5 January 2021

Dear parent/carer,

I am sure you are now aware of the updated national guidance from the Government following the Prime Minister’s announcement last night. I have included the latest guidance from this announcement below for your information:

Due to the nature of the announcement I realise that this remains a difficult and challenging time for everyone and our priority at Walton is to continue to do our best to support and keep our community safe during this time.

Within the guidance the following decisions have been made with regards to education:
• Schools will remain closed to most until at least 15th February 2021
• Schools will be open for critical worker and vulnerable students only until at least 15th February 2021
• All students will be provided with remote learning to complete whilst they are at home
• External examinations that are planned for January and February 2021 will go ahead as planned (students and parents will receive additional communication from the academy in the coming days)
• The Summer examinations for GCSE/level 2 and A level/level 3 will not take place as planned
The information above, I know, will raise many questions and I hope this letter will help reassure parents and students by giving clarity on all arrangements and plans based on what we know from the guidance at this stage.

Remote learning
We will continue with live lessons for all students during this period of time; these will be in line with student timetables and all students will receive invitations for their lessons via Teams from their subject teachers. As you know, this announcement was only made within the last 24 hours and we do now need to work with our staff in respect of any issues they may have in continuing the lesson provision. Please could I ask you to bear with us over the coming days whilst we resolve any issues; in the meantime, if there is a gap in the live learning this week please be reassured we will be working to rectify any issues as soon as possible. If students have any issues accessing their live learning they should contact the IT helpdesk directly on the email address below:

If your child / children are unable to access the internet via a laptop, smart phone or other device please contact the academy and if we can assist in any way we will, of course, do so.

Critical worker / vulnerable provision
Students will be able to access their live lessons on site in one of our computer suites. All students should bring headphones with them each day. Due to the minimal numbers on site and the current guidance students will need to bring a packed lunch with them every day.
This provision is available for the following students until the 15th February:
• Children of critical workers (key workers)
• Students who are identified as ‘vulnerable’, for example those with an education, health and care plan (EHC); a child in need plan; a child protection plan or is a looked-after child
• The Hub provision in Year 7 and Year 8 will remain open as normal for face to face teaching during this period

Due to the current situation we would ask that where students can study at home they should do so as we need to keep numbers on site as low as possible to ensure the safety of our whole community. If you need to access this provision for your child, and you have not already contacted us to let us know, please do so via the enquiries email address. Please include the name of your child and the days you would need them to access the provision, we will then contact you to confirm details and arrangements.

External examinations – January and February 2021
All external examinations that are due to take place in January and February will go ahead as planned. Students will be allowed to access the academy site to complete their exams and any pre release activities that are required. All students and parents will be contacted by Mrs Wiblin and Mrs Owen to ensure they have all of the information they need with regards to their exam. Subject teachers will also be in contact with students to reassure them. These exams are a priority and if you have not yet received this information from us you will do so over the coming days.

GCSE/Level 2 and A level/Level 3 Summer Examinations
As part of the announcement last night the Government stated that these examinations will not go ahead as planned in the summer. We have been informed that further guidance will be released with regards to this. I appreciate that this leaves many things “up in the air” and I know that both parents and students will be experiencing mixed emotions about this decision. We will be working very hard to do everything we can to support our community with this announcement over the coming days via assemblies, tutor time and lessons so as we reassure our students as much as possible. What we do know is that we will continue as an academy to provide our students with the best possible remote provision during this time to ensure that they continue their learning, complete their courses and can successfully move onto their next steps once they complete this stage of their educational journey.

As soon as there are any further announcements we will respond to these and communicate our plans to you as quickly as possible.

Year 9 Events
We have two key events coming up in our calendar for Year 9 and the events below will go ahead. Further information will be sent out accordingly to Year 9 parents:
• Year 9 online Parents’ Evening – 27th January 2021
• Year 9 Options Evening and Process

I want to thank you, once again, for your continued support, guidance and understanding during this time. We will continue to do all we can for our community at Walton. We are determined to provide the very best for our students and to stay connected as a community even though we are not able to be together physically.

I hope you and your families continue to stay safe and well; take care of yourselves and each other.
Yours faithfully

Mrs Jess Leonard