This is not the start to 2021 any of us will have hoped for. However, yet again, I have been bowled over by the wonderful resilience of our Frogmore family.
The start of term was a bit of a whirlwind, to say the least! One thing that we have all become somewhat accustomed to over the past 10 months is that whatever we think we’ve planned for is likely to be subject to last minute changes. I know that many families felt this very sharply over Christmas, with long-awaited family gatherings being cancelled and new-year plans being shelved. The start to term has, similarly, needed a radical rethink.
I would like to take a moment to recognise the extraordinary efforts of the Frogmore staff over the past fortnight. We are all very new to the brave new world of online teaching. However, teachers have worked their socks off to adapt swiftly to this, switching immediately to online lessons for all classes from the start of term. We know there’s more we can do; we know there’s more we can learn. It has been so fabulous to see the appetite of teachers to keep reflecting and improving on their practice in live online lessons. In our discussions about how it is going, teachers report that, whilst they are finding the intensity of this approach exhausting, they are each hugely welcoming the advantages of the continued connection with their classes. Seeing and hearing from our students is helping to keep the spirit of ‘school’ so much more alive than lockdown 1.0.
We are also blessed as a school with exceptional support staff. We are supporting a number of students in school each day, and our classroom support staff are helping them to access the live lessons alongside their peers at home. The care being shown and the support being given is fantastic to see.
Students have also adapted to this situation very well. Some of the initial ‘novelty factor’ has now ebbed away, but this is leading to calmer, more purposeful online classrooms. Thank you to the parents and carers who have been able to check in with their sons and daughters to help keep them on track. We know how tough it is juggling work and home learning for children, but see a massive impact when this support is given.
We have been particularly concerned to reassure our year 11 students over the past fortnight. The cancellation of the summer exams will have been a bitter blow to many. However, Ofqual and the DfE start consulting tomorrow on their proposals for how assessment will take place this year. There is so much of the year to go and everything to play for, so we will stay fully on top of the plans when they are confirmed to make sure that we are right by students’ side every step of the way.
One of the most overused words in recent months has been the word ‘unprecedented’. What has been truly unprecedented, however, has been the number of emails and messages of support and encouragement from parents and carers. This has lifted staff spirits immeasurably and has given real impetus to us all at a difficult time. Thank you to all of those who have taken the time to do this; it is very much appreciated.
As always, we remain here for our whole community. We know how tough the current times are for everyone, on so many levels. If you are struggling and need help, for you or your child, please reach out to us and we will do all we can to support.
Sometimes challenges can appear insurmountable. What the past few weeks has shown is that no challenge can overcome the collective resolve and resilience of a community committed to caring.
Chris Vaudin - Headteacher