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Cirencester Deer Park School

Cirencester Deer Park School

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Welcome Back to Remote Learning

[Artwork by Phoebe in Year 9]

As you will be aware we have had to respond to the rapidly changing situation regarding the pandemic.

1. We were initially hoping to welcome back Year 11 on Tuesday 5 January 2021, following the government’s announcements on 17 December 2020, with all other pupils joining us from Monday 11 January. The only exception to this being open for vulnerable pupils and children of critical workers.

2. However, further announcements made by Gavin Williamson, Secretary of State for Education, on 30 December 2020, pushed everything back a week with the expectation that schools would provide up to a fortnight’s remote learning for all pupils while we set up our own COVID-19 test centre so we could begin testing our school workforce weekly, pupils twice before they returned to school on Monday 18 January and close contacts of any confirmed case of COVID-19 in school every day for seven days.

3. Unfortunately, while we had made our best endeavours to plan for the new term and had used time on our in-service training day on Monday 4 January to set up and run our own test centre, the Prime Minister’s announcement on Monday 4 January 2021 now means that the vast majority of our pupils will continue to learn with us remotely for the whole of Term 3 (until February half term).


Although our pupils may not be attending school in person, Cirencester Deer Park will not be closed. Staff will continue to support and challenge our learners to help them achieve more than they first think is possible.

Teachers and pupils will be able to stay connected with each other through our Remote Learning Plan (see Remote Learning Plan Summary; see Full Remote Learning Plan) and can access their timetables (as uploaded 2 January) here:

This provision from Tuesday 5 January to Friday 15 January, was scheduled as an interim measure to cover the first week for Year 11 and first fortnight for pupils in all other year groups. These timetables will remain in place for this week. However, given the extension of remote learning for the period of national lockdown until February half term we will be making some adjustments to this provision from Monday 11 January 2021 to ensure it is sustainable and effective for both pupils and staff. Pupils’ timetables will also be more accessible.


We will continue to be open to vulnerable pupils and children of critical workers. However, to aid our planning, parents, who are critical workers, are asked to book a place for their child/ren and give us at least 48 hours’ notice of their requirements.  Pupils attending school will be expected to follow the same remote learning timetables as their peers and work independently alongside them under supervision. We are updating our booking form and FAQs to reflect the extended period of lockdown and these will be available shortly.


We appreciate the Prime Minister’s reference to this summer’s exams has caused some uncertainty. While it may have been inferred, he did not say public examinations were cancelled. The guidance we received following his speech states, ‘In these circumstances, we do not think it is possible for exams to go ahead fairly this summer. The Secretary of State for Education will be asking Ofqual to consult rapidly on an approach for alternative arrangements that will allow students to progress fairly.’

Unfortunately, at this stage we do not know anymore than this and we will advise examination candidates and their parents as soon as we know more. It is imperative, however, that all pupils, and especially those in Year 11, continue to engage in remote learning and challenge themselves to be the best they can be. This will help them do well in any assessments we are obliged to undertake and, more importantly, support their progression into the next phase of their learning and it is critical they have a broad general knowledge and a secure, deep understanding of the subjects they chose to pursue.

In the short term, the government have confirmed that ‘Public vocational exams and assessments scheduled to take place in January 2021 will go ahead as planned.’ This means that pupils in Year 11 taking exams in Creative iMedia and Child Development on Monday 11 January and Wednesday 13 January 2021 still need to revise and we have advised them of the arrangements we have put in place to ensure their safety.


All pupils in Year 11 were expecting to sit their mock examinations in the week beginning Monday 25 January. We have postponed these examinations and we provisionally plan to reschedule them in Term 4. However, this will be subject to the current period of lockdown being lifted and any new assessment arrangements agreed by the government and the examination boards. We will keep pupils and parents informed and trust that our candidates will take advantage of the teaching and learning available to them this term and be ready to shine when their time to do so comes!


We thank everyone in our school community for the positive contribution they are making to help us in these challenging times and we appreciate the feedback we receive. We continue to be impressed by the resilience and resourcefulness of our pupils. Already, one day in, their attendance and engagement in lessons in MS Teams is very positive.

Hats off to you all:

Dear Deer Park,

We wanted to let staff know how much we value the ongoing and ever increasing hard work that is being asked of you right now.

We are astounded by the speed and pragmatism of your responses to the rapidly changing situation and the spirit of confidence and calm that your communications present.

Thank you for continuing to hold our children so securely on the midst of this terrible storm. Our respect for what you are doing is immense. Go well.'

Parents of pupil in Year 10

'Since becoming part of the CDPS community when our eldest daughter joined in September 2019, both my husband and I have been continually impressed with Deer Park. The communication (in all its numerous and varied channels) with parents and pupils is excellent, thorough, clear and comprehensive and always positive and engaging. The agility of the school processes and functions is testament to its staff and their commitment and resourcefulness. Most impressive is that at the heart of it all, is the genuine sense of care there seems to be for the pupils and the pride the teachers have in them as well as their own work. We are incredibly grateful to each of you - as individuals and as a team.'

Parent of pupils in Year 7 and 8