Headteacher’s Newsletter 29th April 2020

Dear Parents/Guardians

I am sorry to clog up your inbox with another message so soon, but there seems to be quite a lot to say at the moment.

As I said in this week’s Leemail (to pupils), we now have some proper information about SMHW log-ins and I am delighted to report that 95% of them appear to be logging in every school day and getting through the work their teachers are setting. This is amazingly impressive (95% attendance is just a tiny bit lower than we expect on a normal school day). I know that it is difficult for many of them – sometimes they cannot get access to the laptop, sometimes the internet does not work, sometimes they might not understand their teachers’ instructions – all credit to them for sticking at it and many thanks to you for your brilliant support.

Please look out for an important message from Colin Williams, our Chair of Governors. This should be with you later today.

Financial Crisis Support

We recognise that in these extraordinary times, many families will be facing sudden and unexpected financial strains.  If this is something which is affecting you and your family at the moment you may well find the advice and support offered by the Citizen’s Advice Bureau helpful https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/.

If you have lost income and are seeking Universal Credit or other benefits you may now be entitled to receive Free School Meals https://www.gov.uk/apply-free-school-meals.  Children that qualify for Free School Meals are also able to receive vouchers during this period of school closure.

If you have any questions related to the forms needing to be completed for the free school meal application, please do contact the school, where someone would be more than happy to advise.

Calls from the school

As I said in my last letter, we want our pupils (and their parents) to know that they are still part of a community that cares about them. As such, we are asking tutors (as opposed to teachers) to get in touch with you by phone now and then, just to make sure that everything is OK and to help support you with any school issues you might have.

You will appreciate that these calls will not be made from school and so staff may choose to withhold their number. I say this only so that you will not be surprised to get a call from a withheld number. Please do not feel that you have to answer it! Also, please know that you have permission to call the school and leave a message for your child’s tutor at any time.

When your child gets better

A number of parents have contacted us and asked us not to chase their children for late or missing school work, either because the child is themselves unwell or because there are other reasons why school work cannot be completed at the moment. I am glad to say that the number of pupils involved is small.

If you have told us that your child is poorly, we would be very grateful if you could also tell us when the situation improves. Under normal circumstances we would know, because they would stride happily through the school gate! As things are, we would be very grateful for a quick call, or an email.

Sending finished school work to us

As a school, we use Microsoft Office as our main IT package, with Word, Excel and PowerPoint as some of our main resources. Do please ensure that when your child is submitting work to us, it is in one of these formats unless otherwise specified.

Bank Holiday

Don’t forget, Friday 8 May is a Bank Holiday this year – no work will be set for that day.

I hope that you and your whole family remain safe and well.

Yours faithfully

Matthew Leeming

Headteacher