Ken James Headmaster at Red House School

Dear Parents

What a week it has been.  Thankfully the roll out of the vaccine is the light at the end of the tunnel we are all heading towards and I think it is this which is keeping us all going.  I remain delighted and proud in equal measures of the children and their efforts adapting to the ever evolving situation in which we find ourselves.   I would also like to thank my colleagues who, like the majority of teachers across the country, were all committed to working in school, despite the noises of the unions; now they are all committed to supporting the children remotely. And you are all doing a sterling job too supporting the learning of your children.  If there is more we can do to help, do get in touch.

Remote Learning Programme 

The programme has been put together at pace following the announcement of the closure of senior schools which came after the end of term, and the announcement for primary schools on Monday evening.  We have made a couple of changes based on feedback we have received previously from pupils, parents and staff, namely introducing a registration period (which is also now a legal requirement) and reducing the number of subjects each day for pupils in Years 7-9.

Some schools have introduced a programme with all lessons being delivered face-to-face, maintaining the full timetable across all five days.  We have deliberately chosen not to do so and to provide a blended learning experience to include some live sessions, recorded introductions and presentations, teachers being available via Teams and online resources.  We have done so for a number of reasons including:

  • to limit screen time and ensure pupils can complete some of their work away from the computer
  • to provide flexibility for families with respect to timings
  • to cater for families with insufficient devices

There’s an article in the Times Educational Supplement covering this debate which may be of interest: click here.  Of course, what remains of upmost importance is the quality of the lesson rather than the way in which it is delivered, whilst appreciating the latter may influence the former.

As is always the case, we are keen to review what we’re doing.  We know one model will not be perfect for all pupils and there will always be a compromise for some children and families.  However, a quick survey on your experience thus far will allow us to evaluate our provision; the survey can be accessed here.  I will be reviewing your responses on Monday with colleagues; thank you in advance.

Virtual Parent-Teacher Consultation Events 

We are hosting a virtual event through Teams for our parents and pupils in Year 11 next week.  We hope it is a success and then we will roll this out with the rest of the year groups in the Senior School.  Parents in Year 11 should have received details about this event yesterday and bookings should be made by the end of Sunday.

COVID Testing

We will be starting this next week for the children of critical/key workers in Years 7-11 (who are in attendance) and staff in school.  This will give us an indication of the best way to run the system and how to upscale it for the return of all Senior School pupils.  It is an excellent initiative, even if it is a logistical headache.  Initially, it will be run by members of staff but, moving forward, I’m certain we will need to take some of you up on your kind offers of help.

I would like to end by, once again, thanking all those parents who are critical/key workers and particularly those on the front line.  Whilst we all face challenges in this current situation, yours are the greatest and we are delighted and proud of your efforts too; what wonderful role models you are to your children and all the children in our community.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

With best wishes

Ken James

Headmaster

Senior School

Junior School

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