Further to Mr Arnull’s announcement about the decision to send Year 11 home for a period of time, I am writing to answer some of the questions you may have about self-isolation and remote learning.
Is my child allowed to leave the house?
The purpose of closing our Year 11 bubble for two weeks is to break all transmission of Coronavirus, so it’s essential that your child remains at home and does not meet up or mix with others.
- If we informed you that your child was a close contact of someone who has tested positive, they MUST self-isolate at home. Leaving the house or mixing with others is against the law, and subject to a police fine of £1000 or more.
- If your child was not a close contact, but is staying at home because of the Public Health advice for us to close the whole year group, they MUST still follow the National Lockdown rules which involve no household mixing or socialising. They may go outside only for limited reasons such as individual exercise or essential shopping.
- If anyone in your household has Coronavirus symptoms or a positive test result, you MUST ALL self-isolate at home.
Does my whole household need to self-isolate?
No, only the Year 11 student needs to self-isolate unless anyone in your household develops symptoms or has a positive test result. Siblings in other year groups should continue attending the Academy as normal.
What is the plan for home learning?
We are determined that Year 11 will continue to receive a first-class education while they are working from home, and we’re currently working on a plan which will include live online lessons wherever possible.
Please ask your child to go to Google Classroom and join the “Year 11 Lockdown” group if they have not already done so. We’ll be using this to post updates and host virtual Tutor Time every morning (via Google Meet video call).
The first online Tutor Time will be at 9am on Monday, and we expect all students to join. This briefing will contain full information about the plan for online learning, and also reassurances about mock exams and other important issues.
The key principle is for students to follow their normal Academy timetable, so it’s essential to create a purposeful home workspace and stay in routine as much as possible.
How can parents/carers support?
It’s certainly more challenging for students to concentrate at home, compared to when they’re in the classroom. However, there are a few actions you can take to support your child and maximise their engagement.
- Please ensure that your child has a dedicated space to work at home, such as a desk or table. Where possible, this should be away from distractions and other household members (although we realise this isn’t always practical).
- Set up this space with a PC, laptop, or tablet device if you have any of these, and also a pen and pad of paper.
- Remove distractions such as the TV or games console to another room if possible, or make sure they are switched off. If your child is not using their phone as their main device, they should also leave this in a different room during lesson time.
- Each weekday will begin with a virtual tutor time at 9am, via Google Meet. Make sure your child wakes up on time and is ready at their desk to begin work.
- If you are working from home as a parent/carer, please keep an eye on your child and make sure they stay focused during online lessons. Break and lunchtimes will be as normal, so students will have scheduled downtime to relax.
What if my child doesn’t have a laptop?
If your child doesn’t have access to any device, we recommend that they use their mobile phone. The Google Classroom and Google Meet apps will enable them to participate in all the same activities as others, using their smartphone screen.
The Academy has a very small stock of laptops provided by the DfE, which we will loan to certain students. Please understand that these must be distributed in a priority order. For example, we will try to provide devices to students who have a social worker.
What if my child can’t access their emails or Google account?
Email our ICT Helpdesk with your child’s name, Tutor Group, and the exact problem they are having. We’ll aim to respond as quickly as possible during working hours.
Will mock examinations go ahead?
Yes, students will sit mock exams in all subjects as soon as they return. It’s important to continue revising for these, and the online lessons will be an important part of this revision.
What extra resources can my child use to revise?
We highly recommend that students continue to use Tassomai every day to complete their English, Maths, and Science daily goals. Hegarty Maths, Seneca, and DuoLingo are also great resources for independent revision. It’s very important that students attend their online lessons first; these websites are a valuable addition but not a replacement for teacher-led instruction.
Is wellbeing support available for my child?
From time to time, we may reach out to certain students or parents/carers by telephone. If you receive a call from a withheld number, please answer it. Some of our staff are self-isolating and working from home, which is why they might withhold their number when they call.
Thank you for your ongoing support throughout this challenging time.
Mr J Gurung
Assistant Vice Principal & Director of Key Stage 4
Source: Q3 Great Barr News