The Grey Coat Hospital

Church of England Comprehensive School for Girls

 
 

Parents' Home Page

Message to the Grey Coat community on 10th July 2020

Dear students, staff, parents and carers,

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

Student attendance for on-site subject and information sessions has continued to be high. We have hosted workshops for Year 10 Art, Year 10 and Year 12 Music, Year 11 Orientation and Year 12 Sociology. Our mixed-age Nurture Group is growing steadily and now comprises over 80 students. Each time students and staff have returned to the school site for the first time since lockdown, their joy at seeing familiar faces and interacting with each other was very clear and we are impatient to return to some kind of “normality” as soon as possible.

All year groups have experienced online sessions with their staff now which prepares the school well for the the next academic year in the event of a local lockdown. We have enjoyed speaking with students in Years 7-10 and 12 individually during their tutorial sessions on TEAMS this week. Parents and carers will have received an overview of progress in all subjects together with action steps for the future. Father Myles has focused on collective worship sessions on TEAMS with Year 8 and will move on to speak with Year 9 next week. Real Time Contact sessions (RTCs) have continued on TEAMS for Years 10 and 12 in all subjects. Next week, we will also run RTCs for Years 7, 8 and 9 in the core subjects of English, Mathematics, Science and Modern Languages. The feedback we receive from students, parents and staff continues to inform our planning and provision.

Success stories continue to emerge about students who have chosen to go well beyond school work during lockdown and put their talents to great use. Christina Adane in Year 11 has been campaigning for important issues such as BLM, climate change and continued government provision of Free School Meals throughout the summer holidays. Her petition to maintain FSM provision throughout the summer gained over 270,000 signatures and was an important step towards making this a reality. In the process of her campaign, Christina has written for the Sunday Times, the New Statesman and the Daily Mirror, The Guardian and The Big Issue and appeared on BBC Radio 4 and News Round. Christina says, “There is a HUGE demand for young people with a voice, please realise you are valuable and that you can make a difference.” Christina embodies the Grey Coat spirit in a wonderful way and we are extremely proud of her.

The Prime Minister has today addressed all school leavers and you can find his speech at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-WsDuO6Gmw. He reflects on the impact of lockdown on students’ personal lives and schooling, thanks them for their support of the national effort in fighting Covid-19 and encourages them to look forward to the opportunities that lie ahead.    

We have also been reassuring our Year 11 and 13 students this week, following a range of media reports regarding this summer’s GCSE and A Level results. The School has conducted an extremely thorough and professional process in determining centre-assessed grades, based on a wide range of available information and a deep knowledge of each student. Judgements have been rooted also in the experience and expertise of its staff and the track record of the School’s examination success in previous years. We are therefore confident that we have done our very best by our students and look forward to welcoming Year 11 and 13 into school on results days. We will share more information about how we intend to organise these days with you next week.

Meanwhile, we continue to develop our plans for a full opening of our school in September and will update you on these once they have been finalised.  

With best wishes,

Susanne Staab

 

Message to the Grey Coat community on 3rd July 2020

Dear students, staff, parents and carers,

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

We have had a wonderfully vibrant week here at school whilst our provision of remote learning, enrichment, worshipping and community building has also continued. The quality of the work that many of our students have produced under the (remote) expert guidance of our teaching staff has been superb. The engagement with remote learning across the school has been high overall and compares extremely well with a range of other schools.

Our Year 12 UCAS sessions saw between 90-100% attendance across all four session and students reported that they had found these very useful. We provided a variety of subject sessions in Product Design, Textiles and Drama for Year 10 and in Art for both Years 10 and 12. These were also well attended with between 65%-100% of students across the week. This suggests that confidence is growing and that students are keen to return to life in school. Students and staff very much enjoyed working together, consolidating and developing the work that had been done at home. A great deal of (appropriately distanced) socialising also took place in our outdoor “pods” as many of the girls had not seen each other in person for some time.

Over the next two weeks, we will run further subject-based workshops at school for Year 12 in Sociology, Mathematics, Music, History and English, whilst Year 10 will participate in Music and BTEC Sport coursework sessions. We will additionally welcome back our Year 11 students in small groups for an Orientation Day in preparation for entry to the Sixth Form. All this can be done safely and with all appropriate protective measures in place.

Next week, we will hold one-to-one tutorial sessions on TEAMS with students to discuss how they have got on with their learning and more generally during lockdown; and how we can help to support them with their next steps. Parents will receive an end-of-year report which will reflect that discussion and will contain an overview of all subjects.

Father Myles has been conducting collective worship sessions on TEAMS with students in Year 7 and will move on to hold those with Years 8 and 9 in the next two weeks. Real Time Contact sessions (RTCs) will continue on TEAMS for Years 10 and 12 in all subjects and we will run RTCs for Years 7, 8 and 9 in the core subjects of English, Mathematics, Science and Modern Languages as well.

A number of students have tested their skills against stiff competition at national level. Most recently, Chelsea Aliu in Year 12 received the wonderful news that she had reached the Final of the “Making Links Schools Challenge 2020” as Runner-Up; she received an award not only for herself, but also for the School in the value of £1,000. She will shortly discuss how this should be invested in the School with her Head of Year. This achievement, within the context of a national competition and many high-calibre candidates, says a lot about Chelsea’s values, skills and motivation and the School is very proud of her indeed.

The Grey Coat PE staff have this week been recognised by School Games for their support, commitment and engagement of virtual PE programmes, as a result of the exceptionally high engagement shown by our students during this time of lockdown. We are very proud of our students and of our highly skilled and passionate staff.

We are also delighted that once again, the academic outcomes of our students in the summer examination series 2019 place The Grey Coat Hospital in the top 10% of non-selective secondary schools and sixth forms nationally – for outstanding attainment and progress at GCSE and for attainment at A Level in academic subjects. This is great testimony not only to the expertise and dedication of the School’s staff but also to the hard work and ambition of its students. We therefore look forward with confidence to the examination outcomes of our Year 11 and 13 students this summer.

I wrote to you last week in anticipation of the government guidance on the full re-opening of schools in September 2020. This guidance has now been published and can be found in full at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools. You can see from the volume of information contained therein, that schools now have a lot to discuss and consider in preparation for a successful and safe start to the next academic year. We are working on our plans and will update you again once these have been finalised.

With best wishes,

Susanne Staab

 

Message to the Grey Coat community on 26th June 2020

Dear students, staff, parents and carers,

“I love you, Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (Psalm 18:1)

During these past few days, we have heard positive news about Covid-19 infections and related deaths slowing down.

The government has announced wider relaxation of lockdown measures and the prospect of schools returning fully in September. We await further guidance on this and will update you as soon as we have this. We will further expand and refine our provision with your input and support, and get ready for the next academic year with the best interests of all our students at heart.

Meanwhile, the variety of learning and enrichment activities in school and online are increasing further as this term goes on.

We continue with:

  • the setting, monitoring and assessment of curriculum work remotely on Microsoft TEAMS for Years 7-10 and 12
  • weekly RTCs (Real Time Contact Sessions) for Years 10 and 12 in all subjects
  • in-school supervised remote learning for a Nurture Group of Years 7-10 and 12
  • in-school UCAS application support sessions for all Year 12 students, on a rotational basis
  • online support with “next steps”, enrichment and work related learning for Year 11 and Year 13 students
  • facilitation of online work experience for Year 12 students
  • online counselling sessions all week and in-school counsellor support on Wednesdays
  • regular telephone, email and home visit contact with any students who need our particular support
  • the strengthening of our community spirit and Christian ethos through our online Daily Bulletin
  • an online prayer group with Father Myles for parents which is open to anyone to join
  • online Christian Union meetings with Father Myles

During the remainder of this term, in addition to the above, we are providing:

  • in-school taught sessions for Art (Y10+12), Music (Y110+12), Drama (Y10), Product Design (Y10), Textiles (Y10) and BTEC Sport coursework (Y10)
  • a Y12 English immersion day
  • RTCs in core subjects (English, Maths, Science, Modern Foreign Languages) for Years 7, 8 and 9
  • Online Collective Worship sessions with Father Myles for Years 7, 8 and 9
  • Pastoral meetings (ATDs) for every child in Years 7 to 10 and 12
  • Further enrichment and work related learning opportunities

All this will be possible whilst maintaining all protective measures including the 2m distancing rule.

We have also received 31 laptops from the Department for Education, following a successful bid. This will enable us to provide additional spaces for students in school to join our mixed-age Nurture Group and participate in supervised remote learning sessions. The students who have been attending this Group have told us that they find it beneficial to have contact with other students; to have a quiet space with access to a computer where they can do work; and to benefit from staff support when they have questions about the work set by their teachers, or need any other help. The success of the Nurture Group is shown by its growth from 38 pupils on 1st June to 64 pupils this week. We will send out further invites next week and very much hope that students will see the advantage of taking part.

I am proud to say that our School continues to be a safe place to learn, socialise and grow, even in these most difficult times, and thank you for all your support.

Best wishes and God Bless,

Susanne Staab

 

Message to the Grey Coat community on 10th June 2020

Dear Students, Parents and Carers,

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)

We are now into Day 8 of our wider opening for priority students from Years 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12. Reflecting on that experience; taking account of student, staff and parent feedback; and carefully considering the government guidance for secondary schools has informed our planning for the next steps during Term 6.

What have we learnt from having students on site since 1st June 2020?

Students and staff have appreciated seeing each other and following a routine. Students have told us they like having the opportunity to complete their online learning tasks in a quiet environment with access to a computer and the ability to ask general questions about their work. Staff have reported that students work with focus and like being on top of their work. We have our school counsellor on site each Wednesday to supplement the online support provided by the charity MIND and other school resources, and this has also been much appreciated by students who benefit from those appointments.

Students and staff tell us that they feel safe at School due to the range of protective measures we have implemented to control the spread of Covid-19. This includes asking anyone who is unwell to stay at home; encouraging regular hand-washing; reminding everyone of good respiratory hygiene; providing antibacterial wipes and safe disposal bags in each room; marking out queuing slots; distancing study spaces and break time picnic areas; doing enhanced cleaning routines; and keeping students together in the same groups as much as possible.

Indoor spaces are currently reduced to at most a third of their capacity due to the need for implementing the 2 metre social distancing rule.

In total, we invited 108 students initially but due to concerns related to Covid-19 we have only had between 32 and 36 students attend each day. This take-up rate suggests that many people are still concerned about the spread of Covid-19 and prefer the safety of remote learning. This has been confirmed by online surveys we have done with Years 10 and 12. We hope that increasingly, people will be able to feel more confident.

How have we approached remote learning since March 2020?

Since schools nationally were closed on 20th March, we have been developing our approach to online learning. This has been a huge learning curve for staff and students alike and the journey continues. We have taken regular feedback from students, staff and parents and have refined what we do in response to this, as much as possible. After initially setting work via email, we now all use Microsoft TEAMS to set work in a multi-media way to suit different learning styles and needs; to engage with students using the Chat function; to receive student work; and to provide feedback.

Once it became clear that public examinations would be cancelled, we started to provide Y11 with detailed transition materials in each subject in order to prepare for entry to their chosen sixth form courses. We have also been giving them online opportunities for developing career related learning and wider skills development. Year 13 have been supplied with enrichment tasks and materials for each of their subjects in preparation for university, as well as receiving extensive support for their next steps beyond school.

Years 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12 have all been set tasks in line with their normal school curriculum as well as enrichment and catch-up opportunities. Staff are monitoring submission of work and are assessing student progress. It is reassuring to find that engagement with these tasks has been high. Where students have reported difficulties, we have provided additional support and/or invited students into school to work under supervision from 1st June.

For Year 12, we have been able to conduct some online learning “in real time” early on during lockdown, as groups are often small and it is therefore quite easy to ensure that all students can have access to this opportunity at the same time. For all other year groups, the TEAMS platform has been a way of receiving and completing work at a time that suits different types of home circumstances, both for students and staff.  

How have we approached pastoral care?

Our Heads of Year and our Inclusion Team have worked tirelessly to provide pastoral support remotely - using email, telephone and direct contact to address a variety of issues. It is evident that everyone is experiencing this Covid-19 crisis differently and we have responded flexibly and individually to any concerns raised. A number of students have taken up the offer of supervised remote learning in school from 1st June and tell us that they find this beneficial. We continue to work closely with a range of outside agencies and Social Services.

How have we reinforced our Christian ethos and our community spirit?

Our Daily Bulletin offers contributions on topics light and serious, with which everyone can engage. We are getting over 1,000 hits on that site on average each day, which is a brilliant testimony of how well this is received. Students past and present, staff and parents all contribute to it. There are daily thoughts from the Student Chaplain and the School Chaplain, and prayer groups have formed. There are records of memories of past school events celebrating our great community spirit and we are told of new ventures that students and staff are undertaking.

What feedback have we received from students and parents?

We have so far conducted surveys with Year 7, 10 and 12 and have taken a lot of individual feedback, too. Further surveys with other year groups will follow.

On the positive side, it is clear that students in all year groups like the multi-media style tasks and instructions that we set on TEAMS as these give variety and help learning. Recorded explanations and instructions are particularly popular as students can listen back to them repeatedly in their own time. Direct contact with the teacher (online) is also much desired in order to enable more detailed explanations of material and asking/answering of questions. We know from monitoring work being handed in that engagement with remote learning overall is high.

The key concerns that students and parents report are about ICT access issues as many share devices and have weak WIFI connections; lack of quiet personal work space at home; and difficulty keeping motivated for longer periods of time at home. As a general rule, the younger students need more careful structuring and explaining of the work than older students. All miss “normal” school and would like to return as soon as it is safe to do so.

At the time the surveys were taken (shortly before May half term for Year 7 and last week for Years 10/12) there was low interest in physically attending school and high interest in opportunities for direct online engagement with teachers.

The vast majority of our students travel to and from school using public transport and this is currently of concern.

What feedback have we received from staff?

Staff want nothing more than do the best for their students and to return to “normal” school life as soon as it is safe to do so. They are keen to move towards more direct online opportunities for engagement with their classes in order to clarify topics, address misconceptions and support students in mastering their subject. They are anxious about the loss of learning, particularly among Year 10 and Year 12, and the variation in student progress that will inevitably have occurred as a result of widely varying circumstances of families within the school community. They want our next steps to be manageable in terms of workload for both students and staff; and provide as many face-to-face opportunities as can safely be achieved. Other options such as online academic tutorials, subject immersion sessions and live UCAS preparation, in addition to inviting struggling students into school for supervised remote learning and support are all desired.

Many staff have childcare and other issues to deal with at home, just like many of our parents do,  and have to address these in addition to their higher than usual workload. Many have medical vulnerabilities or live with someone who is medically vulnerable. The vast majority of staff travel to and from school using public transport and are concerned about how safe this currently is.

What does the government guidance for secondary schools say?

From 15 June 2020, schools should offer some face-to-face support to supplement the remote education of Year 10 and Year 12 pupils, which should remain the predominant mode of education during this term for pupils in these year groups.

Working with the parameters set out in the guidance, schools have the flexibility to implement face-to-face support for year 10 and year 12 pupils in the way that best suits their circumstances, including considerations around staff availability and workload.

The government’s assessment, based on the latest scientific and medical advice, is that schools need to continue to control the numbers attending on site to reduce the risk of increasing transmission. Therefore, schools should limit pupils in year 10 and year 12 cohort to at most a quarter of pupils in school at any one time.

Where rotas are planned to be used, schools should avoid split day rotas within the same day and ensure that only a quarter of children are ever in the school on any one day, so morning and afternoon rotas should not be applied.

Schools should ensure that no pupils are on the school grounds unless for agreed contact time or attendance as above. Schools should try to minimise the risks out of school, for example by considering how pupils travel to and from school.

Our next steps

From 15th June onwards, we will:

  • Widen our offer of supervised remote learning to selected students in Years 10 and 12 who are struggling with work as identified by the School. Parents of these students will receive an invite for their child to attend school.
  • Continue to set multi-media style work on TEAMS for all students in Years 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12. This is well received and will ensure that all students can access learning at a time of their choosing. Our ICT team will re-issue instructions to students with voice-over of how to use Microsoft TEAMS effectively.
  • Provide Year 10 students with “Real Time Contact sessions (RTCs)” via TEAMS in every single subject to enhance and supplement existing remote learning provision, in line with a published timetable. The purpose of the RTCs is for subjects to have opportunity to tackle any issues arising from new learning, address questions asked in real time, clarify the work previously set on TEAMS; check understanding and reinforce; but NOT to teach new content as not all students will be able to tune in at the same time. There will be at least one RTC per week per subject. The teacher’s face and voice will be there, but students will have their cameras switched off. RTCs will take place Mondays to Fridays. Sessions will start at 9.55am each day and students will need to ensure that they are ready for learning. Online attendance at these sessions will be monitored by the School. A timetable will be issued to students tomorrow.
  • Our Y12 approach of setting work on TEAMs and also providing RTCs will continue and develop further; there are already real time contact opportunities in place; teachers will ensure that these take place during timetabled A Level slots. There will be at least one RTC per subject per week. A Level teachers will contact their classes to arrange times.
  • Our Y12 UCAS preparation will continue as a mixture of online learning and live sessions. The Head of Year will be in touch with students.

From 6th July at the latest, we will organize one-to-one online progress meeting via Microsoft TEAMS for each student and their parents in Year 7, 8, 9 ,10 and 12. Staff will record any required steps for support and these will be implemented thereafter. You will receive further updates about these in due course.  

The last week of term will be dedicated to enrichment for Years 7, 8 and 9; and work related learning for Years 10 and 12. Further information will follow.

A range of further options will be considered for later this term, when it is considered safe to do so, including KS3 online pastoral sessions; a rotation of Y10 and Y12 students into school for practical subjects; a rotation of year groups in school to receive extended subject revision/consolidation sessions; and a rotation of Y11 into school for sixth form induction.

We will continue to work with the whole school community to consider a range of options in the light of government guidance and Health and Safety considerations, and keep you informed of any steps we take.

Will we be back to “normal school” from September 2020?

There is nothing that we would all like more than to return to “normal school” as soon as possible. This is also the ambition expressed by the government this week. However, this may not be possible as quickly as we may like and we may be looking at various scenarios in September:

  • If it is considered safe to do so, we will see a full return to “normal school”.
  • If protective measures against Covid-19 need to continue, students may be taught in school on a rota system and this would be combined with online learning.  
  • If there is another spike in Covid-19 cases, local lockdowns may be necessary and schools may need to revert to remote education.

I would like to thank parents and carers for the many kind comments and messages of support we have received about our work during this crisis. These, together with your constructive comments and suggestions, are greatly appreciated.

Whilst writing, I would also like to draw your attention to our updated privacy notices which are available on our website and our VLE.

Best wishes,

Susanne Staab

 

Message to the Grey Coat community on 19th May 2020

Dear Parents and Carers, 

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)

Schools nationally closed on 20th March 2020 for all except any children of key workers and vulnerable children who could not stay safely at home. From 23 March, we began our remote learning provision for all year groups and moved other functions such as the office, finance and site teams to remote working as well. In the week beginning 23 March, we supervised an extremely small number of children and this reduced to less than a handful as the week progressed. We had a rota of staff volunteers in school supervising those children’s remote learning. As illness increased that week, and as the virus continued to spread in the wider community, we made the decision to go wholly remote from 30th March. We made alternative supervision arrangements for those children whose parents advised us that they could not stay safely at home.  

As this crisis has unfolded, school staff have in many cases worked harder than at any point in their professional lives and I am proud to be part of such a dedicated and hard-working staff body. Parents too have been magnificent in attempting to support their children’s learning while in many cases, also trying to continue to work. Despite all of these endeavours, students’ experiences during lockdown have inevitably been variable - and we know that we can achieve the best outcomes for our students when they are with us, physically, at school. Both our students and staff miss the physical school community and would like a return to normality as soon as is safely possible.  

Due to on-going efforts to control the spread of Covid-19, it is likely that remote learning and working will have to continue in some form for most students for some time yet, and we are sadly not going to be able to restore the “normal” school day for a while.  

In my email to you last week, I summarised the latest government guidance on re-opening schools from 1st June and advised that we would plan accordingly. You can remind yourself of the content of that message by scrolling on at the end of this communication to my message of 13th May 2020.

We would of course all like nothing more than a swift return to “normality” and to re-unite as a community. However, we must consider everyone’s health, safety and wellbeing and the School will therefore proceed with caution.  

In our first phase of re-opening, starting on 1st June 2020, we will be providing supervised study for our high priority students from a mixture of year groups. Students will be invited to attend and, should they choose to do so, they will have access to a quiet study space with internet connectivity and a computer station. They will be required to complete the school work being set on Microsoft Teams, just as they would be at home. They will not, however, have any taught lessons in school, as we cannot operate a two-tier system which disadvantages those who cannot safely be at school. 

Students who show symptoms of Covid-19, or those who live with somebody who shows any of these symptoms, must not attend school under any circumstances. Th

Students who have a medical condition that places them at increased risk from Covid-19; and those who live with somebody who is considered to be at increased risk, should decide with their parents and carers whether it might be safer for them to continue learning from home, in accordance with the latest advice. No parent will be fined for deciding to continue online learning for their child at home during the current crisis. 

Whilst in school, the following procedures will apply and must be observed for the sake of everyone’s health and safety at this current time: 

  1. Pupil to staff ratio, grouping and social distancing: students will be allocated to a group of no more than 15, supervised by a member of staff. They must remain in that group at all times whilst in school. Social distancing must be observed at all times whilst in school. 
  2. Entry to school on arrival: full school uniform must be worn. Students (and staff) may wear face coverings to and from school and whilst in school, if desired. The school is unable to provide these, however. Entry will be by the back entrance of St Andrew’s building for students and by the front entrance for staff. Students should immediately proceed to the toilets and wash their hands thoroughly before signing in at reception and then making their way to their allocated study space.  
  3. Management of study spaces: these will be ventilated and students will be seated so as to observe social distancing whilst working on tasks remotely set by their teachers. Students will be allocated a room and a study space and must stick to this at all times. Rooms and surfaces will be cleaned at the end of each day. 
  4. Management of corridors and stairs: students are expected to move swiftly from place to place, adhering to social distancing at all times. A one-way system will be implemented and sign-posted and must be followed. 
  5. Management of transport to/from school: government advice is to avoid public transport where possible. Transport for London has issued separate advice for those who have no alternative. We will operate a shortened day to help everyone who needs to use public transport to avoid the rush hour. This is the structure of the day we propose to run: 
    • Arrival between 9.45am and 9.55am via the back entrance of St Andrew’s building 
    • 10am – 11.30am: study session 1 
    • 11.30am – 12pm: break 1 
    • 12pm to 1.30pm: study session 2 
    • 1.30pm to 2pm: break 2 
    • 2pm to 3pm: study session 3 
    • Departure at 3pm 
  6. Management of toilet facilities: Students will be allowed to use designated toilets throughout the day, rather than all at once during the breaks, in order to be able to maintain social distancing in the toilet areas. There will be markers on the floor outside the toilets to allow students to observe social distancing whilst in the queue. The facilities will be thoroughly cleaned at the end of each day and will be well stocked with hand soap. The hand washing rules will be regularly reinforced and encouraged. 
  7. Management of break times: students will be supervised during break time and social distancing must be maintained at all times. We will use the courtyard in fine weather and a large indoor space in poor weather. Social distancing will be enabled through directed seating indoors and clear markers on the ground outdoors. We are unable to offer a canteen service at this time and students should bring sufficient food and drink to last throughout the day. The voucher scheme will continue for all children who are in receipt of free school meals.  

Once this provision is in place and the routines are working smoothly, we will plan for an increase in our offer, such as some face-to-face contact with Y10 and Y12 students if we consider that we can safely provide it. Further updates on this process will follow in due course. The parents and carers of students in our priority group will receive a text message shortly to invite their child into school for supervised remote learning.  

Please be aware that whilst we hope to operate this provision from 1st June, the government will review the situation again on 28th May and will only give the go-ahead for a phased re-opening of schools if it is considered safe to do so. We may also need to adjust the number of students we can accommodate in school at any time, dependent on the availability of staff.  

With best wishes, 

Susanne Staab

 

Message to the Grey Coat community on 13th May 2020

Dear students, parents and carers,

“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

I trust and pray that you are all keeping as well as possible in these challenging times.

As you will no doubt be aware, the Prime Minister last Sunday outlined his plans for the country’s re-emergence from lockdown.

Late on Monday and on-going since then, schools have been receiving government guidance, further detailing how these plans affect schools.

You can find the first suite of guidance documents in full at actions for educational and childcare settings to prepare for wider opening.

Below is my own summary of the key points within that guidance:

Timing for wider opening

  • Phased opening of schools from 1 June if the science permits

Health and Safety

  • Safety of children and staff is utmost priority

  • Clinically extremely vulnerable children or staff are not expected to attend; if they live with somebody in that position, they should only attend if stringent measures can be adhered to

  • Other clinically vulnerable children and adults should continue to work from home where possible

  • Nobody with symptoms should attend school

  • Protective measures must be put in place – e.g. increased cleaning, reducing “pinch points” and utilising outdoor space

  • Staff, pupils and parents will be eligible for testing if presenting with symptoms

  • Hierarchy of controls:

    • minimising contact with individuals who are unwell

    • cleaning hands more often than usual

    • ensuring good respiratory hygiene

    • cleaning frequently touched surfaces often

    • minimising contact and mixing by altering, as much as possible, the environment (such as classroom layout) and timetables (such as staggered break times)

    • keep small groups and staff together where possible and if one falls ill, all the rest needs to isolate for 14 days

  • Face masks/coverings not required for education settings except where a person has fallen ill with symptoms and needs looking after until collected

  • Contact tracing will apply to education settings

  • Ensure key staff are trained in dealing with sudden onset of symptoms in a person whilst at school

  • Prepare risk assessment and consult on this with staff

  • Brief transitory contact is low risk (such as in corridors)

Nature and structure of provision

  • Continue provision for all students remotely

  • Continue priority access to supervised provision in school for children of key workers and vulnerable children where it is safe for them to attend

  • Provide some face-to-face time for Y10 and Y12 pupils alongside continued remote learning

  • Gradual return of students in small groups

  • Adjust timetable and timings of day to minimise use of public transport at peak times
  • If unable to accommodate advised classes, prioritise vulnerable children and key worker children

  • Resume taking attendance register as instructed before – no fines for parents if they don’t send their children to school

  • Catering services should be provided for all children attending (free for children who are in receipt of Free School Meals)

As you would expect, the school’s Senior Leadership Team are now considering how best to move forward in the light of this guidance. In doing so, we will continue to adhere to these key principles:

  1. Safety of pupils and staff

  2. Welfare and wellbeing of pupils and staff

  3. Measured and deliberate planning for high quality provision and outcomes, based in evidence and taking account of constraints and parameters

  4. Regular communication with, and involvement of, the school community

Everyone’s hope is that we can all be united again at school, in person, as soon as is safely possible - but we must appreciate that this is a complex process.

Please do look out for further related school email communication and try to respond as swiftly as you can, where required.

I remain confident that together, we will manage to address the challenges we face, in the best interest of the whole school community.

With my very best wishes,

Susanne Staab

 

Message to the Grey Coat community on Thursday 2nd April 2020

 
Dear Parents and Carers,
 
I hope you and your families are all well given the difficult circumstances that we find ourselves in at present.
 
I wanted to get in touch with you all to share some guidance from the Department for Education that you may find helpful during this time where your children will be using the computer and Internet more than they usually would. It is important that all children are safe when online and there are a range of different organisations that can support you with this:
  • Internet matters - for support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online
  • London Grid for Learning - for support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online
  • Net-aware - for support for parents and careers from the NSPCC
  • Parent info - for support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online
  • Thinkuknow - for advice from the National Crime Agency to stay safe online
  • UK Safer Internet Centre - advice for parents and carers

Furthermore, we understand that parents and carers may choose to supplement their child's education with support from online companies and in some cases individual tutors. If this is something you have been considering, we would like to emphasise the importance of securing online support from a reputable organisation/individual who can provide evidence that they are safe and can be trusted to have access to children. 

We also received the two letters below from the Westminster Safer Schools Police team that they have asked us to share with you:
 
 
We will continue to update you with any relevant information when it becomes available.
 
With very best wishes,
 
Jennifer Morton
Senior Leader - Designated Safeguarding Lead

 

 

 

 

 

The word “guild” has its origins in Old Norse though it is more often associated with the medieval world, defined by the OED as “an association formed for the mutual aid and protection of its members or for the furtherance of some common purpose”. And so it is with The Grey Coat Guild. We are an association of parents, carers, staff and friends who help organise fun, social events to raise funds to cover items that make your child’s time at The Grey Coat Hospital that bit more special. All parents and carers are automatically members and we are always delighted to see and hear from you.

The Guild is sincerely grateful for the generous support of parents/carers. We are also only too aware that your contributions of time are voluntary and we rely on your goodwill. Further details of our support and fundraising initiatives for the students and school are available on the VLE or you can send an email to: 

thegreycoatguild@gmail.com