Dear Parents and Carers,
As our first week of lockdown draws to a close, The Canterbury Primary School and The Canterbury Academy continue to offer a provision for the children of key workers and those that are vulnerable. It has been so fantastic to see how our Trust community has pulled together and continues to support each other through this most worrying time, so it is my intention to drop you all a quick line on a Friday to summarise the week and the wonderful things our community has been doing.
If I may remind you again, first of all, that if you are a key worker and require a place for your child, please do let us know. Likewise, if we have written to you separately because we believe your child, through our own definitions, maybe vulnerable, please let us know if you require provision moving forward. You can access the guidance for parents and carers and the list of key workers by following this hyperlink; Key Workers
Can I remind you also, please, that if you have not already received a direct message from us regarding your child’s vulnerability, forgive me, but we have not currently termed them in this category. However, we remain very aware that despite the government’s definition, vulnerability, for both young and old, is often not visible or ‘labelled,’ especially at times of such anxiety and stress.
If you have not already done so and you wish for us to make provision for your child, please can you let us know by contacting:
- If you attend The Canterbury Primary School, contact email@example.com or call 01227 462883
- If you are in years 7 or 8 at The Canterbury Academy, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01227 463971
- If you are in years 9,10 and 11 at The Canterbury Academy, contact email@example.com or call 01227 463971
- If you are in the sixth form at The Canterbury Academy, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01227 463971
As you will all now be aware, there will be no public examinations taken by students this academic year. This will be causing, quite rightly, high levels of upset and worry for those young people who will receive exam grades in the summer, how they will receive them and what they may mean for their futures. Although there remains no clear, definitive guidance on how these grades will be determined, or how onward destinations like sixth forms, colleges and universities will be assured; for those this is affecting I can tell you that all relevant authorities are working to provide you with the answers. It will be ok. It must be ok. I will write directly to all those who may be affected, with what we know so far, at the beginning of next week.
In the meantime, it remains the case that on-line and distance learning mechanisms are in place for all students across the Trust, and have been communicated with you on a bespoke basis through your child’s individual school. I have been delighted with the feedback through Dojo at our primary school and it has been brilliant to see that nearly 1,000 students accessed their on-line learning at the secondary school in the first two days of this week alone! It was only ten days ago that school closures were announced, so to see how positively our students, parents and staff have adjusted to these new ways of learning and working has been quite phenomenal. I know that many staff have been in contact with their students too, via the Show My Homework platform and/or email, answering questions and challenging learning.
This has been, and will remain, a significant challenge for all of us, as we continue to re-align and discover new ways of learning. The immediate focus for teaching staff was to provide some consistency of learning, whilst also being cognisant with the fact that some of us may not have access to internet and on-line learning platforms at home. I wish to assure that we are continually reviewing our offer for the longer term and, after Easter, will be in a better position to refine it and improve, where appropriate, our levels of sophistication. As always, we should be very grateful to receive any parental feedback, so we can continue to make our students’ learning purposeful.
During this interim period and as we settle into our adjusted routines we, as a Trust, feel that the best thing we can all do is look after each other. We do not wish for our young people to feel pressured into studying. We certainly do not wish for them to be on-line learning all day, every day. After all, that would not be reflective of the time they would spend at school, with structured breaks, physical, practical, creative and vocational activities built in alongside their ‘pillars’ and core lessons, based on their own individual gifts, skills, aptitudes, abilities and talents. Maybe three separate study sessions at home, Monday to Friday, focusing on different areas of their curriculum, punctuated with regular breaks would suffice. We all know that to concentrate for much beyond an hour in one chunk can be a challenge; it certainly is for me! Maybe around these study periods time could be built in for other activities, possibly as a family and together. There are lots of ideas out there at the moment, some of which could be playing games, board games, reading books, possibly some household chores, a bit of gardening or gong for a walk – applying all social distancing guidance, of course. Somebody even suggested to me, which I think is a fantastic idea, about keeping a journal, a scrapbook or a diary, recording these unprecedented events as they unfold. As we have previously said, with this being the biggest challenge our nation has faced since World War II, it will be talked about for generations to come. Recording and gathering photos, newspaper headlines and articles, key events and even, may I suggest, our own feelings. This is something that we will talk about with our children, our grandchildren, and even our great grandchildren; many of whom will struggle to comprehend what happened. A diary, journal or scrapbook, would be a great way of showing them.
During these such stressful times please do not worry too much about your child’s learning. I know that is easy to say, and although every family and every child is different, we are all currently in the same position; up and down the country and all around the world. We absolutely do not wish for parents to feel that they must be teachers and for learning at home to become pressured, tense and upsetting for families. We will continue to do all we can to keep our on-line and distance learning packages moving forward, and I assure you that once we are all back together in our classrooms and in our schools we will pick things back up and move forward again, as classes, as year groups, as friends, as schools and as a community.
So, with that in mind and in an attempt to keep us all together, please do join our social media platforms, where we will be sharing as much good news as possible, things that families can do together, tips on keeping fit, recipes, cooking, arts, crafts and much more. It would be great to hear about what you and your families have been doing too;
- You can follow us on Facebook by going to https://www.facebook.com/TheCanterburyAcademy/
- We are on Twitter too, go to https://twitter.com/CantAcadTrust
- And, our Instagram page is on https://www.instagram.com/the_canterbury_academy_trust/
One thing, I believe, is for sure; the feelings and emotions that we will experience and share with friends and families, how we care for each other and how our communities pull together, will be remembered much more than any academic work or study that is done.
I am very conscious that all of my communication to you has been about our children and that is, of course, entirely as it should be. But this is tough for all of us. It will likely get worse before it gets better and I hope that you, all parents and carers, are looking after yourselves as well. Everyone needs a break sometimes and I do hope that you are able to get one during this difficult period. I want you to know I am thinking of you all, and the incredible jobs you are doing for your families and loved ones.
I’ll leave you this week with a beautiful mural that our students produced. I hope it will speak for itself;
Our Trust and our staff are here for you. Stay in touch, be safe and take care.
My thoughts and all very best wishes remain with you and your families.
Trust Executive Principal