Dear Parent / Carer
I hope that your family are well and that as we move slowly out of the lockdown restrictions you are able to benefit from the increased flexibility in our daily lives. Below are a number of updates that I want to share with you.
Key worker students
Since the lockdown was put in place we have had a key worker group of students on site. As the economy opens up and more parents and carers are going back to work there will be an increased demand for children of key workers to return to school. If you are a key worker who wants to return your child to school, please email Mrs Brazier (Sam.Brazier@priory.herts.sch.uk) to discuss a start date. Currently we start new key worker students at the beginning of a week, which allows the school to adjust our rooming and staffing levels.
Year 10 students
Since Monday 15th June we have had Year 10 students back in school. In line with DfE guidance, we are only allowed to have a quarter of the cohort in at any one time. From Monday to Thursday we have had up to 45 students in school per day who have each had 4.5 hours of Core teaching along with 121 meetings with Foundation subject staff. The school has provided refreshments and lunch for free. Last week we had a total of 85% of the cohort in and we expect to see more students in from today (Monday 22nd June). It has been wonderful to have the Year 10 students back in school, especially our more colourful characters!
Year 12 students
From today (Monday 22nd June), Year 12 students will be in school and they will have 2 to 3 hours of taught lessons on a rotation basis. Year 12 students will be in from 10am to noon Monday to Thursday. On Friday lessons will run from 9am to midday. In the afternoons there will be additional UCAS tutorials running in the 6th Form study centre. The Post 16 team have shared all the relevant details with Year 12 students and their parents/carers.
Last week the Learning Support department ran a half-day support programme for identified students. If your child is on the SEND register and you would like to discuss any issues regarding your child’s progress, please contact the Learning Support department (Kate.Emsley@priory.herts.sch.uk).
Future developments in respect of KS3 students coming back to school this term
On 15th June the DfE tweaked its guidance on who could come back to school before September. In the latest guidance, schools are now able to bring in students from KS3 for some ‘face-to-face’ time with their teachers. We are currently looking at a model where students from KS3 would be able to come in to school once before the summer holidays to reconnect with the school. Further details about this will be shared next week.
Autumn 2020 exams and summer exams 2021 (Year 11 and Year 13)
The Ofqual consultation on the autumn exam series is still open and there is no clear view on the summer 2021 exam season. ASCL are working closely with Ofqual and there is a line of thought that:
“I think we are likely to be looking at a more balanced combination of phased assessment in class during the coming year, with end-of-year exams that are more proportionate in scope. In other words, a binary view, of either a full exam series or centre-assessed grading, is being replaced by a discussion that is more nuanced.” Geoff Barton
The message to your child’s teachers from me has been to continue to teach our examination groups in line with their current Schemes of Learning. The hope is that we will have an answer to the requirements of the 2021 examination series before the end of this term.
Year 11 to Year 12 transition
The Year 11 to Year 12 transition takes place this week with taster sessions being provided online. I would encourage all Year 11 students aiming to return to the 6th Form to engage in this process. The Post 16 team have shared the details of the transition programme with students and parents/carers. If you have not received this information please contact Mr Hassett (David.Hassett@priory.herts.sch.uk).
Summary of KS3 survey results
There were 317 responses to the latest survey, which is around 50% of our KS3 intake. Not as large a response as one would like, but enough to gain a workable picture about student engagement.
Based on students’ responses, the overall picture is a positive one:
- 73% of students said that they are managing at home, with 26% saying they are struggling a bit but think they will be okay.
- 5% of students said that they feel they are managing okay at home with the work being set.
- Only 28 out of 317 students indicated that they were not getting enough work.
- 89% of students said that they were getting a decent amount of feedback.
- 72% of students feel confident in using Google, with 26% saying they have some small issues but that it is mostly fine.
As a school we do not know what the home learning environment is for each student, for example whether they have access to the internet, whether they have a space to work in and what degree of support they have from their parents/carers. As a school we can monitor the work the students have done, provide feedback, and make a professional note of what the potential gaps may be. However, we cannot make an accurate prediction on progress and therefore there will be no school reports sent home to any year group this term.
There has been a small number of requests from parents in Year 10 about the progress their chid is making and even a reference to predicted grades. Year 10 students should have completed their PLCs and they have the opportunity to meet teachers at 121 meetings. Where a parent/carer requests information on the progress being made, the information from the PLCs will be used. Teachers will not be able to comment on predicted grades if asked.
There has been and will continue to be a major debate about what has been coined the ‘recovery curriculum’. The DfE are putting together their national strategy and funding in respect of what will happen over the summer holidays and from September. The headline figure of £1 billion has been promised to support schools, but there is not yet much more information available. As a school we are already looking at the latest research on developing our own TPS recovery curriculum. Whatever plan the school does put in place will be based on a solid understanding of the educational and emotional needs of our students.
Diversity & Equality week – Monday 29th June
- The week beginning 29th June will be ‘Diversity & Equality week’ for Year 7 and Year 8.
- That week all Foundation subjects will be suspended and Year 7 and Year 8 will be working on diversity-themed tasks planned by Mrs Southall (Assistant Headteacher).
- During this week, Year 7 and Year 8 will still have 2 hours of English, Maths and Science tasks.
- Students from Year 9 and Year 10 can also access the Diversity & Equality week resources in addition to their normal lockdown timetable.
I wish you a pleasant week.