Catmose briefing June 2020

Dear Parent/Guardian

I hope you are keeping well. I have prepared a short video to update you on some of the work that has been going on during lockdown.

It has been a busy period for the College as we prepare for the return of Year 10 next week. We have over 160 students attending over the course of the week and will be offering them subject specialist lessons. They will join the 30-50 students who have been attending throughout the lockdown period. We also have on site each day Year 6 from Catmose Primary, who have enjoyed an extended transition, who will also be joined by Year 5 Catmose Primary pupils from Monday. Harington students in Year 12 will also return from Monday to restart their lessons.

This week we have submitted grades for every Year 11 and Year 13 student. Each teacher has been required to determine both a grade and mark which have been scrutinised by middle and senior leaders. We have also used a national benchmarking system to check the fairness of our grades. I am therefore confident that the grades we have submitted are a fair reflection of the work and effort that students put into their studies over the two years.

We were very disappointed that the prom had to be cancelled this year, but have instead set a date for a Winter Ball so that we can celebrate with Year 11 all of their achievements. We have also been able to issue their Yearbooks and hoodies to commemorate their time at Catmose.

For most students, working from home has become the norm and that is where most of our efforts have been placed to ensure that the work set is of a high quality, that we are responding to the different needs of our students and that those who are struggling have been well supported. Teachers have adapted their approach to delivering online teaching as they have upskilled themselves in new ways of delivering lessons. I have been inspired by the teachers that I have observed through our normal quality assurance processes. The strength of our offer is its diversity; teachers are offering a range of lessons using Microsoft Teams, voice overs on presentations, YouTube video lectures, one-to-one telephone calls alongside more traditional worksheets and online platforms such as through the BBC. The feedback from parents and students is interesting in that the favoured approach for one child is very different for another, even within the same class or academic ability. I have been equally inspired by the way students have responded to home learning, that they have become more confident and independent as a result of needing to take more responsibility for their own learning.

Equally, I recognise that for many students home working has been a real challenge, either because of technology limiting their ability to engage in live lessons, or them struggling to find the motivation without the structure of College. We have worked hard to support these students, either remotely, or in some cases by inviting students to come into College to join our key worker groups. If your child is finding home learning hard, please do get in touch with their form tutor or Client Services so that we can offer them support.

I am hopeful that in September we will return to normal, that is what we are planning for at the moment, however if that proves not to be the case, please be assured we will do what we can to bring each year group back into College for some lessons. The current position of only being able to offer some face-to-face lessons for some year groups is not sustainable.

This week we issued to all parents a survey regarding our provision, and we are looking for feedback around our usual provision so that we can work to improve it again next year. If you wish to comment on the provision during lockdown, please use the free text boxes at the end. We are focusing on our usual offer as we hope that the Covid-19 crisis will be short-lived and that we will get back to a more normal footing next year.

I hope you have a good summer and I look forward to seeing many of you in person in the next academic year.

Yours faithfully

Stuart Williams

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