New revised timetables from Monday 11 January 2021
At the end of the first week in 2021 we have been impressed by our pupils’ readiness to engage in remote learning and the ease with which so many have managed this sudden transition including those at home and those in school.
We appreciate that not everyone, staff and pupils alike, find teaching and learning in MS Teams easy and it takes a while to establish, develop and embed new practice.
This is the first time that most pupils in Year 7 have been invited to attend ‘live’ lessons in MS Teams at Deer Park and, similarly, staff new to the school and, where we have extended our provision to include more practical subjects, experienced teachers are on steep learning curves too. We are grateful to you for your feedback and we are working closely with all colleagues to ensure we feel confident in this new environment.
‘I was a little hesitant with my first Teams lesson with Year 11 this week, but I was encouraged by how many attended, contributed when asked and supported me and each other. Now that pupils are familiar with learning and chatting socially online, I am sure teachers would appreciate the opportunity to see more faces in front of them!’ Chiquita Henson, Headteacher
As our timetables for remote learning were initially put in place for a shorter period of lockdown than the one we are now in, we have revised them. We have made a few adjustments to realign breaks and lunchtimes, so that pupils in all year groups and staff can take a break at the same time. With most pupils working remotely there is no need for us to maintain a staggered day. The structure for the school day from Monday 11 January for this period of lockdown is as follows:
|Tutor Time||3.10-3.25pm *|
* Live Tutor Time in MS Teams each Wednesday for all year groups
Miss Brace, Assistant Head, has also worked with our Heads of Faculty to ensure a sustainable and effective balance between ‘live’ lessons in MS Teams and assigned tasks in SMHW. Our timetables reflect our Remote Learning Plan (see Policies) and meet the Government’s expectations.
We have also drawn on research by The Education Endowment Foundation which reports that ‘the quality of remote teaching is more important than how lessons are delivered. For example, teachers might explain a new idea live or in a pre-recorded video. But what matters most is whether the explanation builds clearly on pupils’ prior learning.’
|REVISED TIMETABLES ARE PUBLISHED AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE|
We are mindful that not all of our pupils can access devices at an appointed time, especially where they may be shared and internet strength may be poor, so we are trying to build in more flexibility and allow for some structured off-screen tasks. We are also asking staff to think about alternatives to printing and to be mindful of pupils’ access to other resources at home.
Pupils are reminded too, that they can also be creative. They should also practise flexing their learning muscles: reflectiveness, reciprocity, resilience and resourcefulness. These will help them become more confident and secure independent and life-long learners.
This term we are also deploying our team of intervention tutors to support pupils’ learning independently at home. Parents will have received a letter about this additional support if their child has been identified by his/her teachers as someone who might benefit from one to one or small group tuition.
As you are aware, on Wednesday 6 January 2021 the Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, confirmed that this summer’s public examinations were cancelled. While we have yet to learn precisely how GCSE grades will be awarded this year, we plan to contribute to the consultation process led by Ofqual which we understand opens next week. We will advise pupils and their parents as soon as we know more.
As an exception, at Deer Park, we have decided to go ahead with the vocational exams next week. This has been well received by our candidates in Creative iMedia and Child Development. To ensure their safety, pupils entered for these assessments and our team of invigilators have been invited into school to have two Lateral Flow Tests in our own test centre before sitting their exams.
Following our in-service training day during which we trained staff and set up our onsite test centre, we have used these lateral flow devices which are designed to test pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic people, to test staff and pupils in school: 118 tests have been completed to date and everyone tested so far has had a negative result.
We are firmly of the belief that all of our pupils should continue to follow their courses and engage in their learning. Our teachers will continue to cover the content in the exam specifications and ensure the foundations which underpin our pupils’ knowledge and understanding are deep enough to enable them to achieve well in any forthcoming assessments and support their progression post 16.
We expect all of our pupils to continue to challenge themselves to achieve more. We are committed to giving them every opportunity to shine!
Parent comment: 'At the end of an incredibly challenging week, I wanted to email our thanks to you and you staff for the amazing support and online teaching that both our children have received during this pandemic. As a teacher myself, I know how difficult this week has been. It has been a great comfort to me knowing that, as I leave my children to motivate themselves to learn at home, they have been encouraged, supported and moved forward in their learning. I know that the work behind the scenes will have been enormous and am so grateful that this week has not had any negative impact on their learning.'