Dear Parents / Carers
I hope that despite the current restrictions we are all living under you have been able to enjoy quality time with your family over the Christmas period. The news yesterday about the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine being approved and ready for roll-out from Monday 4th January is definitely a ‘game changer’. However, whilst there might be light at the end of the tunnel we all know that the COVID infection rates are continuing to rise and so we must work together as a community to protect our families, work colleagues and the NHS.
In my last letter to you dated 18th December I outlined what the staggered start to the new term would entail. However, following on from yesterday’s DfE announcement the new arrangements are as follows:
- Monday 4th January: Online learning for all year groups.
- Monday 11th January: Year 13 and Year 11 back in school for normal lessons. The remaining year groups will continue with online learning.
- Monday 18th January: All year groups back in school for normal lessons.
Students have signed the Acceptable ICT & Remote Learning policy (https://forms.gle/EdshjjMo2CFAsQd4A) and it is important that the requirements of the policy are followed.
‘If I am working online at home as part of remote learning, I will ensure the following:
- that I am fully dressed (Uniform is not necessary, but you should be fully dressed in clothing that covers the top and bottom half of your body; not nightwear.)
- that I will be working in a shared learning space such as a dining room or living room, not a bedroom or bathroom
- that I will log on at the allocated times ready for my learning sessions
- that I will not take photos or record any part of the learning which takes place i.e. any live learning sessions
- that I mute the device I am working on unless I am answering a question
- that I will not chat inappropriately to others in my class
- that I understand my remote lessons are to teach me, and not other members of my household / family, unless they attend The Priory School
- that I will treat all electronic devices with respect’
Students will be expected to follow their normal school timetable, with lessons delivered online. The material covered in these lessons will not be repeated once your child returns to school so it is crucial that they take part in the provision available. Links to Google Meets will be distributed either via the students’ Google Calendar (accessible through TPSQuad), via the class Google Classroom or occasionally via a direct link that will be sent by email.
- Week commencing Monday 4th January is Week 2.
- The school day will start with tutor time (8.50am to 9.10am Monday, Tuesday and Thursday; 9am to 9.10am Wednesday and Friday). The aim of this is to help students to prepare for the day, remain informed of any further changes relevant to them and maintain contact with school.
- If your child experiences any issues with accessing the online learning, please ask them to contact their
- Students will follow their normal timetable for all subjects.
- Teaching staff will be at school delivering the online lessons and a register will be taken for each lesson.
- Where a teacher is not available or off work then the relevant Head of Department will ensure that learning resources are provided.
- Where students have not joined a lesson this will be followed up to identify the reasons why.
- Where there is inappropriate behaviour whilst working online, sanctions will be given in line with the school’s Behaviour for Learning policy.
Our student body responded extremely well to online learning last term. Year 11 had excellent levels of engagement when they were off on their ‘circuit breaker’ after October half term. We expect the same levels of engagement from all our students.
School-issued Chromebooks & Wi-Fi connection
The school has a list of students who require Chromebooks and Wi-Fi connection. We will contact parents when the device is available to collect. If you are unable to come to school to collect a device then we will drop the device to you. The aim is to get all devices out by Monday 4th January. If you have not been contacted by the school or your circumstances have changed and you require additional support, please contact Neil Parsons Neil.Parsons@priory.herts.sch.uk) as soon as possible.
Pastoral support whilst learning at home
The Pastoral & Wellbeing team will be fully available for students and families during this period of home learning. Normal lines of communication with form tutors and Heads of Year will continue so please contact the team if you have any issues to discuss. If your child needs to access our Wellbeing provision whilst learning at home, please ask them to email Julie.Laycock@priory.herts.sch.uk and a member of the team will get back to them as soon as possible.
During the original lockdown we had a small group of students attend school who were either children of key workers or considered to be vulnerable. The school will look to invite identified students in to school for ‘in-school provision’ and will support key worker requests. These students will be in their usual lessons with the relevant staff member so they can access their learning alongside the bulk of the students being taught virtually. COVID restrictions will apply whilst the students are in school. If you are a key worker and need to access this provision, please email firstname.lastname@example.org ensuring you state your child’s name and your key worker role. Please ensure these requests are made by Sunday 3rd January.
Vocational exams (Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5)
Those students taking vocational exams will have already received a letter before Christmas about them. Despite the current situation, the exams will be going ahead with relevant COVID risk-management measures in place. It is vitally important that students prepare for these exams as they will count towards their final grades. Subject teachers will continue to support the students through their online lessons and, where required, 1-2-1 additional support.
Following is the timetable for the exams. If you have any concerns regarding these exams please email Mrs Hibbert (Sandra.Hibbert@priory.herts.sch.uk).
|Date||Start||Length||Key Stage||Subject||Component Title|
|Wed 06 Jan||09:00||3hrs||5||Criminology||Criminology Part 1|
|Thu 07 Jan||09:00||5hrs||5||Criminology||Criminology Part 2|
|Fri 08 Jan||09:00||3hrs||5||Business||Principles of Management|
|Fri 08 Jan||13:30||1hr 30mins||5||Health & Social||Human Lifespan Development|
|Mon 11 Jan||09:00||1hr 30mins||4||Sport Science||Sport Science|
|Mon 11 Jan||09:00||1hr 30mins||4||Sport Studies||Sport Studies|
|Mon 11 Jan||09:00||1hr 30mins||5||Health & Social||Working in Health & Social Care|
|Tue 12 Jan||09:00||2hrs||5||Business||Personal Business & Finance|
|Tue 12 Jan||09:00||1hr||4||English||Functional Skills|
|Tue 12 Jan||13:30||1hr||4||English||Functional Skills|
|Wed 13 Jan||09:00||3hrs||5||Music Tech||Unit 5 Music Technology in Context|
|Fri 15 Jan||09:00||2hrs||5||Music Tec||Prof Practice in the Music Industry|
|Tue 19 Jan||09:00||3hrs||5||Business||Investigating Practitioners’ Work|
|Mon 01 Feb||09:00||3hrs||5||Criminology||Criminology Part 1|
|Tue 02 Feb||09:00||5hrs||5||Criminology||Criminology Part 2|
|Tue 02 Feb||09:00||2hrs||4||Health & Social||Health & Wellbeing BTEC|
Free school meals
All students who are entitled to free school meals and are not attending school will be sent a voucher to the value of £15 per week. The first voucher will be sent out by post on Tuesday 5th January 2021. The voucher will be sent to the main home address held by the school. If you have not received this by Friday 8th January please contact email@example.com or telephone 01462 622300 ext. 212.
Any future vouchers may need to be sent via email. If you have changed your email address, please let the school know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephoning 01462 622300. You must be listed as the primary contact to be able to make any changes to your child’s data and you may be asked to confirm your identity via the main telephone number held.
For students attending school, the school cafe will be open as normal for the purchase of meals. Smart cards can be topped up in the normal way via ParentMail payments.
Since the Government announcement about testing in schools we have been working on the best way forward that meets our requirements. The Priory School will be part of a group of schools modelling different testing regimes as part of a local authority project. The aim is to identify how testing can be used as an additional strategy to support current COVID risk-management strategies; mass testing alone is definitely not the ‘magic bullet’. We will continue to use our in-house track and trace procedures to identify ‘close contacts’ (who will be required to self-isolate for 10 days) until we have robust testing arrangements in place. More detailed information will be sent out early next week when we have finalised our plans.
2020 has been the most challenging of years. However, what it has shown is that people come together during times of adversity.
‘What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.’ Nelson Mandela
I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a Happy New Year and to thank you for your continued support.