On Tuesday evening we launched the first Virtual Creativity Showcase Awards on our website. It was a huge success! This event would normally be held in school in the main hall with the place filled with students and families looking at the work of our amazing students. Mr Hussain and Mr Stimpson were determined that we would not allow Covid to get in the way of celebrating the work of our talented young people and so was born the idea of a virtual event. Accompanied by Evie on piano playing a Stevie Wonder song, the event was an incredible journey into the Arts and the work of our special Creativity faculty, showcasing stunning art, music, drama and photography. So many students took part and I am very proud of all those who were nominated and those who were winners. The Creative Arts is a very important part of our curricular and enrichment work at Beckfoot and long may that continue.
We also launched our first Post 16 Virtual Open Evening on Thursday. Our Post 16 team took over the front page of our website to share all the information on the courses available, support, enrichment opportunities and what to expect over the next couple of years should our Sixth Form be an option you wish to consider. We hope it allowed you to make an informed choice about our Sixth Form provision for 2021. All information can now be accessed in the Sixth Form area of the website. Application forms must be returned no later than Friday 8 January 2021. Please get in touch with the team for any additional information or guidance.
In a week of ‘virtual’ firsts, we had our third Virtual Parents Evening for Year 9 last night. 99% of you managed to make appointments and keep them which is incredible. We are so grateful for your support for our school and students. It makes a difference to our young people when they know we are working in partnership, with their futures the most important thing to us all. Thanks also for your feedback with many seeming to prefer the online approach. Please do keep letting us know your thoughts on these evenings both positive and developmental.
The mock exams started on Friday morning for our Year 11 students. The exams will go through to Thursday this week. I know our students are anxious and we had a good assembly ahead of the first exam where I talked to them about how they are doing, what can be learned from the mock exams and how that learning will shape our collective approach to the real GCSE exams in the summer. The truth is that they are a very special bunch and doing well matters to them. They have been through a great deal of uncertainty and we are more determined than ever to look after all our students, but most especially those facing exams at the end of this academic year. I want them to try their best, learn from the experience and continue to work with their teachers, who care deeply about them, all the way through to June. What I do know is that I have a wonderful and dedicated staff who will work tirelessly to give them every chance of success and I cannot ask for more than that.
If I may, could I please ask you to support our desire to keep students safe by asking them to wear masks on all forms of public transport and when out and about in shops and in the local community. So many of them are meticulous when it comes to using face coverings, hand sanitising and keeping socially distant. However, a few, from time to time, forget and we need to keep reminding them of the need to follow guidelines and keep themselves and their families safe. Thank you in advance.
Finally, as the temperatures drop due to the onset of winter, I have been thinking about our COVID Risk Assessment in place in school. Part of the Risk Assessment is to ensure we are ventilating the building as much as possible. That means that all external doors and windows are open throughout the day to help keep fresh air circulating. That also means it is getting increasingly cold for our students. Whilst they have been great and don’t complain, I am acutely aware that for many of them it is becoming difficult. So, we have decided to allow all students to wear their coats in all areas of the building from today. They have been very supportive of our new PLS, our new COVID rules and our desire to keep them safe and in education full time. I hope this helps and that you can all understand the rationale behind this decision.
Two weeks of lockdown are now behind us, so we are now over halfway through. Keep positive and keep looking after those around you.