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Esher Church of England High School

Esher Church of England High School

Esher Learning Trust

School Closure 2020

Dear Parents/Guardians

What an astonishing academic year we have had.  No one could have predicted the challenges we have faced, and this has been an incredible period of change.  I’m sure we will each look back one day and talk about how Covid-19 and lockdown affected us as parents, students and staff.  It has provided many, many tests as well as the opportunities to re-evaluate our work and organisation.  There will undoubtedly be changes to our society that will be difficult for many of the school’s families as we face economic uncertainty and societal change, and we will face these together.

Home learning

We have learnt to work very differently and adapt to a new circumstance and this has been amazingly well managed by students and their families.  Thank you all who have supported us in engaging with our students remotely and enabling them to make the most of this way of learning.  It has not been without its problems, yet it has also provided opportunities for change at home which I hope in many cases was very positive. 

In subtle ways students may eventually benefit as they have learnt to work independently and be much more resourceful in their learning.  Yet we know that some have found it incredibly difficult and struggled with elements of the situation that some have taken in their stride with little trouble.  Our job in the Autumn will be to support every child as they return.

One aspect I have been pleased with is the manner in which the school has flexed and adapted its provision.  We have done this as responsively as possible where we have perceived the need, and have tried at all stages to listen to you and strike the balance between the range of views you all have as a parent body.  Underlining all of this has been our ambition to serve the students as well as possible.

Usually we draw the year to an end with a final assembly with prizes and reflections on the successes of the summer term.  In the spirit of the age we have recorded a video assembly, with special guest Bishop Jo of Dorking, which has some key messages and celebrates our students: it will be available from Thursday morning.  Please take 25 minutes to watch and enjoy it together!

Plans for September

We are rattling along making the many adjustments needed for September and I wrote to you last week with the broad plan.  It will of course be much easier if children are positive and willing in their return to school, so please keep the positive message going over the summer.  There are many details to fit within the constraints put on us and we will adjust as the advice develops. The plan for the first week is:

Tuesday 1 / Wednesday 2 September   Staff INSET training – logistics and adjustments to learning

Thursday 3 September                              Years 7 and 11 in school

Friday 4 September                                    All students in school – organisation and adjustment focus

Monday 7 September                                 All students return with lessons underway

We don’t usually have two INSET days at the start of term, and there will be one fewer during October (when we have usually had two).  This will allow the logistical aspects to be readied for the students to return. 

When we return, we will do so using the most detailed planning to ensure our students and staff remain safe.  This has been exhaustive and comprehensive in order to address the myriad of potential issues, and remains the best balance between safety for all the community and a return to learning as close to normal as possible.  There will undoubtedly be compromises at times and we have given further details through the FAQs which will be updated during the summer and as guidance from the government and local authority develops.  Please get in touch with us if there are any issues you are particularly concerned about regarding your own situation – we want everyone to be confident in the school.  I am optimistic about the Autumn term; the way our students and staff will adapt and get back into school and the opportunity this brings to rebuild our relationships with students through face to face teaching.

Farewell to a few

Each year marks the end of some colleagues’ careers with us at Esher High School.  This year we bid farewell to Jenna Pearson who has been our English Intervention tutor, Dominic O’Driscoll our Assistant Headteacher and SENCO, to Sue Wallman our esteemed author and part time librarian, and to John Bilton who has been Head of ICT and Business and a member of our school for 27 years.  Each of these colleagues has contributed enormously to the life of the school over their time with us and we wish them well in their new roles and adventures.  We are pleased to be able to welcome new colleagues to replace each of them and I will introduce them to you when I write next term.

I wish you all a restful and enjoyable summer.  Thank you again for your support over the last few testing months and I hope you share my confidence for a successful return in September.

We will endeavour to keep this section up to date with further school information and Government Guidance relating to the school closure.

Kind regards

Mr M Boddington

Headteacher

Please see below for updated documents from the school.

You can read the recent government guidelines in relation to schools on the following link;

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19