Headteacher’s Weekly Message
I would like to begin with a heartfelt thank you on behalf of your children for all you have done over the last week to support them. We know many of you are juggling working from home with reassuring your children, supporting them in understanding and completing the work schools have set, and finding a reassuring structure to your days as we enter into this new normality.
I am sure many of you are finding that keeping some sort of routine is helpful, whilst also understanding that you need to be flexible if things go awry or competing priorities mean things don’t get completed within a strict time scale. Please be reassured that many of your children’s teachers are also setting work from home whilst trying to home-educate their own children, so we do understand the challenges you are facing!
Thank you also for bearing with us whilst we adapt to the situation. We too are learning, but please be reassured we are thinking carefully about how best to continue your children’s education remotely now, as well as how we may adapt our curriculum coverage in the long term to ensure nobody misses out on the education they are entitled to receive. More on this after Easter.
Keeping our memory active
Primarily, we know that everyone forgets things! We see evidence of this each year when children return to work after the summer holiday, so an extended break like this will result in students forgetting their learning if they stop altogether. By doing some learning each day they will be ready to pick up with their teachers again on their return to school. This is especially important for our students in Year 11: they will soon be moving on to the next exciting stage in their education, and we want to do all we can to ensure they are ready for the new challenges they will face next year!
Stay home and stay safe
We also feel strongly that students should be staying safe at home, and we hope that by providing work it helps you keep them occupied during this time. We know they will want some social interaction, which we would encourage. Some of our older students have been using technology to set up study groups and complete work collaboratively online, whilst others have been in contact with their teachers, asking for support and getting feedback on what we have done. This social contact is useful and school work can provide a focus for it.
Staying motivated and mentally healthy
We do not have certainty as to how long the current situation will last. Being motivated to get up in the morning and having a variety to tasks to complete throughout the day will help us all keep going through this period. For this reason, we have asked subject teachers to ensure work is available according to the timetable suggested for your child. The timetable is intended to be supportive – it should give some structure to the day, and should help your child feel as if there is a difference between the daytimes and evenings, weekdays and weekends. This should help the time pass in the lockdown period. Students should do their best but shouldn’t panic if they cannot stick to the timetable perfectly. They should be able to access the work and complete it later if necessary.
Educational support where it is needed
Given these reasons, we hope you understand why we view it as important we monitor work that students complete. We are not doing this to cause stress or penalise students; we know some students will struggle, and our aim is to be as supportive as possible. Monitoring in this way will enable us to get in touch with the students who most need help. We also hope it will help you to keep them motivated! Further advice on studying from home can be found here: https://www.learningscientists.org/downloadable-materials.
Please note that during the Easter holidays, we will be suspending our timetable of schoolwork in order to give all students and staff a break.
Emotional support where it is needed
There may be other reasons students do not submit work to us. They may be struggling emotionally with the lockdown or have a family member who is unwell that they find themselves caring for. They may be unwell themselves. Usually, we would expect to see your child in school every day, and if they didn’t come in we would know something may be wrong. Similarly, over the coming weeks, if a child stops accessing the work it will alert us that something may be wrong. This may prompt us to get in touch and check whether they and the family are okay.
STAY IN TOUCH
Please do stay in touch with us to let us know how you are getting on – we are here to help and support.
Later in this bulletin are some of the photos you have sent to us.
Stay well and stay safe.
Mr M Barrow
SET Ixworth School