31 May 2020

Dear Parents/Carers of Year 7, 8 and 9 pupils

I hope you have had a good week and taken the opportunity to enjoy the brilliant weather we are currently experiencing. I also trust you all safe and well and in these difficult times you are doing all you can to support the community endeavour to rid our country of this dreadful pandemic.

You will most likely be aware that the government published their long awaited guidance to secondary schools on Bank Holiday Monday and spoke more in their briefing on 28th May in terms of schools reopening. This guidance can be read in full by clicking on this link, however, in summary the government is asking secondary schools to:

  • continue providing full-time provision for vulnerable pupils in all year groups (including year 10 and year 12)
  • continue providing full-time provision for children of critical workers in all year groups (including year 10 and year 12)
  • provide some face-to-face support to supplement the remote education of year 10 and year 12 pupils, with a clear expectation that remote education will continue to be the predominant form of education delivery for these year groups and that this should be of high quality
  • continue to use best endeavours to support all other pupils remaining at home, making use of the available remote education support and ensuring a high quality offer.

The government`s rationale in phasing the return of pupils in secondary schools is to limit the risk of increasing the rate of transmission by limiting both the number of children and young people in school and how much they mix with other pupils and staff. One of the key reasons for this is because secondary school pupils generally travel further to school and are more likely to use public transport to travel to and from school. The latest government advice is to avoid public transport as far as possible and to walk or cycle instead to reduce the risk of the virus spreading. Numbers of secondary pupils must also be limited because older pupils are more likely to have a wider group of social contacts outside of school. Year 10 have been prioritised because they are preparing for key examinations next year and, of the secondary year groups, are most impacted by falling behind due to time out of school.

Therefore, from 1st June Year 7, 8 and 9 pupils will continue to work remotely from home using the Microsoft Teams platform we introduced at the beginning of May. You will be aware that we are increasing our expectations of pupil engagement as on Monday the 1st June. We now expect ALL pupils to:

  • Complete THREE lessons per day on a new learning timetable. Each lesson will be for a minimum of one hour.
  • For each lesson, pupils are expected to submit one “assignment” using Microsoft Teams by the end of the day. Therefore, each pupil will be expected to submit THREE “assignments” each day.
  • Assignments will be determined by the teacher but could be from a variety of things. For example, a written response to a question, filling in of a worksheet, annotation of a diagram or document, completion of a quiz or a low stakes test, a summary of learning, a drawing or a mind map.
  • For ALL submitted “assignments”, teachers will feedback to pupils. For CORE subjects this is twice a week and for foundation subjects this is once a week.
  • ‘Possies’ will be awarded for good work and praise stickers will be posted on your child’s Team/class area.

As I have said before, the importance of pupils engaging in this new system is ESSENTIAL. We must ensure that pupils are taking every opportunity to continue their learning, get important feedback from their teachers and so to reduce potential gaps and a stalling in their progress. Our partnership is now more important than ever, and we must work together for the good of our children. We need you as parents to help us. We will be in contact if pupils are not engaging and will work with you to support their learning.

As always, if parents or pupils need any technical support then please don’t hesitate to contact our technical team on ictrequest@st-maryshigh.lancs.sch.uk for password resets or device connectivity. If you don`t have access to device, again please contact school and we may be able to support you by providing something that could be used to access work electronically. Our support staff are available on info@st-maryshigh.lancs.sch.uk or contact your child’s teachers (see the school website or your child’s Homework Planner for email addresses) for specific learning queries or questions.

Stay safe and best wishes

Mrs Nicola Oddie


Latest government information re: school closure

Latest government information re: key workers

Guidance for secondary school provision from 15th June 2020

COVID-19 School Updates 31st May 2020