Dear Parent(s)/Guardian(s),

Following on from previous correspondence issued at the end of last week I wish to outline how we hope to proceed in Aquinas with the various year groups from the start of term. As you will appreciate staff have a significant amount of work to prepare for online learning which will commence for all students on Thursday 7th January. Work should be uploaded to Google classroom during Wednesday 6th January.

For pupils in Years 8, 9, 10 and 11 work will be issued through Google Classroom on the first teaching day of any week of remote learning by break time 10.30am – this week Wednesday afternoon but normally on a Monday. The work may be a series of questions, a PowerPoint explanation, or a video demonstration as appropriate and will be for the full week ahead. The work will be designed to take approximately 15 or 20 minutes per period of that subject. So, if your child has a subject for two periods a week – work should take 30-40 to complete. Teachers will, where possible follow their timetable and be online when your child has their subject. Teachers will endeavour to answer any queries they may have. Please remind your child to feel free to ask their teacher questions via Google Classroom. If unable to be online at the time they have that subject remember any questions will be picked up by the teacher for the next lesson.

Each day class Tutors will be available to take registration and are you and your child’s first point of contact if you have any curricular or pastoral issues. Times will be notified by the end of this week. We appreciate there may be more than one child in the home needing access to a device at the same time so will spread the registrations throughout the day. In an emergency, please ring the school and ask to speak to either the Year Head or Senior teacher appropriate to the particular year your child is in. Please let us know if you have issues with ICT equipment.

For GCSE pupils in Year 12, their GCSE Examinations on 11th and 12th of January are currently taking place as planned. To help support them in the English and Mathematics examinations, the only subjects providing work this week with be these subjects online. Pupils should attend in person on Monday 11th and Tuesday 12th to sit these examinations. When the exam that day is complete, students may return home. Face to Face in school teaching will commence on Wednesday 13th at 9.15am.

Students studying for AS and A2 in Years 13 and 14, will work online this week with Face to Face in school teaching commencing on Monday 11th at 9.15am.

Please note that all students in school will be required to always wear face masks, except when eating or when outside at break or lunch times. We remind all students using public transport that they should be wearing face masks when travelling to school.

To maintain a safe environment and reduce any covid-19 spread we ask your support in terms of reminding your child of the need for maintaining social distance, wearing masks, using sanitiser and avoiding travelling in groups in cars. We were very lucky to get safely through the first term, we thank all for their support but need everyone to be extra vigilant in the coming weeks.

We will accommodate vulnerable children and the children of key workers from the start of term, for supervised learning and again ask parents to contact the school if this is needed.

We appreciate the stress and anxiety that is currently being felt by many but if we all work together and look after each other we will hopefully get through these difficult times and all our students and staff may be kept safe and well. We all look forward to a better 2021.

Yours sincerely

Mr Barry Kelly