Parent Newsletter - 9th February 2021
Dear Parents and Carers
I’d like to start by giving you and your children a big thank you for all the work you have done in helping make remote learning a success. We want to make sure that your son or daughter continues to make the best possible progress while they are out of school and should you have any problems with remote learning please contact Mrs Warncken on the Upper Site or Mr A Holmes on the Lower Site.
While there has been no further clarification about a return to school and the situation regarding public exams, I feel it would be useful if I just outline the position so far on both these issues.
Return to School
The Prime Minister has said that he hopes that students will start returning to school from 8th March 2021 although he has given no guarantee that this will happen before the Easter holidays which begin on 2nd April 2021. The Government has said that we will get two weeks warning before any return to school and we will inform you of any changes as soon as we know. The school is of course open for the children of key workers and vulnerable students.
Year 11 Qualifications
The Government has stated that students will not sit GCSE exams this summer and we are expecting that the school will be asked for predicted grades, which will be based on evidence we have in school along with some evidence from tests set by the exam board. We are waiting for confirmation of these arrangements from the exams regulator, which we expect to happen on 22nd February 2021.
The situation with BTEC and non-GCSE subjects in Year 11 is a little less clear although we are anticipating that BTEC and non-GCSE grades will be based on any coursework completed and tests set by the exam boards. Again, we are waiting for clarity around these proposals, which we expect on 22nd February following the consultation with the exams regulator.
Year 13 Qualifications
We are expecting BTEC qualifications in Year 13 to follow similar guidance to those in Year 11 and await confirmation at the end of February.
We have had guidance from the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) about the assessment of IB subjects although this guidance will have to be agreed by the exams regulator and we expect to hear an answer along with the other feedback on exams on 22nd February. The IBO have announced that they will run a dual system for judging students on IB qualifications. Their preference is that students sit exams and that the board will make adjustments for lost learning over the course of the past year. Where students are unable to sit the exams because of lockdown or self-isolation then they will have a system for schools to give a predicted grade.
Obviously as soon as we are given more information, we will let you and your sons and daughters know.
Free School Meals
I am pleased that we have been able to provide both food parcels and electronic vouchers over the past few weeks to families that have been eligible. Unfortunately, from the end of this term we will only be able to issue food vouchers.
Kent County Council are providing vouchers for eligible families over the half-term holiday and while we will be administering the scheme for them, you will notice that the vouchers will be issued by a different provider called School Vouchers. After half term, the vouchers will continue to be issued by our usual company Edenred.
For questions on how to redeem your voucher, please see:
Kent County Council has been given additional funding from the government to support families with winter costs, such as heating bills. For more information, please see:
Finally, I would like to wish you all a restful half term and remind you that the school has an INSET day on Friday 12th February. The school will be closed to students and staff will not be setting remote learning for that day.
Mr S Pullen