It's an early 'goodbye' to our Year 13 students. Class of 2...
I would like to start by expressing real gratitude to all parents/carers who have sent such supportive and encouraging emails regarding the unprecedented situation we find ourselves in as a school.
As stated previously, we are continually following guidance from Hertfordshire County Council and Public Health England on all matters regarding staff and student safety.
You will be aware that we have had members of our school community self-isolate and we encourage you to keep up to date on the latest advice about self-isolation and knowing how to react should you have a concern about your child’s health. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-people-with-confirmed-or-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection. This absence will of course be recorded as authorised.
As a senior leadership team, we are monitoring our business continuity plan and reviewing on a daily basis. In light of this, we would like to update you on a few additional measures we are putting into place from today:
School assemblies – for the foreseeable future, we will be cancelling all school assemblies.
School Sports Fixtures – along with other schools in the region, until further notice, all sports fixtures will be cancelled. We hope the outstanding fixture commitments will be at a later date.
Year 8 Operation Educ8 presentation – scheduled for Wednesday 18th March has been postponed, new date to be confirmed.
Year 6 into 7 Transition meeting – scheduled for Tuesday 17th March has been postponed, new date to be confirmed. We have taken this decision because of the proximity of staff and parents from multiple schools.
Year 10 Parents’ Evening – scheduled for Thursday 19th March has been postponed, new date to be confirmed. We have taken this decision because of the proximity of staff and parents in what is always a crowded environment.
Year 11 Up The Ante Evening – scheduled for Thursday 26th March has been postponed, new date to be confirmed. We have taken this decision because of the proximity of staff and parents in what is always a crowded environment.
Overseas Trips and visits – Madrid 6th-9th April and Paris 22nd –25th May, may be cancelled. Following Government advice issued last week, we may need to cancel all up and coming international trips for the foreseeable future.
The Government has updated their school trip advice on gov.uk stating they are ‘against all overseas education trips for children under 18. This is because trip leaders would face significant challenges in making arrangements to ensure children’s welfare, should adult supervisors or children be required to self-isolate'.
As a school we are all saddened by this advice but the safety of our students and staff is of paramount importance. We are currently in contact with the travel companies involved along with our insurance provider to fully discuss our options moving forwards in what are very uncertain times. We are looking into all the various possibilities for each trip, so we please ask that you bear with us whilst we confirm further details. As soon as we have more information, we will be in contact regarding each specific trip.
UK Trips and visits – as a school, we will continue to review all trips and visits and will make a decision based on a) whether the venue is still open and b) what advice has been given to schools.
Examinations – Examination boards have not issued instructions regarding possible disruption to the exam series at the time of writing. If public examinations were affected, Barnwell would follow directions by Government and JCQ (who regulate exams). If there are closures in the run up to exams, we have planned for alternative methods of supporting students and we would ensure that we provide Year 11 and Year 13 students with everything that they need to revise and prepare independently.
We understand that this will be a concern for our Year 11 and Year 13 students, but until we know any differently, we must continue preparing as normal. If there are school closures for a week or two in the run up to exams, revising effectively will be very important. Students and parents should be prepared for this eventuality. In this situation, class teachers would be available to provide on line support through email and to pace students through their revision. As and when the DfE provide schools with more information or contingency plans around exams, this will be shared with parents and students.
We will continue to update you on all matters as and when we receive the latest guidance.
Any communication regarding school closure, reduced school hours or remote working requirements would always be sent to you via Schoolcomms, Everbridge, social media and placed here on our website.
As the UK moves into the 'delay' phase of the national action plan, we have been developing our preparations for maintaining a reasonable level of educational continuity for students, if Public Health England or the Government decides that the school has to close for a period of time.
The school would only be closed on the direction of Public Health England or the Government, and following their advice. In the event of high levels of sickness amongst the staff and/or the student body, full or part closure or reduced hours may be a necessary step to secure the safety and well-being of our school community.
Our online portal, Show My Homework, would become essential at this stage. Subject teachers, under direction of their Curriculum Leaders, would set work by class as per the school curriculum. This would ensure that a reasonable level of continuity of provision is in place for our students. Students would be requested to submit tasks online via Show My Homework or email as appropriate.
If any family does not have access to the internet and would therefore find accessing Show My Homework difficult, please get in touch with the school as soon as possible so that an alternative means of communication can be considered.
With regard to public examinations, neither JCQ nor individual examination boards have issued any instructions regarding possible disruption to the summer exam series, at the time of writing. It is important to remember that if public exams are to be affected, we will take our lead from the Government and JCQ on the correct procedures.
Currently, coursework completion remains the top priority for students where this is appropriate. Students are urged to work with their subject teachers to ensure any coursework is completed during this time, and in line with deadlines.
We are mindful that the next few months will be a challenging period. At Barnwell School, we pride ourselves on our pastoral support for students and families. If you need to speak to someone during this time, please do not hesitate to contact staff via the usual email addresses. Public Health England advice is attached to this page and we encourage all members of our community to download it.
Finally, we would like to thank all our students, parents and staff for their understanding and support during this difficult time for all.
Head of School
We have a couple of links, which we hope you might find useful below, one for parents suggesting some ideas on how to talk to your child about coronavirus and another for young people to get some answers to their questions.