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The Charter School

East Dulwich

Headteacher's update letter - Friday 15 January 2021

Headteacher's update, Friday 15 January 2021

Dear parent/carer.
 
Another week into the National Lockdown and I think it’s high time I congratulate our students. I am hugely encouraged by students’ attendance to live lessons. Schools and students understandably took time to adapt to the effects of the first National Lockdown. Both seem to have snapped into action much more swiftly the second time around.
 
I’d like to thank the many parents who have written to express their appreciation for the quality of teaching their children are receiving online. We are making it a priority to make online learning as rich an experience as possible, rather than simply a poor proxy for classroom teaching.
 
Over the coming weeks, we will be conducting regular assessments of students’ engagement. We will be monitoring their completion of work in lessons and between lessons. We will be looking at how actively students interact with their teachers and with each other online in pursuit of their learning aims. We will share the result of those assessments with parents. As in the first Lockdown, parents and teachers need to work closely and on the basis of a shared understanding in order to keep children working well and feeling well.
 
In connection with wellness and wellbeing, I would like to highlight the Wellbeing Hub contained on the TCSED student portal. Students can access the student portal by using their school Google accounts. The hub contains a wide variety of resources that can help students focus on their emotional and physical wellbeing while studying from home. These resources can only be accessed with a school email account, so I will not link them here.
I must again encourage parents whose children are showing signs of distress for any reason to contact their child’s tutor. Even if we are unable to provide direct support, understanding your child’s context will help us to deal with them appropriately.
 
Many parents will have seen reports of a warning by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) concerning LFD tests, the type of test we are conducting in school. The MHRA warned the government that LFD tests are not sufficiently reliable to rule out someone who is incubating Coronavirus going on to develop symptoms or to spread the disease. The MHRA points out that students who receive a negative test result may take false reassurance and behave less responsibly as a consequence.
 
I wanted to reassure parents that this guidance was already available to schools who researched the testing programme and consideration of this guidance informed our decision to move ahead with LFD testing during Lockdown. It is perfectly practical to communicate the risks and to monitor the behaviours of the small number of staff and students in school during the Lockdown. That programme will continue. Whether the system is scalable when all students return to school is a different matter. We will await further guidance before making any firm decision.
 
Parents of students in Year 11 will be anxiously awaiting news of the form of assessment that is to replace final exams. Frustratingly, we are only at the beginning of the consultation process. So teachers, parents and most importantly students will need to be patient. I will not here reproduce the limited amount of detail contained in the Secretary of State’s exchange of letters this past week with the head of Ofqual, the qualifications regulator. Instead, Mr. Owoh and I will provide a full update and answer those questions that we can answer on Monday, 25 January. Parents have been provided with those details separately.
 
Thank you for your continued support and kind regards.
 
Mr. A. Crossman
Headteacher