Headteacher's letter

Dear Parents, Carers and Families

May I start by thanking you for your incredible support at this extraordinary time? The situation is very worrying for everybody, in terms of the health of our families, friends and loved ones, and also the potential for serious economic and social impact. Governors and staff at the school are committed to playing whatever role we can in supporting the local community throughout this period, which may stretch forward for many months.

The first issue to address is that of potential school closure. Closure of some sort now seems inevitable. Last Monday’s changed guidance on self-isolation does mean that normal provision will become increasingly unviable. Many of you are contacting me with your views, and making constructive contributions to the school’s thinking. Please do continue to email me
(on njohn@aclandburghley.camden.sch.uk) as it helps to formulate our response.

We have two trips planned which are now both clearly under threat. We are currently exploring options to rearrange these trips for much later in the year, and will let affected families know how we get on with this, and discuss ways forward with them.

Clearly, the school has a wide variety of social functions. Unless instructed otherwise, it is unlikely that we will close down entirely. Many colleagues will be both willing and in a position to support a range of different provisions in school during term time. What that provision looks like next week, the week after, and possibly even during the 5 weeks at the start of next term, is yet to be decided. Please be assured that we will prioritise provision for exam students, the children of key workers, the children of parents who need to send their children into school, and those who are more vulnerable.

We do not know what the impact will be on GCSE and A level exams. We will continue to run provision for these students as best we can, within the advice received. At the moment, we are urging students to continue with their study and exam preparations as if things were going ahead as usual. Obviously things are not usual, but stopping or slowing study does not seem like a sensible way forward. I have just spoken with Y11 students in assembly, and started the chemistry mock exam. They seem to be wise beyond their years, and we are very proud of them.

We all need to consider the role of online learning. Show My Homework is the school’s principal vehicle for this. The functionality of the platform is greatly increased by having your own individual code as a student or as a parent. Those who use it effectively know its power. I would urge all who do not have a login code to retrieve this from the school (any staff member will help you to do this) and get it set up. When the time comes, we will put online as many resources as we can to support students with education during any school closures. Some staff have already started posting work for students who are currently at home.

The news section on our website is regularly updated. Please do look there to keep up to date with our proposed plans. In a partial closure scenario, our plans will be posted in the news section to help you make decisions about what to do. Plans for this will emerge over the next few days and weeks. For the time being, and hopefully until the end of this week at least, school is open and running as well as possible. Attendance is down, but more than half of students are in today, and more than three quarters were in earlier in the week. Families and staff should all follow Government advice to self-isolate if they meet the widely published criteria. In other cases, children are welcome, and we will support them insofar as we are able, given the escalating situation. I wish you and yours all the very best for the next very difficult period. We are going to be in this for the long haul – please do not hesitate to get in touch if there is anything we can do to support you.

With best wishes

Nicholas John