Headteacher’s Weekly Newsletter (1 May 2020)

Dear Parents

As we enter week 4 of the summer term, the 5th week of remote schooling, this is all starting to feel oddly normal! I never thought that would be the case but we seem to have now established routines and we know from our extensive tracking, that students are engaging well in their work. Our online assemblies are proving increasingly popular with the students and these will continue at the same time for the remainder of this half-term. Year 8 are a particular highlight, given that Mrs Cruickshank-Hunter has already appeared as Harry Potter and an Octopus, the mind boggles as to what next week will bring.

The quality of work which is being submitted for the various House Challenges and Time Capsule project are stunning. Alongside the individual stories we are made aware of, to do with individual charity work, community and family support, it reminds us all just how special our students are. They are a credit to themselves and you, and I hope that you are all proud of the way in which the vast majority of them have adapted to the current situation.

Like the rest of the country, we wait with baited breath for the review of the lockdown due next week. Schools and a return to their physical buildings is certainly on the cards and we will want to see the parameters of any such decisions before we plan the logistics of what we may be asked to do. As always, once we know anything, we will keep you fully informed of any timelines or adjustments to the current situation.

Staff Support by email

Please remember that every student’s teacher is available at the end of an email to support and help. They certainly will be glad to hear from any student and will do all they can, to address any potential difficulties or impasses they have reached. Do be patient though over the next week or so, as the teaching staff are involved in a lot of GCSE and A Level grade moderation and ranking meetings, which are going to take a substantial amount of time. That means that emails may not be replied to for a little while if it coincides with a meeting, which have inevitably had to be scheduled against some times when teachers would have been teaching classes.

Student work books

We are aware that some students are filling up exercise books and need new ones. They can complete work on any other paper they have and attach it to their book. If that is not possible, on Tuesday and Wednesday next week, we will open the Lecture Theatre at the school and place spare books in there. Parents can come and collect blank books for students to use if they wish and are able to. We will put up clear signs of how to access the Lecture Theatre using the ramp to Student Services. I cannot emphasise enough that no parent should be entering the main school foyer; this area is being used by the NHS and we do not want their staff distracted or disturbed.

Scheduled Reports and Parents Evenings

As Ms Pigdon pointed out to me this week, we were due to be writing Year 8 reports soon, followed by Year 7. These were originally scheduled for after the respective exam weeks, which will now not happen this year. We still need to do a report of some type for these year groups but are delaying them for now, as currently staff’s time is dedicated to the grading and ranking of the over 100 exam courses Year 11, Year 12 and Year 13 were due to sit. We will update in the coming weeks how we are going to approach these reports and will be guided to an extent by the demands and conditions which may be pertinent at the time regarding any return to school. Likewise, the scheduled Year 10 parents evening is clearly not going to go ahead this half term and we will look at how we can address this as well.

Year 11 Hoodies

Year 11 Hoodies are now available to order. To select your colour option and complete an order form please visit: https://www.williamhoward.cumbria.sch.uk/year-11-hoodies-available-to-order/. The price is £20.00 and payments can be made on ParentPay. Please contact Ms Ledger (sledger@williamhoward.cumbria.sch.uk) if you have any queries.

Bank Holiday on Friday, 8 May

I know many of the students are living their days like they are still at school, getting up, logging on and then cracking on with their work. Do remind them it’s a day off on Friday to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of VE day – it will be very different to what was originally envisaged, but hopefully still a day of celebration and remembrance across the country.

That leaves me at the end of this week’s Newsletter – which thankfully is containing less and less as we go on. I have a feeling the one next week will contain much more and as such we will wait for the review of the lockdown by the Government before sending it out. Do continue to take care and stay safe.

Yours sincerely
Mr Chris McAree

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