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Letter - 21st April 2020

posted Apr 21, 2020, 3:40 AM by Mark Giudici
Dear Parents/Carers,

I hope that this letter finds you and your families well. As we begin the Summer Term, we have updated the Google Classroom activities so that students can continue to interact with staff between the hours of 8.40am – 2.30pm. The Google Classrooms will close for staff at 12.40pm on a Friday.

I would like to use this first week to remind you of our expectations which may not be the same as other schools. I have referred to these in previous letters but have created a guide that is attached to this letter. In summary, we don’t want you to stress about school work. All students will catch up when we return. The curriculum and lesson plans will be adapted in order to do this. It’s what we do best and as educators, we will ensure that this prolonged period closure has no detrimental effect on any child’s education. No student is ahead and none is behind. They are exactly where they need to be. All we ask from you is that you share your calm, your laughter and your reassurance. We also ask that you get them to do the activities that we place on Google Classroom not because we are asking you to teach them. We want them to do the activities because they are designed to keep students interested in the learning within their subjects and to retain a ‘thirst’ for learning new things, increasing their academic knowledge and building new skills. It’s this appetite for learning that we all need to keep alive if we are to stay on track as I described above.

Learning can take many forms including reading a book. We are preparing for a reading week to start week beginning 4t​ h May. More details about this will follow. Learning also extends beyond the subjects and our student portal is full of activities to engage and inspire students. Many of them can involve the whole family and will show students around virtual tours of museums, zoos and other cultural experiences. There are also ideas for learning something new and activities that will keep them off depressing news feeds or excessive social media. Get them to show you the Student Portal when they next log-in.

One of the most valuable forms of learning we promote at Holyhead is that of character development. We ask students to improve personal attributes such as Leadership, Organisation, Resilience, Initiative and Communication. Students know these as the LORIC values. We also work hard to try and positively shape behaviour and attitudes as we insist upon high standards in relation to Respect, Excellence and Responsibilities. We would like to incorporate these at home but whatever values you choose, we would like you to make this part of their learning. Asking them to take responsibility for tasks around the home is vitally important.

As I have said before, you are and will always be your child’s best educator. We are here to support you and help you access resources and support where you need it.

As highlighted in the online assembly I published before Easter, social/emotional health and mental health and wellbeing is our primary concern. This assembly contains advice on coping strategies and signposts additional support. I am happy to re-publish if parents/carers feel it would be beneficial. In addition to this, we have a student-wellbeing page on the Student Portal and are available by phone and email. The Department for Education’s recently published guidance entitled “What parents and carers need to know about schools and education during the coronavirus outbreak” can be found on the website.

To reinforce this, we encourage students to try and keep some form of routine such as following the school timetable. They should resist spending too much time on individual subjects. We recognise they have ‘favourites’, it is important that their education has breadth and variety.

They should also get plenty of sleep and get up at a reasonable hour. We are also encouraging regular, daily exercise but in line with the Public Health advice and guidance that applies during ‘lockdown’.

If you are experiencing issues with technology, we still have an IT Support Team in place. We have a waiting list for laptop loans and we have printed packs of learning resources available that can be extended and supplemented upon request. We are awaiting a delivery of laptops which we will sell at cost price as soon as they arrive. We believe that we have sourced the most cost effective laptops available and we are looking at government finance schemes. Thank you for your patience if you have been without use of a laptop or home computer. Keep talking to us about how we might be able to help you.

Following recent celebrations of Easter and Vaisakhi, we want to express our warmest wishes to all those families entering the month of Ramadan this week.

Please have a look at the daily briefing for students and parents by following the link on the homepage of the website. This includes specific advice and support but also contains important updates about 2020 GCSE and A Level examinations. You can also find the latest edition of our termly ‘Pulse ‘magazine.

Finally, please continue to comply with the Government’s safety advice. Stay safe and rest assured that you are in our thoughts and prayers.

Thank you for your continued support and best wishes

Ross Trafford