From the Principal
31 March 2020
Dear Parents, Carers and Students
It has been a few days since I last wrote to the whole parent and student body as I’ve not wanted to bombard you with emails as this time of challenge. There are, however, a few key points I would like to share with you at this stage as we reflect on how things are going for our students and their families. Please do take the time to look through this email carefully and to talk through with your child the matters raised here. I would like to reassure you of our continued commitment to supporting you and your family as much as we can at this time.
It will not have escaped your notice that had everything been as planned, we would now have only two days left until the Easter break. 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 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 the very basic level of support will be provided online. School will remain open for key worker families and vulnerable children but most staff will be taking time off at this time. Of course, this break will be a good time to get involved in some of the projects suggested in our new ‘stay curious’ resource, which is mentioned below. Normal home working 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 at this time. 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. We are therefore adding a Welfare Support page to our website which will direct you to some resources that may help you. We hope that this will be up and running by the end of the week.
For some students, we are going to be making regular phone calls home. One of the Student Support team will have been in touch with you if this is the case. However, this does not limit anyone in seeking our support and we want to reassure you that we are here to listen to your concerns and help where we can. If either you or your child would like to get in touch with us for welfare support please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org and one of the Student Support team will get back to you. This email address will also be listed on our website and ITSLearning.
We are still running all of our safeguarding procedures as normal and if you think you, or someone you know, is at risk of serious harm please let us know immediately using the email address above or by using our safeguarding policy.
Stay curious resources
Our hope is that students will choose to use some their free time for some self-directed personal development, and to explore and develop their natural curiosity. As the usual clubs and societies are no longer on offer, using time effectively will have become more of a challenge. In light of this, we have developed a new resource on the school website, through which we hope to inspire, guide and structure free time in a stimulating and productive way.
This new page has a host of links to useful websites and ideas, as well as weekly projects and challenges for students. Think of this as an online replacement for Emmanuel College’s co-curricular offer, which we consider to be an integral part of an Emmanuel education. None of this is compulsory and parents and students should not feel under any obligation to engage with this, but we would strongly recommend taking a look at the resources that are there. 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.
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.
Year 11 and Sixth Form Admissions
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. After the Easter holidays we will be launching on ITSLearning 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 which course might be best, 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.