End of Week Newsletter 29.01.2021
29th January 2021
Dear Parents, Carers and Families
I hope this letter finds you safe and well. The last month has been a very difficult one for all of us. I am sure that, like me, you know of significant numbers of people infected with Covid-19, sometimes with tragic outcomes. This brings the pandemic very close. The first few weeks of the term seem to have gone very well given that the school has been closed to normal learning with very short notice. What has been heartening is the level of communication between us all to overcome any issues. I know that this will continue and help us navigate these challenging times.
You will have seen that we are now conducting more remote ‘live’ and recorded lessons at Red Kite, as promised. I have been impressed with your children’s adaptability and how proactive they have been in attending lessons and letting us know if they have encountered any glitches. As all pupils across the country adapt to this new way of learning, Red Kite Special Academy pupils are yet again making us extremely proud.
We are trying to balance adopting an understanding and empathetic approach to the varying circumstances our families are dealing with, alongside providing challenging work online and in a format that is as personalised as possible. As ever, we will continue to refine our approach as we progress throughout this period of remote teaching and work towards a full return to school. Our safeguarding protocols dictate that there needs to be an adult ‘witness’ to each live lesson and we aim to have two staff on any live call wherever possible.
Live streaming poses certain risks and vulnerabilities for teachers and some pupils have already abused this vulnerability. Images of teachers have been posted on social media without the teachers’ consent and, in some cases, the images have been manipulated.
The privilege of access to live streaming is conditional on the following:
·· No images or audio clips of teachers may be shared or posted on social media or via personal messages with others
· There is to be no recording of any live lesson by any pupil
· Pupils must only join classes they have been invited to by the teacher; they must not join classes they are not members of.
Teachers are working incredibly hard to keep meaningful learning going for our pupils. All the teachers I have spoken to say they would far rather be back in school because it is much easier than what they are having to do now, which is to juggle distance teaching with the demands of their own family situations etc. They are working extremely long days in order to plan, prepare and teach and your positive comments are much appreciated. Your feedback has been incredible and clearly, as parents and carers, you are doing an amazing job to balance your own work and domestic lives as well as supporting your children and simply try to navigate your way in the world as best you can. Some days will be better than others; I always try to see the big picture and put everything into perspective as much as possible. Therefore, the message is clear, we can all only do our best.
I hope that this form of learning is temporary, but in the meantime, we will remain ambitious to ensure our pupils get a good deal. The school will ensure there is a period of ‘recovery curriculum time’ when pupils return to school so that any gaps can be addressed.
I hope that things begin to get better over the next month or so. I think we are still some way off from the full reopening of school and death rates continue to rise. The date of 8th March has been ‘suggested’ by Boris Johnson but we need to be realistic. Wherever possible our children need to be at home where they are safest. We have a very limited amount of staff on site to avoid any cross contamination and I am extremely grateful to all the staff that are making this happen. There are some signs that the rate of increase of Covid is slowing down and this, combined with the vaccination programme, should make things feel a little better in a month or so. We now have mass testing in school and this is working extremely well with all staff having access to lateral flow testing twice a week.
With every good wish for your continued health and safety;
Kindness, compassion and patience
15th February – Advance notice – work starts on the school site for the new sixth form block which has a completion date of 16th May. There will be some changes to parking and access which I will share with your shortly.
15th -19th February – School is closed to all for Half Term.
4th March – World Book Day – more details to follow.