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Holmleigh Park High School

Letter regarding school closure (Covid-19 Update, 2020-03-18)

Dear all,

I am writing to update you on our plans for the future.  

Following the Prime Minister’s statement this evening, I am writing to confirm that the school will close on Friday 20th March, for all students except for the children of key workers. We intend to keep the school open for all students except Year 12 until then. I appreciate this decision will cause significant inconvenience for some of you, and I am truly sorry.

We have been planning for this possibility for some time, and I am confident that we have a strong plan in place for students to learn from home:

From Monday, students will switch to studying in our virtual school, via Google Classroom. Teachers will set work every day, following their normal timetable. So if a student would have had Maths during Period 1 on Friday, we will expect them to spend 55 minutes working on Maths on Friday.

Each lesson will include input from the teacher, and a task for each student to complete independently. This needs to be submitted to their teacher by the end of the day, and we will be calling home for any students who don’t complete sufficient work each day. I am attaching below some guidance we have put together for pupils, parents and carers on how to use Google Classroom. We will be sending students home with paper copies of this, along with a spare exercise book, so that students can complete work by hand and upload photos of it.

If you are a key worker, we will continue to open the school for your children, from 08:30-14:55 every day, so that you can continue to work. I will write again with further details tomorrow, when the government will be releasing further guidance. I’d also like to add my personal thanks to you for your courage and professionalism in these difficult times; keeping the school open for your children is the least we can do.

If your child receives Free School Meals, you will continue to receive support. We will contact you later this week with further details. 

We are not yet sure how long we will remain closed for, and I will of course update you as soon as we have more information. In the meantime, it is essential that students work hard and complete all their tasks, to ensure that the excellent progress they have made since September continues. Year 11 and Year 13 in particular should continue to prepare for exams and complete coursework. Although the Prime Minister has said that exams will not take place in May and June, we do not yet have further details of how students will be assessed. It is likely their work in the coming months will be an important part of this. 

Finally, I want to express my thanks - and those of the entire Greenshaw Learning Trust - to you, for the support and encouragement you have shown the school in these challenging times. My staff and I could not be more proud of the calm, mature, and compassionate manner your children have displayed in the last few days, and I take a huge amount of comfort from the fact that they are the future of this country. I also want to express my huge gratitude to our staff, who have gone well above and beyond the call of duty this week to show care and compassion to your children. I have been overwhelmed by the emails from staff volunteering to come in and staff the school for the children of key workers next week. 

I am deeply humbled to lead such an exceptional community of parents, students and carers.

With my best wishes to you, your children, and your families,

Patrick Farmbrough