St Paul's Catholic College Providing Education For The Diocese Of Westminster
Headteacher's update - 11th January 2021
I hope both you and your family are safe and well. I am writing to you to give you an update on virtual learning, our Critical Worker School and ongoing preparation with our school test centre.
In my previous letter I outlined our vision and expectations as a school, which were to get a fully virtual face to face timetable up and running for all our pupils. This means in Years 10 to 13 all lessons having an element of face to face teaching through TEAMS; with an 80% timetable for the other year groups. These lessons will vary in content, some will be completely face to face lessons from your child’s teacher; some will involve the setting of independent work followed by the teacher checking the progress at the end of the lesson; other lessons will use our many virtual platforms including: GCSE POD, Mathswatch, Educake, Showbie and Seneca, as well as assessment/revision lessons. What will remain constant in all lessons is the teacher being present at the beginning of the lesson and checking your child’s progress throughout the lesson. Attendance registers will be taken and those who are struggling to keep up the work, or not attending, will be asked to attend school full-time to ensure they remain on track with their learning.
So far we feel these goals are mostly being achieved, but please be aware that it is sometimes problematic due to internet issues or staff attendance issues due to COVID. We know our virtual learning is not perfect, but we are ironing out most issues and continue to work with you to do the best for all of our young people.
We are currently setting up ways to gain feedback and quality assure our learning. We are aiming to contact all parents once a fortnight to gain an insight into the way their child is learning and progressing. We are constantly asking children in their lessons for their views and will be setting up tutor times and assemblies from next week so that we have regular contact.
Currently the numbers for the Critical Worker School are much higher than in the previous lockdown. This has meant that we have had to use more teaching staff in school than previously anticipated to support in our children’s learning. Our teachers who are in school have to balance working with the children in the classroom, along with their face to face virtual lessons. This means that these staff may set long independent tasks after the initial face to face conversation. The critical worker students are getting the same virtual lesson diet, the same as everyone else. So far we are extremely pleased with how this is working.
Our COVID test centre is up and running. On Friday we tested 20 staff and ensured that those staff who are working in the centre are fully trained and safe. We will be testing all pupils and staff who attend school this week. We will be starting to train those parents who volunteered to support shortly. It is our hope that when schools return fully we are in a position to mass test the whole community safely, quickly and efficiently.
Last week we managed to do a whole school assembly with both Years 11 and 13. We wanted to reassure our students regarding the change of assessment for GCSE grades this year and check in on their well-being. This week I hope to do live assemblies for all year groups.
Currently I am extremely proud of the monumental effort all our staff are putting in; many of them are parents themselves. I am also very pleased with the way our students have adapted to the new methods of virtual learning. We all know it is not perfect, but we will all continue to work together to ensure we keep moving it forward. I thank all parents and carers at home for all your support with your child’s learning, your efforts are much appreciated by our staff.
A great start, but we must keep the momentum going!