I am sure you are not at all surprised to be receiving another letter from me about arrangements for this term! Yesterday evening, we heard from the Prime Minister that a new national lockdown will come into force at 00:01 on Wednesday 6 January.

During the period of national lockdown, we shall remain open to vulnerable students and the children of critical workers only. Please contact Julie Macarthur attendance@chenderit.net if you believe your child falls into either of these categories and needs a school place. Please note that any Northamptonshire County Council dedicated school transport services (e.g. Cheney Coach provision) will remain in place.

All other students will learn remotely until February half term, following the timings of the school day. Each day, including Wednesdays (starting tomorrow morning, 6th January), the timings of the day will be:

8:40 – tutor time/assembly
9:05 – lesson 1
10:05 – lesson 2
11:05 – break
11:30 – lesson 3
12:30 – lesson 4
1:30 – break
2:00 – lesson 5

Most lessons will be delivered using Google Meetings, and will be a live lesson, at least in part. Students are familiar with the way they need to access lessons, by clicking the link on Google Classrooms. Students need to check their Show My Homework/SatchelOne account regularly, because teachers will post resources, instructions and homework tasks. Staff may also share resources on Google classroom, where larger files can be shared. Where it is impractical for staff to host a live lesson, perhaps owing to illness, work will be set on Show My Homework.

Throughout the pandemic, we have worked hard to protect our planned curriculum, and we have avoided setting long-term research tasks, unrelated to the sequence of work we have planned. Staff will set homework tasks in line with our normal timetable, and will try to set work that challenges students of the range of abilities represented in the group. This can mean students are asked to choose a task from a range of options, and we ask students and parents to ensure that they do not try to do too much nor that they set their sights too low – together, we must ensure that students have a reasonable balance of work and leisure.

If students are struggling with work, they should contact their subject teacher; equally, if parents have questions they want answering about the curriculum or content of lessons, they should contact the class teacher or head of subject. A list of staff contact details can be found at: http://www.chenderit.northants.sch.uk/assets/documents/Staff/Staff-list-Depts-and-email-2020-21.pdf

By joining a live lesson, students are agreeing to our expectations of excellent behaviour as previously set out in our protocol, and to lessons being recorded.

Public vocational exams and assessments scheduled to take place in January will go ahead as planned. The PPEs (Pre-Public or Mock exams) we have scheduled for years 12 and 13 will now be carried out online, during the week of 11th – 18th January. We will share details of how the exams should be accessed and returned to school later this week.

The second group of PPEs for year 11, previously scheduled for 8th – 12th February, will be re-scheduled for immediately after February half term.

At the current time, the government does not think it is possible for exams to go ahead fairly this summer. The Secretary of State for Education will be asking Ofqual to consult rapidly on an approach for alternative arrangements that will allow students to progress fairly. This means that all students in years 11 and 13, in particular, must continue to work as conscientiously as possible, including when undertaking PPEs, other assessments, classwork and homework as we do not know yet how A levels, GCSE and other qualifications will be assessed.

Our year 11 parents’ evening will take place as planned on Thursday 7th January. Please note, it is unlikely we will be able to share any detail of any changes to exams and assessments at that point, because we will not have had chance to digest any detailed guidance, if it has indeed been published before Thursday evening. The government’s planned programme of mass asymptomatic COVID testing has been put on a temporary hold for the majority of students. However, in anticipation of the continued use of lateral flow testing at a later date, a permissions and consent form will shortly be sent to your email address. Please respond to this letter, even though your child may not be expecting to be in school this half term.

During previous periods of partial closure, the majority of students worked very well, and coped with the new ways of learning with great flexibility and resourcefulness, and I trust they will do again.

Jane Cartwright

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