Dear Parents and Carers,
I am sure you have been watching the news closely over recent weeks and are aware of the new measures taken by the government to reduce the number of increasing coronavirus cases across the UK. It has been made very clear that schools remaining open is a priority and in their ‘Contain’ strategy, which can be found here, the government outlines four tiers of intervention to ensure the majority of UK students remain in full time education for as long as possible.
There are no immediate plans to implement a full or part closure of LAB, our current arrangements are working effectively and attendance has been steady, on average 92% each day since the start of term. We will endeavour to keep the academy open for as long as possible for all our students. However, as the number of reported cases increases nationally we are making preparations for remote learning should we require some students or staff to stay at home. This includes circumstances where the academy may be directed to close for a proportion or even all of the students for a fixed period of time.
The key principles that underpin our remote learning plan are set out in the Government Guidance on the Reopening of Schools (August 2020). This guidance states that, “remote education, where needed, is high quality, safe and aligns as closely as possible with in-school provision: schools and other settings should continue to build their capability to educate students remotely, where this is needed.”
In developing this contingency plan, we are expected to:
- Use a curriculum sequence that allows access to high-quality online/offline resources and teaching videos that are linked to our curriculum expectations.
- Give access to high quality remote education resources.
- Select the online tools that will be consistently used across the school in order to allow interaction, assessment and feedback, and make sure staff are trained in their use (Google Classroom).
- Recognise that younger students and some students with SEND may not be able to access remote education without adult support, and so we will work with families to deliver a broad and ambitious curriculum.
- Assess appropriately, providing suitable guidance and feedback based on the work that is undertaken.
In terms of the ‘Contain’ strategy we are currently in tier 1, this is where the majority of students are attending the academy daily and only a small proportion are working remotely due to illness or self isolation. Arrangements for remote learning at this stage is standard with our absent students accessing learning resources via their Google classrooms whilst teaching staff focus on the delivery of lessons to the majority on site.
Tier 2 would see a larger number of students working remotely, possibly a whole class, college year group or an entire college bubble, including staff. Depending on local lockdown arrangements it may also be possible that we are asked to reduce the number of students attending daily, however, given we are under capacity on site with only 540 of our possible 1150 students, we feel this is less likely to affect us. In any of these scenarios teachers would continue to deliver lessons using Google classroom but they would be supplemented by strategically delivered live lessons to support learning.
Tier 3 would look very much like tier 2 but for whole year groups depending on government directive, and tier 4 would see this approach rolled out for all students excluding those from key worker families or our most vulnerable students.
To ensure all students are able to access remote learning it is essential that any academy chromebooks which require maintenance are sent in for repair now, please refer to the guidance available on our website if you require any information or support to get this done. Year 7 devices will be issued towards the end of this module.
Whilst we hope that these arrangements will not be required, I would reassure parents, carers and pupils that we remain committed to all our pupils regardless of their circumstances. Whilst there is no doubt that being physically present in school is by far the best option for all pupils, if circumstances arise that prevent this we will do our utmost to ensure a positive learning experience continues for all.
We know that clear, concise and timely communication is paramount in ensuring that together we are able to support your child in the event of another period of remote learning. Regular communication via email, LAB News and on our website will ensure this is achieved. College teams will continue to provide pastoral care and support through work with the tutor, student services manager and leadership teams.
E Smith | Principal