Updates from Mr Parris
This update includes information about onsite provision, plans for next year, post-16 transition and planned trips.
Onsite provision - year 10 and 12
On Monday this week we welcomed back our first cohort of year 10 students for their onsite provision. It was wonderful to see students back in lessons and they responded brilliantly, engaging well with teachers and enjoying the opportunity to see one another. Today sees the second year 10 cohort with year 12 to follow at the end of the week. When students visit the site they will be supported with their online learning by :
- considering the most challenging topics;
- having their questions answered;
- engaging with others in discussion.
When visiting the site there are strict rules in place to provide the safest possible environment for all. That is why we ask all parents and students to carefully read the guidance (shared 10 days ago and accessed here) and complete a registration form. That information is also needed to carefully plan for groups and staffing so that the strict social distancing rules are maintained. New registrations are accepted from 9am on Monday until 5pm on Wednesday for the following week. Once registered it will be assumed a student will continue to attend for their allotted day for the remainder of the academic year. It is not necessary to sign up again.
Some parents have been upset that their child has not been able to join the provision with a late request. I know it may seem that one more could "just be added" but planning is complex and multiple "just one more" requests cannot be supported. Thank you for your consideration and patience with this.
With more students back on site it is really important that those families using the Hub provision book in each week in advance by 5pm on Friday. Up until now we have been flexible if students just turn up but this may not be possible moving forward. All eligible students are welcome to use the provision which begins from 8.00am and closes at 5.00pm. To book in please use the Hub area of the website, accessed here.
Buses and school transport
My apologies that a small number of families have experienced difficulties with school buses this week. We have been working with Nottinghamshire Local Authority who provide the bus service to plan for transport to be available to all who indicated they would need it. This has meant rescheduling all the bus services and making sure there are buses for those who attend the Hub for Key Workers and those coming in for their year 10 or 12 day. New schedules are being received from different bus companies and we will collate and send out to you as soon as we have the full picture. Thank you for your patience while these arrangements are finalised.
Exams next year
It is understandable that parents continue to enquire about how grades will be awarded next academic year for GCSE and A-Level. As you can imagine, I too would very much like clarity about this so we can plan to support our students and help them do the best they can. However, as yet there is no further information available or a clear approach that will be taken at exam board level. Please be assured that this information will be shared with you as and when we know more. My best guess continues to be a reduced exam season with more emphasis on centre assessed elements.
At school we are already planning for what might be needed by students in examination years from September. There will be early baseline assessment tests in years 11 and 13, alongside rescheduled mock exams and catch up opportunities. However, it is difficult to plan in detail at present until we know the final scheme of assessment.
The value of continued learning at home
I cannot impress upon families enough the importance of resilience and perseverance with home learning right up until the end of the academic year. As a school we have been hugely impressed with the quality and consistency being achieved by most students but are also aware that some have struggled. We will continue to touch base with you at home when we are concerned and see what we can do to help. I understand how difficult it can be and am very grateful to all families who have done their very best to support learning at home.
The government updated their guidance this week with the opportunity for a meeting onsite for some students. The guidance says:
We are unable to welcome back more children to secondary school at this time, beyond the face-to-face support schools can now offer year 10 and 12 pupils, and provision for vulnerable children and children of critical workers. We are not asking secondary schools with capacity to invite further year groups to return this term.
We know that secondary schools are keen to invite pupils in other year groups in for a face-to-face meeting before the end of this term, where it would be beneficial. As long as this happens in line with this and wider protective measures guidance, and guidance on the numbers of pupils permitted on-site at any one time, we would encourage this where possible.
DFE Guidance update June 15
I am now looking at what capacity we might have to arrange some of these meetings, focusing on those students that have struggled to engage at home. We want to take the opportunity to help get them back on track before the summer. In the meantime thank you again for your continued encouragement - work continues to be set on an ongoing basis through Show My Homework.
Transition into the 6th form
We are very much looking forward to hosting a virtual ‘Sixth Form Induction’ using live Zoom subject taster sessions with students. These will take place on Tuesday 30th June and Thursday 2nd July, morning and afternoon. The applicant Sixth Form student will receive an email from Mr Samuels on Tuesday next week, outlining the Zoom information, dates and times for your son/daughter and other important information. Teachers are very much looking forward to the opportunity for some interactive time with students transitioning into the Sixth Form, introducing their subjects in advance of September. It is hoped all students will join their sessions.
Trips still scheduled for next academic year and refunds for trips
Although the vast majority of Minster School trips have been cancelled, there are still some scheduled for next year and parents have enquired as to whether they are still going ahead. This is being kept under regular review and is dependent on latest government advice. At present these residential trips have not been cancelled: Music Tour to Budapest; English Language trip to Whitby. We will consider this position very carefully after the government announcements about social distancing to be made on July 4th. Additionally the new year 7 trip to Walesby is rescheduled for March 2021.
Refunds for trips are being processed in school - you will appreciate this takes some time and is dependent on claims being processed and then returned by our insurers. Some refunds are now being completed and you will receive funds back as soon as possible. For most you will not yet have received your refund. Processing is chronological so the earliest trips will receive their refunds first. Queries should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and your forbearance is appreciated.
Reports for parents / carers
We will be sending written student reports home in mid-July to years 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12; they will include an update on progress in each subject area. The reports are being prepared over the coming weeks by teaching staff.
I appreciate that this update is extensive but hope it gives you information about a range of areas in which you may have questions. It has been such a pleasure to see more students back at The Minster School this week and we are looking forward to being able to increase numbers further after the summer. More to follow when you have received the necessary guidance!
With best wishes