What a week it has been! Monday saw us setting up as a mass COVID-19 testing centre and planning for the return of our junior pupils, Tuesday saw us moving the school online and setting up for key worker provision whilst dealing with the news that our junior pupils would now not be returning and that A Level and GCSEs were cancelled and Wednesday….well Wednesday saw term restart – not in the manner we had hoped but relatively smoothly it has to be said. With the very welcome return of your curious, energetic and positive children came a timely reminder that whilst Monday and Tuesday may have been a touch frustrating and looked a little bleak, there was in fact cause for hope and optimism.
The work done on setting up as a testing centre will not be wasted as we will from next week have the capacity to regularly test those staff and pupils who are working onsite and we anticipate our ability to effectively operate as testing centres could well be a factor in allowing schools to return to onsite learning as soon as possible. Moreover, we had always known that a return to guided home learning was a possibility and whilst we all hoped it would not happen the hard work of the past few months in further honing our online provision and making contingency plans means that the switch was straightforward. I have been so impressed with the way in which pupils, parents and staff have simply got on with it, adjusted expectations and adapted to this latest phase of the pandemic. The pupils I’ve spoken to thus far have been phlegmatic and positive in their approach to lockdown and working from home. There is a great deal to learn from their attitude and their resilience.
I have been particularly impressed by our Year 11 and 13 pupils, for whom the week has been acutely stressful. Whilst I understand the reasoning behind the decision to cancel exams, I am deeply disappointed at the timing of the announcement and the apparent failure to have made contingency plans. The net result being that the uncertainty continues as we wait to find out just what the education secretary means when he says that teacher assessment will be now be used. It is therefore important that our Year 11 and 13s shorten the horizon and focus on the work of the next two weeks. No doubt feelings will be mixed about the cancellation of exams but please be reassured that whatever the coming months may bring, our pupils will be incredibly well supported by a team of teachers who know them extremely well and want to see them do their very best. If you do have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact us. Rest assured we will share further details as soon as we have them.
So, it has been a tough week, but the week comes to an end better than it started. At the start of the week, we cautiously wished each other a happy new year, mindful that it felt neither all that happy or all that new but as I said to the pupils in assembly on Wednesday this is new territory and there are many reasons to hope that this will turn out to be a happy year. One such reason was welcoming several new junior and senior pupils to our SHS family for the new term and whilst this isn’t the start we may have hoped for, we are thrilled to have them with us at SHS and I know they have been given the warmest welcome by our pupils, staff and parents.
Ms Jo Sharrock Mrs Kate Millichamp
Headteacher Head of Prep
Mass asymptomatic testing in schools
Schools across the country have been asked to continue with their plans for carrying out testing of pupils in Years 7 and above who are in school due to accessing keyworker supervision, and also for staff who are working in school. We will be starting this next week, on the senior site for all staff and pupils in school, and at the prep site for all boys in Year 7 and staff. We would be grateful if you could complete the consent form that was sent earlier this week though please note that the test is voluntary. Those taking the test will be supervised by trained staff and the ‘lateral flow’ tests are quick and easy using a swab of your nose and throat.
The consent comes from the following email address for all pupils:
Shrewsbury High School <email@example.com>
GHL Co-Curricular Timetable – Seniors
From Film Club, Robotics, Science and Archaeology, to Debating, Greek, Choir and Desert Island Discs, there is a great variety of co-curricular clubs for students to join throughout Guided Home Learning. You can open a full size version of the timetable here: Spring Term 2021 GHL Co-curricular timetable seniors
GHL Co-Curricular Timetable – Prep
Now we are up and running with Guided Home Learning we are in a position to offer a few co-curricular opportunities. We are mindful of balancing the amount of screen time pupils may be experiencing; the clubs are optional, and should only be attended if they fit in comfortably with your family routine. For Y6 pupils, ‘Dining Club’ will require adult supervision and ingredients purchased ahead of time; Mrs Lock will be in touch with further details.
Unfortunately we will not be able to complete device inductions until students are back in school. Mr Petford will provide new dates when it is confirmed that students will be in school. If your child has any issues connecting to Guided Home Learning please ask them to contact ITSupport@shr.gdst.net or to let their form tutor know.
You may be interested to watch a recording of the talk here. This will be available until 10th February 2021. Please also find attached some useful links which Destine has shared with us: GDST Talks – Resources.
If you would like to find out more about upcoming GDST Talks events, there is information here.
We would also welcome your feedback on the topics you’d be interested in seeing covered by future GDST Talks.
The next in the series takes place, via Zoom, on Thursday 14 January at 6pm with child psychologist Professor Abi Gewirtz, on ‘How to help your child when the world feels like a scary place’. It is suitable for parents with children in Years 3-13. For more information, and to register, please click here. Further online events will be announced this term.