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Letter from Headteacher to Parents

posted 20 Apr 2020, 07:29 by Robin Oxborrow
20th April 2020

Dear Parents/Carers

I hope this letter finds you well and coping as well as could be expected with this completely unprecedented period of our lives. We have one eye on the future and one eye on the present. Today, things are tough. Some of the impact of this situation is visible, much is invisible. We know there is more yet to face and each and every one of our 'challenges' are unique. It will take all of our courage and wit to navigate through this into 'better times', but our collective resilience makes this possible.

I would like to take the opportunity to update you on developments relating to education.

Home Learning
The systems which were established for Home Learning will now swing back into action. Prior to the Easter holidays Alde Valley Academy staff were extremely proactive in setting, assessing and marking work in all areas. The timetable provided at this time is still to be used as a guide as to when the lessons are to be studied but is not meant to be any more than a ‘guide’. Again, please feel free to use your own judgement about when your son/daughter completes work in a particular subject but I would stress the importance of ‘routine’. It may be, as we move through this period of isolation, that a member of staff becomes unwell and therefore is not able to set any work for a period of time. The same applies if a student or family member becomes ill.

Please remember that we have a team of staff ready to help students with any problem that they may have. The primary method of communication is through the school’s email system or directly through the online package.

Access to School site
It remains the case, at least for the next 3 weeks, that school is closed to all students with the exception of those whose parents are critical workers or who are defined as vulnerable. The Government’s advice remains clear that all children are to be kept at home unless it is unsafe to do so and are in one of these categories.

If you believe that you are a keyworker or your child is vulnerable and needs to attend school next week please contact me on the school’s main phoneline or on the following email address:

d.mayhew@aldevalley.suffolk.sch.uk

Free School Meals
Over the Easter holidays we have activated the Government’s system to provide all of our families who are eligible for Free School Meals with vouchers which are redeemable at various supermarkets. This entitles these families to £15 per pupil, per week to cover meals that they would normally receive at school.

I would like to thank all affected parents for their patience as this system is established. There have been a few ‘teething problems’ that you may have seen in the press. My thanks also goes to Mrs Burrows (Finance Manager) who has worked tirelessly to ensure our families get the support that they deserve.

I would like to draw parents’ attention again to the conversation that I had with Leiston Citizens Advice who have reported an increased number of families who are experiencing financial hardship as a direct result of the COVID-19 outbreak. If you are in this category and would like advice about what to do next or the availability of local Food Banks please contact them directly on 01728 832193.

GCSE Exam Results
Over the past 2 weeks we have received further information about how the GCSE and A Level exam results will be allocated this year. Details of the system can be found using the following link:

https://schoolsweek.co.uk/coronavirus-ofqual-launches-consultation-on-2020-calculated-grade-proposals/

The main points are summarised by Chief regulator Sally Collier, who said: “All those students, parents, teachers and others affected by these unprecedented circumstances can be assured that we will continue to work urgently, with stakeholders and representative bodies across the sector and officials in the Department for Education, to put in place the best possible arrangements on their behalf.”

  • Schools will have to award each student the grade they “would most likely have received had the exams taken place”. Plus they must also rank each pupil within each grade and for each subject.
  • Ofqual is proposing to standardise grades by looking at the historical outcomes for each centre, the prior attainment (key stage 2 or GCSE) of this year’s pupils and those in previous years within each school, and the expected national grade distribution for the subject. 
  • Pupils who believe they would have got a better grade had they taken their exams can resit in the additional autumn exams. Details on arrangements for the latter are yet to be published. 

The Senior Management Team have already spent time clarifying and ranking GCSE results in all subjects in order to provide the regulators with the information that they require. For this reason, there is no need for Year 11 students to complete any GCSE work as it will not be taken into consideration for their overall GCSE grade. However, I would urge students who are potentially looking to take the GCSE exams in the Autumn or to take Level 3 qualifications next year, to continue to study and revise in those subjects.

We are here to support you through these extraordinary times so please do not hesitate to contact your son/daughter’s subject teacher via their email address or contact me direct on the school’s main phoneline or on the email address given above.

Yours faithfully,
Mr. D. Mayhew
Headteacher
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