Letter to parents/carers 11th May 2020
I hope that you were all able to enjoy some of the sunshine over the bank holiday weekend.
I am sure that many of you will have watched Boris Johnson’s briefing last night. Those of you with primary school aged children may, very understandably, feel anxious regarding a possible return to school in June. For all of you who are parents/carers of Cheam High students, you may also feel anxious that it appears secondary schools will not fully reopen until September.
Most importantly, your children may also be feeling anxious and/or upset at what looks likely to be an extended period of school closure. There have certainly been tears in the households of some staff when children realised that secondary schools would remain closed for now. However, it is vital that we, as a school and community, start to think towards the future.
What preparations is the school making for the future?
All of us – school staff, parents/carers and students - want schools to reopen as soon as possible. But, of course, this can only be done when it is judged safe enough to do so. Whilst we wait for this moment to arrive, we would like to reassure you on three fronts:
Firstly, when the time is right for secondary schools to reopen, we will be doing everything we can to make sure that this happens in as safe and secure a way as possible. We have already, for example, installed additional hand-sanitiser dispensers on site and will be exploring other options to help keep our staff, students and their families/households as safe as possible. The wellbeing of both our students and staff will remain absolutely paramount when further steps to reopening are taken.
Secondly, we do not intend to rush things. We are already considering options regarding how school might reopen on a partial basis with students on reduced timetables, or certain year groups in on certain days, for example, to allow as much social distancing as possible, if this remains necessary. Before we reopen, we will communicate a clear plan to parents/carers and students. This will include planning for additional pastoral support and curriculum changes if/where we feel appropriate to support our students with both their emotional and academic development.
Thirdly, if we are to remain closed until the summer (for all but children of key workers and vulnerable students), we will review our current working practices and work-setting guidance. I am extremely proud of how hard our staff have worked to provide our students with the best possible learning opportunities during this time and the exceptional professional standards that they have maintained during such challenging times. I – and our staff - are also very proud of the great efforts parents and carers have made to help their children keep learning. Well done to you all!
However, if we are to continue with school closures for some weeks to come, we will look at what more we can do to help you, and your children, balance learning with long-term wellbeing. This is now very much a marathon, not a sprint. We will communicate any changes to our home-learning model with you as soon as possible. In the meantime, please remember to do what you can and keep communicating with us re any difficulties you, or your child, may be experiencing. All staff are aware of the challenges you may face and we will continue, as always, to help your children in any way that we can.
As we have stated in all of our correspondence with you, we know that everybody’s circumstances are different, and some will be very challenging at this time.
As such, a reminder from me that we continue to run emotional support services for students remotely and are working with a number of other agencies who are helping young people with the current situation. Please contact your child’s Year Team if you feel your child may benefit from support.
Thank you to those of you who contacted us following our recent letter.
Apologies from us
It was brought to our attention that some work for students was set on the bank holiday Friday. Unfortunately, with very best intentions, some staff pre-set work some time ago without realising that it would go live on a bank holiday. We are very sorry for this.
In the very unlikely event that any work appears on the next bank holiday or during the half-term break, please tell your children to ignore it – they must have breaks and time with loved ones, at this time especially.
Staff are aware that some students will be fasting at present which may be affecting their energy and concentration. Please let us know if this may impacting on your child’s ability to complete their school work and we will, of course, ensure that our communication with you is sensitive to this. To those families/households taking part in Ramadan, we wish you a peaceful and reflective close to the month and hope that Eid celebrations can still be enjoyed despite current circumstances.
We are very pleased that we have been able to provide a number of children with laptops to help them keep learning at home. I’m sure you will all understand that our resources are limited but please do contact us if you feel your child cannot access their learning without provision of a laptop.
Again, I thank you for your continued patience and perseverance and our thoughts are with those of you who have experienced difficulties and loss through these trying times.
With very best regards,
Mr P Naudi
Cheam High School