Letters from the Headteacher – 19 March 2020

PM – 19 March 2020 

It is with deep regret that I confirm, from Friday 20 March at 3.15pm, we will close for the majority of students until further notice, only remaining open for those children of key workers who would otherwise be forced to stay at home and for the most vulnerable students, as outlined in the government statement.

As I am sure you will appreciate, the implications of the government’s decision to close all schools from tomorrow are far reaching and there are many questions to which we do not yet have the answers, particularly for students in years 11 and 13 who were due to sit their GCSE and A level exams in the summer term.  We expect further guidance to be released over the coming days and will share this with you as a priority. Today I have addressed the year 11 and year 13 year groups and reassured them that whatever the government’s decision in terms of GCSE and A level assessments, no student will be disadvantaged and we will ensure that each individual student receives the grades they have so richly deserved. For year 13 students, we will work very closely with universities and employers to represent our students in the best possible light. For year 11 students who may be anxious about achieving entry requirements for our sixth form, I have informed them that all students in year 11 will be given a place whatever the outcome of the summer assessments.

I must also inform you that all educational visits have had to be cancelled for the remainder of this academic year. Please be reassured that we are fully insured and any monies which have been paid, will be reimbursed as soon as possible.

To enable us to plan for which students may be in school from Monday, I would be grateful if parents who consider themselves/their partners as key workers (i.e. NHS/healthcare workers, emergency services, teachers, etc.) would complete a short survey, identifying yourselves as such and sharing your intentions in terms of sending your children to school next week.  This will enable us to make appropriate arrangements for those children whilst simultaneously supporting the staff at Heckmondwike Grammar School to care for their own families.

The survey can be accessed via the following link: www.tinyurl.com/hgs2020closure

I would be grateful if those who need to complete the survey would do so by 10am Friday.

Families of the most vulnerable students will be contacted directly.

Tomorrow, Friday, school continues to be open to students in years 7, 8, 11 and 13. We have a tested system for remote teaching using the Microsoft Office Teams platform and all students have been given login details and guidance on how to use it. Work will be set by staff according to students’ normal timetables. Should any difficulty be experienced, students  should email their teacher. Please do encourage your son/daughter to do the work very diligently; they can also do further self-supported study using recommended websites, text books and lesson notes.

Finally, I would like to thank you for your kind words, encouragement and offers of support during this time. Never have we felt more part of a community than over recent days, something that I know everyone at Heckmondwike Grammar School has really valued.  I would also like to recognise the mature way in which our students have conducted themselves during this time of challenge and would like to pass on my thanks to our incredible staff team who continue to go above and beyond for our children, making me proud every day.

As always, I will continue to keep you updated.

Peter Roberts – Headteacher

AM – 19 March 2020 

We are all aware of the very difficult situation facing the country over the coming weeks and in education we have been monitoring the situation with great interest. Last night’s announcement by the government to close all schools from Friday, apart from “Key Worker’s” children and for students who may be vulnerable, was not a surprise. However, we were expecting there to be clear information for Year 11 and 13 students about the plan for this summer’s GCSE and A level exams and if they were not running, what the alternative would be. We are now awaiting for this level of clarification.

Today, we are continuing with our normal provision in school for years 7, 8, 10, 11 and 13, and remotely for years 9 and 12. We have a fully tested system of teaching remotely and this will come in to practice for all year groups from Monday.

Later today, I will communicate with all parents again with a further update about the provision in school tomorrow and next week, and as soon as I can about the alternative plan for this summer’s GCSEs and A levels.

In the meantime, please be reassured that all the students are safe and being very well looked after by an exceptional body of staff who I must give real credit to.  I would also like to thank the many parents for the messages of support. During these difficult times, it has been a pleasure to see all students and parents really pulling together with staff and we have never been more so, an outstanding team together.

Peter Roberts – Headteacher