Latest Update January 5th

Updated information for return to school In January and the latest lock-down situation.

11th January 2021

Dear Parent/Guardian,

I hope you and your families are all well and enjoyed the weekend following what must have been a very frustrating start to term with U-turns, exam cancellations, remote learning and all in rapid time. We have welcomed just under ninety pupils on site for our emergency school and we are pleased the students have now settled into a routine and are all following their lessons remotely. Please see below a summary of updates and I hope you all have a good week.

Exams Cancelled – Year 11
We now know that sadly the summer exams are cancelled and results are going to be determined by teacher assessment grades. However, we do not have any guidance on what this needs to be based on or what steps/actions OFQUAL and the Department of Education would like us to take to determine the grades. We hope this comes out in the coming weeks. Therefore, it is our intention to plan a formal assessment point in the summer term where students will be given the opportunity to sit papers in their subjects to provide supporting evidence when making decisions regarding grades. Please note it will not be the only piece of evidence used. We hope this will give our students something to aim towards and we would ask that students remember success is not judged by just exams. There will be a number of factors to consider when determining grades. The best advice we can give you is to continue working as hard as you can and maintain a positive attitude. The bigger picture is that we are all learning at whatever stage in our development and when you move onto sixth form education, employment or into an apprenticeship, your own personal growth will be determined by what you learn and how you apply it.  If you stop learning on any level, this will hold you back.

Therefore, please note that we have decided to cancel Year 11 Mock results day as the earliest we will return together is February and therefore this exercise will be out of date. Your son/daughter’s most recent grades can be found on the autumn term mentoring day report. Mr Shelley and Miss Cordeiro will be looking into positive incentives/feedback we can send the students over this lockdown period.

It is expected that students will return after half term but of course this may well be delayed. Therefore, it would not be fair or appropriate to continue with our March mock exams scheduled where they are. Students would have no time to plan and prepare, therefore we will plan to work towards a summer assessment point when pupils can sit exams if appropriate. Although remote learning has progressed it would be unfair for students to do another set of structured mocks with potentially no face to face teaching time.  In addition to this, we will postpone the second wave of intervention until we know when students are definitely returning, what the guidance is for teacher assessment grades, when we have the dates confirmed for a summer assessment point and then look at what is in the best interests of the pupils leading up to that assessment. 

Parents’ evening
Year 11 parents’ evening will still go ahead on Thursday 4th February 2021 from 3:30-7:30pm online. We will be using the School Cloud online format of 5-minute appointments per teacher. Information on how to make appointments will be coming out from Mr Liston and Mr Shelley shortly.

In light of the announcement on the cancellation of exams and the implied use of teacher assessed grades, we would like to make sure that your son/daughter’s teachers are not questioned about exams, predicted grades, and assessment when we do not yet ourselves have the information. We cannot give you an answer on predicted grades, therefore please do not ask for them. We are going to be asking teachers to direct conversations toward attitude grades (behaviour/classwork/homework) and the efforts with online learning and where the gaps in learning are.

Lateral Flow Testing Programme for COVID-19
All staff who consented to being tested last week using the lateral flow tests tested negative. There have been a very small number of staff who have not been in yet in order to be tested. We will continue testing staff weekly. As our capacity increases, it is our intention to test all pupils in emergency school who consent to being tested before half term. I will write to all pupils attending our emergency school when we have the details with the consent form.  I would like to thank Mrs Terri Chappell and her amazing team of volunteers who are running this programme.

Saliva Testing for COVID 19 – To Come
You may or may not be aware that Southampton University have been running a pilot testing programme with another secondary school in Southampton as well as some primary schools during the autumn term that tested staff and students weekly for COVID-19. We have been informed, as all the secondary heads have been last week, that we are due to become part of the programme from after half term subject to further information coming out. The advantage of the Saliva testing programme over the Lateral Flow Test is that the test can be completed by both pupils and staff themselves at home therefore removing any need to disrupt pupils’ lessons or rely on volunteers. The sample is then bought into school the following day, collected by Southampton University and then we get the test results the following day.

I appreciate this may get confusing with two testing programmes but I am hopeful I will be able to add clarity in the coming weeks as we get more information. The priority is to keep everyone safe. In summary, our plan for after half term is that we would use the saliva testing programme for all staff and students who consent to being tested from after half term and only using the lateral flow test for serial testing for any close contacts of a positive case when and if it happens.

Remote Teaching: If you son/daughter is ill
Please can we ask that if your son/daughter is ill and will not be online could you phone school reception and let us know. It saves teachers chasing students for non-attendance for online lessons and also for safeguarding reasons helps us to know why a student is not online.

Xbox & PlayStation can access MS Teams
We have recently received guidance on using Microsoft Teams through both the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox. We believe, for some families, that this will make access significantly easier and also increase the screen size for students using Teams.

The guidance is below.

PlayStation 4


  • Word
  • Excel
  • PowerPoint

Year 10 Parents Evening

Year 10 parents’ evening will take place on Thursday 28th January 2021. This will take place remotely using an online platform called School Cloud. Mr Liston, Mr Copplestone and Mr Shelley will write to parents and pupils in those year groups in due course with the details.

Safeguarding - Pupils
This email address is available for pupils if you are feeling concerned for your safety, wellbeing or anxiety which is affecting your ability to function as you normally would. This will be looked at daily. For parents, the email address will be emailed to all students via their school email accounts and put on each year group’s team page.

Tutor Phone Calls
Gentle reminder that tutor calls to all students in their tutor groups will take place week next week commencing Monday 18th January 2021. Please be aware that during those weeks a small number of lessons in years 7 and 8 will be set work by their teachers to give tutors time to call pupils.

Free School Meals: From Tuesday 5th January 2021 to Friday 12th February 2021
From this week our food supplier City Catering Southampton will be providing lockdown grocery boxes for all FSM pupils in the weeks ahead if they are not in school and if you have confirmed with us that you were happy to share your contact details with city catering. Each box will be for two weeks.  If you would like to us to place an order for the following two weeks starting 25th January 2021 please can you email Mrs Allison Martin on or call the school on 02380 322603. If you have already confirmed for this week we will keep you on the list.

If you have any questions please get in touch. Stay safe and take care.

Yours sincerely,

James Habberley