Dear Parents / Carers

I wanted to start this communication by hoping that you are all well and safe as we continue to live through this difficult period of time.

As of today, your children will have missed 27 school days at Starbank Secondary School. Although this may not feel like a significant amount of time, it certainly feels like a long time since we have seen each other.  All of our staff are really missing the children and look forward, when the time is right, to return to school once more.

Yesterday was actually due to be the first day of GCSE examinations, so I would like to send my best wishes to our Year 11 students, I hope they are busy reading and researching their post 16 courses that they will hopefully go on to study in the new academic year. A number of colleges have produced some excellent resources to support this transition so any students attending should be looking on their website for details. The following link takes you to the key college websites https://www.starbankschool.co.uk/secondary/secondary-home-learning/year-11/

Re-opening of Schools

On Monday 11th May, the Prime Minister added further detail to his announcement he had made on the previous night regarding the road map to the country coming out of lockdown and defeating COVID-19. With regards to education, the main points were:

  • From June 1st at the earliest, there may be a phased return of primary schools, to start with Reception, Year 1 and Year 6. If possible, all primary to return for at least a month before the end of the summer term.
  • It is hoped that Year 10 students will be able to spend ‘some time with their teachers’ before the summer holidays. This is likely to be face to face meetings rather than lessons being delivered.
More information on the practicalities of this have now been released and we are working our way through the advice and guidance on how this will work. Please do look out for Government, Department for Education and our own updates on our twitter account @starbank_school and on the school website where there are direct links to the recent letters and updates. There will also be a large degree of flexibility in these plans as the Government responds to the R (Rate of Infection) throughout the coming weeks. It is really important that we all continue to follow the social distancing rules and this is forming the major part of our plans for a return to school in the future. I am sure this is an area you are also enforcing with your children at home and in your local communities.

Remote Learning

We are aware that there has not been a significant engagement with remote learning and I understand that this may be for many different reasons, linked to connectivity to the internet or a lack of an appropriate device. Where this is the case, the school will continue to provide work packs. Please do get in touch with the school if this is the case. Where students have the resource to be on line, please do engage with your teachers via Microsoft Teams and follow the links on our secondary https://www.starbankschool.co.uk/secondary/secondary-home-learning/

Staff are working hard to look at new ways to provide learning opportunities for your children.  We will continue to review this provision to ensure that we are getting the balance right so your feedback continues to be important.  With such a large student community, it is perhaps inevitable that some students are finding it easier to focus on remote learning than others. It is important that students (and parents/carers) do not put too much pressure on themselves at this time. We are asking you, to do your best. I want to reassure you that our planning for reopening will consider ways to ensure that students do not fall behind with their academic studies.

On-line safety

I want to emphasise the importance of on-line safety during a time when children are spending more time on-line than ever before. There is a useful resource for parents on the website here. https://www.starbankschool.co.uk/information/online-safety/

Contact with students

Our pastoral team and senior team have been in contact with numbers of students and it has been reassuring that you are all well. Most recently all senior leaders wrote to their year groups and Year 8 are completing their options process. If we have not received your choices, a member of staff will be in contact shortly to speak to you. If you have any concerns, please do contact the school. Again I recently wrote to you with a link signposting the most appropriate support available  https://www.starbankschool.co.uk/safeguarding-letter-04-05-2020/

Well-being

There is a fantastic dedicated area of the website with information about well-being support for young people. https://www.starbankschool.co.uk/information/emotional-health-well-being/

Finally

Thank you once again for your support. I will obviously keep you all updated over the coming weeks with all plans for the school, our return and of course transition of Year 6 into Year 7.

During these times, it is important that we continue to do our very best as staff, students, parents and within our community. I am proud to be connected to Starbank School and look forward to the future with optimism, that at some point we will return and be stronger together.

Stay Safe and Be Kind

 

Yours sincerely

Mr. G Ferrante
Secondary Headteacher