Principal's update 3 April 2020

3 April 2020

Dear Parents, Carers and Students,

It is a week since I last wrote to you all; I trust that we are coping as best we can in the circumstances.

Remember that “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” Helen Keller. We are here for you.

Please time to look through this letter and the news articles that follow. There have been a number of excellent achievements, not least of which, was our excellent showing at the ESF Olympics! Well done to all who took part.

Easter Holiday

Today was meant to be a staff INSET day, so the Easter break would have now started. Of course, with many working from home, most holidays sadly cancelled, and some being asked to work during the holiday time they had booked off, this will not be a normal holiday. We do think, however, that it will be valuable for our students and most of our staff to take some rest and enjoy time with family, where possible. Teachers will therefore not be setting work for home learning as they have been doing and only limited tutor level support will be provided online.

On-site provision for key workers and vulnerable children

Our provision on-site has been suspended for the next two weeks as demand has dropped to virtually nil. However, we can react swiftly to replace this service either on the Grace College site or at Emmanuel College should this be necessary; we will do this if necessary for key worker families and vulnerable children.

If such an urgent need arises please send an email to enquiries@gracecollege.org.uk.

Normal home learning arrangements will resume on Monday 20 April.

Welfare and safeguarding

We recognise that students will be struggling with the change to their routine, or what they are reading about in the news. We also recognise the many challenges families face currently. Even the most confident of our community may struggle to cope with the demands placed on them. We may not be able to see you face to face, but we take our commitment to look after the welfare of all of our students, and their families, seriously. I am including information regarding mental health, at the end of this letter, for your information. This was with you last week.

For some students, we will continue to call home. One of the pastoral team will have been in touch already. However, this does not limit anyone seeking our support and we want to reassure you that we are here to listen to your concerns and help where we can.

Communication between Grace College, students and parents is hugely important to us. During the two-week Easter holidays, systems have been put in place so that you can still contact the school, however for this two-week period it will be slightly different. Pastoral leaders will not be available via telephone, and instead, staff can be reached through email.

Please use the email addresses below, choosing the address carefully that links to the year group your child is in.

enquiriesforyear7@gracecollege.org.uk

enquiriesforyear8@gracecollege.org.uk

enquiriesforyear9@gracecollege.org.uk

enquiriesforyear10@gracecollege.org.uk

enquiriesforyear11@gracecollege.org.uk

enquiriesforsixthform@gracecollege.org.uk

In addition, can you please ensure that if you have moved to a new house, changed your mobile number or email address or if you have not shared it with the school previously, you contact the relevant year group to do so as a matter of urgency. There will be regular updates and important information that the school will need to communicate with you over the coming weeks.

All safeguarding procedures will continue as normal and if you think you, or someone you know, is at risk of serious harm please contact a relevant authority and/or let us know immediately on enquiries@gracecollege.org.uk.

Parent survey

To ensure that we are tailoring our support to the needs of our community in the most effective way, we will shortly be launching a short survey about your experience of home learning. I would be grateful if you could take a few minutes to complete the survey when you receive it so that we can plan effectively moving forward.

Looking forward for Year 11 and GCSE “results”

We know that many students will be starting to think about next steps after Year 11. I want to reassure you that you have not been forgotten about and in fact Ofqual has written to students today. Letter to students And this leaflet provides full details for parents, students and teachers. Summer 2020 grades for GCSE and A level

After the Easter holidays we will be launching on Teams a resource that will help students in Year 11 engage with the courses we offer at sixth form. Students will be able to choose a selection of the courses we offer and experience something of what it is like to study these at sixth form. As well as being a valuable opportunity to shape students’ thinking about being a self-motivated learner, it will also be a fantastic way in which they can begin to prepare academically for starting these courses in September. Many students find the step up at A Level challenging, and this will allow them to ease the transition.

I trust that families have a chance to connect with each other over the break and can take time to read, sing, exercise and give to those around them. We also would very much like to hear what students are doing and to recognise their efforts. This time of isolation is certainly a challenge, but it would be a mistake not to think of it as an opportunity as well.

Finally, at this Easter time let’s look to the Author of all life to sustain us a give us hope.  May the Lord bless you and keep you and your family at this time.

All the best,

Mr Mark Hall

Principal