MHS Update Week Commencing 4th January 2021
Happy New Year everyone, I hope you managed to get a decent break and enjoyed the festivities as much as possible given the current restrictions. I am pleased to say that no Covid cases were reported to school following the end of term last year and so we didn’t need to contact any families regarding track and trace. Hopefully this bodes well for the new term, but of course with the situation as it is in the south of the country we must be prepared for further disruption ahead. Thank you also for your support of the remote learning plan that was in operation on 21st and 22nd December. Our records show that 89% of the students logged on and took part which is very encouraging at the end of a long and tiring term.
However, this blog is focussed on the start of term and is based on the current Department for Education guidance and expectations.
- The new school term starts as planned on Thursday 7th January. However, ONLY those vulnerable students and/or children of Key Workers who have already requested a place should attend school on the 7th and 8th January. Over the break the government announced that Year 11 will be joining the other year groups in not coming back to school straight away (news article here)
- On the 7th and 8th January all form time sessions and normal lessons for RED week will be delivered online using Microsoft Teams. These lessons will start at the usual timetabled start time but will end up to 15 minutes early. This is to give students a break between lessons and allow teachers to end one lesson and prepare for the next. We are seeking to provide recordings of the lessons to Teams as well as put resources on Teams/Satchel One (SMHW) at the end of each session, and staff need time to do this. All guidance on how to access live lessons can be found here. Year 11 were not expecting to have to access live lessons and so are advised to check they know what to do before Thursday morning.
- Week commencing Monday 11th January, Year 11 will be able to come to school as normal but Years 7-10 will have to stay at home and again take part in live lessons. The full BLUE week timetable will be delivered online for Years 7-10.
- As mentioned above vulnerable students and the children of key workers will be able to come to school throughout this period regardless of what year they are in. Vulnerable and Key worker students who attend school will be able to access the same lessons via a computer in one of the school’s computer rooms. They will not experience face to face teaching on those days. Students may wish to bring in their own headphones if they prefer to use them. If parents/carers have not yet requested a place then please contact Claire.firstname.lastname@example.org asap. An email will be sent out to Year 11 parents shortly regarding any requirements for the 7th and 8th.
- The Year 11 and Year 9 parents evenings will be going ahead as planned this half term, using the online system trialled with Year seven last term.
- Any formal external exams scheduled this term (there is a Sports Studies exam on Monday 11th January) are going ahead.
- All the above is accurate at the time of posting on the website…if the rules change then I’ll update everyone as soon as I can!
As I said before the break, this is all being organised at great speed with no days in school to prepare. It is also the first time we have had to deliver so many online lessons all at once and our plan is ambitious to say the least. Therefore it may be that some live lessons experience technical issues or do not take place should there be any staff absences/isolations. If at any point no Teams lesson starts within 5 minutes of the scheduled start time, then students should check Satchel One (SMHW) as it may be that staff absence means the lesson have reverted to independent work. I am sure students and parents will understand if this is the case, but I’m confident that the vast majority of lessons will go ahead as planned.
Finally a quick word on mass testing in schools. I believe we are about to take delivery of a large number of test kits but, as of now, we have no further information on what we are expected to do with the tests or when. Rest assured I will update the community on this issue as soon as I have something concrete to share.