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Updated - 15 05 2020


15 May 2020
 
Dear Parent/Carer
 
Coronavirus update - planning for a phased return to school some time after 1st June 2020
 
Outline summary:
  • The government has asked us to plan for Year 10 and Year 12 to have some face-to-face contact after half term
  • We are now starting the planning process to try to make this happen.
  • Safety of students, staff and the wider community will be the priority.
  • We will be sending you our plans after the half term break so that you have a chance to let us know what you think.
  • I will also be sending a short survey to parents as well as students in years 10 and 12 to get some early indications about intentions.
Detailed explanation:
Most of you will be aware of the recent government announcement which asked secondary school leaders to start to plan for ‘some face-to-face support’ for Year 10 and 12 students at some time after the 1st June. With this in mind I am writing to you today to give you an insight into the thought and planning processes which we have embarked upon.
At the outset let me make clear that any plans to bring more students back to school will be based on our confidence that we can keep both students and staff safe, and that the benefits to students outweigh any increased risks of infection. As part of our planning we will be consulting with staff, students, governors and parents/carers before putting any phased return into action. This letter is merely the first stage of the consultation process.
In order to ensure that TLA is well protected and well informed, I am in regular contact with other West Sussex headteachers as well as the CEO of the Woodard Academies Trust. I am also receiving regular updates from a range of national sources including the Association of School and College Leaders and the Department for Education.
These are, in no particular order, some of the areas for consideration which we are currently working on as we plan the start of a phased return:
 
Key Questions:
  • Which staff will be available to work with students on site?
  • With more staff in school, how do we maintain high quality remote learning for those students still learning from home?
  • How can we ensure social distancing is in place throughout the school day?
  • When and why might staff need appropriate PPE and how do we acquire this?
  • How will our current cleaning regime need to be adjusted?
  • How can we ensure safe transit to and from school - particularly for students who would normally use school buses or public transport?
  • Will the government’s testing regime support large volumes of students returning to school settings? Will tests be readily available for staff and students if required?
  • What will the procedure be if we have a confirmed case of COVID-19 among the community who are attending school? Will all members of the community then have access to a test?
  • How will we manage break times, starts and ends of the day, movement along corridors and other higher risk activities?
  • How many students can we safely accommodate on the school site whilst maintaining social distancing and minimising the risk of transmitting the virus?
  • How will we group students, since the guidance states that they should be in groups of no more than 15 (and 10-12 in smaller classrooms)?
 
The planning process will include the following steps:
  1. Completion of detailed risk assessments to cover all of the activities involved in a phased return.
  2. Identification of the staff who are available to work on site with students (those staff who are not in the vulnerable group and do not have dependents at home who could not be kept safe if the staff member came to work on site).
  3. Identification of the students who would access the face-to-face sessions, and how they would be grouped.
  4. Constructing a timetable for the sessions based on the answers to 2) and 3).
  5. Agreeing all of the day-to-day procedures which would need to be in place in order to keep people safe.
  6. Sharing of the plan with staff, students, parents/carers the Academy Council and the Trust for their views.
  7. Adjusting the plan based on feedback from all groups.
  8. Communicating the plan to all stakeholders so that everyone knows what is expected of them.
  9. Implementing the first phase of the return.
  10. Review of the plan after the first week and at regular intervals thereafter to ensure effectiveness and safety.
 
With all of this in mind it is difficult to state with any certainty when the first groups of students may be able to come in for face to face sessions. We will have the risk assessments completed as soon as possible and will work on steps 2 and 3 in parallel to this. We will obviously make sure that students and parents have plenty of notice before any return to work in classrooms.
 
The government has issued a lot of guidance for schools and colleges but very little of it is ‘directed’. They are asking schools to consider their local circumstances and plan any return based on these. Our aim therefore is to make sure that we consider all of the issues, and plan carefully, before we bring more students onto the site. The guidance for parents (from the Department for Education) can be found here:
 
 
Thank you for your patience and understanding while this critical planning work is carried out.
 
Sussex University research project on 'Home schooling during the Covid 19-pandemic'.
The University of Sussex are asking teachers and parents/carers of school age children to undertake a survey for them so that they can research the impact around home schooling and education during this difficult time. If you would like to take part, please click on the link below where there will be more details about the research before you take the survey. https://universityofsussex.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_ahPAXiHKmoOlgI5
 
Calling all Y7, 8 & 9 students – Can you help the Sports & Technology Faculty?
The Sports & Technology Faculty would love you to answer a quick questionnaire to ensure PE at TLA is as fun, engaging, suitable and educational as possible for you next year! So please take your time and be honest and sensible with your answers. Thank you!
 
Year 7 & 8 PE Questionnaire:
 
Year 9 PE Questionnaire:
 
Essential maintenance works
Please note that essential maintenance will be carried out on Saturday 16 May. This means that there will be no access to TLA emails and Citrix. A message will be posted on our website once the works are completed.
 
Career news
Interested in becoming a Key Worker for the NHS? Explore the wide-ranging roles within the NHS. Real-life stories and films, compare role tools and Find Your Career quiz.
 
iDEA
The Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award, known as iDEA is an international programme that helps students develop digital, enterprise and employability skills for free. Through a series of online challenges, students can win career-enhancing badges, unlock new opportunities and gain industry-recognised awards that will help them stand out from the crowd.
 
Spotlight on: Engineering Careers
Success at School this week is shining the spotlight on Engineering. You may be surprised to hear that there are opportunities for budding engineers whether planning to go to university or straight into the world of work.
 
Focus on safeguarding
Domestic abuse – where to get help during the Covid-19 pandemic
For more information please see the attached campaign leaflet from Sussex police. It provides a list of agencies working with Sussex Police, offering advice and support online and over the telephone.
 
Forthcoming Dates
Half Term          Monday 25 – Friday 29 May
 
Yours sincerely
 
M P Thomas, Principal
principal@tla.woodard.co.uk

 


7 May 2020
 
Dear Parent/Carer
 
Coronavirus update
 
I am writing to you today rather than tomorrow to at least give some recognition of the Bank Holiday on Friday! The academy will still be open tomorrow for those students currently attending our scaled-down provision.
 
In my recent phone call with Nick Gibb, MP and Schools Minister, I was able to have a constructive conversation about life under lockdown and the impact it is having on our community. I briefed him on our current provision, raised the issue of future implications of closure for our current Year 10 and Year 12 students and discussed the logistical challenges of reopening the academy when the time comes.
 
Mr Gibb confirmed that there were no immediate plans to reopen schools which I feel is a sensible position for now. You will be aware that the Prime Minister will be addressing the nation on Sunday and we will have to see what news that brings. In the meantime, I anticipate continuing with our current plans until May half term at the very earliest.
 
Remote Learning
 
Thank you for your support in helping your child complete learning that has been provided through Google Classroom. As there are some interim deadlines approaching I thought I would share what has been asked of colleagues.
 
Your child should expect feedback from their teachers; this could be either individual responses to your child or may be a whole class feedback. The feedback will be positive about the submission of work and will identify strengths and areas for improvement to give guidance to students on what they could work on. Students will be awarded positive LEEP points for work completed. You and your child may also see ‘Incomplete Prep for Learning’ on Go4Schools should your child not have submitted work. Please be assured that this is for monitoring purposes only. It is a neutral record and does not give a negative point. This record it is not followed by a sanction; it will, however, give you an understanding of any incomplete work that needs to be prioritised over the coming days and allows us to identify where we may need to provide further support.
 
Please contact your child’s teachers in the first instance if you need support with any work, or their tutor if you find that there are a number of subjects where work has not been submitted. We want to continue working with families to support our students and communication is key to success. Thank you for you continued support.
 
A message from WSCC Library Service
 
Our Library buildings may currently be closed but our online offer is very much thriving. We have dedicated children’s activities, home learning and wellbeing resources available together with eBooks, eAudio and a vast eComic collection for children and young adults. We also have newspapers and magazines to download free of charge - simply sign in with your library card.
 
Students can join the Library Service online if they are not currently members. This will allow you to borrow eBooks, eAudio and eComics, and read magazines and newspapers. We have been adding lots of new titles, so please check out what is available now free from West Sussex Libraries.
 
Year 11 Hoodies and Yearbooks
 
Paul Sanderson and a team of TLA helpers will be delivering the pre-ordered hoodies and yearbooks to your doorstep on Monday and Tuesday next week. They will be observing social distancing measures. You will receive an email beforehand with further information. The delivery route has been planned as follows: Monday - 11T1, 11T2, 11S1, 11S2, 11M2 and on Tuesday - 11R1, 11R2, 11M1, 11T3.
 
Teacher training
 
Are you a graduate thinking of your next move? Teaching is a highly rewarding and exciting profession offering a stable career path with plenty of opportunities for progression and development. If you would like to find out more, the South Down SCITT are hosting a virtual coffee morning on Tuesday 19 May at 10:30am. Further information can be found on the poster attached to this letter.
 
Focus on Safeguarding – COVID-19 - resources for parents and carers (Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health)
 
The college have identified a range of useful websites and information to help parents and children at this time. The website can be found here: https://www.rcpch.ac.uk/resources/covid-19-resources-parents-carers
 
 
Stay at home activities for children and young people
 
Forthcoming Dates
 
Bank Holiday – VE Day Friday 8 May
Half Term Monday 25 – Friday 29 May
 
Yours sincerely
 
M P Thomas,
Principal
principal@tla.woodard.co.uk

 


1 May 2020
 
Dear Parent/Carer
 
Coronavirus update - Virtual Academy
 
As promised last week, we have now brought all of our online information together under one heading on our webpage. It is called the Virtual Academy and you can see it on our homepage or by clicking here. This includes the latest communication home as well as information about online classrooms, virtual tutor groups, the virtual chapel and safeguarding. I hope this will be helpful for you and we will continue to update these pages. Our Academy Media page will continue to be updated with our social media output, including this latest video from Mr Sealby for Y11 students.
 
Year 11 into 12 Pre-course reading
 
All Year 11 students now have access to some prior reading and resources that will help them in preparation for joining the Sixth Form in September. I would encourage all students to have a look through their subject choices as well as others that they may have an interest in, and engage with the reading that has been placed in each folder.
Please follow the link below to access each subject and enjoy looking through the materials provided. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Mr Sealby msealby@tla.woodard.co.uk
 
Reminder - It is not too late to apply for the Sixth Form, simply go to the school website and follow the application process within the Sixth Form section.
 
Virtual Sussex School Games
 
This week Active Sussex have launched an exciting programme of sports competition running throughout the summer term, giving our students the chance to represent The Littlehampton Academy, alongside their friends and family, to be crowned Sussex champions.
 
Each Monday morning, a new sport will be launched, made up of four physical or technical sporting personal challenges, which can be done from the living room, garden or school.
 
Throughout the week you can practice, train and improve, before submitting your best scores in each challenge on www.sussexschoolgames.co.uk ahead of the Friday deadline (midday). Your score will be added to our school total, meaning that you can be part of our school team and compete against all of the other schools in the county.
 
To sign up please follow the link below:
 
Let the games begin . . .
 
‘Something for the weekend’ - Library Lockdown Quiz
 
TLA Library have made a virtual book quiz for you to enjoy from the comfort of your own home. There are five rounds and the quiz will last just over 20 minutes so make sure you're sitting comfortably and have your pens and paper at the ready.
 
Please use the following link: https://youtu.be/v3zPHI7sggU alternatively you can find the link on our library Twitter page @TLALibrary. It has also been uploaded to Google Classroom. Your child can contact their teacher or Miss Bayley if they are having problems downloading it.
 
Please also find attached to this letter the library newsletter for this week.
 
TLA Prayer Week
 
For the last 10 years, we have put a week aside for prayer at TLA. For those of all faiths and none we have gathered to pause, reflect, ask for help or say thanks and we were not going to let any virus stop us praying! So this week 25+ key worker children were able to choose to engage in a different space every day and then via TLA Chaplain on Facebook the world joined in! The daily themes were: Forgiveness, Hopes and Dreams, Worries, Help and Thank You. Video explanations can be found at https://www.facebook.com/tla.chaplain
 
NHS- ChatHealth Messaging Service – Text your school nurse
 
During these unsettling times, as a parent/carer of child aged between 5-19 years old you may be worried about your child’s health and wellbeing and be unsure about how to get the help you need. Parents/carers of a child aged 5-19 can text the school nurses for confidential advice and support on a wide range of issues. The contact number for texts is 07480 635424
 
School nurses can help with a variety of health issues including: behaviour, continence, emotional health, self-harm, bullying, minor accidents and illnesses.
The ChatHealth messaging service is run by the Healthy Child Programme 5-19 School Nursing Service and is available from 9:00am to 4:30 pm Monday - Friday (excluding Bank Holidays).
 
The service aims to reply to you within one working day and you should get an immediate bounce-back to confirm they have received your text. Texts will not be seen outside of normal working hours. If you need help before you hear back from them, you should contact your GP, NHS 111 or dial 999 if it is an emergency.
Rail Safety
 
Please find attached to this letter a poster from GTR Southern Rail about rail safety.
Focus on Safeguarding – BBC Own It App updated for COVID-19 The BBC's Own It app helps young people new to social media manage their well-being, whilst empowering children to make smart choices, and helping them to lead a positive life online.
 
  • The Own It app and keyboard lets children:
  • get advice whenever they type
  • track their feelings
  • win badges as they reflect
  • find help when they need it
  • taking quizzes to learn more about themselves
 
The app also includes a special keyboard to use which offers helpful tips and friendly advice to children when they need it. The app can be downloaded for free form the App Store or Google Play. Further information can be found here: https://www.bbc.com/ownit/take-control/own-it-app
 
Forthcoming Dates
 
Bank Holiday – VE Day Friday 8 May
Half Term Monday 25 – Friday 29 May
 
Yours sincerely
 
M P Thomas, Principal
principal@tla.woodard.co.uk

 


 

24 April 2020

Dear Parents and Carers,

I hope you are all keeping safe and well as I write to provide an update on our virtual academy.

When will we re-open?

You will be aware that Gavin Williamson MP, Secretary of State for Education, recently addressed the nation and confirmed that there is no planned date to re-open schools. He also outlined five tests that need to be met before children are allowed to return. The BBC article about this is here.

Although June 1 has been discussed as a possible return date by some headteachers, I need to be clear that this is the earliest possible date and is not something that we are currently expecting to happen. As well as the government’s five tests, there are major planning and safety considerations that have to be met before we can re-open TLA; all of my decisions will be based on official and scientific guidance to ensure that your children and my colleagues are properly protected and are kept safe.

Current provision

In the meantime, we will continue with our plans to deliver online learning and tutoring that will take us to the May half term. As promised, both Vice Principals have now written to you to provide details about teaching and learning this term, as well as how we will run virtual tutor groups and pastoral care online. Their letters that explain these things in detail are available here. We have also released videos about tutoring, future pathways for Year 9 and joining the Sixth Form.

A small number of parents and colleagues have drawn my attention to some negative comments about our provision on social media. We are always happy to receive constructive criticism that helps us to provide a better service. This is more likely to be successful if comments are sent straight to me and my colleagues rather than posted on Facebook or elsewhere, where we may not have the chance to act upon it.

This week, we have moved from the emergency response phase of our online provision to a slightly longer term plan. I do understand that not everything is working perfectly; please remember that this is being set up and run by a large number of teachers and support staff who are, in the main, working from home. This, in itself, is a challenge: I’m sure you will appreciate that my colleagues are trying to plan, set and respond to work in circumstances where they may be sharing devices, working space and WiFi with other members of their households. Many colleagues are also attempting to homeschool their own children and look after vulnerable relatives at the same time. I know from emails and Twitter that many of you are in the same position so will understand how difficult this can be!

That said, my colleagues and I are determined to ensure that we do the very best we can for our children. We are very happy to hear feedback about what works and what does not and I have provided some details about how to do that below. Please be reassured that I am in regular contact with other leaders at the school to monitor our systems and provision, from Free School Meals vouchers, to virtual tutoring, to the setting of lessons and provision of feedback.

I also have Zoom meetings with senior colleagues on a regular basis to review our current provision and ensure that we are in a strong position to re-open the school when the time comes.

We have already improved our guidance on the delivery of lessons due to constructive feedback we have had from some parents: as such, I am sending a revised version of the parent advice (attached to this letter) on using Google Classroom. As a reminder, this is where you can find work for your child:

  • Guidance on the work set is on Go4Schools.
  • The actual work for your child will then be available on their individual classes in Google Classroom.

Incidentally, I have been asked about why we are not live-streaming lessons, for example through Zoom. I have consulted with other secondary headteachers about this as well as colleagues in the police and safeguarding professionals. At the moment, I am not satisfied that live Zoom lessons are an appropriate response for TLA. Aside from the practical and technical constraints, they can be fraught with risk: I am aware of a small number of high-profile incidents where lessons have been interrupted by third parties keen to broadcast inappropriate content to children. For now, we will retain our model of online work through Google Classroom and pre-recorded video content rather than live lesson delivery. I hope you understand that this decision is taken with the best interests of your children at heart.

Providing feedback or asking questions

If you would like to provide direct feedback, the best people to contact are as follows:

  • Your child’s form tutor should be the first port of call. They will be able to help you with most queries or direct them to the relevant person if they cannot do so. Remember that we now have online tutor groups that your child will have been invited to electronically and these are proving to be very useful for welfare and keeping in touch.
  • Technical help with getting online: networkhelpdesk@tla.woodard.co.uk
  • Questions or feedback about the curriculum and teaching resources: please contact the relevant Director of Learning:
  • Questions about virtual tutoring, pastoral care and other welfare matters that can’t be addressed to tutors: please contact the relevant Director of Standards:

If you would like to provide feedback directly to me that does not fall into any of these categories, please email them to jbaker@tla.woodard.co.uk I can then draw these comments together and discuss them with the relevant senior colleagues before responding accordingly.

Next week, we will also be bringing all of the information about our support services and provision under one heading on our webpage to make it easier for you to see and access. It will be called the ‘Virtual Academy’ page and I will provide more information about this as soon as it is online.

Exams and grades - summer 2020

I am pleased to be able to link a letter from Sally Collier, Ofqual’s Chief Regulator. This letter has been written specifically to students in Year 11 and Year 13 and it gives helpful information about how exam grades will be awarded this year; it was updated on 16 April.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/awarding-qualifications-in-summer-2020/letter-tostudents-summer-2020-grading

I will continue to provide written updates each Friday as normal, as well as through Twitter and on our Academy Media page on the main website. In the meantime, I wish you good health and happiness.

Yours sincerely

M P Thomas

Principal

 


21 April 2020

Dear Parent/ Carer

The video update of this letter can be found here.

I am writing to you to let you know our plans to provide pastoral care and ‘virtual’ tutoring over the next half term. It is vital to ensure that all of our students continue to feel a part of TLA during this time. We believe that all our students should be ‘known and nurtured’ and in these challenging times, we need to look for ways to do this differently.

From the start of the summer term, all tutors have set up a ‘virtual’ Google classroom for their tutor groups. We have trialled this approach over the last four weeks and tutors and students have given some really positive feedback. Please encourage your child to accept their ‘virtual’ tutor group classroom invitation as these are not only a great way for us to keep in touch with students but for the tutor group to interact with each other. Tutors have been working hard on a variety of activities for their ‘virtual tutor groups; and we expect students to engage with this and take part in what is posted: this could be a weekly quiz or a discussion topic.

We are also asking tutors to email students (via their TLA email address) and in some cases they may even phone your child at home. If colleagues from school do phone, it will show up as an unknown number so please bear this in mind when bouncing calls.

What we hope is that over the next three week ‘lockdown’ period, your child should have contact from their tutor either through Google classroom, e-mail or the telephone. This should allow us to encourage your child in their school work as well as check in on their wellbeing.

Year Leaders will also be making contact with each family over the summer term. This is an opportunity for you to discuss any concerns you may have and to work out how we can best support your child at this time.

It is important that we all mark the transition now from the Easter holidays to the start of the summer term. However, we are realistic in what we expect this to look like and acknowledge that for many parents, this is a very stressful and uncertain time. We would like you to prioritise ensuring that your child has a routine each day that includes school work, physical exercise and rest. This will ensure that they have time to complete the school work that has been set for them, interact with their tutor via their ‘virtual’ tutor space as well as looking after their physical and mental wellbeing. I have found the following document produced by Unicef really helpful in giving some advice on how teenagers can protect their mental health during coronavirus (COVID-19). I have placed a copy of the article here for you to read and share with your child over these next few weeks.

If you have any concerns over this time please remember that we are still at work and available to support you. Your first point of contact is your child’s tutor and they will work with other colleagues in the Academy to resolve any concerns that you may have.

Yours sincerely

Mrs K Ridgway

Vice Principal


20 April 2020

Dear Parent/ Carer

Thank you for your patience whilst we work on the best possible learning experience for your child at home. Whilst we do not know how long the current situation will last for, we want to ensure we provide a meaningful curriculum to continue during the coming weeks. We have also taken into consideration the level of support you are able to provide as parents, acknowledging that in your household you may also be balancing work with your own family commitments and responsibilities.

Teachers will have new project work ready for your children from today for years 10 and 12 and no later than Thursday 23 April for key stage 3. In the meantime please continue with any outstanding project work from before Easter and visit BBC bitesize where there will be daily online lessons launched today.

Guidance for Parents: 

  • Work will be set using Go4Schools so that you will be able to see what is being asked of them.
  • Work for your child will then be available on their individual classes in Google Classroom for all year groups. This will allow for monitoring by individual teachers.
  • At key stage 3 the work will be project based and each subject/ faculty will provide enough resources that will allow your child to complete the equivalent of 3 hours a day, for the 5 weeks in Summer 1.
  • Year 10 and 12 work will be provided by individual teachers to support usual timetabled hours.
  • Your child will be expected to submit work at each suggested submission point in the individual projects, this will usually be through Google Classroom.
  • Students can complete work in Google Docs, in exercise books or on paper, but should take clear photos of it and upload them to Google Classroom
  • Teachers will give feedback to your child through Google Classroom and use LEEP points on Go4Schools to reward and praise work as usual.

Should you need any support please contact classroom teachers in the first instance. I have attached instructions for Google Classroom to support if you are unfamiliar with the software. The most important thing is that you and your children keep safe and well.

Best Wishes

Bianca Greenhalgh

Vice Principal


17 April 2020

Dear Parents / Carers,

I am writing to you to let you know our plans for the next half term. I know that we are all living in very difficult circumstances at the moment and I hope that you are all keeping well.

The recent government announcement suggests that we can expect the lockdown to continue well into May. As such, our plans at TLA are now designed to take us up to the May half term. As we approach that point, I will make further plans as the situation changes.

What we do know is that, at some point, the school will reopen in full and we will be back! As such, we are also preparing for that outcome at the same time. When the school reopens, we know that we will have to work very hard to get back into the rhythms and routines that we had spent so long trying to embed in our school culture. As time in lockdown goes on, it is so important to try to keep to a routine at home that includes learning and education every day. I do recognise how difficult that is to achieve under these circumstances and we will do everything we can to make that as easy as possible for students and their families.

Rather than bombard you with too much information in one go, I have asked members of the Senior Leadership Team to communicate with you about specific areas that concern you and your children. Early next week, both of my Vice Principals will be writing to you to provide full details on the following subjects:

  • Teaching and learning for the next half term.
  • How we will continue to look after the pastoral needs of TLA students for the next half term.

These letters will set out the learning expectations of each year group, explain how resources can be accessed and what feedback will look like. They will also provide guidance on our ‘virtual’ tutor system and how you and your children can get help and support.

Other senior colleagues will also be in touch to provide information about future pathways for Year 9 as they prepare for GCSEs; and also for year 11 students who are preparing for the Sixth Form. Dr Taylor and Mr Sealby have already made short videos on these subjects, which can be seen on our Twitter feed. Even if you don’t have a Twitter account, the latest updates can be seen on our Academy Media page.

We are still working with professional bodies and with the government to agree the exact mechanism for agreeing examination grades and how these will be reported. The latest guidance can be seen in the links at the bottom of this letter. The government expects that students will receive their results on the same days as they would have done before the cancellation of exams, namely:

  • A Level results: 13 August
  • GCSE results: 20 August

The consultation has now been widened to include the impact on current year 10 and year 12 students and I will be making representations on behalf of all of our young people. Rest assured, my colleagues and I will do everything we can to ensure the best possible outcomes for TLA students.

Once again, I hope that you are all healthy and safe and wish you well in the days and weeks ahead. With teamwork and determination, we will succeed!

Yours sincerely

M.P.Thomas

Principal

List of resources to support education at home:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-online-educationresources/coronavirus-covid-19-list-of-online-education-resources-for-home-education

Information on how exam grades will be awarded this summer:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/awarding-qualifications-in-summer-2020


3 April 2020

Dear Parents / Carers,

I am writing to you at the end of a very strange term to try to give you a brief update on where the academy stands at the moment. The first thing to say is a huge thank you to all parents, carers and students. We have been trying to run the academy in a very different way to normal and my colleagues and I are hugely grateful for the support, encouragement and cooperation that we have been receiving from you.

It is also important to recognise that we are still very much in a dynamic state and so the situation continues to change on a frequent basis. There are still many uncertainties about the national picture and how this will affect everyday life, including schools. This does make planning for the summer term very difficult, but I would like to reassure you that a huge amount of work is going on behind the scenes to prepare for how we continue to operate after Easter.

You will undoubtedly have a whole range of questions that need answering about what happens next, especially if you have children in years 11 or 13. The cancellation of exams came without warning and I do understand how stressful and disconcerting this has been for all involved.

As you can imagine, there is a great deal of information coming in at the moment from the UK Government, the Local Authority and Ofqual (the body that regulates exams and assessment in England). The latest guidance on how exams will be awarded was released today and you can read more about that here. There is also a letter to students from the Chief Regulator at Ofqual which you can read here. Rest assured, my colleagues and I are giving this urgent attention and will be writing to you again soon when we have analysed the full guidance.

Our continuity of service plans were designed to get us through to Easter and those come to a close today. Over the next two weeks, TLA remains open for a small number of children of key workers. At the same time, my colleagues and I will be planning the next phase of education for your children. Effectively, we are doing this from scratch so please bear with us! Before the end of the Easter break, I will write to you again to explain our plans for the first half of the summer term, and beyond.

In the meantime, I have not asked colleagues to set additional work for the Easter period. In years 7-9, students are expected to complete the online (or printed) tasks that have already been set. In Years 10 and 12, individual teachers will have already been setting appropriate tasks for their classes which may cover the Easter break. This may include revision of past materials or some preparatory reading and research for the term ahead. All students are encouraged to read widely - not just within their academic subjects but also in order to explore new novels and themes.

As before, work will have been set via Go4Schools and using Google Classroom. If you are having any technical difficulties, please email networkhelpdesk@tla.woodard.co.uk who will be happy to help.

We are also drawing up plans to ensure that we continue to look after the pastoral wellbeing of our young people. This will involve colleagues checking in with you and your children either by phone or using our ‘virtual tutor groups’ which are being developed as I write. I will continue to keep you informed in writing as our plans develop; we also operate a number of Twitter accounts from TLA. You can follow mine at @TLAPrincipal and these tweets are also available on our main website in the Academy Media section.

I would like to close by paying tribute to the many colleagues at TLA who have worked tirelessly, often under difficult circumstances, over the past two weeks to keep things going. This includes teachers setting work online; the estates team who are here every day to keep the building running; our wonderful catering crew who have been providing food for the academy and out in the community; my colleagues in administration who have been managing attendance, finance, staffing and communications; Network Services who have ensured we can all get online and safety online; and of course the pastoral team including our Chaplain, who has provided some words at the end of this letter.

Finally, I would like to wish you and your family a very happy Easter. It is a strange time indeed, but I hope you are able to enjoy this additional time spent with loved ones.

Yours sincerely

M.P.Thomas

Principal

 

Some words from our Chaplain, Paul Sanderson:

Littlehampton Foodbank

As you may be aware we are working with the food bank to support some of our families who have asked for help. The food bank is offering to support anyone who has genuine food need at this time and The Littlehampton Academy is a referring agency.

If you or someone one you know is in real need please contact Paul Sanderson our Chaplain and he will make a referral. They are only doing deliveries and the food bank only goes out on a Friday so the referral needs to be in before then.

As part of data protection you need to be aware that by asking for a referral we will have to pass on your home address and phone number to enable them to deliver to you or the person you are referring. By referring you give us permission to do this.

Thanks and take care,

Paul Sanderson

psanderson@tla.woodard.co.uk


20 March 2020

Dear Parents and Carers

Academy Closure

I am writing to you at the end of a week like no other! I am aware that you have received a great deal of information from us this week, sometimes delivering disappointing and difficult news without warning. The first thing I would like to do is to thank you for your patience and understanding as we have navigated the changing picture over the last few days. I would also like to thank you for the personal messages of support that my colleagues and I have been receiving from you - it makes a difference and we appreciate it.

We are operating in an environment where we are having to respond to information from the central government at very short notice. Most of this has reached us in the evening or in the early hours of the morning and we have had to act on it immediately. We have had no prior notification of many of these decisions; we have been working hard to meet government expectations and also to make the delivery of these expectations as easy as possible for our students and parents.

By now, you will be aware that TLA will be a very different place next week. Effectively, the academy has closed and a new, smaller, temporary child care centre has opened in its place. It is due to open on Monday morning and we have had less than 48 hours to plan, resource and staff that facility! It will come as no surprise to you that much of that planning will continue this weekend.

Parents of children who have been offered a place in this centre will already have been contacted by us today. I do understand that there will be disappointment from some parents who have not been offered a place. We are working to tight government guidelines about eligibility; I am also attempting to operate the new service with significantly reduced staffing levels.

It is worth remembering two key points:

Schools are being closed in order to reduce contact and therefore reduce the spread of coronavirus.

The reason that some children are still being allowed to attend is largely due to their parents working in critical infrastructure.

The government’s first operating principle is still: “If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.” Even now, this also applies to children of key workers.

In terms of curriculum provision: we will continue to enact our contingency plans for all year groups for the next two weeks. These can be found on our website. The exception to this is years 11 and 13; all teaching and revision in those year groups has now ceased.

Should a student be experiencing IT related issues such as password problems, please contact us using the following email address. networkhelpdesk@tla.woodard.co.uk

To enable us to be able to authenticate the email, please ensure that it is sent from either the students own account or one of the email accounts that we have recorded for their contacts. Please can you also ensure that you include the student’s full name and registration group in the email. The emails will be responded to as soon as we are able to during normal Academy hours.

I will write to you again next week with further details about the coming weeks, Easter and beyond.

In the meantime, I would like to acknowledge the enormous efforts made by TLA staff to manage this crisis as effectively, calmly and assuredly as possible this week. I have seen some outstanding teamwork, resolve and dedication to your children. I am privileged to work with such tenacious colleagues.

I would also like to commend our students: they have responded to difficult news with character, good humour and huge resilience. They are a credit to you and have been an inspiration to us all here, especially those in years 11 and 13.

Thank you again for your forbearance and patience. I will be in touch again early next week.

Yours sincerely

M P Thomas

Principal

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