Update from Mr. S. Rogers
It has been a very strange and busy day at Ilfracombe Academy. Like you, we have all started to absorb last night’s announcement from our Prime Minister that our school must close again to all except those critical worker and vulnerable students. It goes without saying that we would much prefer to have your child in school as we all know that is the best place for them but, at this time, it is necessary to help to control the virus. I will write to you in more detail later in the week but would like to point out a few things that that we would like to clarify.
Year 11 and 13 BTEC Assessments
There have been some conflicting communications about the January BTEC exams. We have taken the decision that the assessments will go ahead as we feel our students are adequately prepared for them. We have also ensured we have implemented a number of measures to keep everyone safe.
Today we have continued to set up our testing centre and train the initial testing team staff. This is a very time consuming process, but we are determined that we shouldn’t rush this process as we want to get it right. We feel that by Monday 11th January we will have everything in place to start testing our Staff and Keyworker and Vulnerable students whose parents/carers have given consent to be tested. We encourage all parents/cares to give their consent as we feel it will help our school to have a safer return after February half term.
We are working on delivering the best remote lessons we can but know there have been some teething problems today. Some of this was based on the huge surge in the use of ClassCharts nationally. A number of other details were rectified today and we hope that the process will become smoother as the students become accustomed to using the platform in this way again.
Like a number of other schools we decided to use pre-recorded video based lessons in KS3 and 4 for the following reasons:
The level of Wifi connectivity in our geographical area is a real issue meaning we all experience a number of outages. We want our students to receive a consistent education and video allows students to view an explanation or new concept on multiple occasions rather than miss the point entirely if their connection goes down.
There is anecdotal evidence of safeguarding concerns associated with live lessons that also concern our leadership team
Teachers do deliver some live lessons to KS5 students but these classes are much smaller and less issues are likely to occur.
We will, of course, constantly review our remote provision and will communicate any changes to you as and when they occur.
The departments have been developing a number of knowledge organisers that are currently being quality printed and will be posted out to your child - hopefully by the end of the week. Your child will be able to use their knowledge Organiser to supplement their learning especially if they have an IT issue on a particular day. The teaching staff may also ask you child to refer to this information to help complete the work that has been set.
I will write to you again soon but, in the meantime, please be assured that we doing everything we can to educate your child whilst also keeping everyone safe.
Regards Steve Rogers (Headteacher)