Lockdown and academy closure

I wrote to you last week following the Government’s announcement just before the New Year about when students would return to school this term. I am sorry to be writing to you again so soon on this subject. However, as you may have seen, the Prime Minister announced a new national lockdown yesterday evening because of rising infection rates of Covid-19 and to try to prevent the further spread of the virus.

As part of this, all primary schools, secondary schools and colleges in England, including Ormiston Six Villages Academy, are to be closed until at least the end of half term in February, except for children of key workers or vulnerable children.

The Prime Minister also announced that “not all exams” would go ahead as normal this year and that there would be alternative arrangements. He said the Government would set out further details on this at a later date, and when that information is announced, we will update parents of students due to take exams this year.

1. If you or your partner is a key worker, or if your child is classed as vulnerable, then the academy will be open to supervise your child. Whilst on site, your child will be based in an IT suite where they will access the remote learning that students who are at home are accessing. Please ensure your child brings headphones with them. They will also require food and drink as the canteen is closed and academy uniform is to be worn. Please also ensure they bring their PE kit as some activity time will be built into the day.

For information on those listed by the Government as vulnerable or a key worker please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision

As you know, we have worked incredibly hard since the start of the pandemic in March to keep our school as safe as possible, and I would like to take this opportunity to remind you of the safety measures in place at our school:

  • All students and staff must wear a face covering in communal areas, unless exempt
  • Everyone is expected to remain in their allocated bubbles
  • Students are encouraged to wash their hands regularly throughout the day

Please note we are trying to work with windows open in classrooms for ventilation. As the cold days have returned, and with the need for ventilation in mind, students may need a few more layers of clothing, such as sweatshirts, tights or leggings underneath skirts or academy jumpers without a hood or large brand logos.

2. For all other students, our academy is closed until at least the end of the February half-term. High-quality remote learning will be provided to make sure students continue to receive a consistent education. We know that this places pressure on you at a difficult time but your support in helping your child engage with the remote learning as much as possible is so important and we are very grateful for it.

3. Remote Learning

i. Tutor Time: There will be a rotation of tutor times each week at 8.20am, as follows:

  • Year 7 – Mondays
  • Year 8 – Tuesdays
  • Year 9 – Wednesdays
  • Year 10 - Thursdays
  • Year 11 – Fridays

Tutors will not only use these sessions to share activities for the week, but will also carry out well-being checks on students and answer any questions students may have. Please note that tutor sessions are compulsory.

ii. Years 7, 8 and 9 will receive a blended learning package of live online lessons via Microsoft Teams and independent study via Satchel One. Lesson content will follow the programme of study outlined within each Department’s curriculum plan. Independent study will be set on Satchel One in line with student timetables. Students are expected to submit work completed at the end of each lessons and know how to do this.

iii. Years 10 and 11 will receive all live lessons in line with their timetables and are expected to join and fully engage in every lesson and submit their completed work at the end of each lesson.

iv. Assessment: the academy’s assessment calendar will be followed as usual. We will also be collating attitude to learning/engagement scores and following up as necessary.

v. If your child does not have access to a device at home for their remote learning, please contact their Director of Learning:

If your child has a device but is struggling to access their remote learning, please contact Mr Aldred, IT Technician, on [email protected].

4. Tutor Day: we are currently finalising plans for a Y7-11 Tutor Day which will consist of a number of activities to be completed during an off-timetable day, and a video call appointment between the tutor, student and parents. Further details of this will be issued in the near future.

5. Satchel One: We are aware that the Satchel One app and website were very slow or even unresponsive today. Please note that this system is not run by the academy and as such the operating of it is beyond our control and we are unable to rectify any issue. The app is used nationally which understandably has come under pressure today and hopefully moving forwards students will be able to work seamlessly.

We made contact with Satchel One and they have now updated us that the website and app should once again be responsive and they will continue to monitor both to ensure there aren’t any further issues.

We will continue to stay in touch with you. However, if you have any questions or require any support relating to these new arrangements, please get in touch.

I would once again like to take this opportunity to thank you wholeheartedly for your understanding and ongoing support in helping us to manage this unprecedented situation. Please continue to take care and to stay safe.

Mr P Slaughter, Principal