Dear Parents,

I’m sure you are as eager as I am for the lockdown to come to an end and life to return to some semblance of normality.   We are very much looking forward to seeing the children back at school next week, and I know many of them are eager to be back, seeing their friends and learning in a classroom rather than in their bedroom or kitchen.

I am aware that “normal” will have changed quite dramatically.  In a recent visit to a dentist, I was reminded of the changes that came about due to the last big health scare I remember – the 1980s AIDS crisis.  That has affected life for us in many ways, which we now regard as “normal”.  Before AIDS it would have been odd for a dentist to wear gloves for an examination, now it would be unthinkable.  I’m sure many of the habits we are adopting at the moment will become standard.  In school, we have reviewed our COVID-19 safety measures.  I have set these out in a letter I sent last week but would appreciate it if you could remind your child about the need to look after themselves and their friends by keeping to the new rules about sanitiser, face masks and social distancing.

I do want to take this opportunity to thank every one of our families for the way in which you have supported the school through this lockdown.  As I’ve taught my own classes, I’ve seen children who are well prepared and well organised for learning.  They have had access to the necessary technology, all the stationary they need and the space to be able to focus on their learning.  I am well aware that there has been a lot of unseen support from parents in order to achieve this, and I know you’ve had your own working lives to organise.  While I think your children have been amazing, I am also very appreciating of your work, as parents.  Thank you – you deserve chocolate too!

We now have clarity from Ofqual about the requirements from schools about grades for this summer’s assessments, as exams have been cancelled.  Mrs Hamilton and I, along with our exams officer, Liz Wedgewood, are currently planning how our response will look, and then we will use the time we have created this Friday to discuss this with the teaching staff.  I will let you know our plans very soon.  I will ensure that we collect and use a robust evidence-based approach, as I’m sure you will agree that the results your child gets this summer need to be accurate and a true reflection on their ability.

As I hope you know by now, I believe reading is very important in a child’s development.  One project I am wanting to address is a refurbishment of the libraries in both the senior school and the prep school.  If you have any books in good condition which your children have grown out of, I would be grateful if you would consider donating them to the school to augment our library offer we can make to other children.

I am very much looking forward to welcoming your child back to school on Monday, and hope this is the beginning of the end of this awful time.

Mrs Gill Jackson –