The following message was sent out to parents on Friday 12 February:

We are now at the end of a half-term of home learning that will not doubt have left everyone a bit frazzled and we do not yet have a clear direction moving forward.

Even so, the signs are positive and it is very likely we will starting to see students back in school in the next few weeks. For us, safety provided, the sooner the better.

This email will cover the following points:

* COVID Testing
* Half-Term Home Learning
* School Re-Opening
* Parents Evenings
* Y9 Pathways Evening

COVID Testing:

You will recall that we set a deadline for COVID Consent Forms for Monday 22 February. This is a confirmation from you as to whether your child can or cannot be tested – the option not to respond is not there.

There is clearly over a week till the deadline but with just under half of the required responses coming in it seems a good time to remind everyone that this needs doing.

You can view all the details and link to the online consent form by following this link: https://www.friaryschool.com/2021/02/03/covid-update-w-b-1-february-covid-testing-consent-form/

We are expecting a road map for schools on Monday 22 February from the Prime Minister. We will then put plans in place to deal with what is to come, and as a parent myself I would want to see the school focusing on getting testing secure, planning the catch-up for exam groups, setting up a recovery plan for Year 7-9 students, focusing on mental health support, and so on. It would be disappointing if this was all delayed as our staff lost time on phone calls chasing up families who had not replied on the consent form.

The good news is that we are all on the same side – the side of your children – so we are confident that next week will see the consent forms flood in.

Half-Term Home Learning

You will recall that we are largely treating half-term as a holiday for your children – and for you as the home tutors – and full details can be seen here: https://www.friaryschool.com/2021/02/01/covid-update-w-b-1-february-looking-towards-february-half-term/

It would be wise for those facing exams to mop up any gaps they have, but they should also make sure they get a breather.

School Re-Opening

Again, the government will announce their plans for schools on Monday 22 February and we are awaiting their call. The following day we will meet to plan the return out and we will seek to get all details to you by the end of that week at the very latest.

The current indications are that it will be a phased return – so not all year groups in one go – and if that is the case then there will be more changes to home learning as we will not be able to offer the same amount of ‘live’ lessons in that scenario. Naturally, you will be updated on any arrangements.Certainly, we cannot read the mind of Gavin Williamson (Minister for Education) so it is very much a case of ‘wait-and-see’.

Parents Evenings

Many parents have already experience virtual Parents Evenings and it is the turn of Year 10 after half-term, swiftly followed by Year 8.

Please keep an eye out on emails for details and make these appointments. There is absolutely no doubt that when parents and teachers work together then the child does better.

Y9 Pathways Evening

This event will be a virtual one and details will come out shortly after half-term. Again, check your email and the school website.

Matt Allman, Headteacher, added: “The overall situation remains very fluid but we are pleased that it seems as if we will be able to start to welcome students back next half-term. For now though, we hope our families enjoy the half-term break and that when we next contact them it is with good news.”