Further to yesterday’s update, you will now be aware that the government has announced the closure of all schools (with the exception of specific groups of students) from the end of this Friday 20 March. We are offering a curriculum to all years except Year 7 today, and have an increasing number of teaching staff needing to self-isolate. We will therefore be closing to Year 8 from the end of today, Thursday 19 March.

It is possible that we won’t be able to accommodate other year groups depending on staff self-isolation, but we will only know this later in the morning. As things stand, tomorrow, Friday 20 March will be the last day of normal school until further notice for Years 9 to 13.

From Monday 23 March onwards we will be offering an online curriculum to students at home, and a modified curriculum to vulnerable students and the children of key workers. The government website gives the following information about this (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/schools-colleges-and-early-years-settings-to-close):

“After schools shut their gates on Friday afternoon, they will remain closed until further notice except for children of key workers and vulnerable children, as part of the country’s ongoing response to coronavirus.

Examples of these workers include NHS staff, police and supermarket delivery drivers who need to be able to go to work to support the country’s fight to tackle coronavirus. Vulnerable children include those who have a social worker and those with Education, Health and Care Plans – a legal document that describes a child’s special educational needs and the support they require.”

Further clarification regarding those who constitute key workers will follow soon, and is likely to include children of school staff and social workers as well as those mentioned. As soon as this is clear we will send out an online questionnaire so that key workers in our community can identify themselves, and we can make provision for their children.

You will also have heard that all GCSE and A level examinations have been cancelled for Years 11 and 13. The Department for Education will be working with the qualifications authorities to work out how to award grades to students for these qualifications. It would be wrong of us to give any indication of how this will work as we simply don’t know. The Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Education have however, promised that all students will be awarded the qualifications that they have earned during their time in school.

We will be running a laptop loan scheme for students working remotely, but have only a fraction of the number of laptops available that we have students. We would therefore ask that parents only apply for these if absolutely necessary. Please watch our news feeds for further updates.