Huge congratulations to the 186 students who achieved their DofE Award at AHS this year and together have spent an amazing 3341 hours volunteering in our local community. As well as their volunteering, students must complete their physical and skills sections as well as the expedition, plus an additional residential section at Gold level. AHS students have done everything from being a scout leader to volunteering at a pig sanctuary, from baking to learning Korean, and from cricket to Taekwondo. Congratulations to you all and a massive thank you to Miss Sheppard and the many staff at AHS who give up their time to help with DofE.
Kooth is a free, safe and anonymous counselling service for young people which is available to AHS students. They offer a range of very useful tools, such as online counselling with qualified counsellors, safe forums to discuss issues and a daily journal to help people express how they are feeling. See our Student Welfare page for more details and a video showing what they can offer.
9A took pictures of the colours of the rainbow, from items around their home during lockdown – plants, books – we can even see a dog! Mr Petty put them all together to make a picture of a rainbow, to say thank you to everyone in the NHS. #NHSheroes
Congratulations to our wonderful PE department and Coach Jenner for being awarded South Region School of the Year in the Basketball England Volunteer Awards. And particular congratulations to Ali Arber for being South Region Teacher of the year!
A huge thank you to our DT teachers Mr Potkin and Mr Cook who have been using our DT equipment to make protective masks for the NHS and local care homes. So far they have managed to make 200 face shields and are keen to make more, but have now run out of equipment. If you would like to help us to buy materials to make further masks, please see your ParentMail account where you could make a donation.
We are also grateful to our science department who have now donated 10 boxes of PPE, including goggles, gloves and lab coats. And well done to Jess in Year 13 who has been making material face masks for local care homes.
Keep up to date with information here and by reading our April Newsletter. Plus, please read this information if you are a critical worker.
If you are a critical worker or the parent/carer of a student who is a Looked After Child or currently working with a social worker, please take two minutes to read this communication.
Furthermore, just a reminder to regularly look at our website for school updates including our Friday term-time Newsletter under the What’s On tab.
The government guidelines below, for the children of critical workers, requiring school provision was updated on 14 April 2020.
How are critical workers defined?
Children with a parent or carer who is listed as a critical worker should be considered for a school place, so long as their job cannot be done from home. Many parents working in these sectors will be able to ensure their child is kept at home. Every child who can be safely cared for at home should be, to limit the chance of the virus spreading.
We will monitor closely the experience of schools in identifying critical workers and their capacity to respond to the needs of critical workers. Government is working with representatives of school leaders to ensure they have the clarity they need in identifying critical workers. We will publish updates to guidance should it prove necessary to provide further points of clarification over the identification of critical workers.
We can confirm that:
- researchers are included if their work is critical to the COVID-19 response
- pharmacists are included in the list of health and social care staff that are essential to the COVID-19 response
- staff who work for the embassies of other countries, and who are essential to the COVID-19 response, are included in the definition of local and national government
- parliamentarians and essential parliamentary staff are also included in this list.
We are currently looking at the need to partially open following the Easter break. We understand that your situation will be changing day to day but it would be helpful if you could email Mrs Hamnett by 7pm on Thursday 16 April, if you think you may need school provision from Monday 20 April.
Key Worker Parents, Free School Meals and students needing additional support
Information from Ofqual (updated 26 March)
We are rapidly working up plans to implement the arrangements the Secretary of State for Education has set out for exams this summer and, with exam boards and teaching bodies, are making considerable progress.
Students understandably want reassurance, and teachers urgently need to know what to do, and when. We expect to publish detailed information about the process and timetable which will apply this summer next week. This will include the steps we would like teachers to follow and more detailed guidance on how to consider the full range of evidence they will have available when submitting their assessment grades. We are talking to teaching representatives to make sure that what we are planning is manageable and appropriate, so that students, parents, carers and teachers can have confidence in the approach.
We will outline by Easter the process we will follow to make sure grades are fair across schools and colleges, as well as our proposals for appeals. We will also say more as soon as possible about the arrangements for additional exams in the new academic year.
We want to reassure students waiting for news that we are doing everything we can to make sure they are not disadvantaged by these unprecedented circumstances.
Managing communications regarding awarding of grades
Further to our recent communications about the cancellation of exams and the uncertainty surrounding the awarding of grades, we would like to make a couple of important requests to allow us to better manage this complex and fast-changing situation.
Firstly, we will update you as soon as we have substantive information to share. However, we will only do that when the information provides clarity and certainty, or when the update adds reassurance. What we will not do is to speculate on what might happen. That serves no purpose in this charged situation. So please do not email us to ask for thoughts or comments on something that has been read or shared online.
Secondly, there will be a time when it is right for us to seek any additional information about extenuating circumstances that we do not already have, in order to submit that to the exam board. Please wait for us to request that information. We need to control the process and don’t want to risk losing information amidst the high volume of emails and documents that we are inevitably dealing with right now. When we are ready to receive further information about extenuating circumstances, we will request it.
We know this is an unsettling and challenging time, and we want to do all we can to reassure our students and to protect their interests. We appreciate your support and understanding.
Advice, guidance and support
Huge congratulations to ‘Ouch!’ who won the “Best Young Band” award at the Battle of the Bands this weekend. Their prize is a set at the Beacon Fest festival in June – do go along and support them!
Thank you to all of our talented musicians, crew and House Music captains for a wonderful evening last night. Congratulations to winners Claydon!
We were thrilled to welcome Dr Ben Broadbent, Deputy Governor for Monetary Policy at the Bank of England today for an engaging and inspiring talk on Inflation, the economy and careers.