Altrincham Grammar School For Boys

A Grammar School with Academy Status
Labor Omnia Vincit

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) UPDATES & SCHOOL NOTICES

Letters to parents..........

 

 

26th August 2020....

 

25th August 2020....

Please see important information from the School Caterers Sodexo regarding the return to school in September.

 

16th July 2020....

Letter to Parents with updates for returning in September

 

13th July 2020....

Year 11-13 Briefing 14

Dear Student

This will be my last sixth form briefing of this academic year. However, I have found this model a good way of sharing information so you will be seeing this briefing return in September. This is especially important as our usual assembly rota will be paused; certainly for the first part of the autumn Term.

I am really looking forward to...............

6th July 2020....

Year 11-13 Briefing 13

My late father-in-law had an expression that he impressed upon his children and that has stuck with me over the past few years. He used to say that "trying was everything, trying was the only success". So I thought I would break that down a little:

  • Success without trying is just luck - and you can't rely on luck
  • Failure without trying is just failure
  • So trying is the only option..................

 

3rd July 2020....

Newsletter

 

3rd July 2020....

Letter to Parents re the reopening of school in September 

 

3rd July 2020....

Bridging the Gap - Letter to Parents for Year 10 and Year 12

 

29th June 2020....

Y11-13 Sixth Form Briefing 12

t was great to see Year 12 students in school again last week; to hear how they have been and to find out what they have been doing during lockdown. I hope students the sessions useful and that coming back into school represents the start of a return to more normal times. In particular a time when we can all communicate in person rather than online.

It seems a long way off; Year 12 students...................

26th June 2020....

Newsletter

 

15th June 2020....

Year 11-13 Sixth Form Briefing 11

Dear Student

Whether you think it is right or wrong the country is starting to open up again. Personally I was delighted to hear the news that all year groups will be back full time from September. I know that some of you have got into healthy habits

Y11-13 Briefing 11

 

14th June 2020....

Year 11-13 Sixth Form Briefing 10

 

My blood brother is an immigrant

A beautiful immigrant

My blood brother's Freddie Mercury

A Nigerian mother of three

He's made of bones, he's made of blood

He's made of flesh, he's made of love

He's made of you, he's made of me

Unity

 

19th June 2020....

Newsletter

 

12th June 2020....

Newsletter 

We are now many weeks into the lockdown and I am fully aware that many families are facing challenges with work and health as well as supporting your son’s education. We now have one eye on September and are hoping that some clear guidelines from the government are circulated sometime soon. Clear guidelines, however, have been somewhat lacking; indeed, one Headteacher has suggested that school leaders have received no fewer than 50 different pieces of guidance in the last fortnight. I think it may be more!.....

11th June 2020....

Y10 letter to Parents regarding the reopening of school on 15th June

 

8th June 2020....

AGSB - COVID 19 Risk Assessment

Trafford Model Risk Assessment for the Re-Opening of Schools

 

5th June 2020.....

Please find attached the Head Master's Newsletter together with a letter sent to Parents regarding a review of our remote learning provision from Dr Thomas.

 

1st June 2020....

Dear Y12 Parents/Carers

Please find below important information about your son returning to School during the Summer Term 2020. Please ensure that you read this letter carefully and please complete the survey by Wednesday 3rd June at 5pm.

Year 12 Face to Face Education – Wider re-opening

 

1st June 2020....

Dear Y10 Parents/Carers

 

Please find below important information about your son returning to School from Monday 15th June.  Please ensure that you read this letter carefully and please complete the survey by Wednesday 3rd June at 5pm.

 

Year 10 Face to Face Education – Wider re-opening

 

1st June 2020....

Dear Student

I hope you all had a good half-term. I don't think the weather could have been any better and I hope you got some time outside either walking, cycling or just lazing. It is really strange to think that in normal circumstances the week after Summer Half-term is the one in which Year 11 and 13 would have started their main period of public examinations. I have been really impressed with the resilience of students in coping with the change enforced upon us all.........

Year 11-13 Briefing 7

 

27th May 2020....

Dear Parents/Carers

 

Below, you will see an outline plan for after half term. It does not have a huge amount of detail but is designed to give you an idea of what to expect. Please bear in mind that the situation is changing constantly.

 

Further to my correspondence sent to you on 21st May: ‘The Government are asking that all Primary schools should open for all children in Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6. Secondary schools, sixth forms, and further education colleges will also begin some face to face support with Year 10 and Year 12 pupils.’

 

The latest directive from the Department of Education is:  “For schools and colleges to supplement remote education with some face to face support for Year 10 and Year 12 groups from 15 June”.

 

Phase 1 will still begin on Wednesday 3rd June and will consist of individual Microsoft Teams meetings for those students from Year 10 and Year 12 who require extra support at this time.  Students who fit into this category will be contacted by their Head of Year.

 

Phase 2 of the plan will involve School being open to all pupils in Year 10 and 12 (further explicit details to follow) from Monday 15th June. Please be aware that only 25% of each of the two year groups can be in School at any one time. This will support our online provision by allowing small groups of pupils to work with their class teachers.

 

Please be aware:

  • We are in the process completing thorough risk assessments for a phased re-opening of School.   
  • We are in the process of completing robust logistical plans to ensure that that AGSB can open safely for the identified groups of pupils and their staff.

 

 

Yours faithfully

G.A Wright
Head Master

 

 

22nd May 2020....

Newsletter to Parents - link

 

21st May 2020.....

Letter from Trafford Council regard the reopening of schools - link

 

12th May 2020....

Dear Parents/Carers

Prime Minister’s update:

The statements by the Prime Minister on Sunday and Monday outlined the steps to when schools might be open. Although there will be further details from the government later this week, the impact is:

  • The current arrangements for AGSB remain in place – the school remains open to vulnerable pupils and children of key workers.
  • Sometime between June 1st and the end of the school year, Year 10 and 12 will be expected back in school (the explicit detail of this phased return remains unclear).
  • The mechanics of this return are being planned for at School, Trust and local authority level, but these are reliant upon further guidelines from the government.
  • It is likely that any return to school will involve some sort of modified timetable in order to maintain safe operations.
  • I do not expect other year groups to be required to return to school until September 2020.

Yours faithfully

G.A Wright
Head Master

 

11th May 2020....

Dear Parents/Carers

Feedback from the Remote Learning Survey to Parents/Carers and Students 

Thank you to all Parents/Carers and students who completed our Remote Learning survey. The huge number of constructive comments was very encouraging, and your feedback is important to us.

We had over 800 responses from pupils and parents after the first four weeks of remote teaching. This has provided us with a solid evidence base to evolve our strategy. We are grateful for feedback as we seek to establish sustainable processes for the weeks ahead both for boys and staff.

The key outcomes from the parental and student surveys were very positive about all aspects of our Remote learning strategy. It is clear from the comments that both pupils and parents are very appreciative of the hard work and dedication of the teaching staff, especially at short notice when school closure was announced. They especially appreciate the thought and planning that has gone into developing work that can be completed independently.

Some key themes:

  • Teachers are approachable: 100% of pupils said that they know how to seek help from their teachers if they need it.
  • The school has communicated well: As far as home school communication was concerned the picture was very positive. 72% reported home school communication as good in terms of its timeliness, less than 1% rating this as poor. 94% rated both the school’s guidance and plans to support home learning as either satisfactory or good.
  • Access to on-line work set: All students have been able to find the work, understood what has been set and have been able to contact staff. They are therefore clear on where to go to find work and, in the main, on what to do.
  • Some pupils have felt a bit overwhelmed at times: A number of pupils and parents (predominantly in Years 7, 8 and 9) were more likely to say that school is setting too much rather than too little work. Students also commented on the structure of work being set and a number of our younger students suggested that large pieces of work were difficult to tackle.
  • Feedback on work: Most students were receiving regular and instructive feedback on their work. A number of students, however, had received little regular feedback, particularly students in Y8.
  • Lack of interactive methods of teaching: Pupils had received a range of responsive teaching methods such as Loom videos and live teaching via the O365 Teams system. They found these more interactive methods very beneficial and a significant number commented that they would like to see an increase in their use across a greater range of subjects.   

In the light of all three surveys responses we have:

  • Asked teachers to reduce the amount of work set at KS3; the emphasis will be to reduce the amount of new content and consolidate the material already delivered to ensure understanding.
  • Asked staff to provide more regular feedback to students at Key Stage 3; two pieces of work per subject will be marked during this term and these marks (along with the pupil’s performance throughout the year) will be used to inform the end of year grade sheet.
  • Sent out a planning tool to students to help structure their working day and plan for a good balance between work and relaxation (an editable version is attached to this ParentComms).
  • We have also provided training on developing the use of Teams and Loom presentations to increase the interactivity that pupils experience. Staff have adjusted very quickly to the new demands of teaching remotely and we will continue to encourage staff members to develop their IT skills. May I stress, however, it is at the discretion of the teacher should they wish to teach in this way. Many of our teachers have young children, and/or other pressures on their home lives and it may be more appropriate for them to teach via fixed resource on Show my Homework, and in this we ask for your support and understanding.

The updated Home studies during school closure: Guidance for students in Years 7 to 10 can be found here.

May I remind all parents and students of this advice from Mr Hall (Deputy Headmaster) and his Head of Year team:

  • Use the documents attached to help with work and organisation. They have been designed to tackle some of the most common issues being reported.
  • Boys are to regularly check Show my Homework and their School email address so that they keep on top of all communications.
  • Remember too that in school, boys would be working in pairs or groups on classroom activities, so if you are struggling, don't hesitate to seek to work collaboratively on class tasks. Discuss problems, look to learn how others have sought to go about tackling difficult problems. Where did they seek to start? What questions did they think worth asking first? How much detail did they go into?
  • Do not forget to get your daily bout of exercise, eat healthily and enjoy time with your family.
  • The Heads of Year and Mr Hall are available at all times for correspondence with any student who is struggling. Don’t think you are alone, don’t suffer in silence, contact us straight away. We also have a mentoring system up and running that offers subject specific support for students with a 6th Form Mentor.

Yours faithfully

G.A Wright
Head Master

 

     

11th May 2020....

I was delighted to receive some feedback from one of our Sixth Formers who has started the Screenwriting MOOC I recommended last week. If any of you have feedback on any of the resources I suggest do let me know and if that student writes a script and wins an Oscar I do expect a hat tip.........

Year 11-13 briefing 5

Mr T Murray
Head of Sixth Form

  

 

7th May 2020....

Newsletter

 

 

 

 

27th April 2020....

What gorgeous weather out there. I think that when you start talking about the weather it is time to stop. So next week I hope to be able to pass over the controls to your new Headboy, that is if he is happy to complete the Sway. But one thing I know is that he needs help with his taste in music. So please look at the music recommendation section below, and after you have voted for the Headmaster's choice, then submit your own.......

Year 11-13 briefing 3

Mr T Murray
Head of Sixth Form

 

24th April 2020....

Dear Parents/Carers

As we approach the end of the fifth week of the lockdown and the end of the third week of School closure. I would like to pay a huge thank you to all staff, parents, students, and governors for your continuing support.  Throughout the closure I will be writing to you with updates at the end of each week.

I know that for students and staff, there are huge challenges in adapting to remote learning. We do know that the vast majority of students are accessing their work via Show my Homework and working hard to establish routines.  As a School, however, we are always looking at ways to improve. To that end, we will be sending out a Remote Learning Survey on Office 365 to staff, parents and students on Friday 1st May to assess what is working well and what areas may be improved.

Updates:

Careers:
Thank you to Dr Thomas (Assistant Head) for organising Careers advice for Years 11, 12 and 13 (students - please check your emails).

Dr Harris Duvnjak, an Old Boy of the school, delivered an excellent and in-depth seminar on applying to Medical school last Wednesday, 22nd April. 31 of our Year 12 students participated in the online Zoom conference which included a very informative question and answer session.

Remote Peer Mentoring:
This week we launched our new on-line homework support resource for Year 7, 8 and 9 pupils to which they have access through Microsoft Teams in School Office 365. Thirty Year 12 homework mentors are available to help with work in English, Maths, Science, Computer Programming, Languages, Geography and History. Your son has been sent an email and a message on Show my Homework with information on how to join this Team. Pupils can ask our Year 12 homework mentors for help any time they need it. Thank you to Dr Hepden and Mr Carr for setting up this excellent initiative.

House Competition:
Mr Soulsby (Assistant Head) has organised a House Photography and Creative Writing Competition.

The theme for this competition is about:

  1. Being positive in times of sadness
  2. Being thankful in times of hardship
  3. Being resourceful in times of challenge

Being optimistic in times of adversity                                                             

This House event is open to boys from all year groups. Please check SMH for more information but please note, the DEADLINE IS WEDNESDAY 6TH MAY @ 5PM.

English Shakespeare Competition:
The English Department's 'Share Your Shakespeare Competition' had some great creative entries this week. The results are in:

2nd place goes to Adham S in Year 11 and joint 1st place goes to Gautham R and Jacob R, both in Year 9. Well done to all who applied and thank you to Ms Hildage and Ms Mahony for organising.

The production of PPE to support the NHS:
Thanks again to Mr Baker and all staff in the AGSB D&T Department for volunteering to help supply vital PPE equipment for the NHS workers. Hundreds of visors have been produced and delivered to the North West Hub for distribution.

A correction from my last letter: I will be writing early next week (week beginning 27th April) to Parents/Carers of Year 11 and Year 13 students with an update on GCSE and A Level grades for the Summer 2020.

I hope everyone stays safe and looks after each other. Thank you again for all of your patience and support. 


Mr G. A. Wright
Head Master 

 

20th April 2020....

So three more weeks of lockdown and most probably longer until the schools reopen. I generally think of myself as someone who enjoys time spent alone but even I am struggling.......

Year 11-13 briefing 2

Mr T Murray
Head of Sixth Form

 

13th April 2020....

Change can be forced upon us or chosen. In this case I have been forced to consider how I communicate with Sixth Formers now that I can no longer nag you in the common room or inspire you during weekly assemblies. But change brings opportunity to learn new skills so here I am trying Sway on Office 365 for the first time. This newsletter is produced for students who are currently studying in our Sixth Form or who are in Year 11 and are preparing to start their A-Level studies this September.

Year 11-13 briefing 1

Mr T Murray
Head of Sixth Form

 

13th April 2020....

Altrincham Grammar School for Boys

Making the most of Remote Learning – Guidance for Parents and Pupils

Specific guidance about what you can expect from school with regards to remote learning can be found on the Homepage of the school website ‘Home studies guidance for Years 7-10 / 11-13’.

This document offers suggestions for how Pupils and Parents can make the most of the learning opportunities on offer whilst school is closed.

Remote learning accepts that teachers and pupils will need to adapt to a different way of working together and develop new methods to provide important dissemination of knowledge, discussion and timely feedback. This plan also includes provision to ensure that the important pastoral care that takes place between pupils, tutors and Heads of Year is continued. While the physical classroom cannot be replicated, teachers are working hard to ensure that they can design and deliver good learning opportunities to pupils. The process that is being followed aims to ensure that pupils can still have authentic learning opportunities, have engaging activities, receive feedback and encouragement, and be given a structure to work around that also enables the flexibility that will be required during this challenging period.

Guidelines for Parents 

School will communicate with home via the use of email, phone, ParentComms as appropriate and in the normal way. Please set expectations for your son (s) for remote learning, including establishing a space or location where your children will work, and encouraging them to be dressed appropriately for a day of school. A suggested schedule is below. Pupils may find the transition to remote learning and the new-found independence required very challenging. Please check in with them regularly to ensure that they are coping. If possible, monitor the screen time/ social media use of your child. Remind them of the need to be polite and respectful in their use of this new way of working.

A buzzing or vibrating phone is most often a big distraction (unless a lesson requires a specific app). We recommend boys leave their phone in a different room for the duration of any lesson; keeping up with the demands of remote learning will require focus and resilience so keeping phones out of reach will replicate the conditions of a classroom setting. We also advise against listening to music whilst doing any school work, as most evidence points to it having a negative effect on concentration and learning for all but some creative tasks.

Guidelines for Pupils

Ensure that you get out of bed, wash, dress, eat breakfast at a regular time (and agree when is the latest this will be). Remember that this is not a holiday and you are still at school. A suggested schedule is below. Establish a daily routine for engaging in the learning opportunities e.g. a 9 am start. Identify a comfortable working space where you can work effectively and successfully. Communications with school that involve video links should not take place from your bedroom. Ensure that you are appropriately dressed for lessons (does not have to be uniform). Regularly monitor Show My Homework/email for any feedback or tasks that have been set (at least three times daily). Complete all work and assignments to the best of your ability. Do your best to meet deadlines set by staff. Be proactive and communicate any issues with deadlines to your teacher, as you would in School. Ask questions when you need to. Remember your teacher may not be able to respond immediately. Respectful communication with all members of your community is vital. Remember online etiquette. It is vital that you are kind to each other and interact with your peers and teachers on-line with the same respect and courtesy that you should in lessons. We are here to support you throughout a period of remote learning. Your Tutor remains your primary point of contact for any pastoral issues, you should email your Tutor, Head of Year or any teacher if you have any issues or concerns that you need to discuss. Report welfare or safeguarding concerns to Mr Hall, your Head of Year or your form Tutor.

Guidelines for Pupils and Parents to Create a Good Daily Routine

Pupils should endeavour to study the subjects that are on their usual school timetable each day though the timing of the study may be different. Students have their timetable. Thus, if a student has five 60- minute lessons in a normal school day they should design their routine that covers these subjects. This ensures that Pupils still have a broad and varied curriculum. Pupils should spend time each morning designing their day, familiarising themselves with the study to be completed and consider what will be the outcomes for a successful day of remote learning.

In everybody’s timetable is the provision for Sport/PE. Our PE department will be providing suggested exercise and training programmes. We will also continue to provide on-line PSHE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic) and Careers education. The Home Studies Guidance document details the variety of activities that pupils will be expected to complete. Link

In addition to this, Pupils also have an excellent opportunity to research areas of interest, read a book, watch documentaries of interest, learn to code, etc. Pupils should also take breaks between their lesson to move around, drink water to hydrate, just as they do at school and should engage in regular exercise. They need to stay focused when working by finding a quiet place without the distraction of music, social media and television. The social perspective of being in school each day with friends cannot be underestimated and Pupils should try and schedule catch-ups with their friends where they can, even if this is in a virtual way.

A possible day might look as follows:

TIMING TASKS
30 mins Plan routine and work for the day
60 mins Lesson 1
10 mins  Break
60 mins Lesson 2
30 mins Break - relax, exercise, snack
60 mins Lesson 3
60 mins Lunch, exercise, relax
60 mins Lesson 4
10 mins Break
60 mins Lesson 5
Weekends/Evenings Read for pleasure; Watch a documentary; Play a game with a sibling or parent; Be active; Explore personal interests/passions; Engage in a co-curricular opportunity.

What e-safety advice can I give my son? 

Your son is likely to be communicating with his friends through apps such as WhatsApp, Facetime, or other messaging apps. While we are away from School, it is important that the boys keep in touch and socialise but they must be careful to keep these conversations positive for everyone. We do suggest you monitor your son’s social media use.

We would like to suggest you talk to your son if they are using WhatsApp or another group messaging app:

1   Make sure that you have set the privacy settings so that only your contacts can see your status. 
2.  Keep groups small but don’t exclude others. Remember excluding someone is just as hurtful as         saying something unkind.
3.  Remember everyone in the group will see your comments. 
4.  Do not be rude to others in the group and don’t post any photos or material that will upset               someone.
5.  Remember you are in control and can leave the group at any time.

How can my son get involved in physical activity?

In line with the recommendations from the World Health Organisation, the AGSB Physical Education Department believe that all boys should accumulate at least 45 minutes of moderate-to vigorous physical activity daily. This activity can include general play, games, sport, recreation or planned exercise.

With this in mind the PE department will be posting (on twitter @AGSB sport and Instagram @AGSB SPORT) age-appropriate activities that will be suitable for inside and outside the house. The aim will be to give all boys accessible, varied and enjoyable exercise options. Department members will also be available, via email and other school systems, to answer any questions or give advice around exercise, athletic development, nutrition and wellbeing.

IT Support During School Building Closure

In order for IT support to continue to function effectively the following communications channels need to be observed: If a student forgets their school password. Please ask their parent or guardian to email spiceworks@agsb.co.uk from their parent portal email address. Parents with a general IT enquiry should email spiceworks@agsb.co.uk Please be aware that there is likely to be a greater volume of support required by Pupils, teachers and parents and the IT support team will respond as quickly as possible but this will in, most cases, not be immediate.

How do I communicate with the School? Please use email as your primary source of communicating with school. If your son is unable to attend lessons please contact the AGSB Attendance Officer: Mrs Jolly agsbadmin@agsb.co.uk .

 

10th April 2020....

Pastoral Care 

If any of our parents, carers or students would like any support or advice during the closure please do not hesitate to contact one of the following:

School Counsellor      Wey Goodman  wgoodman@agsb.co.uk
Deputy Head / Head of Pastoral  Mr Hall ehall@agsb.co.uk
School Nurses Team Telephone 0161 912 2340

 

 

6th April 2020....

Please read our Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy during Covid-19

Kind regards

Mr G.A. Wright
Head Master 

 

3rd April 2020....

Dear Parents/Carers/Students

Please find the latest guidance from Ofqual on GCSE and A level results for Summer 2020. 

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/877830/Letter_to_students_-_Summer_2020_grading.pdf 

Please don’t ask your teachers, or anyone else at your school or college, to tell you the grades they will be sending to the exam boards or where they have placed you in the order of students; they will not be allowed to share this with you.’

We will be sending out more information on this in the near future.

Kind regards,

Mr G. A. Wright
Head Master

 

 

25th March 2020....

Dear Parent/Carers,

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

We have been able to adhere to the Government’s advice about social distancing, because students were only sent into school when it was necessary.  We appreciate your support this.  We have been able to provide safe care and support for the most vulnerable pupils and the children of the critical frontline workers during their heroic efforts in the national fight against Coronavirus.

We are investigating the requirement for emergency childcare over the Easter Holidays. If BOTH parents are Key workers and are CRITICAL to the COVID-19 response (or ONE in a single parent family) we are hoping to support you as best we can.

 

*N.B. Easter holiday provision will only be for families directly impacted and affected by the COVID-19 national response. It will not be for ‘Vulnerable’ children (FSM, PP, LAC, EHC’s) – This support will restart on the 14th April.

Please consider carefully if you can safely keep your child(ren) at home so that we are only bringing the fewest number of people together in the school. If you are unsure if this applies to you please e-mail msoulsby@agsb.co.uk.

The childcare provision is between 9:30 and 3pm weekdays. Unfortunately, we cannot cater for pupils onsite. We are hoping to also provide childcare on Good Friday and Easter Monday.

If we can support you and your child(ren) during the Easter Holiday, please complete this FORM before 9:00am on Friday 27th March. Please only complete this form if you do require childcare support.

I can only imagine the sacrifices some of you, particularly the frontline NHS workers, are making at the moment, so if the support we are providing is not practical for your circumstances, please contact msoulsby@agsb.co.uk with any feedback.

Yours faithfully,
Mr Soulsby
Assistant Head

 

Dear Parents/Carers

On Friday, there was a further statement from Ofqual (the examinations’ regulator) about how grades will be awarded this summer. In summary, it says that grades will be awarded based on a process that takes into account:

  1. The school’s view of the grade “which they believe the student would have received if the examinations had gone ahead”;
  2. Evidence of a pupil’s prior attainment.

As usual, the examination board, not the School, will award the final grade and there will be an appeal’s process as there is currently for public examinations. The intention is for the grade to be awarded by the end of July. There is no detail yet on when we need to submit our grades to the examination boards, nor is there at present any specific guidance on the processes we will need to follow to produce these grades. Ofqual and the examination boards, will be providing us with this guidance in the days ahead. It will be obligatory for us to follow the guidance once it has been published. We will inform you as soon as we have anything to update.

The following link will take you through to the guidance that has been published in relation to this issue: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-cancellation-of-gcses-as-and-a-levels-in-2020/coronavirus-covid-19-cancellation-of-gcses-as-and-a-levels-in-2020

We understand that this is a time of uncertainty for our Year 11 and Year 13 students who have worked hard to prepare for exams that have now been suspended. I would like to highlight that teachers will not be able to respond to individual emails at this time on the subject of predicted grades. We will update all parents and students when we are given more guidance on how this process will take place.

Kind regards,
Mr G. A. Wright
Head Master

 

 

20th March 2020....

Dear Parents/Carers

Late last night the Government released a comprehensive and definitive list of what they describe as ‘Key and Critical workers’.

Please click this LINK for more details. I would ask that you read this very carefully and consider how this information applies to you and your family. 

If you are unsure whether you are ‘critical’ to the effectiveness of your industry, the government have asked you to have this dialogue with your employer. 

The “government has asked parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and asked schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend”.

…“the fewer children making the journey to school, and the fewer children in educational settings, the lower the risk that the virus can spread and infect vulnerable individuals in wider society”.

If you unable to safely keep your child at home, we would ask that you please complete this FORM asap.

Yours faithfully 

Mr Soulsby
Assistant Head

 

19th March 2020....

Dear Parents/Carers

Subject: Provision for Key Workers & Vulnerable Students

On Wednesday the 18th March 2020, the government made the difficult but understandable decision to close school for the ‘vast majority of pupils’ after Friday 20th March. This closure is essential to ensure that effective social distancing is implemented.  

The exception to these school closures is to offer provision for children of ‘Key workers’ and ‘Vulnerable’ students. 

We are awaiting a definitive list from the Government or the DfE as to exactly what constitutes a ‘Key worker’ or Vulnerable child’. 

Initial indications suggest key workers include:

  • NHS staff
  • Police
  • Delivery Drivers
  • Teachers/Social Care Workers

Vulnerable pupils are likely to include:

  • Pupils on an EHC (Educational Health Care) plan
  • Pupils working with Social workers

It is important to note that, in order to comply with the government’s objective of minimising the number of pupils in schools to limit the spread of infection, this service cannot be extended to the sons of non-key workers or to non-vulnerable pupils. We therefore must insist that you do not register for this service unless you fulfil the stated criteria. We expect the government to publish more precise details of those who are considered key workers later today and will update you as soon as this happens. 

We are also exploring the possibility of providing this supervision for the children of key workers and vulnerable pupils over the Easter holidays, if there is sufficient demand.  

If you believe that you qualify as a key worker or if your son qualifies by virtue of being a ‘vulnerable pupil’ and you wish to use this service, please complete this form as soon as possible, and no later than 10:00am on Friday 20th  March. 

Yours faithfully
Mr M Soulsby
Assistant Head

 

19th March 2020....

Dear Parents/Carers

Subject: Re School Closures

You will already be aware that yesterday the Prime Minister has announced the following information, which has profound implications for all members of our community:

  1. All schools are required to close from the end of the day on Friday, ‘until further notice’.
  1. The Government is asking schools to continue to look after children of ‘key workers’ and the ‘most vulnerable children’.
  1. Public exams will not be happening during this academic year.

However, we would like to make the following quick points on these specific announcements:

  • School will remain open on Thursday 19th and Friday 20th March. Today, Year 12 will work from home and all other year groups will be in as per usual. On Friday we will reassess the staffing situation.
  • Year 10 exams will continue today and tomorrow and next week’s exams will be sent out for boys to complete at home
  • On Friday at 3.25pm we will close. Please ensure your son (s) take all their books/bags/kit home with them as all lockers will be emptied.

What will happen from Monday 23rd March?

The Secretary of State for Education stated that schools will be shut and they will remain shut until further notice for all children except to those of key workers and where children are most vulnerable.  More details about this will follow.

What is happening with the GCSE and A-Level exams?

The Secretary of State for Education has said: ‘We can confirm that we will not go ahead with assessments or exams, and that we will not be publishing performance tables for this academic year’.

Exams are therefore not going to take place during this exam season.  It is possible that they will take place at a later date, or more likely that they will not take place at all. I am very sorry for our Y11 and Y13 boys who have worked so hard for their exams. These are unprecedented times. We will now be working closely with the Department for Education to work through the detail regarding how final grades will be awarded. We will certainly be taking the government's words to task to 'ensure that children get the qualifications they both need and deserve'.

You will understand that we all need to digest this extraordinary situation, and further communication will follow over the coming hours and days. We would be grateful for your initial patience. 

On behalf of the entire AGSB community like to say how hugely grateful we have been to date with your understanding and support.

Yours faithfully
Mr G A Wright
Head Master 

 

18th March 2020....

Dear Parent/Carers

Subject: Preparations

We, at AGSB, are now ensuring that our community is better protected and able to deal with whatever this escalating situation throws at us. We seek to work together – staff, boys and their families. As circumstances may change quickly, we will try to keep you updated as regularly as possible via SchoolComms but if you use Twitter you may also wish to follow the Head Master’s Twitter account for any information that reaches us outside of school hours.

We already have a number of staff and boys who are self-isolating for 14 days - we will do all we can to keep learning going. Please refer to the above link for academic advice for those boys who are self-isolating.

We continue to follow DfE and Public Health England advice, but we are planning ahead responsibly as a school and as an employer. Should a member of staff or one of the boys be tested positive, Public Health England would come into School to carry out a risk assessment as a matter of urgency.

Please put the health of your son first – keep them at home if they have a new, persistent cough or temperature. The government guidelines from 16th March are:

  • If one person in any household has a persistent cough or fever, everyone living there must stay at home for 14 days
  • Those people should, if possible, avoid leaving the house "even to buy food or essentials" - but they may leave the house "for exercise and, in that case, at a safe distance from others"

We sent out a letter yesterday regarding: Asthma, Diabetes and Serious Medical conditions. please see correspondence below dated 17th March 2020. The UK government’s guidance to school leaders is that we should keep schools open as normal unless instructed to close by Public Health England. However, the UK government has also issued instructions in relation to self-isolation that is significantly reducing the teaching and support staff available in schools.

Consequently, due to staff absence, from Thursday 19th March, we are going to have to reduce the number of year groups in the school at any one time. Initially this will involve Year 12 students being required to work from home from Thursday 19th March until the beginning of the Summer Term – Tuesday 14th April 2020. Mr Murray (Head of 6th Form) will be contacting all Year 12 students with further instructions.

Communication plans for a partial or full School closure will be via SchoolComms and will be also posted on the School website. Regarding plans for School closure and teaching students remotely please refer to the above links.

In the event of a closure, a daily communication will be sent to all parents.

As I stated on 12th March, the concern about public examinations is understandable. Ofqual (the regulatory body for the examination boards) are being somewhat vague but have publicly stated that they are working with the boards to have contingency measures in place. We will keep you informed but, in the meantime, you may like to see what they have written by following this link.

We proceed with caution, but without panic. We will keep you fully updated on all further developments.

Thank you for your continued support.

Yours faithfully
Mr G A Wright
Head Mast

 

17th March 2020....

Dear Parents/Carers,

Re. Asthma, Diabetes and Serious Medical conditions

We have been monitoring the impact and advice surrounding COVID-19 very carefully.

One of our increasing concerns has been the welfare of pupils and staff with underlying health conditions.

Some staff and pupils have already taken the difficult decision to self-isolate as a precautionary measure. However, following the updated government guidance (5pm Monday 16th March) we are contacting all the parents/carers of pupils who are on our medical records as having Asthma, Diabetes or other Serious Health conditions.

Deciding if, when and how to self-isolate is a difficult decision for everyone, but the added concern around pre-existing and underlying heath conditions makes this decision even more important.

Social distancing for vulnerable groups has been outlined by the government.

More information and guidance can be found here;

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people/guidance-on-social-distancing-for-everyone-in-the-uk-and-protecting-older-people-and-vulnerable-adults

While we are not insisting that pupils with medical conditions do not attend school, it would appear the government guidance is leading to that conclusion. As a school we completely respect the decision of any family to self-isolate their son(s) as a precautionary measure to manage the potential exposure of anyone with a medical condition which may be exasperated by this virus.

We will soon be able to share with you a document outlining suggested work that pupils can complete while absent from school self-isolating.

Stay safe.

Kind regards,
Mr Soulsby

 

16th March 2020....

Dear Parents/Carers

SubjectCoronavirus: Three degrees of separation.

As you will know, there have been significant developments over the weekend. We understand that the Government will be reviewing a decision regarding school closure this week and they will inform us of the decision. In the meantime, AGSB remains open as usual. We are, however, now moving to a ‘core business only’ policy. Lessons and internal activities and clubs will continue, but are we cancelling or postponing nonessential events which might precipitate the spread of any illness. That includes sports fixtures, music events, school trips, outreach events, Sports Awards, dinners etc. 

We have completed a risk assessment of staff and students so that we are aware of individuals who have significant underlying health conditions. If your son (s) or immediate family do have any underlying health conditions, we of course, respect your rights with regards to taking your son out of School as a precautionary measure. Unless your child falls into this category, or they are showing symptoms, then you should send them to school.

Coronavirus: Three degrees of separation.

Protocol for pupils, staff and visitors to the school site

Further to the communication update regarding the Coronavirus that was sent on Friday 13th March, I am writing to let you know the protocol that we have adopted for deciding who should be allowed onto the school site, in relation to individuals’ proximity to Coronavirus infection.

I hope you will find this advice helpful if you are questioning whether your son (s) should come into school, and also that it will reassure you that we are continuing taking sensible steps to maintain the good health of the whole School community.

The protocol that we are using is as follows:

Confirmed case: If a student is a confirmed case the School should be alerted as soon as possible. Confirmed cases should not come onto the School site until they are tested clear.

Suspected symptoms: Should a student present with the symptoms associated with Covid-19 (persistent cough, temperature above 37.8 or shortness of breath) they should self-isolate for 7 days. The school should be informed on the first day of the self-isolation. Should their symptoms persist beyond the 7 days they should continue to self-isolate.

One degree of Separation: Anyone who has been in close contact with someone who is a confirmed case should alert the school and not attend School for 7 days symptom-free, or until such time that the person has official clearance.

Two degrees of Separation: If a pupil or member of staff has been in close contact with someone who has been in close contact with someone who is a confirmed case, then they should alert School and not attend the school site for 7 days symptom-free, or until such time that the person you met is cleared.

Three degrees of Separation: Anyone who has not been in close contact with anyone who is a confirmed case, or anyone who has been in close contact with such a person, may attend School.

This “three degrees of separation” protocol is also shown as a diagram below. Government advice to schools and the wider public may well change in the coming days, and we will follow and circulate their guidance to you. Meanwhile, the normal advice applies: pupils who are unwell should stay at home. This is, as you will all appreciate, a most challenging time. We are seeking to walk the very difficult line between respecting government advice and safeguarding our own community. We believe that the steps we are now taking are right in the circumstances, because the science advice is that children are a low-risk group and that society is best served by schools remaining open at present. We are, as ever, grateful for your ongoing support and understanding.

Yours faithfully
Mr G A Wright 
Head Master

 

 

 

 

13th March 2020....

Dear Parents/Carers

The Government have escalated their Coronavirus Action Plan. The key points are: 

  • Schools will remain open but have been advised to stop foreign trips.
  • The updated guidance asks people to self-isolate for 7 days if they have a new persistent cough for up to 4 hours and a temperature of 37.8C degrees and above. 

Key messages:

If you have symptoms of coronavirus infection (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home and do not leave your house for 7 days from when your symptoms started.

This action will help protect others in your community whilst you are infectious.

Plan ahead and ask others for help to ensure that you can successfully stay at home.

Ask your employer, friends and family to help you to get the things you need to stay at home.

Stay at least 2 metres (about 3 steps) away from other people in your home whenever possible.

Sleep alone, if that is possible.

Wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, each time using soap and water.

Stay away from vulnerable individuals such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions as much as possible.

You do not need to call NHS111 to go into self-isolation. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days contact 

NHS111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.

For further advice on this please click on this link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-athome-guidance-for-people-with-confirmed-or-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection

Please be aware that there are vulnerable individuals in our immediate school community. There are also families with vulnerable members. Please do ensure that you act in accordance with the above guidelines.

We will continue to update you as and when we receive further information. 

Thank you for your continued support.

Yours faithfully
Mr G.A. Wright
Head Master 

 

12th March 2020.....

Dear Parents/Carers

Following recent communications from Mr Soulsby (Assistant Head) relating to the School’s approach to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), and although we have not had notification of any pupil, member of staff or parent / carer who has caught the virus, I would like to provide an update on the current position at AGSB.

In the light of government advice regarding public gatherings, we have no plans to cancel any school events for the time being. However, as you will expect, this situation may change in the light of local developments or national guidance.

TRIPS 
There is one overseas School trip planned for the end of this term. We continue to follow the advice of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office with regard to travel abroad and will make a decision relating to this trip in the light of this advice. Should it be necessary to cancel the trip we will inform parents whose children are due to participate in it as soon as possible.

Looking further ahead in the School calendar, a number of students are due to travel to Barcelona as part of the Spanish exchange. Again, we will be in regular communication with parents whose children are involved in these activities to provide an update on our necessary next steps.

As far as domestic trips are concerned, these will continue as planned unless we are informed by the organisers that they have been cancelled.

EXAMS 
Having already discussed the Coronavirus with a number of students in Year’s 11 and 13, I know first-hand that there are concerns about the impact the virus could have on the planned schedule of public examinations which begin in May. We receive regular communications from Ofqual (the exam regulator), and are looking at our own internal contingency options should we be required to make changes to the exam timetable. However, at this stage all students should proceed with their preparations on the basis that the exams will take place as expected, and they should speak to a member of staff if they have anxieties or concerns about the possible impact of COVID-19 or indeed, any other issue.

SPORT 
This is, of course, also a busy time of the year for Sport. The PE department have been fully briefed and have already begun to react to the current situation. For example, there will be no communal water bottles to drink from during fixtures, so please do encourage your son (s) to bring his own named water bottle.

PREVENTITIVE MEASURES 
We have been trying hard to keep the pupils well-informed on appropriate hygiene measures. Hand washing at key points remains perhaps the most important preventative measure. All pupils will be provided with a further reminder this week about strategies which they should follow to avoid catching or spreading the Coronavirus, but it would also be very helpful if you could reinforce these strategies at home. Advice on how to avoid catching or spreading it can be found here. The BBC website also has a useful page explaining what steps to take – follow this link. We have made every effort to ensure a safe environment at School: we have advisory posters across the School for students to read, all toilets have been stocked with anti-bacterial hand wash soap and our domestic staff are cleaning all regularly touched objects and surfaces throughout the whole School. However, you may also wish to send your child to school with a small bottle of hand-sanitizer to use as necessary.

EASTER TRAVEL 
With the Easter break approaching, we continue to plan ahead, and your co-operation in keeping us informed is important. A reminder: those returning from Category 1 areas are required to inform NHS 111 and self-isolate whether symptomatic or not. Those returning from Category 2 areas only have to do so if symptoms develop after return. Please keep checking the lists, as they will undoubtedly be updated as the situation unfolds. The current lists of countries affected can be found here.

For parents of pupils in Public Examination years (Year 11 and Year 13) it is important to think in terms of avoiding possible disruption to your son (s) examination preparation in the event that your child has to self-isolate upon return or is caught abroad due to unforeseen travel restrictions or flight cancellations. We would therefore particularly advise against travel into Category 1 and Category 2 areas for these pupils and their families.

As part of our strategy to monitor pupils who may be at risk of acquiring the virus, I ask that all parents / carers notify the School of any travel arrangements which they have to visit countries outside of the UK until the end of the Easter holiday. If you have any travel plans outside the UK during the holidays, please complete this brief survey:

Parental Survey

We will also be asking all staff to complete a similar survey if they plan on travelling outside the UK.

MEDICAL INFORMATION 
If you believe that your son (s) has an underlying condition which may make them more susceptible to the effects of the Coronavirus and you have not already informed the Medical team at School, please do so immediately. Mrs Armstrong, can be contacted via email: harmstrong@agsb.co.uk.

In the event of a school closure, work will be set for students via the Show my Homework app. Please do ensure that you are logged on to Show my Homework.

The current situation is fast evolving, and things may well change, but we feel prepared for a range of eventualities. Our primary concern is to ensure the welfare of all members of the AGSB community, and I hope that you will see the information provided above as representing an appropriate response to the outbreak as it currently appears.

If you do have any concerns, please contact the School in the normal manner.

Yours faithfully
Mr G. A. Wright
Head Master

See also: