Thursday 19th March 2020
Dear students, parents and carers,
In line with last night’s announcement from the Prime Minister and Education Secretary, we are closing St Marylebone School from tomorrow until further notice.
Tomorrow (Friday 20th March) only Year 11 and Year 13 students will be coming to school for final arrangements and assembly.
Other than arrangements for Year 11 and 13 tomorrow, all lessons, all school activities, clubs, trips and enrichment are cancelled for all students from now on. We realise that this is very disruptive for the education of our young people.
Last night’s announcement also suggested that schools are to open for certain students, including children of keyworkers and some children in other categories. We have not been given full guidance on how this will be operationally possible and safe. When we do have clear information on this, we will let you know. Please bear with us while we try to find the best way forward.
How will students’ learning continue during the school closure?
All students have been informed about accessing learning activities via Google Classroom, as they would usually for homework. They should log into this daily to ensure they complete school work at home. Teachers will be making every reasonable effort to set work which students can do off-site. Students’ engagement with and completion of work via Google Classroom will be monitored. The expectation is that all students complete the work set for them.
Please note: the setting of work will not be timed according to the exact time when lessons would have happened. We are not able to do real-time lessons from home-to-home. Students will be set (eg) History work to do, with a reasonable deadline of a few days or a week. Students are not expected to log in at the precise moment when they would have had (eg) a History lesson. Students are doing homework, in their own time, at home. Each piece of work should come with instructions about length or time to spend on it. All communication with teachers about the work should be done through Google Classroom; students can ask questions, submit work and learn from each other via Google Classroom.
We are establishing a system which will update parents and carers on what work is on Google Classroom for your children also. Please bear with us as we adjust to a new way of working under strange and difficult circumstances.
What if we don’t have internet access at home?
We are also making every reasonable effort to support the learning of students who do not have online access at home or who have additional learning needs which make the use of Google Classroom difficult. Resources are being gathered to post to you. If you do not have internet access at home and you don’t think the School knows this, please contact your child’s Head of Year as soon as you can.
What about trips and extra-curricular activities and events?
All trips and activities are cancelled or postponed until further notice. All overseas trips have already been cancelled for this school year. Other local and national trips will be re-considered when the School re-opens. We are seeking refunds for trips for which parents / carers have paid and will be in touch about these when we are able.
What about the GCSEs and A-Levels?
It was announced last night that the public exams are cancelled. The School learned about this just as you did: on the news last night. We have held assemblies with Years 10, 11 and 13 about this today and have sent messages to their parents and carers separately to this letter. As soon as we have any further information about the plans for the awarding of qualifications this summer, we will communicate it to you. All students across the UK will be in a similar position.
Can we come to school to get belongings or books or see a teacher about something?
The school site will have only very limited access, for health, safety and security reasons. We hope you understand why that means we cannot agree to let parents, carers or students on-site during the closure.
My child receives / I receive Free School Meals; how will these be arranged?
We know that Westminster Council are making plans for this and as soon as we know that plan, we will let you know.
What about students with mental health and wellbeing concerns?
Some students will already be familiar with these great sources of support for mental health and wellbeing:
Do use these and refer to the health and wellbeing pages in the Student Planner for more ideas.
What if I have a Child Protection or safeguarding concern?
Child Protection or safeguarding concerns should still be directed to our Designated Safeguarding Officers: KS3: Mr Winn, Head of Lower School (email@example.com)
KS4: Ms Sainsbury, Head of Upper School (firstname.lastname@example.org)
KS5: Ms Read, Director of Post 16 Education (email@example.com)
Ms Sarah Swan, Deputy Headteacher (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Where can I get more information about what is happening with the Coronavirus?
Information from Public Health England is available from gov.uk here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
It is important to support young people’s understanding of the Coronavirus and what is going on.
Here is a useful article for parents / carers about discussing this with your children: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-51734855
BBC Newsround is also a good source of explanation: https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/51204456
The DfE’s helpline for schools, staff, students, parents, carers can be accessed by phone or email:
Phone: 0800 046 8687 Email: DfE.email@example.com
During the closure, the School will continue to follow Public Health England and Department for Education advice. We will keep you updated with any developments, notably when we have information about re-opening.
Meantime, please stay safe, follow Public Health advice and look after each other and yourselves. We are calling on everyone’s good community spirit and sensible, calm, can-do attitude to help our young people and all our community through this very disruptive and unsettling chapter. You are all in our thoughts and prayers.
Peace, courage and love to you all.