Weekly update from all at Harton

Dear parents/carers and students

I hope that you and your families are well and many thanks for the very supportive and positive messages. The usual weekly update is as follows:

  • In anticipation of our return on Monday June 15th for year 10 and year 12 students, staff have attended one of the 10 briefing sessions with Mr Amos and I this week. Our latest Risk Assessment will be posted on the VLE later today.
  • Keep an eye out for any update over the weekend should R>1 (according to SAGE) and we need to close to all but the vulnerable and key worker children. Hopefully that won’t be the case and no news is good news.
  • There has been a slight increase in the number of vulnerable and key worker children attending this week, as expected. We anticipate that the number will increase even further next week, and we have currently timetabled two teachers and two SSAs each day – the numbers this week have been 8, 8, 11, 8 and 10 (mean = 9, median = 8 and mode = 8).
  • The Pastoral and SEN staff continue to contact numerous families each week.
  • The biggest area of concern from parents has been the lack of interactive teaching via Zoom, Microsoft teams, Google classroom etc. We are investing in numerous laptops in order to support some of our families as we have not received anything yet from the Government laptop scheme. There is also extensive staff training taking place. Hopefully, I will be able to update you next week on a suite of lessons via ICT over the coming weeks.
  • We are very hopeful of being able to welcome up to 100 students back into school from Monday June 15th. Currently, we are expecting roughly 75% of year 10 to attend and almost 80% of year 12. That would actually mean around 75 to 80 students on site at any one time, but with staggered arrival times, departure times etc.
  • We have managed to timetable our ambitious plan and each student has been issued, both electronically and by post, a bespoke, personalised timetable. There are 10 subjects being offered (Core and EBacc) plus additional literacy and numeracy for some students who don’t study the EBacc subjects. Students will receive between 16 and 28 hours of face to face specialist teaching in very small groups. Apologies that it has not been possible to timetable all subjects over a five week period, but we will address any subject gaps as soon as we can.
  • We fully intend to offer 4 twilight sessions per week for our current year 10 and 12 students as soon as we return to normality and we already have a huge number of staff volunteers to ensure that we are able to make such provision.
  • Watch out for any announcement next week from the Government about extensive summer catch up programmes! We will address that one as and when we receive further information.
  • Year 11 hoodies and year books will be distributed soon (further information to follow next week), and we have tried to secure a date in early December for a Prom at Beamish Hall, all being well. We will look to secure a date for a year 13 Leavers’ Ball around then too.
  • FSM vouchers will be issued up until the summer (year 11 until the end of June) – regardless of whether students are attending for lessons in the next five weeks.
  • The CAG (Centre Assessed Grades) for years 11 and 13 have been finalised. I have today, finally completed all checks and signed the grades off!

No doubt I will think of something else when I leave school but massive thanks to one and all for your continued support – we continue to try our best and to respond to comments and suggestions from parents and staff.

I am already starting to think about plans for September just in case we don’t have a full return of 1600 students and 200 staff.

However, in the meantime have a great weekend and good luck to many of you (year 10 and year 12) when you return from Monday! If you indicated that you wouldn’t be attending and change your mind at any stage then please feel free to turn up on your allocated dates and times.

Very best wishes,

Sir Ken