Welcome Back page is live
We have launched the Welcome Back page to provide students (and parents/carers!) with further detailed information for the return to the Academy next week. All students should watch the entire video for their year group and study the information carefully, so they will be as prepared as possible for their return.
Important information regarding the reopening of the Academy to all students.
To allow us to bring all students back into the Academy as quickly as possible, we are implementing a phased return over a short period of time. Mass testing presents various challenges, as not only do we need to use our large spaces for testing, we also need to use these spaces to keep students apart until the outcome of their initial test is known. In order to do this, it has been necessary to stagger the start for students. By adopting this approach, we are able to complete the initial phase of testing quickly, so that all students can return to face-to-face teaching by Wednesday 10 March 2021.
Children of critical workers and those currently accessing provision will continue to follow their current pattern of attendance until students in their year group return fully. They will complete supervised remote learning until face-to-face teaching recommences for their peers.
We are asking our older students who have provided consent for testing to come into the Academy this week to allow us to do their first test as follows:
Thursday 4 March 2021 - Year 11 and Year 13 by appointment only*
Friday 5 March 2021 - Year 10 and Year 12, by appointment only*
* Students in Years 10/11/12/13 (who have given consent) will book their appointment through Firefly,. Details of how to do this will be in the letter sent out to all parents later today. Students must not arrive more than 10 minutes before their scheduled time. They will need to return home after testing and follow the current lockdown guidance. Students arriving for testing should not come with groups of friends and they must always maintain social distancing from others.
Returning to the Academy on 8th March.
Please can all parents make sure they have read this letter regarding the re-opening of the Academy to all students on the 8th March.
Urgent Advice from Professor D Harrison, Director of Public Health, BwD
Professor Harrison issued his alert following new guidance from the World Health Organisation which has recognised that there are other symptoms sometimes found in positive cases where the classic symptoms are not displayed.
He is advising people who display any of these milder symptoms to get a coronavirus test as soon as possible.
Prof Harrison said: “At the moment, national instruction is for people to get tested if they are showing the three main symptoms: a high temperature, a persistent cough or a loss of smell or taste.
However, many other countries advise residents to seek a test if they have any one of 11 known principal symptoms. They include: diarrhoea, a persistent headache, fever and chills, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, and nausea or vomiting.
Across Lancashire, we have seen reports of residents who have only experienced, for example, diarrhoea or a persistent and unusual headache lasting more than 24 hours, who later turn out to have a confirmed COVID-19 case.
With that in mind, I am now advising anyone in Blackburn with Darwen who is worried or has any doubts about their possible COVID-19 symptoms to get tested as soon as possible.
When you are booking a test, if you don’t have the classic symptoms, simply say you don’t. A few clicks later on the website, you can then choose the option which says: ‘My local council or health protection team has asked me (or someone I live with) to get a test, even though I do not have symptoms’.
Alongside the vaccination programme, testing continues to be one of the most vital tools to help us reduce the spread of infection.”
Professor Harrison advises our community to follow self-isolation national guidance until the PCR test is confirmed. We ask all parents to follow the above advice regarding taking your child for a PCR test if they suffer any of the above symptoms – your child must follow national guidance regarding isolation until the result of the PCR test is known.
Asymptomatic testing update
The Academy will offer all students two lateral flow tests upon their return to on site provision. However, there have been two updates to the asymptomatic testing guidance.
Further details of how your child can access this will be shared ahead of their return.
The Blackburn Diocesan Board of Education have shared these videos from the Director of the Diocesan Board of Education (Stephen Whittaker) and the Venerable David Picken, Archdeacon of Lancaster and Chair of the Board of Education. They give a message of thankfulness, reassurance and hope to all staff and students in these times of uncertainty; in particular those students in Year 11 and 13.
Please can all critical worker parents/carers read this letter regarding booking places for their children at the Academy.
Please can all parents/carers read this letter regarding our return in January.
Please can all parents/carers read this letter regarding remote learning.
Please be sure to read the latest letter regarding self isolation guidance and what to do with regards to the Test and Trace system over the Christmas holiday period.
As of 17/10/2020, Lancashire will move to the highest level of alert under the new 3 tier alert system. This means that further restrictions will come into place for the region.
I would like to inform you that the Academy will remain open for all students except those who:
If any of the above apply, everyone in the household should stay at home and follow this guidance. Sending a student to school if they fall into the above categories puts others at risk. For the safety of all please follow this guidance fully.
If a student is isolating due to any of the above reasons, they can access work via Firefly. For students without access to a digital device, work packs will be provided.
If there is a change to the opening of the Academy due to changes at local or national government level, you will be notified.
Start of Term in September
Dear Parents/Carers, please read this letter which includes details regarding the start of term in September.
Dear Parents/ Carers, please read this letter with details regarding the mobile testing site set up at Witton Park.
Delay to wider re-opening
Dear Parents/ Carers,
I have received an update from Blackburn with Darwen Council this morning which advises schools to delay their wider opening for Years 10 & 12 until at least 22 June, in response to the regional rise in the R rate.
As a result of this advice, the Academy will only be welcoming those students who are the children of key workers, or those who have been directly invited to attend, in line with strict government guidance, on to the site until 22 June 2020 at the earliest. It is essential that parents/ carers who are key workers have a confirmed place booked for their child. Please ensure that you update us if your shift pattern changes and you do not need a place so that we can staff accordingly. I would ask that parents/ carers refer to the letter sent out on Friday 5 June outlining the process to confirm a place for your child. The Academy will be open from 8.15am until 3.45pm each day for students.
Staff will continue to set work for students who are studying at home and I would ask that you continue to monitor your child’s progress through Firefly, liaising with staff at the Academy as necessary.
I will write to you again in the coming weeks to keep you up to date with our plans for the wider opening of the Academy and how we will continue to support our students at this time.
I would like to thank you for your continued support at this time and I pray that you and your families remain safe and well.
Miss C Huddleston
Transition Events – Update
Following discussions with the Local Authority and based upon restrictions placed upon schools by the Government in relation to a limit on student numbers and strict social distancing guidelines, we have taken the decision to postpone our Year 6 Parents’ Induction Evenings (scheduled for 15th/16th June) and our Year 6 Transition Days (scheduled for 1st-3rd July).
We take great pride in our Y6 transition programme and although we appreciate that the current situation with regards to COVID-19 will undoubtedly make the process much more challenging than in previous years, we are committed to ensuring that each and every child offered a place with us for September, still receives the best possible transition experience.
We have been working hard over recent weeks to create a full virtual tour of our Academy, along with an extensive Y6 Induction Guide that will allow our new students to experience and learn everything they need to know about St. Wilfrid’s ahead of September. We have also prepared a detailed Y6 Parent Induction video that explains how we can work together over the coming weeks and months to best support each child.
We will be writing to you over the comings weeks to provide all of the relevant Induction materials, as well as an update on our transition plans for the first week in September. We will continue to work closely with our Primary Schools and the Local Authority to ensure the most detailed academic and pastoral information is collated, to allow us to provide the best possible support for your child.
We thank you for your patience and understanding at this most challenging of times and look forward to working with you over the coming months as we prepare to welcome your child to St Wilfrid’s.
We are currently working alongside the Local Authority and Primary Schools to clarify the safest way to proceed with transition of Year 6 over the coming weeks and will be writing to all Year 6 parents in early June with further details.
Please be reassured that we are working hard behind the scenes to adapt this years’ transition experience to ensure every one of our Year 6 students and parents receives the most detailed information and the best possible induction to our Academy. Thank you for your patience.
Miss C Huddleston
Letter regarding reopening of the Academy.
As you will be aware, the Prime Minister announced on Sunday the Government’s plan to begin to allow specific pupils to attend school from the 1 June 2020 at the earliest, as part of the wider opening of schools.
The specific year groups referenced are year 10 and year 12. The Government guidance states, ‘we will ask secondary schools, sixth form and further education colleges to offer some face-to face support to supplement the remote education of year 10 and year 12’. This is in addition to the children who fall into the priority groups as identified in Department for Education (DfE) guidance issued throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. The Government and the DfE will continue to release guidance over the coming days to further help schools and local authorities come to an informed decision and develop a risk-sensible action plan for reopening.
First and foremost, I would like to reassure you all. Any decision regarding how our students and staff return to the Academy and how it functions over the coming months, will be arrived at by keeping in mind the safety and wellbeing of the St Wilfrid’s community. It is important that you do not assume that all year 10 and year 12 will be in full time from 1 June 2020 – this will not necessarily be the case.
The guidance we have received very clearly gives directions about expected social distancing measures. You will appreciate that any social distancing implemented is only successful if the students maintain this. We will in due course provide further information about how we intend to extend our opening and how we will expect all students to conduct themselves without question for the safety of all in the Academy.
To facilitate the wider opening, we will need to make significant changes to student groupings in order to meet the requirement of a maximum of 15 students in any classroom; our current thinking is to have smaller groups to be able to provide more personalised support. It is important that you understand that for students in other year groups, and for those in year 10 and 12 who are unable to return for shielding reasons, the remote learning provision will continue. I am sharing this information with you so that as a parent/carer, you are able to make an informed decision about sending your child back to the Academy. This is particularly important for those of you who are shielding for your own health reasons. It is important that as parents/carers you know that, whatever decision you take about your child returning to the Academy, you will have my full support.
I am aware that you will have many questions and concerns and I am conscious that I am not able to give you all the answers right now; this is an unprecedented situation which continues to evolve. If you have any questions or concerns around the potential wider opening of the Academy please email these to firstname.lastname@example.org. Whilst I will not be able to respond to each communication directly, it will give me and my senior team a feel for the things you are most anxious about and it will allow us to seek to address these concerns in our planning and communications with you wherever possible. I will provide more details about our plans around the extension of school opening in due course.
I know that I am fortunate to have your patience, support and trust at this difficult time and it is very much appreciated. I pray that you and your family are safe and well and that you remain so in the coming weeks and months.
Miss C Huddleston
Update on Academy learning from home procedures
I hope this letter finds you and your family safe and well. Firstly, I would like to thank you for your support and patience over the first couple of weeks of the Academy closure. This unique set of circumstances has presented a number of challenges for everyone both at school and at home. Although our physical school may be closed for the vast majority, we continue to work hard to ensure we provide the best possible support and educational provision for all of our students.
Over recent weeks we have been in contact with a number of parents as we gather valuable feedback on our approach to home learning and the use of Firefly to deliver tasks to our students. Moving our teaching to these mediums in such a short space of time was never going to be without its challenges and although we are aware that there are still some small technical issues, we are reassured that most of these initial glitches do appear to have been resolved – and we thank you for your patience with this.
We are however very mindful that although the continuation of learning is extremely important, the new teaching methods we have adopted, along with the change in routine for many of our students, have caused some additional stress and anxiety, and we are keen to ensure that we support not only our students’ academic progress but their emotional and mental wellbeing as we move forward.
With this in mind, we write to you to provide an update on how we are continuing to develop and refine our learning provision to students as we move towards Easter and beyond.
We have taken the decision that as of Monday 6 April there will be no new tasks set by teachers on Firefly for students until the end of our official Easter holiday. This will provide students with time to catch up on any learning tasks set by their teachers and submit any outstanding work. No learning tasks (apart from reading for Years 7 & 8) will be set by teachers over the Easter holiday to also allow time for students to rest and recuperate ahead of the Summer Term. Home learning will then recommence on Monday 27 April.
We will also be working with our teachers to further streamline the setting of tasks on Firefly so that only learning activities appear within each student’s Tasks To Do list, with our extra-curricular offering now appearing as Recommendations in a separate area of the Firefly dashboard. This small change is intended to make the management of tasks much easier for students.
We have created a short video which explains all of the above and we would be grateful if you would watch this along with your child. The video can be viewed on Firefly, within the Coronavirus latest section of our Academy website www.saintwilfrids.co.uk or via the St Wilfrid’s YouTube channel.
Finally, I would like to wish you and your family a safe, restful and relaxing Easter. We continue to pray for every member of our St Wilfrid’s family and although there are undoubtedly still many challenges ahead, we look forward to continuing to work in partnership with you to best support your child.
IMPORTANT EXAMINATION INFORMATION
I am well aware that a level of anxiety remains regarding the awarding of grades at KS4 and KS5 this summer.
As you may have heard, Ofqal is working closely with the DfE, examination boards and school leaders to ensure that the awarding of grades is fair and reflects the true picture of yourperformance on your chosen course.
The DfE has issued some guidance about how this may work. However, we await further information which will guide us as to how, as a school, we will support this process. The link below takes to you the DfE document:
It is important to note that schools will be using a range of information to submit a judgement about the calculated grade for you in every subject that you have been entered for. Until a clear process has been identified by the authorities, we are unable to identify how this will work. We are also not able to comment on your potential grades at this stage and we would ask for your understanding with this. This process will involve decisions based on your work set by teachers at the Academyand it is highly unlikely that we will take into consideration information from private tutors. The current government intention is to publish grades in July, although an exact date has yet to be confirmed.
I do wish to remind you of the importance of completing work set by subject teachers as this may provide additional evidence to inform the grades you are awarded. If you are asked for additional work will you please send this electronically to your teacher, or await further instruction if you are producing work which cannot be sent via email/Firefly. It is important to remember that the knowledge and skills that you are developing now will help to ensure that you are ready to progress to your next steps in education or employment when you have completed your studies at the Academy.
I trust that you and your family will keep safe in the coming weeks and I would like to assure you all that my staff and I will work to secure you the grades you deserve.
Miss C Huddleston
Please read the advice from the government found at this link and also the information contained in this download:
All sporting clubs and fixtures are now cancelled/postponed for the foreseeable future.
We would like to reassure all our parents/carers, students, staff and the wider community that the Academy is continuing to closely monitor all the relevant guidance from Public Health England and other government agencies about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Currently, the UK government is continuing to say that schools and colleges should remain open, so that is what we are doing until we are instructed otherwise. Following the advice received, we have taken a number of key actions to help keep the Academy community safe. These include putting in place extra cleaning, ensuring access to hand washing facilities along with daily reminders on how to minimise the risk of contracting the virus.
Please be reassured that we continue to review all information available from the government along with public health advice and will communicate with you should any changes to our normal routines be necessary. The link below may provide you with further information: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-advice/
We thank you for your continued support.