Last Updated: 07/01/2021 16:00
Letter to Parents 07/01/21 – Vocational Exams Cancellation
Letter to Parents 06/01/21 – School Closure – lockdown
Year 11 and Year 13 parents
Dear Students and Parents / Carers,
I thought it would be appropriate to send a brief update following the Secretary of State’s (Gareth Williamson) statement yesterday about examinations this summer. In his statement the Secretary of State confirmed that GCSEs, A Levels and AS Levels would not go ahead this summer. The DfE have said that while the details need to be confirmed, they will use a form of teacher assessment to award grades.
I cannot stress enough at this stage that we do not know yet how we are to award these grades. We expect however, that we will be asked to evidence the work that the students have completed across their full course.
It is essential therefore that your child continues to attend all lessons and complete all the work set as we are still very much in the process of gathering that evidence.
For example, we expect the following to count in the final teacher assessments:
• units of work already completed and possibly externally assessed
• results from past examination papers taken this year including those still to come when we return to school
• controlled assessments which may be part of a course
• end of unit assessments
• ongoing work completed remotely and/or in class.
We expect to continue gathering this evidence well into the summer term. We will then use this evidence to rigorously apply a teacher assessment grade which will be sent to the exam boards.
Again, we do not yet know if the exam boards will moderate these grades in any way.
In light of the new national lockdown rules and safety measures imposed we have decided to cancel the vocational exams that were due to take place in the next two weeks (week commencing 11th January). While I know some of you will be very disappointed with this, I can assure you this decision has not been taken lightly.
Having received confirmation from the exam boards that students will not be disadvantaged in any way by not sitting an exam at this time and considering the safety and wellbeing of all students and staff involved in carrying out the exams, it has been decided it is in the best interests of all parties to not complete exams at this time.
We have taken into consideration the work already completed by students in preparation for these exams and I can assure you it will not be a wasted effort. You will be given a chance to sit an exam / assessment paper in the near future and this evidence will then be used later in the year when assessing your grade, should that be necessary. Further information about this will be available from your subject teacher shortly.
If you have any questions then please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally, please let me once again thank you for your support. The students have been amazing this week in the way that they have adapted to the online learning with enthusiasm and commitment. Thank you to you as parents and carers for supporting them and us at home.
With my warm good wishes.
Tuesday 5th January 2021
Dear Parents/Carers and Students,
Updated arrangements following the school closure announcement on 4 January 2021
I’m now writing to let you know that we have now been instructed by the Government to close schools to almost all students tomorrow until February Half Term and then following a subsequent review.
This means that all year groups, including those in Years 11 and 13, will be asked to stay at home for the remainder of this half term. The summer exam season has been stopped and we await further information about the alternative provision. Vocational examinations (BTEC and OCR) over the next few weeks will continue as planned. I will be writing to the parents and carers of students in the examination year groups separately.
The exceptions are children of critical workers and those children deemed ‘vulnerable’ who will be able to attend school. All students who attend school will need to do so in professional dress/ PE kit.
All other children will need to stay at home, so we ask that you do not send your child into college from tomorrow onwards. Please note that this is a national closure – as you may have heard in the news – so while it is a challenging situation, we are not alone. We’ll re-open fully as soon as we can and will continue to keep you informed through email, social media and our websites.
Your child’s learning is of course important to us, so we’ll continue to help your child to learn to reach their potential.
Information about Remote Learning
Thank you for your support yesterday with the start of remote learning. Thank you also for the positive feedback from parents and carers about how it went in terms of Teams lessons. Please contact us if your child is struggling with access due to lack of appropriate technology. Our reception is open from 8am- 3.30pm Monday through till Friday on 01626 240201.
We understand that this latest news will have an impact on you and your family and it’s far from ideal, but we’ll continue to keep in touch with any updates as the situation develops.
Thank you again for your continued support, and we will be in touch with more information when we can.
With my very best wishes,
Keeping Pupils, Staff and the Community Safe
The School has been following the advice from PHE (Public Health England). Display material has been presented in order to educate and encourage all students, staff and visitors to adopt a scrupulous hygiene regime, including washing their hands regularly with soap and water. We are also encouraging social distancing as per government advice.
All students have been issued with the key South Devon UTC safeguarding contact information in the form of a safeguarding postcard to keep with them at all times.
Watch this short NHS film for guidance on washing hands:
Staff and pupils have been asked to be mindful of their activities outside of school and in line with government guidance, avoid social venues and mass gatherings.
How long to stay at home
if you have symptoms, stay at home for 7 days
if you live with other people, they should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms
If you live with someone who is 70 or over, has a long-term condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system, try to find somewhere else for them to stay for 14 days.
If you have to stay at home together, try to keep away from each other as much as possible.
Read our advice about staying at home.
Individuals who have recently started to suffer from a new onset temperature of 37.8°C and above, and a new persistent cough (dry or otherwise) for over 4 hours and without explanatory conditions should be isolated immediately.
We will implement these measures as follows:
Any member of staff who displays these symptoms, or lives with someone who displays these symptoms, should not attend work and should remain at home for 14 days. Pupils who display symptoms will be checked by the First Aid team at the college will then be isolated. Pastoral care is uppermost in our minds and we will make sure pupils are cared for and supported during any period of isolation.
We will ask parents to collect their son/daughter who are presenting symptoms outlined above. In the unusual event that a pupil cannot return to a family member or Guardian, the School will make the best possible arrangements to care for them in isolation whilst prioritising the safety of the community.
Please be aware that there have been reports of a scam relating to the Free School Meals… please do not give your bank details in response to e-mails.
Babcock LDP: Safeguarding advice in the event of school closures.
Mental Health and Wellbeing
There is a lot of uncertainty with regards to COVID-19 and as explained the Gov website is really useful as it outlines facts with regards to the incidents happening across the UK.
However, there are still a high percentage of students and even staff who display anxiety and concern over the virus, how it will effect them and how it will effect their loved one. Below is a really useful link to the BBC about how to protect your mental health during this time.
Key points include:
• Avoid social media and online reports
• Only seek advice and guidance from medical professionals and government published websites
• Stay connected with people, through phone calls, face time, messaging ect.
• Eat well, exercise and drink plenty of water.
• Take up a hobby if self isolating
It is important to remember that for those students who suffer with their mental health and anxiety that it is always useful to have an idea on how to support yourself and them during this time. We may also experience students with speech and language needs or ASD who do not understand the situations unless explicitly told.
The “Inclusion and Improvement Hub – Supporting Mental Wellbeing during Coronovirus.” resource includes some very practical and engaging materials to help keep the spirits up and engage the household in positive and rewarding activities.
Sport England’s “How to stay active while you’re at home” is a compilation of some of the most useful tips on how you can get active when you’re at home, if you’re well enough.
Openmindsuk.org are offering a 40 minute online mindfulness course for parents, carers and education professionals.
Themed sessions every Tuesday and Thursday afternoons to help children and families find a sense of calm and manage this tricky time.
Different tools to take away and use in every session.
£3 per session.
Book here: email@example.com
Home Learning Plan/ School Closure Plans
Guidance for Government Schools and Collegestates the following: s
We know that schools will also want to support other children facing social difficulties, and we will support head teachers to do so.
Parents whose work is critical to the COVID-19 response include those who work in health and social care and in other key sectors outlined below. Many parents working in these sectors may be able to ensure their child is kept at home. And every child who can be safely cared for at home should be.
Please, therefore, follow these key principles: Please, therefore, follow these key principles:
- If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.
- Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions.
- Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.
- Residential special schools, boarding schools and special settings continue to care for children wherever possible.
Resuming education and getting back into a routine as soon as possible is important for many reasons.
We also know that in addition to helping our students learn and grow academically, school provides
students with normality, a structure, a place of belonging, and social and emotional support. This is even
more important during a crisis when the world around us is filled with uncertainty.
The student “Home Learning Plan” will enable our students to continue with their learning and to lay the
foundation for their future through reading, research and developing their expertise in all aspects of their
Home Learning Plan
The Study at Home Guide includes a wide range of advice and tips to help you manage learning in a home setting.
Think You Know have shared some high quality Home Learning Programmes online. These might be useful for you to browse through.
Parental Access to the VLE
I would like to remind you of the parental access to the VLE in order that you can the range of resources that are most relevant to ‘s current mode of distance learning. Some of you are making full use of this feature and hopefully finding it a valuable tool so support ‘s home learning.
Your unique login was issued at the beginning of the academic year and is connected to the e-mail account we hold on our system. If you have forgotten your login, go to the VLE login page https://sdutc.myvle.co.uk/login/ and select “Reset Password”, enter your e-mail address and “Continue”. An e-mail will be sent to your account with login instructions.
An overview of the portal is available here but some of the key features that will enable you to track and monitor the tasks set, grades achieved and any commendations issued by teachers. You can also choose to download the mobile app which will enable you to receive notifications. The “Download App” link is from the drop-down menu to the right of your login details.
I hope you find this helpful. If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact us through the central e-mail account firstname.lastname@example.org
The government have published further details about exams and grades. The guidance includes useful reference to how grades will be assigned and opportunities to sit exams should children choose to do so. The principal has issued a letter to parents which contextualises the situation for South Devon UTC year 11 and 13 students.
Further in details from the government on exams and grade: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/further-details-on-exams-and-grades-announced
Where Can I Get More Advice About the Corona Virus?
Keeping in Contact During School Closure
KEEPING IN CONTACT WITH US DURING THE COLLEGE CLOSURE
Due to the College being closed, the Reception desk will only be manned remotely. To fit in with our “opening times” of 8am-4pm Miss Emily Phippard (Receptionist) will be available to contact for urgent calls only on 07752296019. If you have general enquiries, please send an email to email@example.com which will be checked regularly.
Please also be aware that our pastoral and safeguarding teams are still available anytime during the school closure. If there are any issues that you feel we should know about, or anything that you feel we can help with, again please email Safeguarding@southdevonutc.org.
For student welfare concerns please contact Mrs Karen Phippard (Lead for Student Development & Welfare) firstname.lastname@example.org or alternatively, you can speak with her on 07745771644.
For urgent safeguarding concerns contact MASH (Multi-agency Safeguarding Hub) on 0345 155 1071 or https://www.devon.gov.uk/educationandfamilies/child-protection