Head Teacher’s Blog 26th June 2020
Since last week’s Blog we have had some further
government announcements about what to expect in September. The two big things are the aim for all students to be back full time and the announcement of additional funding for tutoring support to help close gaps that have widened between different pupils during lock down.
We are still awaiting detail on what public health restrictions there may be and what impact that will have on the planned timetable and planned school calendar. We are also waiting to hear how the additional funding for tutoring will be shared between schools and how much freedom schools will have in deciding how to use that funding.
We will publish the working calendar for the school year, including start dates for students, parents’ evenings and training days in the next two weeks. We will of course amend these as further guidance comes from the government and we will all expect to need to see further changes to the plan in September and throughout the year. Being ready to change our plans and expectations is something we’ve all become used to over recent months!
As noted last week, teachers are planning amendments to the curriculum such as the order of teaching, things to focus on, etc. We are also planning to revise the curriculum through the year in response to the needs of the students and in response to any changes in either how we run school due to public health guidance or, in the case of current Y10 or Y12 students, any changes that are made to the exam specifications. We are also planning for the need to support induction of students new to the school and reintegration into routines and relationships for all students. There is really good guidance coming from mental health professionals and really good collaborative work across Sheffield on all of these things.
Summer Show Case
The annual Summer Showcase is a fantastic opportunity to show all the hard work students do in extra-curricular Performing Arts. As we can’t all be together in person this year, Grace Scott (Y10) had the innovative idea to take the Summer Showcase online. Grace wanted to share the positivity of the Performing Arts to everyone during this challenging time.
Students from years 7 – 12 have been submitting videos of them showing off their creativity and talents from home. These videos include Dance, Singing, Musical Instrument and Poetry.
The videos will be available to watch via the stream system from the 29th June onwards - during and after lockdown.
I would like to thank Mr Woodcock and his team who have organised all the videos and Miss Carrigan and her colleagues across the performing arts team, who have kindly put this whole thing together. I would also like to thank Grace for her leadership and ideas and all of the students who have contributed.
Remember that we are all in this together as a community, and we will all come out of this together as a community. Watch some videos, have a laugh and celebrate the coming of summer!
GCSE and A Level Results
GCSE and A Level results will be released by exam boards on the results days that were already planned:
A Level – Thursday 13th August
GCSE – Thursday 20th August
Of course, things are different this year as these grades have been awarded by the exam boards based on teacher assessed grades and rank ordering of students that we submitted. The exam boards are currently carrying out further moderation of grades, so that the proportions of grades awarded are comparable to other years and take account of the typical performance of students in each school.
As a result of the different way in which grades have been awarded this year, there is no normal review of marking or appeals process, though you will be able to ask for a check if you think that there may be a clerical error. Please be assured that we will be cross checking the results with those that we submitted to ensure that the right results have been awarded to the right students.
We have also received public health guidance that we should not plan to have the normal ‘open school’ with students gathering together to received their results. Together with the fact that we will not have the normal checking and advice to students on reviews of marking etc. means that schools in Sheffield will be running things in a different way.
We will send students their results by a secure route as soon as the results become live on results day. We will have staff in school available for phone discussion or face to face appointments in school for students who need advice or help with progression to University or post 16 study and we will also want to hear from any students who want to enquire about entering re-sit exams in the Autumn. Of course, if there are any other worries or concerns that students have, we will want to hear and will arrange to get in touch as quickly as we can.
We will be putting in place an appointment system so that, if you need to speak to a member of staff, you will know when someone will be available either in school or over the phone.
I know that it has been hard for many students to face an end to a phase of their education that is so different to normal. It was very hard for teachers, providing assessed grades for students and balancing their wish to give everyone the highest grade with our duty to base it on the best evidence we have about what students were most likely to achieve in the summer. I can assure you that this was done with great care and with many levels of cross checking to be fair and accurate. It is sad for me that we won’t be able to be together to celebrate with students and to have that immediate support of friends and staff if there is any disappointment. However, in these strange times, it is another thing that has been affected. We hope, however, the availability of staff via appointments will ensure that students do have access to the guidance or advice they need.
That is all from me this week. I leave you with a prayer and my best wishes to all members of our community.
In this week’s Sunday gospel Jesus challenges us to focus on what is most important. Jesus says, ‘whoever does not take up their cross and
follow me is not worthy of me.’ The lockdown has given us all an opportunity to reflect on our lives and our priorities. Jesus is asking us to prioritise God because if we do then everything else will be in the right place. However, if we prioritise money etc. and our own desires then everything will be out of place. So let us pray,
Lord, help me to have a stronger faith so that I can make you a priority in my life. Help me to overcome my selfishness so that in doing your will I may go beyond my own selfish desires and reach out in love to all those around me no matter who they are.