Latest information from Andrew Davis
Please note this article was written shortly before the latest Government announcement about their intentions for schools to return for all year groups with classes of 30 in September
Dear parents and carers
As we approach the end of another week, I wanted to give you an update on how our week with more students on site has gone, our plans for the rest of this terms and some initial thoughts about September. At the end of the update I have also included a link to a great Kite surfing video I received from two of our students!
The return of students from Year 10 and 12
I cannot remember the last time I was so nervous about coming into school on a Monday morning with the prospect of more students returning and our systems being tested. Despite my nervousness, the systems, site modifications and teaching sessions for Year 10 and 12 have, based on a wide range of feedback, gone really well. We even managed to successfully live link into a classroom with students to their teacher who is currently shielding at home. Thinking of our technological journey over the last three months or even more so three years, this is quite an achievement!
I would, in particular, like to pay tribute to the young people in Year 10 and Year 12 who have been receiving lessons this week.Upon entry they have looked a little nervous and apprehensive (though this could be down to the fact that it is the first time they have seen daylight at this time of the morning!) however by the time the session ends they are beaming, feeling far more confident and have been very generous in giving their thanks to the staff who have taught the lesson. While far more complicated to arrange, having the sessions led by their own teacher seems to have been really beneficial to the students both from an academic and social point of view.
The students have yet again been a real credit to you, their families and our community having approached their sessions really maturely and sensibly as well as taking on board and enacting all of the safety instructions given to them in the briefing they receive as they arrive on site.
On behalf of the staff our thanks go to them for making teaching them this week so enjoyable for us. Once again, they have made us very proud.
Teams sessions continue to grow in number
We also know from staff and students, that there are now far more Teams sessions going on for students and again, speaking to lots of people these are going well even if it is a little disconcerting for staff speaking to students, who may not have their video on, in terms of non-verbal feedback. Mr Allen has now completed the training of a large number of staff and so we expect to see the number of lessons delivered through Teams continue to increase over the coming weeks.
Thanks to everyone who has helped us to get this far!
Next steps to the end of term
Given how well the sessions have gone, with excellent student attendance and the positive reaction from staff and students to getting back into the classroom, we are currently discussing with staff ways to further increase our provision this term. This might include lengthening each face to face session a little, thinking about Options subjects and considering what we could do for Year 7, 8 and 9 students now that the guidelines for these students have been relaxed a little. We aim to communicate any increases in provision to you next week.
Thank you for all your thanks!
One of the best things about this week has been the number of parents and carers that have taken the time to get in touch, express their thanks for the sessions and tell us about the positive impact they have had on their child. I did send an example out earlier in the week but here are a further few anonymous examples, amongst many, that illustrate the impact getting back into school and engaging in remote learning has had on our young people. This is great to hear and makes us even more determined to get more students back on site but only in a safe, measured and well managed way.
"Dear Miss Leslie and Mrs Hall,
I have been meaning to email for a couple of weeks, but the recent one sent from Mr Davis has prompted me into action...
I just wanted to say thank you (and to all the Year 8 teachers) for your support of my daughter at this time. She has felt very connected to school despite the lockdown - and the email responses from teachers in answers to her questions about online learning have always been very prompt and helpful.
It has, of course, been a very challenging time for all of us, but the support and encouragement and positivity from ECC have really helped us through.
Thank you - and hope to see you again in the autumn..."
"Our daughter has returned home from school today saying how
welcoming everybody was, the layout of the school was brilliant.
She had a Maths lesson, thoroughly enjoyed it, and got every question
Thankyou for you and your staff's hard work.
"After a sleepless night on Sunday, due to worries and fears of returning to school for the first time on Monday this week, my daughter had a fabulous day at school and is so happy to be learning again. She came home beaming, something I haven't seen since beginning of lockdown. Thank you so much."
We are now also starting to think about the shape of next year. Plan A is that school restarts in September with a normal looking timetable in place. This is obviously our preferred option and so we are writing a timetable and making staff appointments on this basis. Plan B will look similar to our current situation, but perhaps with a greater number of students onsite, since there is every expectation that the 2m social distancing rule will become 1m shortly. Plan C is a potential return to lock down as the R number increases and perhaps, we experience localised outbreaks.
Many headteachers, including myself, think the most likely scenario is Plan B with blended learning as students come in for some face to face time and learn remotely at other times. Therefore, we are ensuring staff are well trained on Teams, are working on adapting their schemes of learning to this new environment and sharing teaching techniques which will make remote learning as effective as possible.
Thank you to everyone that is helping their child to engage in remote learning. Please continue to do so and do not hesitate to get in touch if you are having any problems accessing those sessions or if we can help encourage your child to engage in more remote learning.
Look out for a test and trace scam
We have also been asked by Devon County Council to pass on the message below about a scam they have become aware of to our community,
We've heard about another test and trace scam, which is also trying to con people into paying for a COVID-19 swab test.
Here's what happened. A care home manager received a text to say that he had tested positive following a recent swab, and that he needed another test. He phoned the number in the text and was told that he'd have to pay for the test. He was asked for his bank details.
This is a scam, and it was quickly reported to the police.
For avoidance of any doubt, the NHS Test and Trace service will absolutely not:
• ask for bank details or payments
• ask for details of any other accounts, such as social media
• ask you to set up a password or PIN number over the phone
• ask you to call a premium rate number, such as those starting 09 or 087
Text messages will come from NHStracing.
Calls will come from 0300 0135000. You’ll be asked to sign in to the NHS Test and Trace contact tracing website.
To finish off I promised you an outstanding video of two of our students, Archie and Alfie Luxton, kitesurfing which can be found at https://www.instagram.com/tv/CBkmigIDHtD/?igshid=1sutq6kmrghn8.
They produced the video themselves and takes you on a journey from getting their kit down to the beach on their bikes to some amazing views of them surfing at high speed across the water. Well done to both of them; amazing stuff. It is great for us to see what you have been up to so please keep sharing with us.
Have a great weekend and thank you once again for your continued support.
Andrew Davis - Principal