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23rd March Update

COVID-19 Update - 23RD MARCH 2020

I hope my email finds you and your loved ones safe and well. I just wanted to keep you updated and in the loop regarding where we are at with learning, and also importantly with the summer examinations.

Firstly a quick look at where we’re at with our online learning platform and our expectations for all year groups, hopefully by now your child has access to learning resources and they are working their way through it, my Vice Principal Steve Coleby has been supporting any IT needs or laptop requests where possible so we are hopeful that every student now can access the online learning resources provided by teaching staff.

The plan for our Year 10 learners is to continue with the lesson by lesson resources for the next school week and over the Easter holidays, however my Director of Learning Becky McKinnon is currently working on a plan with subject manages to set the Year 10's on with unit specific projects that are linked to the work that they would be missing at this time of the year, this is a slightly different format from the lesson by lesson work currently being set and may be in the form of slightly longer projects that students can undertake to ensure they are still achieving and meeting the required examination specification. Becky will be emailing out a later date with more infomation.

The plan for the year 12‘s is very similar, this will be a combination of individual pieces of work but also longer pieces of work set by the subject teacher again relevant to what the students should be studying at that point in time.

Can I please encourage you again to ensure your child is checking in with their mentor on a regular daily basis this just needs to be a quick email that says 'hello, I’m okay and I can access the work', this way we can keep on top of any concerns. 

The year 11’s are in a slightly different situation, It would now seem pointless to ask them to revise for a series of examinations which have been cancelled. For both our Year 11’s and our Year 13 students please click on the link below which will take you to the Department for education website specifically discussing the cancelled examinations.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-cancellation-of-gcses-as-and-a-levels-in-2020/coronavirus-covid-19-cancellation-of-gcses-as-and-a-levels-in-2020

This guidance was only released today and was released on the DfE public website meaning we found out at the same time as everybody else what it is they are suggesting. My senior team and I will be dissecting this information in more detail and again are on hand daily via slt@gputc.com to answer any questions you may have about the information contained in the DFE guidance.

If your child is hoping to join us in our sixth form in September, do not worry, myself and my senior team will be on hand to have a conversation with anyone concerned about this, giving you reassurances that we will come up with a solution to ensure your child can stay at the UTC moving forward.

With regard to the Year 11‘s revision what I would encourage them to do is focus on pre-learning materials for the upcoming qualifications from September 2020 onwards, so, if they are wanting to study A-level maths then looking at the A-level maths syllabus and doing some pre-reading and pre-learning would be hugely beneficial to their studies, in essence this would give them a head start in the A-level course.

By the end of this week we will have created a new study folder on the SharePoint resource platform with all Year 11s and all relevant teaching staff added, within here will be a series of sub folders, one for each A-level subjects studied at the UTC, this will of course include folders for the other technical subjects. 

I will be asking subject teachers to compile a list of useful pre-learning, flipped classroom style tasks for students to access to help them prepare for the A-level studies. in addition, given that a students coursework is likely to be involved in the calculation of the final grade, if your child has any coursework which is still outstanding or they feel they can improve their coursework, I would strongly advise this becomes an immediate focus, we do not know yet how this information will be requested from schools but I would rather have a strong coursework portfolio and not need to evidence it than the opposite.

For students waiting on university offers please read the guidance in the email and again any questions can be directed to slt@gputc.com. Also for year 13 students please ensure all of your subject content is covered as we have a duty to ensure our students are as best prepared as possible for any studies beyond sixth form, therefore it is imperative they continue to keep up with the work being set online.

I am unfortunately in a position to announce that our Year 10 work experience has been postponed. As a UTC work experience and work-related learning is a vital part of our curriculum and we will do everything in our power to ensure that the Year 10's get the opportunity to experience work-related learning alongside their Year 11 studies, we may need to be creative with our solutions here as there will already be an obvious gap in learning and we don’t want to make this worse by further weeks out of school, there is of course a two week window at the start of July notionally pencilled in for summer school for all students, this could potentially be an option but for obvious reasons we cannot yet explore this possibility.

I hope you found the Welfare email on Friday useful, feedback so far has been very positive. This will be a regular feature whilst we remain out of school.

Finally from myself a huge thank you to everybody for all of their efforts in maintaining positive contact and supporting these young people through what is a very challenging time. Stay safe, and please follow all government guidance on social distancing, it really does save lives. I’ll be in touch again very soon

Warm regards