Start of the New Year
Changes to learning at the start of January 2021
PLEASE READ HAPPY NEW YEAR PIECE (31 December 2020) with updated details on January 2021 return to school.
18 December 2020
Following the government’s announcements on Thursday 17 December 2020, we confirm the new school term for all pupils starts on Tuesday 5 January 2021.
- In line with the new guidance, all pupils in Year 11 will be required to attend face to face lessons in school and those in other year groups who are vulnerable or who have EHCPs will be invited in to school where they will be able to follow our remote learning plan with support from school staff. Parents of identified children will receive invitations from the school over the Christmas break.
- All other pupils in Years 7-10 will be taught remotely at home from Tuesday 5 January to Friday 8 January. Our provision will be ‘blended’; pupils will be expected to complete independent tasks assigned to them in Show My Homework and to attend all of the live lessons they are invited to. These will be scheduled in MS Teams.
If pupils are unable to work from home, parents who are key workers can book a place for their child to attend school on Tuesday 5 January to Friday 8 January, but to aid our planning and deployment of staff, we require pupils to attend for all four days. This is not a childcare arrangement. Children of key workers will be supervised while they follow the same timetables prepared for those learning at home and will be expected to complete independent tasks and attend live lesson in MS Teams. Please request a booking form by email to firstname.lastname@example.org and return to the same address by Thursday 31 December 2020.
All pupils are expected to be back in school in person from Monday 11 January.
We are looking ahead to the New Year and, while optimistic, we know we will all face fresh challenges in 2021.
- We are currently preparing for our alternative Key Stage 4 Curriculum Evening on 21 January. At this online event pupils in Year 9 and their parents will learn more about the subjects we will be offering ahead of making their options.
- We were impressed by our pupils in Year 11, who sat their first practice exams in English and Maths on Friday 11 December. We encourage them all to continue to learn actively and revise for their full mock exams. These will take place over a fortnight from the week beginning Monday 25 January. More information will follow in the New Year. There is a generic timetable on our Exams page.
- Following the recent round of reports, our Parents’ Evenings will begin in the New Year. These too will be different. They will take place online. Using our parents’ evening booking system, parents will be able to book and attend appointments with their children’s teachers remotely. These will be tightly timed. Teachers will be introduced to the software on our in-service training day on Monday 4 January.
- We will be revisiting our protective measures and reminding pupils of their responsibility to help keep each other safe. We were pleased to be involved in Gloucestershire’s pilot test centre at The Royal Agricultural University and we have provided the team with feedback. Members of Deer Park’s community used the centre most and our volunteer pupils in Year 10 commended themselves well. It has given us all some comfort. Unfortunately , owing to greater need elsewhere in the county, the test centre closed on Friday 18 December.
- We are currently responding to the Government’s plans to rollout national in-school testing for COVID-19 in the new year - this scheme aims to reduce the need to ask pupils and teachers to self-isolate. We are anticipating further information and guidance over the school holiday. We will confirm the arrangements once we are clear about the new expectations on schools. However, we are looking for volunteers to help us undertake this task and would welcome any support from parents. If you feel you have the time and would like to contribute to supporting the testing regime in the new year, please email email@example.com and let us know your availability. We are grateful to those parents who have already volunteered their services and we will be in touch in due course.
‘I wanted to take the opportunity to send in a huge thank you to you and your wonderful teachers for making it to the end of this ridiculous year! Thank you for all you do and continue to do, to keep educating our children, inspiring them to persevere and for keeping them safe in the darkest of days.’ Parent of pupils in Year 8 and 9.