Friday 12th February 2021
Dear Parents and Carers
I am writing to thank you for all your efforts and support over the last half term and all the challenges that yet another National Lockdown has brought. You know as much as I do with regard to a full reopening date, when you know I will also know. I’m sure you will agree that the sooner the better. Therefore, we will continue to provide online live lessons following the half term break as we have done over the past six weeks. Whilst not as good as in class teaching I genuinely believe it is the best possible alternative we can offer. With regard to Free School Meals we are waiting for an email from Edenred to start sourcing vouchers for after half term. Please ensure your children have a good break, there will be no homework set. The only work students need to consider is if they have some assessments coming up, it would be beneficial to complete some revision.
I am very proud of the effort that staff have made to deliver this provision and the fantastic efforts of students to engage and complete the work. I am continually bemused at the messages in the media stating that millions are missing out on education. Our children aren’t- they have bought into live lessons in huge numbers and our attendance figures are massively above national average, which is to the credit of both staff and students. It is also reflective of the levels of support you as parents offer us as a school and the value you place on your children’s education. Figures we have been given by Durham County for the 2020 cohort show that only two students are not engaged in employment, education or training. That is a tremendous achievement and testament to the importance placed on education by the people of Seaham.
I am also very proud of the resilience shown by students and staff to adapt to this way of working so quickly. The challenges have been huge but everyone has stepped up and coped. Bear in mind for those of us who have limited IT skills and knowledge of Google classroom, meeting this challenge has been a daunting prospect. Adapting the style of teaching to this way of working when you are unable to see faces to know if children are struggling or need help is hard. Speaking into a screen when you are unsure who can see or hear you is unnerving and uncomfortable. The fear of making a very public mistake or internet dropping, the dog climbing into camera shot, or your own children interrupting to ask what is for dinner.
Working remotely- means just that. It is a remote activity and an isolating one. When normally you would speak to colleagues, collaborate, discuss and share resources, offer support, opportunities for this are now limited. Teaching, which is essentially in part about relationships and social interaction is now conducted remotely and in isolation. Students have had to cope with an entirely new way of learning, again in isolation. Children using their phones to watch live lessons, Year 11 doing Mock exams on Google classroom, everyone coping with massively increased screen time. The ability to simply ask for help or ask a question is limited. However, together we have coped and you should be proud of your child’s efforts.
All you can do, all they can do, all we can do is our best. I believe the last 6 weeks have shown that is exactly what we have all done. It might not have been perfect, there have been a number of issues and challenges along the way but we have certainly all done our best.
Have a good break and thank you once again for all of your support.
Mr G. Lumsdon