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Cirencester Deer Park School

Cirencester Deer Park School

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Update 15 May 2020

Expanding our provision.

While our doors remain closed to many of our pupils, these physical barriers are not preventing us from providing access our dynamic curriculum and high quality learning experiences. We are still actively involved in supporting our pupils online and we continue to explore ways of expanding our provision.

On Sunday 10 May 2020, The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced his ambition for all schools in England to re-open to pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 from Monday 1 June 2020 and for secondary pupils facing exams next year to get at least some time with their teachers before the holidays. However, he stressed, ‘We will only do this provided that the 5 key tests set by government justify the changes at the time…’ This is explained further in ‘Opening schools and educational settings to more pupils from 1 June: guidance for parents and carers’ Updated 11 May 2020.

As you will appreciate we have been making sense of the guidance we have subsequently received. This confirms that secondary schools are expected tooffer some face to face contact with pupils in Year 10’, but that ‘this will not be a return to full timetables or pupils back in school full time, rather some support to supplement pupils’ remote education’ (Actions for education and childcare settings to prepare for wider opening from 1 June 2020’ Published 11 May 2020).

Therefore we are looking at how best we can respond to this new challenge while ensuring everyone’s safety. We are taking advice and working with Gloucestershire County Council and other local schools to inform our scenario planning.

At present no decisions have been made and we will advise you as soon as we are able to confirm our offer. Fortunately, as a result of our use of Microsoft Teams, our pupils in both Years 9 and 10 already have the opportunity to meet ‘face to face’ with their teachers and we are looking to introduce tutor sessions in Teams for pupils in Years 7 and 8 in Term 6.

We are also continuing to ensure that pupils attending our in-school provision for children of key workers are able to learn alongside their peers online, as well as enabling them to take part in some off-screen enrichment. This week, because of the skills of the teachers in school on the rota, they have had the opportunity to develop new skills in golf, work with clay and construct a useable item out of wood!

On reflection this is a relatively short term and one that has been very quiet in school. However, I commend our members of staff and many of our pupils who have embraced the challenge of teaching and learning online and who have found innovative ways of expanding our provision even further. I remain grateful to everyone for their efforts and contributions, however great or small, to ensuring we have been able to maintain the rhythm of learning at Deer Park.

‘I've been meaning to send grateful thanks, as a Year 10 parent, for the fact that Deer Park got organised quickly and have been able to provide the Year 10s with a regular spread of online lessons via MS Teams since Easter. My impression is that the online lessons help the children to focus each day, to work more effectively and to maintain motivation and momentum It has also been helpful for the children to have some online tutor sessions.’ Parent, Year 10

We continue to be impressed by our pupils’ resilience and creativity. Our teachers are continuing to find new ways to inspire and engage them. Staff and pupils are currently taking part in our ‘Road to Tokyo’ and completing the Geography ‘Jet Punk’ Challenges and general knowledge quizzes.

This week, pupils in Key Stage 4 have been invited to take part in our Key Stage 4 Learning Conference which includes some excellent tips and concludes online at 6pm on Monday 18 May  and we will be celebrating the achievements of pupils in Year 9 on Thursday 21 May at 7pm in another online event!

Our Year Leaders are keeping in touch with pupils in their year groups and, within our recent school reports, teachers have provided direction and identified the next steps each pupil should be taking in preparation for their return to school.

Chiquita Henson