Dear Parents and Carers,
Since I wrote to you on Monday a lot has changed, again! Following the Prime Minister’s announcement of a national lockdown and Gavin Williamson’s statement to Parliament yesterday, we now have greater clarity about your child’s education this term.
Unfortunately, because of the incredibly high rates of infection seen across the country and the risk of overwhelming the NHS, all schools and colleges have now been closed, to the majority of students, until at least February half-term.
Yesterday, the Education Secretary confirmed in his statement to Parliament that all exams due to take place this summer (GCSE’S, A and AS levels and SATS) have been cancelled. However, vocational exams are still to go ahead where schools believe it is safe and right to do so. We understand this will be deeply upsetting news for our students who have worked so hard this year and we are all here to provide as much support and guidance over the coming days and weeks as we can.
The Department for Education and OFQUAL are currently working on a range of contingency options, which haven’t been shared with schools yet. However, he did confirm that teacher-assessed grades would form the basis of all exam grades awarded this year. With this in mind, it is vital all Year 11 students continue to engage with their online learning and complete all tasks set by their teachers to the best of their ability, as it will be part of a range of evidence used to form the overall teacher assessment grade your child will be awarded this summer. As soon as we have more information about this grading system, we will share it with you.
During our INSET training day this week, staff were practising using new, innovative software which will allow us to better interact with whole classes of students, and importantly, allow them to work with each other to offer valuable peer feedback. Live lessons will still be conducted using the Google Meet function on Google Classroom. However, moving forward, students will more frequently be asked to turn their camera and mic on by their teacher.
In order for us to safeguard our entire school community, students must adhere to our strict guidelines for live lessons as outlined below and continue to follow Trafalgar School’s Acceptable IT Use Agreement found in our online safety policy. We ask for your support in being able to offer this provision to your child by monitoring and checking in with them regularly during their live lessons.
Guidance for Students & Parents:
• Google Meet codes must not be shared with any other person to ensure only invited Trafalgar students and their teacher are able to communicate and partake.
• Students must be logged into the google meet at least 5 minutes before the lesson is due to begin and have any equipment needed ready.
• Students’ video and microphone function must remain switched off until their teacher tells them otherwise.
• Students must be logged onto a device in a communal area of their home and must be appropriately, fully dressed (e.g. not pyjamas). Their background should be neutral with no personal items on show. Google Meet will allow you to ‘blur’ the background and information on how to do this can be found here.
• It is the responsibility of the parent to check in on students regularly during the live lesson to ensure good conduct.
• Recording or taking images by students during live lessons is strictly prohibited.
• The school will record all live lessons, purely for the purposes of safeguarding. These will be stored securely for a maximum of one year before being deleted.
• Any misconduct will result in the teacher removing the student from the live lesson.
Attendance to live lessons has been incredibly high this week and I thank you for all the positive feedback which has been shared with staff about these.
If you ordered a Chromebook for your child in the December portal, I am pleased to tell you that these will be arriving in school early next week. As soon as they are ready, we will contact you to arrange the safe collection of them.
Key Worker School
Our extra-ordinary provision has started very well this week for children in Years 7 to 11 who have a Critical Worker parent (or who are classified as vulnerable). Students are following their normal timetable on their remote education provision being supported by their subject teachers. It is incredibly important we all follow the ‘Stay at Home’ guidance, so please only send your children in to school if it is absolutely necessary. However, if you believe your child qualifies for a place in this provision then please email [email protected]. Students do not have to commit to every day, but the days they are in school must be for the full day.
Free School Meals
We have provided FSM vouchers to cover the next two weeks. The government has since confirmed that they will ensure the national voucher scheme is in place for every eligible child whilst school remains closed. We will be using this scheme as opposed to food parcels, or grab and go collection, as we believe it is the best way to keep our community safe.
We have worked incredibly hard this week preparing for lateral flow testing and we are ready to start testing staff and key worker school students from tomorrow. However, this will only take place for one week. As from the 18th January, we will begin our weekly saliva testing pilot with University Hospital Southampton, which is a far more reliable and user-friendly test to complete. A second letter has been emailed to you today explaining the details of this programme further. Miss Ghose is leading this testing programme, so please contact her if you have any questions or concerns at [email protected]. It is a voluntary programme, but I would strongly encourage your child to take part as it is an additional measure we are using to keep our community safe.
The announcements this week and the latest lockdown measures are incredibly worrying for us all. I know many of you will be facing the challenges of home schooling again whilst trying to do your own jobs; I did this in the first lockdown so I really do understand how hard it is! Please do not hesitate to contact your child’s tutor if you need any support.
Our Trafalgar School community really is special and I am so proud of how we have pulled together during this pandemic. Although times are incredibly tough at the moment, I do believe there is light at the end of the tunnel with the rapid roll out of the vaccination programme, so hopefully we can all look forward to better times ahead very soon.
No school should close in response to a suspected (or confirmed) COVID-19 case unless directed to do so by Public Health England.
The school has established a Google Classroom for students and a list of other online resources for use at home, in the event of students having to self isolate/school closure.
Please see attached article with suggestions on how to structure the days in the event of a school closure. We will keep you fully informed of any changes.
The Salvation Army can provide up to 3 food parcels without a voucher:
Haven Community centre, Lake Road, PO1 4HA: Tuesday 1-3pm, Friday 10am-12pm.
The DfE have also launched a new helpline to answer questions about COVID-19 related to education. Staff, parents and students can contact the helpline as follows:
24/3/20: The Universities of Oxford and Reading have put together a resource containing advice around supporting young people at a time when anxiety and worry will likely be high.
You can find the resource on the Emerging Minds website here:
Portsmouth School Nursing Service continues to provide non-emergency health related advice and support
eg. sleep, bedwetting, healthy weight, soiling, emotional health and wellbeing, additional and long term health conditions.
If you would like to discuss any aspect of your child’s health or development then please contact us by
Telephone –03001236629 or Text us on 07491163276
The advice can be found on the NSPCC website here: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/keeping-children-safe/coronavirus-advice-suppport-children-families-parents/
You can find the latest updates on COVID-19 on the Government page here:
On the 9th March 2020, Public Health England updated their travel advice, recommending that anyone returning from Italy should self-isolate, even if you do not have any symptoms. If you do develop symptoms, call NHS 111.
The latest travel guidance can be found here:
Personal hygiene is the most important way we can tackle COVID-19, especially washing hands more; and the catch it, bin it, kill it strategy for those with coughs and sneezes.
Wash your hands more often for 20 seconds with soap and hot water.
In addition to handwashing before eating and after sneezing, both children and staff should also wash hands after using toilets and after travelling on public transport.
They have also released the following guidance for education settings:
You can read the advice given to schools by the Government on the link below, including more information about the Coronavirus which will hopefully help dispel some of the myths that are going around!