School Messages

24 March email – Key workers – Easter holidays

Dear Parents and Carers

I have been very pleased with how our program to support key workers has gone since the school closed. I am aware that the upcoming Easter holidays will present problems for those families where the parent(s) at home will be asked to continue their key roles as other relatives and holiday clubs can not be called upon for assistance.

From Saturday 28 March we will be open for key worker’s children where you have no other alternative. We will be open 7 days a week, including the bank holidays over the Easter weekend. Again we will be offering this free of charge to support our parents who are fulfilling such important roles to support our community. TA staff has volunteered their time to enable us to offer this; I am very grateful to the numerous offers I have had.

Please can you complete the following form to assist us with our planning:

https://forms.gle/kmkZBYE7wYVVy8o77

Please do not hesitate to ask if you have any questions.

Best wishes

Steve Margetts

Principal

 

23 March email – Update on home learning

Dear Parent and Carers

Last week we sent out the home learning for your child to complete at home whilst we are closed. I thought it might be helpful to provide some more support with regard to this work. There is not an expectation for you to be home schooling your children, in other words, be teaching them new material. I hope that you will be able to support, encourage and help to plan a schedule; much in the same way you do with homework.

We have re-considered this to make it clearer what needs to be done. As a result, we have divided the work into compulsory work, this must be completed daily, and optional work for those who want to do more and extend their learning. In addition to this guidance we have provided examples of how the students could organise their time. It would be beneficial if you agreed on a timetable with your child which would help to develop routines during this time.

We are working hard to provide an even more varied experience after Easter and I will be in contact during the holidays to provide more information.

If you have questions or concerns please contact our staff – different contact details can be found here:

http://www.tqacademy.co.uk/coronavirus/contacting-the-school/

I have attached a document with:

Thank you for your continued support and please do get in contact if there is anything we can do to support you and you child.

Best wishes

Steve Margetts

Principal

 

20 March email – Update on examinations

Dear Parents and Carers

I have just seen that the government has provided some information about how students’ grades will be awarded this summer.

It states that it will ensure that “GCSE and A level students are awarded a grade which fairly reflects the work that they have put in. There will also be an option to sit an exam early in the next academic year for students who wish to.”

The exam boards will be asking us, who know our students well, to submit our judgement about the grade that they believe each student would have received if exams had gone ahead.

We don’t know the exact process this will take, but we will be asked to take into account a range of evidence and data including performance on mock exams and non-exam assessment.

The exam boards will then combine this information with other relevant data, including prior attainment, and use this information to produce a calculated grade for each student, which will be the best assessment of the work they have put in.  Again, I have not got the full information of what this will look like.

Interestingly they are saying that they hope that students will receive their exam grades by the end of July, some weeks earlier than in a traditional year.  The grades students will get will be indistinguishable from those provided in other years, in other words, these results will count as much as the results in any other year.

If students wish to, they will be able to take their exams early in the new academic year or next summer.  There will also be an opportunity to appeal grades “if they do not believe the correct process has been followed in their case”.

My initial thoughts are that this is probably as good as we could hope for given the circumstances; it seems to be a sensible approach.  Of course, the devil will be in the detail and I will keep you updated as I hear more.

Best wishes

 

Steve Margetts

Principal

 

The full information can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/further-details-on-exams-and-grades-announced?utm_source=96f31727-1fb9-408b-a7fa-d91d4ceaeb6b&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate 

 

 

 

 

 

20 March email – Key worker and vulnerable children

Dear Parents and carers

When the school is closed parents are being asked by the government to follow these key principles:

  1. If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.
  2. If a child needs specialist support, is vulnerable or has a parent who is a critical worker, then Torquay Academy will be open and available for them.
  3. Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions.
  4. Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.

 

I am not able to outline exactly the provision we will be offering over the coming weeks.  I have been blown away by the dedication of TA’s staff which has enabled us to remain open for every year group.  I have to be realistic and accept that increasing numbers of our staff will have to self isolate as time goes on. I do, however, give you my commitment that we will do our very best to enable the children of key workers to come into school to enable you to carry on doing the jobs that are central to our community being able to continue.  

 

Key workers

I have now received guidance from the government about which job roles are being identified as key workers. If your role is included within this list of key workers and you would like to send your child into school please can you complete the form by clicking on the link below. 

We are also investigating putting on some Easter holiday provision for those families who are key workers and unable to find alternative childcare provision. As a school, I would like to try and support our frontline workers who are going to be essential to keeping our local community functioning. This childcare provision over the Easter holidays will be provided free of charge and staffed by volunteers within the school. Again, can you please indicate on the form below if you wish to take up this provision.

 

Please complete this form:

https://forms.gle/xcrZDfnHsGPFqbot6

 

I have detailed the various key worker positions that have been identified by the government at the bottom of this email.

 

Vulnerable children

I would like to point out that this is the terminology used by the government – I am using it to maintain clarity between what I write to you and what you will be seeing and reading in the news.

Vulnerable children include children who are supported by social care, those with safeguarding and welfare needs, including child in need plans, on child protection plans, ‘looked after’ children, young carers, disabled children and those with education, health and care (EHC) plans.

If you would like your child to come into school can I ask that you complete this form:

https://forms.gle/BsnX2s1j25UZQM5q7

 

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to get in contact with the school via admin@TQacademy or 01803 329351.  Please do bear with our team, I am sure you appreciate that it is a busy time for them.

 

Best wishes

 

Steve Margetts

Principal

 

 

Health and social care

This includes but is not limited to doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector; those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributers of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment.

 

Education and childcare

This includes nursery and teaching staff, social workers and those specialist education professionals who must remain active during the COVID-19 response to deliver this approach.

 

Key public services

This includes those essential to the running of the justice system, religious staff, charities and workers delivering key frontline services, those responsible for the management of the deceased, and journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting.

 

Local and national government

This only includes those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the COVID-19 response or delivering essential public services such as the payment of benefits, including in government agencies and arms length bodies.

 

Food and other necessary goods

This includes those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines).

 

Public safety and national security

This includes police and support staff, Ministry of Defence civilians, contractor and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs and essential to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic), fire and rescue service employees (including support staff), National Crime Agency staff, those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff and other national security roles, including those overseas.

 

Transport

This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass.

 

Utilities, communication and financial services

This includes staff needed for essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure), the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage), information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the COVID-19 response, as well as key staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 critical services), postal services and delivery, payments providers and waste disposal sectors.

19 March email – school closure & home learning

You can download a copy of the letter below for each year group:

Y7 Letter

Y8 Letter

Y9 Letter

Y10 Letter

Y11 Letter

Y12 Letter

Y13 Letter

Dear Parents and carers

I am writing with further details about the school closure.  Please do not hesitate to get in contact with us at any point.  We have placed a great deal of information on the school website including:

  • Links and how to access all of the required websites
  • Contact details for each subject area
  • Details of work to be completed

 

Home Learning

It is vital that your child accesses their email – please ensure this is the first step for them.  Please visit the Online resources section under Coronavirus on the school website or email ICT@TQacademy.co.uk for assistance.

We are asking students to carry on with as much work during this time away from school so that on their return they can continue to be successful. Students at Torquay Academy perform well above average in comparison to other schools nationally; their hard-working attitude and great teaching is the reason for this. We have really tried to make the work constructive and supportive for the students; it should not be seen as punitive and us setting work simply for the sake of being able to do so.

To support students in continuing with their learning there are expected daily activities.  These are listed on the final page of this letter.

We ask that all written work, not completed online, should be completed in Homework Books or on paper. This will be checked by tutors when we return.

Subject teachers can be contacted via the following email addresses

English Staff –  EnglishStaff@tqacademy.co.uk
Enterprise Staff –  EnterpriseStaff@tqacademy.co.uk
Maths Staff –  MathsStaff@tqacademy.co.uk
MFL Staff  – MFLStaff@tqacademy.co.uk
PE Staff –  PEStaff@tqacademy.co.uk
Creative Arts Staff  – CreativeArtsStaff@tqacademy.co.uk
Humanities Staff –  HumanitiesStaff@tqacademy.co.uk
Science Staff –  ScienceStaff@tqacademy.co.uk

If you have any questions regarding the above please contact the year team as follows and they will be available to answer your concerns:

Years 7 & 8 – KeyStage3Staff@tqacademy.co.uk
Year 9 – Year9Staff@tqacademy.co.uk
Year 10 – Year10Staff@tqacademy.co.uk
Year 11 – Year11Staff@tqacademy.co.uk
Sixth Form – SixthFormStaff@tqacademy.co.uk

 

For Year 11 Students/Parents/Carers only:

I have spoken with all of the year 11 students this morning to update them with the information I was aware of at the time. We discussed what might happen and I gave them my assurances that we would be doing our absolute best to ensure that they receive the grades that they deserve this summer.

At the moment we know that they will not be sitting their exams during this academic year, therefore I feel it is prudent not to be setting home learning just at this time. They have been working with such intensity in recent months that pausing over the Easter holidays will give them some time to focus on their own well-being and to digest what has happened over recent weeks.

I have told them that We will be setting appropriate work for them once we know the situation with the examinations. I am thinking that we can give them a real headstart for many of the courses they will be beginning in September.

I do not want to set them work, just for the sake of it right now.  They should enjoy a break and we will refocus after Easter.

I am hopeful that we will be in a better position to inform the students by the end of tomorrow as the Education Secretary has just released the following statement:

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said the Government will be issuing guidance on Friday as to how pupils unable to sit their GCSEs and A-levels because of the school closures will be awarded their grades.  He said there will be a “proper and fair system” of appeal for those who are unhappy with the results they are given.    “We will be doing everything we can do to make sure they get their results in August as they will be hoping to, but we can’t predict as to how they are going to unfold” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.   “It is absolutely vital for me for those children who have put so much work into all their learning over these years working up to their GCSE’s and A-levels to get their results, but also making sure that we have a proper and fair system if they dispute that, if they are not content with it, there is some mechanism for them to have redress”.

We have some events to celebrate what might be their last day tomorrow – I know not all of the students will be able to attend as some are self-isolating, but I am sure you will understand why we should try and do something now.

 

 

Advice for parents

I know this will be a challenging time for all of us; I am thinking through the challenges of establishing new routines for my children at home.  I believe establishing a routine early on will have the best chance of ensuring this new style of working has the greatest success.  Please support, encourage and praise.  We are still here to support you and your child.  We have selected work that will enable independence with email support from their teachers. Please don’t hesitate to get in contact.

 

Contacting you

We may check-in with you and your children during the period of closure.  Sometimes the call might be us simply saying hello.  It might be prompted by us checking the work you child is doing (or not doing) online.  In this case, I have asked colleagues to call to see if we can help.

 

Online access

A significant portion of the home learning set, particularly for Years 7 to 11 will be online.  If you have any concerns about your child accessing the internet or having a device they can work on please let us know as we can support you. Either call 01803 329351 or email ICT@TQacademy.co.uk

 

Safeguarding

If you have any safeguarding concerns the safeguarding team will still be accessible to parents, staff and students at CP@TQacademy.co.uk.

If you have any urgent safeguarding or child protection concerns you can contact the Torbay MASH directly on 01803 208100. If you have an immediate concern for the safety or welfare of a child please call 999 or report any non-emergency concerns to the police via 101.

 

Free School Meals

We have also made provisions to support families who are entitled to free school meals as I am aware that the school closure will bring unanticipated additional costs.  I will write to those families separately to outline our food parcel scheme.  We are in times of greater financial uncertainty, so if you have concerns about providing these additional meals please make contact with the school either by telephone on 01803 329351 or admin@TQacademy.co.uk

 

Trips and Visits

We can confirm that all activities, including trips and visits will not go ahead during this period of closure.  Please do not make any further payments at this time related to Activities Week.

EHCP Students

Mrs Jukes has called the parents of every child with an EHCP to discuss the arrangments for them to come into school and be supported with their learning.

Children of Key Workers

The Government are yet to issue the guidance on who will be considered a keyworker, it is anticipated this will be announced shortly.  I will write to you as soon as I have more details.  The take up of this provision will be on a voluntary basis.

Vulnerable Children

The Government are yet to issue the guidance on children considered to be vulnerable.  My working assumption at this stage is that the provision will be mandated for school aged children (children must attend), however, this has not been confirmed.  At the moment we will be expecting all of our child who are looked after, on a Child Protection Plan or a Child in Need Plan to be in school next week.  We will be making contact with the carers and parents of these students on Friday.

 

If you have any questions related to any of the above please do not hesitate to contact the relevant Year Team and they will get back to you.

We are trying to our very best in what is a situation that is quite unprecedented.  We are all feeling anxious about what lies ahead of us; I know that by working closely we will be far more successful.  Please bear with us as we adapt to a new way of working and supporting your children.

My very best wishes to you and your families, please ask if there is anything we can do.

Yours sincerely

Steve Margetts

Principal

 

19 March email – planning for Free School Meals

Dear Parents/Carers

Contingency planning for Free School Meals during school closure

In the letter I sent to you earlier today I explained that we have made provisions to support families who are entitled to free school meals as I am aware that the school closure will bring unanticipated additional costs.

I am writing to you to provide additional information to what we will be doing.

In the first instance, we will be providing food parcels during term time.  To this end, our catering team have been sourcing suitable provisions to provide to all families who are currently eligible for Free School Meals with a weekly food hamper to help you feed your child/ren.

The hamper will contain a variety of food items dependant on what we are able to source, at the moment it has cereal, pasta, sauces, bread, milk and a variety of tinned foods which will provide five meals for your child(ren).

Please can you confirm you will be able to collect the parcel and that you wish to take us up on this provision by emailing admin@tqacademy.co.uk or calling 01803 329351 with the name(s) of your children and their year group to confirm you wish to participate. Please put Food in the subject area.

The government have indicated that there are plans for a voucher scheme to support being implemented, but I wanted to assure you that we will either continue with the food hampers or find another way to support you until the government’s scheme has been implemented.

The parcel will need to be collected from school on Monday between 10.30am and 2.30pm.  Each hamper will be individually labelled by family so there will be sufficient food for everyone. Please come to reception where we will have the food ready for you.  Please let us know if you would like to arrange a different time, but keeping to this schedule would significantly help us.

If you are unable to come to school we will do our very best to try and get the food to you, however, I can not guarantee this, so please only ask if you have no other way of getting to school and we will do our very best to get out to you.

Best wishes

Steve Margetts

Principal

 

 

18 March email – school closing

Dear Parents and carers

Following this evening’s statement by the Prime Minister we will have to close the school from 3pm on Friday 20th March.

We plan to be open for all year groups on Thursday 19th and Friday 20th.

As I have reassured you before, our staff have undertaken a great deal of work to ensure that our students will still have access to high-quality resources and learning during this period of closure.

I will write to you tomorrow with more detail about each year group’s set work and this will be available on our website from Friday.  We will be providing guidance on how to best support your children with their home learning.

A significant portion of the home learning set, particularly for Years 7 to 11 will be online.  If you have any concerns about your child accessing the internet or having a device they can work on please let us know as we can support you. Either call 01803 329351 or email ict@TQacademy.co.uk

I know this is a time of great uncertainty for families as we focus on caring for those close to us, particularly those more vulnerable members of our society.

We will keep in regular contact with you and your children.  We are here to support both your children’s learning and wellbeing, and we will still be available via email to be contacted for both academic and pastoral reasons.

We have also made provisions to support families who are entitled to free school meals as I am aware that the school closure will bring unanticipated additional costs.  I will write to those families separately to outline our food parcel scheme. We are in times of greater financial uncertainty, so if you have concerns about providing these additional meals please make contact with the school either by telephone or admin@TQacademy.co.uk

In this evening’s press conference by the Prime Minister, he said that he will ensure children due to sit crucial exams will get the qualifications they need.  However, at this stage, he cannot go into detail about how that might happen. As I hear more about this I will keep you informed.

A statement was also made about schools will still need to look after the children of key workers – such as NHS staff – but also the most vulnerable pupils.  As more information is made available I will be in contact.

I thank you for your continued support and I will endeavour to keep you as fully informed as I am able to.

Best wishes

Steve Margetts

Principal

17 March email – work for self-isolating/ill

Dear Parent/Carer,

There are increasing numbers of staff and students who are self-isolating for a variety of reasons.  We are continuing to focus upon teaching students in school and preparing resources in case we are forced to close.  I am sure you will appreciate the initial focus is on the examination groups.

If your child is absent from school at the moment I wanted to highlight some work that they can be getting on with now in order to continue with their education.

  • Maths
    • Sparx – Year groups 7-11 will still have their compulsory homework to be completed, plus they should complete the optional and target sections of the work.
    • Students studying A level Maths and Further Maths should check their emails as teachers will email groups with work.
  • Science :
    • Year 7 and 8 to complete homework using knowledge organisers.
    • Year 9 and 10 complete homework using knowledge organisers. Also log on to Educake.co.uk and complete set questions. 
    • Year 11 Log on to Educake.co.uk and complete set questions. Also log on to Tassomai and complete the daily goal every day. Also complete weekly revision tasks from revision timetable & revision guide.
    • Year 12 email your teacher for specific work.
    • Year 13 to carry on working to your Exam Run In timetable.
  • English:
    • Years 7 and 8 Complete daily private reading and reading journal. Complete knowledge organiser quizzing.
    • Year 9 Complete set reading tasks for cycle 3 on commonlit.org/en. Complete further additional reading tasks on commonlit.org/en of your choice. Complete knowledge organiser quizzing.
    • Year 10 Use BBC Bitesize to revise Macbeth and complete past questions: https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/topics/zgq3dmn. Complete knowledge organiser quizzing.
    • Year 11 Complete run-in timetable tasks in Mastery Pack on paper. Complete more past literature and language exams from Mastery Pack using flashcards to support on paper.
    • Year 12/13 complete past essay questions from homework booklet/mastery pack using flashcards to support. 
  • All other subjects:
    • Completing work from the Knowledge Organisers in line with timetabled lessons
    • Completing all relevant homework tasks 

As the situation evolves we will keep all parents updated. Please continue to read these communications and we will be in touch as required.

It is vital that you ensure we have your up to date contact details on our system. Please do contact us should you believe your details need updating.

If you have any concerns about your child accessing the internet should the school be closed please let us know. Either call or email ict@TQacademy.co.uk

Best wishes

Steve Margetts

Principal

 

16 March email

Dear Parents, Carers and Colleagues

I wanted to alert you to the change in the advice that has been provided by the NHS and government today:

If you live with others and you or one of them have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill.

The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of:

  • new continuous cough and/or
  • high temperature

More detailed advice can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection

My best wishes to you during what is a time of great uncertainty.

Yours sincerely

Steve Margetts

Principal

 

13 March email

Dear Parents, Carers and Staff

We are continuing to monitor the situation very closely and I am continuing to follow the guidance being provided by the Department for Education and Public Health England.

Generally, the school continues to operate in the same way it does every other day of the year. There have been a number of events our students were due to attend that have been cancelled, such as the Big Bang Fair finals where our students were crowned the Young Engineers National Champions last year. We are seeing more and more events being cancelled by the hour.

We have made some operational changes in school to help to reduce the spread of viruses and bacteria in our community. After every lesson change over and break, all bannisters and door handles are cleaned with a disinfectant. We have a large volume of soap and are ensuring the toilets are kept stocked up.

The advice we have still highlights that personal hygiene is the most important way we can tackle COVID-19, especially washing hands more; and the catch it, bin it, kill it strategy for those with coughs and sneezes.

I know there has been a great deal of speculation about school closures. I have not been provided with any more information beyond what is in the public domain.

A suggestion is that schools will possibly be shut to students for an extended period around the Easter holidays. Again, I don’t know anything for certain, but we believe it is prudent for us to have a contingency plan for any event.

Our teachers prepare revision packs for Years 11 and 13 for the Easter holidays each year to support their work in the run up to the exams. I am very grateful to our incredible staff who are also preparing work to support our boys and girls should we be told that we have to close. We want to give our students, who are working so hard, the best possible chance to succeed this summer.

I will endeavour to keep you informed, but you can be rest assured that we doing all that we can to ensure that all members of the community remain healthy and our students’ education remains uninterrupted.

Best wishes

Steve Margetts

Principal

 

6 March email

Dear Parents and Carers

I have attached a document produced by the Local Authority which provides information on talking to children about the Coronavirus.

The advice I am getting from the Department for Education and Public Health England highlights that personal hygiene is the most important way we can tackle COVID-19, especially washing hands more; and the catch it, bin it, kill it strategy for those with coughs and sneezes.

When washing your hands it should be for 20 seconds with soap and hot water. In addition to handwashing before eating and after sneezing, both children and adults should also wash hands after using toilets and after travelling on public transport.

Best wishes

Steve Margetts

Principal