Half Term is finally here!

Half Term is finally here!

Monday 4 January feels a long time ago. It was a training day at Beckfoot and one we were using to get ready for the term ahead which is always focused on standards especially for Year 11 and 13 students. At 8pm on that evening we were told that the country was going into a second full lockdown and that schools would remain closed to all except children of key workers and those deemed to be vulnerable.

We were quickly able to shift from face to face plans to remote teaching and by Wednesday 6 January all students had access to live lessons for all classes. That has been the provision over the past 6 weeks, and I am very proud of our entire school community for managing that transition so effectively.

I am grateful for all your messages of thanks and support over the weeks and also for your feedback on how to make things better for students especially. I hope you feel we have listened and that ideas such as a reduction in lesson time and screen free Friday have support the wellbeing of all. Indeed, we are always thinking about how we can be better and support learners in any way possible. That will continue until we return, hopefully in the near future.

I want to thank you all for your support with the uniform consultation. I could not believe the number of responses and the passion for our school community that was conveyed to me through the two weeks. It was always my intention to listen and I hope you feel I have. Our students and families love Beckfoot School and our uniform, and it is here to stay!

Last week we received the incredibly sad news that one of our ex-students, Josh Woodyatt, passed away. It seems unbelievable that he is no longer here because he was with us for 7 years and only left in the summer. Josh was a wonderful young man who loved life and the outdoors. He was always in shorts! He made some wonderful friends at Beckfoot and very much left his mark on our school and our staff. We will miss him dearly and our thoughts and prayers are with his mum, dad, sister and extended family at this time.

On the 22 February, Boris will set out his roadmap out of lockdown and I remain hopeful that he will stick to the plan to get schools back open to students by the 8 March. There are many possibilities surrounding the wider opening of schools and we will have to await the detail. However, we will be well placed to do whatever is expected of us whilst really hoping that we can welcome back all students by that time. Fingers crossed!

We are also awaiting the outcome of the government consultation on exams this summer, hopefully in the next few days. Once we understand what will be expected of us we will communicate our thinking and planning with exam students and their families. I am acutely aware that this is an incredibly stressful time for them, and I would urge them to try to not worry and leave that to us. As Head of this school I am determined that they will be looked after and cared for as well as we possibly can. We all want the best for them, and we will make sure our plans are coherent and totally considerate of the needs of each and every one of them.

I want to thank staff for their delivery of lessons most of which are being done from home. It is not easy when your passion is being in front of and interacting with students. The virtual classroom is not one any of us signed up to, but I hope you feel similarly to me in terms of the remarkable resilience and care that my staff have demonstrated in these past weeks. I also want to thank my support staff who have allowed us to accommodate ‘Look After’ students in school everyday since the 5 January. They have been amazing and provide the most incredible support and reassurance to those student accessing this provision every day.

Finally, I want to thank our students and families. You have been incredible in your support for our provision. The vast majority have attended all lessons everyday and engaged as expected. They have contributed to lessons, completed assessments and assignments and continued to make progress in these challenging times. I always wonder how I would have coped as a young lad who loved the outdoors and being at school with my mates; I think I would have struggled and for that reason, I am in awe of our young people. I have always known that they are special but even more so now.

Have a wonderful and safe half-term. Try to take a complete break from school and work and recharge. We will go again on the 22 February.

Take care.

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