Principal's update 24 April 2020

Dear Parents, Carers and Students,

 

We have come to the end of the first week of the summer term as a virtual school and I am learning loads!  There are so many new things to take on board to enable a school to function effectively in lockdown.

 

A huge thank you to our Heads of School for their work in Student Engagement this week. And a special word of thanks to Mr Bland for putting together our Wellbeing Day this Friday.  The day has been enjoyed by many students and families.  Well done for taking part and let’s see if you can achieve any world records!  I don’t think I even have 28 pairs of socks so I might try the coin stacking challenge.

 

I firmly believe that schools are first and foremost communities.  To ensure our online school is working well requires involvement from the whole community – students, parents and teachers.  Let’s continue to work together to find solutions.  So please continue to let us know how we can help you with guiding your son or daughter through their learning.  A school is not just an organisation it is a network of families and friendships. We succeed to the extent that we know how to connect to each student and every family.  We know that access to the internet and computing devices are not equally available to all students, are trying to find solutions and take this in to account at all times.  Where students are able to access material through Office 365 they should, as this is the primary mechanism we have to build an online classroom and an online learning environment.  The Office 365 apps are downloadable on most devices including mobile phones.  The survey, we asked you to complete this week, has highlighted areas where there is a defined need and we are looking at this with the Department for Education to see how they might provide a solution to ensure those most in need receive assistance. Please let us know how we might assist by getting in touch via enquiries@gracecollege.org.uk

 

During the Easter break interviews were held for the post of Vice Principal and I am delighted to announce that Mr Greenshields joins us in this capacity.  Mr Greenshields’ key responsibility will be a focus on the development of the curriculum – the Quality of Education.  This is a crucial task to ensure we become an outstanding school. We also welcome on board Mrs Gordon, teacher of English, albeit virtually! Congratulations are also due to Mr Westhead, who has been successful in securing a permanent post in our Physics team.  And from September, the physics team will be further strengthened with the experience that Mr Shorter has gained teaching in secondary schools and in FE colleges. Our maths department, grows by two teachers from September and will benefit from the enthusiasm and energy of Mr Downs and Mr Bright while Ms Watts brings her passion for the environment and all things meteorological to the fore in the geography department.

 

May I encourage students to set themselves a routine and in which they are involved in five key activities to provide structure to their day:

  1. Exercising with Joe Wicks, each morning at 9am, via YouTube
  2. Learning by engaging with the tasks set by teachers
  3. Reading to extend understanding and develop literacy skills
  4. Singing with Mrs Durant via YouTube at 1:30pm each week day
  5. Giving at home in support of their family and where possible to assist vulnerable neighbours and friends if safe to do so.
  6.  

I would also point student to the learning opportunities that are available now via the BBC and the National Academy. As a parent or carer please be assured that we see your role as providing encouragement not teaching.  We know that this might not be straightforward.  For our part we will aim to provide tasks and learning opportunities that are accessible.

 

Finally it would be remiss of me not to give a final shout out for those giving across the N.E.  I am immensely impressed with so many reports of students helping out in the neighbourhood, raising funds for charities (see the article on Lola Daglish’s efforts) and some even volunteering on the wards in the RVI!

Well done everyone and remember “Alone we can do little; together we can do so much” Helen Keller