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Remote Education Provision

Dear Parents


I hope that life is beginning to settle into the new lock-down routine for your family and our young people. I must say that the strength and resilience of our community has been evident in the various ways in which everyone has pulled together to make everything work so well. Since last Tuesday we have held lessons, meetings and assemblies online for all students and we have now a very settled structured day of remote learning with timetabled online lessons and events punctuated by times of Directed Study.


I would like to thank all of the teachers for the great lengths they have gone to in establishing online teaching and remote learning. It is impressive that they have done so for the whole school, every young person in Year 7-13, so swiftly. I am aware of just what a lot of work is involved in planning and delivering a very different style of teaching and our gratitude goes to the teachers. Additionally, I asked teachers for some feedback on lessons that had stood out to them in first few days, and it is lovely to read so many positive comments, which are attached with this letter.


Remote learning

I also attach a new document: Remote Education Provision which outlines our remote learning offer and the rationale we have adopted. I must stress the importance of routines and ask you to ensure that your child attends all of the scheduled lessons and meetings promptly. We are following up on attendance at lessons each day and I am delighted to say that last week our attendance rose to 93.5% by the end of the week.


Numeracy

May I remind everyone that Year 7-10 currently have a Morning Briefing and Prayer followed by a Numeracy session at 8.30am each morning. This session enables us to consolidate the key skills needed for GCSE Mathematics and indeed key life skills. It is an expectation that all students attend and that they also attend Assembly.


Devices

During last term, and since the beginning of this term, we have been trying to ensure that every student in the school has appropriate access to a suitable device on which to undertake their remote education lessons. We have now distributed a significant number of laptops. Should your child not have appropriate access to a suitable device, please contact the school asap as we are keen to ensure everyone can connect. With this letter I am also attaching a guide to Using an Xbox or Playstation to access MS teams via www.englishmartyrs.org. This may provide an alternative method of accessing our live lessons, perhaps to help some brothers and sisters when they are sharing a computer. Thank you to those who have donated computers for students to use.


Parents' Meetings

A reminder that on-line Parents' Information Meetings for this term will take place as previously notified:

Year 11 - Thursday 14th January

Year 10 - Thursday 21st January

Year 8 - Thursday 4th February

Year 9 - Thursday 4th March

Year 7 - Thursday 18th March


Public Examinations

Following the government's announcement regarding Public Examinations, Ofqual and the Department for Education have begun to discuss the alternative arrangements. Simon Lebus, Interim Chief Regulator, Ofqual, issued the following statement:


We know that this is a difficult: time for students, their parents and carers, teachers and trainers. Our message to students is this: please continue to engage as fully as you can in your education. That will be online for the majority of students, or face-to-face for those students still going in to their school, college or training provider. This will put you in the best position, whatever arrangements are made for your qualifications. It's important that teachers and students can focus on the knowledge and skills needed to equip students to progress to the next stage, whatever form that might take — whether to college, an apprenticeship, university or employment.


The way ahead is not straightforward: exams and standardised assessments are the fairest way of determining what a student knows and can do. We need to consider a wide range of qualifications - from A levels and GCSEs to many different vocational and technical qualifications - and the solution won't be the same for all. Following the government's announcement on Monday evening, we also need to consider how alternative arrangements will work for different students, including those who are independent learners. We are discussing alternative arrangements with the Department for Education. We know that many are seeking clarity as soon os possible. We will provide further updates as soon as we can.


COVID testing in school

From next week we will be rolling out the 'lateral flow' COVID testing of all adults and students who are on site with us. Parents and carers of those concerned will receive the paperwork about this today. Once the test centre is up and running I will be writing to all of those currently at home in preparation for our return to lessons on site after half term.


A word of encouragement

I hope that everyone will take heart from all that has been achieved in enabling us to work remotely and online. Do take a moment to read the lovely comments from teachers. I know that it can be hard to learn at home sometimes but I hope that everyone will keep on trying their best. A successful businessman and writer in the nineteenth century, EJ Hickson, wrote these wise words:


'Tis a lesson you should heed,

Try, try again.


If at first, you don't succeed,

Try, try again.


Then your courage should appear,

For if you will persevere,

You will conquer, never fear,

Try, try again.


Once or twice, though you should fail,

Try, try again.


If you would at last prevail,

Try, try again.


If we strive, 'tis no disgrace,

Though we do not win the race;

What should you do in that case?

Try, try again.


If you find your task is hard,

Try, try again.


Time will bring you your reward,

Try, try again.


All that other folk can do,

Why, with patience, should not you?

Only keep this rule in view,

Try, try again


Yours sincerely

Marius Carney

Principal

English Martyrs' Catholic School, Anstey Lane, Leicester, LE4 0FJ
Tel: 0116 2428880 | Email: office@englishmartyrs.org

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