23rd March 2020
Thank you again for your support and patience in these uncertain times. The idea of home schooling is still very new to us all and there are a few things which I want you to be aware of as we all adapt to this new way of working.
Teachers will not have the capacity to respond to individual student messages on an ongoing basis. Students need to work on developing their own independence and only contact their teacher when requested. As long as they are working and completing tasks teachers will be happy with that.
Teachers will upload work as per the agreed schedule. Once this work is completed the students should not email their teacher asking for further work. The teacher may be ill, looking after their own families or in college supervising students. The students can use their own initiative to find out more about the topic if they wish.
If students have to contact a teacher, the teacher will only respond to a student’s college email account and not to a personal email account.
In order to reduce unnecessary contact please do not send your child into school to collect their old exercise books. Please provide your own resources for this purpose.
A sense of routine is important and as you know we are not asking students to follow their usual timetable. For students in Years 7, 8 and 9 I would suggest a minimum of two hours a day. Year 10 students should aim for 3 hours a day and also utilise the time to build up a bank of revision resources on material they have already covered. As a school this is something we can sustain week on week and we are also conscious of the supervision pressures you will be under at home.
I would encourage students to keep a folder of the work they complete where possible and teachers can then check how they have got on when things return to normal.
18th March 2020
Thank you for your continued support during these challenging times. It is at times like these that the true spirit of a community comes to the fore and we look out for and support each other.
Some of you will be making decisions over the coming days as to how you and your family will respond to the rapidly changing coronavirus situation. Can I please ask that you notify the college if your child will not be attending college because of self-isolation? We will then code these absences accordingly.
Thank you for your patience in regard to teachers setting work if your child is currently self-isolating. At the moment they are planning and preparing the lessons for the students who are in school and would find it very challenging to also set individual work for absent students. Teachers are setting up online Google classrooms and will be uploading resources to these. Teachers will also prioritise work for Year 11 students who are currently self-isolating. In the interim can I direct you to the online resource Doddle which the college subscribes to. This can be accessed via the student menu on the college website.
If your child has an underlying medical condition and is still attending college, please ensure that we have all the relevant and up to date medication stored in our student reception. Please seek medical advice if you have any concern about your child’s health. At the moment the college remains open and there is no news on GCSE exams. I am hoping that I will know more about GCSE exams by the end of Thursday.
Please be assured that everyone associated with Blessed Edward Oldcorne Catholic College is in my thoughts and prayers.
16th March 2020
As you are probably aware, the government’s guidance on the coronavirus has changed from the ‘contain’ phase to one of delaying the spread of the virus. I am writing to let you know how the college is responding in light of this, and what we are asking of you, to help make sure our college community remains safe and calm. I would like to reassure you that we are taking all of the necessary steps to protect our college community and are continuing to follow official guidance from the government and the Local Authority.
What is the current situation?
- The college remains open – this is the current official guidance we have been given.
- All college functions such as extra-curricular clubs and bus transport to and from the college will continue to run as normal.
- Students should attend unless they feel unwell – if your child has any of the following symptoms they should remain at home for 7 days: a new, continuous cough and/or a temperature.
- If your child is unwell, report this as you would normally by ringing the absence line or via the college app. Please let us know if they are self-isolating as we can then record this absence in a different way.
- If your child has underlying health conditions please seek medical advice and keep us updated. Please be assured we will trust your judgment in these instances.
- All overseas trips taking place this academic year have been cancelled. At the moment government advice is that trips within the UK can still go ahead and we will continue to monitor this situation closely. Performing Arts Evening has also been postponed.
- The college is making plans for online learning and teachers are creating “Google Classrooms” so that distance learning can occur. Students access “Google classrooms” using their college email address.
- At the moment GCSE exams are still going ahead and we have spoken to Year 11 students about the importance of staying calm and focusing their energies on revision and preparation. Courses with “coursework” elements are prioritising this in lessons.
We will of course keep you up to date with any changes to the current situation.
What we are doing to protect and support students and staff
- If your child develops flu like symptoms during the college day we will contact you immediately and ask that you make arrangements to collect them.
- If a case is suspected in the college community the advice is that the college will remain open. If a case is confirmed a risk assessment will be undertaken with advice from the local Health Protection Team on what steps to take.
- Cleaning in the college has been enhanced to make sure that door handles, metal push plates and railings are regularly disinfected.
- Students are reminded on a daily basis about the importance of good hand hygiene and there is increased signage around the college to this effect.
- If your child is feeling anxious at the moment please contact their Head of Year for additional support.
What we need you to do
- If you have recently changed your contact details, please inform the school office as soon as possible.
- Make sure you have downloaded the college MY Ed app from your relevant app store.
- Talk to your children about the coronavirus. BBC Newsround has regular updates for younger children and YoungMinds has practical steps older children can take to help with anxiety.
- Come and collect your child straight away, if we ask you to.
- Check that your child has access to “Google classrooms” from home, and let us know if there are any issues with online learning in case the college has to close at some point.
What happens if the college has to close?
The college will only close if we are either officially advised to do so or we don’t have enough staff to run the college. In either case, we will alert parents via the college app and the college website. These will also be used to notify parents of the college reopening. Work will be set during any closure period and it is essential that your child commits time each day to completing it.
Please note that we are only sending out this information to help the college community prepare. There are currently no plans to close.
If you have any questions
Please contact the:
- College office
- NHS, if you want to know more about the symptoms of coronavirus. If you think you or your child may have the symptoms, use NHS 111 online if at all possible before calling 111.
- Department for Education’s coronavirus helpline: 0800 046 8687, if you have any questions about the government’s response to coronavirus in relation to schools.
- Government’s travel advice, if you want to know whether any upcoming trip or holiday you’re taking abroad should go ahead.
These are challenging times and we will continue to act in the best interests of our students and staff. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me at the college and thank you for your continued support.
Covid 19 updates
Following the Prime Minister’s statement on COVID-19 (Coronavirus) on 12th March, all the latest information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response
The government has issued new travel guidance for the education sector. This advises against all overseas education trips for children under 18. This does not apply to domestic trips, or overseas trips which are already underway. The full education travel guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19/covid-19-travel-guidance-for-the-education-sector
The Department for Education coronavirus helpline is available to answer questions about COVID-19 relating to education and children’s social care. Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline as follows:
Phone: 0800 046 8687
Opening hours: 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 4pm Saturday and Sunday
Worcestershire County Council advice can be found here http://www.worcestershire.gov.uk/coronavirus#jointstatement