Weekly update from all at Harton

Dear parents/carers and students

I hope that you all continue to be well. The update for the week so far is as follows:

  • Attendance of Key worker and Vulnerable children this week has, as expected, risen. We have had 12, 12, 8 and 14 so far. A range of subjects has been on offer, including English x 2, maths x 2, ICT x2, RE, geography, history and DT. We are preparing to have 3 teaching staff and 3 SSAs available from Monday 29th June as we anticipate even greater numbers in the final 3 weeks.
  • The Year 10 students have been attending science all week and, due to the lovely weather, the attendance has dropped slightly from 65% last week to 59% this week. Many thanks to the science staff for their marvellous efforts this week.
  • Year 12 students have attended for Option D subjects: English Language, geography, history and sociology. Many thanks to the staff who have attended this week. Attendance for year 12 students has risen from 62.4% last week to 67.2% this week.
  • Our ICT staff are currently configuring 200 laptops for distribution to staff and to our more vulnerable students. We are still awaiting the laptops from the DfE and LA!
  • The increased access to laptops has enabled staff to provide a significantly growing number of Microsoft Team lessons along with existing use of Google classroom and Zoom lessons.
  • Half of the Year 11 hoodies and year books have been distributed and the remainder are being collected tomorrow at staggered times.
  • The Pastoral and SEN staff continue to do a fabulous job in contacting the more vulnerable students and almost 100 have been invited in for a face to face meeting at school. A number of meetings have already taken place.
  • As mentioned last week, we have secured the booking for the Year 11 Prom at Beamish on Thursday December 3rd and have secured a date for a combined Prize Evening/Leavers’ Ball at the Gateshead Hilton on Monday December 14th. The weather might not be great but the danger in booking something too early is that we run the risk of another cancellation. Far better to have a date that is more likely to go ahead even if we have to wear our wellies!
  • Option choices have all been sorted and posted, with 87% of the year 9 students receiving their first choices and with over 44% following an EBacc route.
  • We are hopeful of issuing the ‘A’ level and GCSE results face to face on a staggered basis, but we will see nearer the time. It may well be that we post and e-mail the results on the 13th and 20th August respectively.
  • There are currently no plans for a summer school but the welcome news about catch up funding will enable us to increase our offer to students as and when we are fully able to.
  • There will be further news next week from the DfE about what is expected in September. We are still planning for several different scenarios but sincerely hope that all students can return safely by then. This is the latest news from the DfE this morning:

Looking ahead to September

Our intention is that all pupils will go back to school in September, and we will be releasing further guidance next week to assist schools to prepare for a full return.

Since 1st June schools have been welcoming more pupils back as part of a phased and cautious return. This has been a huge exercise for school staff – thank you for all the thought, hard work and careful planning that has gone into making that a success.

Since then attendance has steadily increased and we continue to encourage schools to bring back more of their pupils if they can, in line with the measures that we have set out.

Primary schools should continue to operate in groups of no more than 15 and secondaries should not exceed 25% of year 10 and year 12 pupils in at any one time. The changes to social distancing, announced by the Prime Minister this week, will give heads and teachers the confidence to maximise to available capacity within schools and classrooms, ahead of all pupils returning from September.

Primary pupils do not and have not needed to be kept apart in the classroom, and we are encouraging primary heads to use the capacity they have and theflexibility provided to bring more groups of children back into school.

Anyway, that is it for this week folks – I hope you are enjoying the weather, have your hair appointment booked and are enjoying greater time with your families!

Take care and very best wishes,

Sir Ken