College Closure News
Closure news following the government update on 18/03/20
Dear Parents and Carers,
Following this evening's announcement by the Government, I would just like to take this opportunity to update you with update arrangements and some initial thoughts on the current situation.
Firstly in terms of the arrangements for the remainder of this week, I would just like to pay tribute to our students, and your children, who have overwhelmingly behaved impeccably this week despite many staff changes . The vast majority of students, in particular our Year 11 and 13 students, have shown great flexibility, a massive capacity to take on change and real resilience in the face of a very uncertain period of time.
I am very proud of all of their efforts. They are a real credit to their parents, carers, families and our community.
Tomorrow we will implement our plan of welcoming back Year 9 students, with the College being closed to Year 8 students. As previously, this depends on our current predictions of the number of staff unable to attend and this may change overnight. If we do have to change the arrangements for tomorrow then we will inform by our normal communication channels as early as possible but please have some contingencies in place just in case.
Please remember that we will once again be offering packed lunches from our catering van between 11:00 and 11:30 for students in Year 8 entitled to Free School Meals in the front car park on Gipsy Lane site.
I know this is difficult for families with other commitments, but for those students out of College can you please ensure that as far as possible they are supervised in a safe way. There are many students who are self-isolating and guidance on that can be found here: 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 guidance now includes the whole family, who should not leave their home for 14 days for the safety and protection of both themselves and their community.
In terms of opening on Friday, we will review the situation on Thursday evening to decide if we can safely open for all year groups apart from Year 9 or if Year 8 students need to be included in the partial closure. I will inform you of our decision on this tomorrow evening but please be prepared that we may need to be closed to both Year 8 and Year 9 students depending on both staff and student absence in other year groups tomorrow based on the announcement today.
Turning to this evening's announcement from the Prime Minister, I would firstly like to offer my deepest sympathies to our Year 11, Year 13 and some Year 12 students due to sit examinations. We are waiting for the full details to be confirmed, but, if it is correct that exams will not go ahead this summer, this will be devastating news for many students who have been working so hard for a significant proportion of their lives at doing their best in those exams.
We completely recognise that all these students will be worried about how their final grades will be calculated in a way that their diligence and talent is fairly recognised and that they are not disadvantaged in any way in the future. While we currently do not have the answer to this, and many other questions, we do know these students very well having worked with them for many years. The staff teaching these groups also feel equally devastated given the extra work and time they have put into those classes and so, while Year 11, Year 12 and Year 13 students may not feel like coming in tomorrow we stand ready to offer support, discuss possible options and generally reassure students during what is an exceptionally difficult and unsettling time for them and their families. We look forward to seeing them tomorrow to try and help each other through this turbulence.
To this end we have recently updated our College mental health and well being webpage with some new links to advice and guidance at https://www.exmouthcollege.devon.sch.uk/news-and-events/latest-news/wellbeing
Beyond the shock of the examination decision we are starting to work on our plans for next week. While we have not seen the details yet, it would appear that the school will be closed from this Friday and then will reopen on Monday should the children of key workers*, students with an EHCP and those who have a social worker need to attend. We will therefore be beginning to set work for students through Class Charts from next week and for the "foreseeable future" since the Government were unsure as to how long this shut down might last. We will develop further plans over the coming days once the full details are known and communicate this to you in due course.
May I once again offer my sincere apologies to those students who will now miss their examinations and face an uncertain time. Please rest assured that throughout this time we will continue to offer support for students and their families however we can, and ensure that we do everything possible to ensure that not one of our students are disadvantaged due to the situation we all find ourselves in.
Finally many thanks for all your kinds words of support for staff at the College and the work we have been doing over the past week. Your support does not go unnoticed and I know it is massively appreciated by all staff at the College.
Andrew Davis - Principal Exmouth Community College
*The definition of key workers (yet to be defined by the government fully), might include the main areas of:
- Staff at any level working in the NHS system (doctors to cleaners)
- Staff working in adult social care, care homes or care providers (e.g. home helps)
- Children’s Social Work and Early Help staff
- Teachers and school / education staff
- Emergency Workers
- Military Personnel