update you on a few things before the start of term on Monday and I apologise for disturbing the Christmas break, but I did feel it was necessary so that we could give you as much certainty about the next few weeks as we can.

Remote Learning

There has been some confusion since the Secretary of State for Education’s announcement yesterday with regards to what the delay to the start of term means. For clarity, all students who attend William Howard School, in all year groups from 7 to 13, will be supported with remote learning from Monday, 4 January.

The guides, and a letter explaining how this support will be provided, were sent to Years 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12 before the Christmas break. Guidance was sent to parents with students in Years 11 and 13 yesterday evening. These are all on the school website for reference. We also made sure that students without device access were provided with these before the Christmas break. If any Year 11 student needs support in this manner with a device they need to contact Mrs Jones at the school promptly on Monday morning. The small number of students who do not have access to the internet will have work sent home to them as earlier in the year. Those with poor or intermittent connectivity will have work emailed as per previous arrangements.

Students will either receive notification emails on Monday for that day’s lessons, and each day subsequently, or will be sent Teams lesson invites, as applicable to each year group. In the case of Year 11, at least the first 2 hours of lessons will be ready online immediately at the start of the day, the rest will be completed and available by 11am on Monday. The relevant areas of the VLE showing live lesson support, pastoral briefings and other links will all be made live ready for Monday morning. (

Remote Learning Guide and links to ICT support are available here.

I cannot emphasise enough that this work will be in line with the schemes of work the students would be following if they were on-site, and the expectation is clear that all work should be completed by all students. The Year Group Teams will be in contact with students and parents promptly where we have concerns about engagement with the work that has been set.

Currently we expect Year 11 and Year 13 will return to school on Monday, 11 January and all other year groups on Monday, 18 January.

Communication regarding testing

Over Christmas we have been working on our plans to allow all students the opportunity to undertake two Lateral Flow Tests at the start of term.

As I write, the Admin team are sending out the first letters regarding Lateral Flow Testing to parents. These will arrive over the weekend or early next week for all students in Year 11, 12 and 13 and the students who will be attending the Vulnerable and Critical Workers Hub provision next week. The letters for Years 7, 8, 9 and 10 will be sent early next week. It is very important that these are read thoroughly and that the appropriate forms are filled in for all students who wish to have the lateral flow tests.

We have sent the letters in hard copy so that you are able to fill in the forms and students should then bring them to the school when they undertake a test.

Free School Meals

Students in receipt of Free School Meals should have received a voucher via the same system the Local Authority used to provide support over the Christmas break. These have been ordered for relevant students in Years 11 and 13 today. If you haven’t received the appropriate voucher by Monday please contact Mrs Mothersdale or Mrs Sawdon at the school.

Vulnerable students and Critical Worker Hub

We wrote before Christmas to the parents of these students with detailed arrangements. I would like to reassure them that we have been in contact with transport providers today and we expect that the students registered to attend the hub will be collected as normal, though bus sizes and some routes will obviously vary.

It goes without saying that I am very much looking forward to seeing all the students back in school as soon as possible. As always, if you have any questions or concerns please contact the Year Group Teams and Curriculum Leaders when we start back on Monday.

Take care.

Chris McAree

Please download details of specific year group arrangements here:

Remote Learning Guide and links to ICT support are available here.


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