Editorial 4/3/2021

Dear Parents and Carers,

The return to school from March 8th for all students

We look forward to welcoming your children back to school!

We are aware that students will need to time to adjust to begin back in school and we will be arranging a series of pastoral and wellbeing session to support them to reintegrate. Training has also been given by Noa Girls on the language staff should use to support children during this process.

All students (who have consented/ whose parents have consented to be tested) should have received their first lateral flow test by the end of this week and will receive their next two lateral flow tests over the next two weeks once they return to school. After that, they will be given tests from us to test themselves at home. Any student who has a positive test result will need to report this to both us and NHS Track and Trace.

Please be aware that students – unless they are exempted for medical reasons – are required to wear face masks in lessons as well as in communal areas on their return to protect themselves, their families as well as staff and their families. We would very much appreciate it if you could ensure that your children come to school with a range of spare masks.

Both schools will have been deep-cleaned by the time your children arrive in school. The same social distancing measures and one way systems that were in place in September will remain in place and our risk assessments have been updated on the schools’ websites.

Please also see the letter from Mrs Lebrett and Mrs Brice with more detailed guidance regarding March 8th opening in the letters section for each school.

Families currently residing abroad

As mentioned last week, families who are currently residing abroad need to make arrangements for their children to return to school for when we re-open on March 8th. We have been advised by Barnet Local Authority that students need to return within a half term period for their children to remain on roll unless there are exceptional reasons that prevent them from doing so. Please could parents who are currently residing abroad let the relevant headteacher know their expected return date so that we can welcome their children back to school and ensure they remain on roll.

Alternative arrangements to examinations

As you are aware, Ofqual have announced the alternative arrangements for GCSE, BTEC and A level examinations following the public consultation.

We are still waiting to hear the details about the new arrangements from the examination boards and therefore cannot yet confirm the precise arrangements for students. However, subject to the exam boards’ guidance, our provisional plans are as follows:

  • Short assessments held after the Pesach break will form part of the overall evidence base that determines a student’s centre moderated grades alongside a selection of other assessments completed in class throughout the course
  • This will give students the best opportunity to demonstrate their skills and understanding of a representative sample of the material they have covered and enable their teachers to provide sufficient evidence to the examination boards of the grades that they we will submit for them
  • After the Pesach break, Year 11 and Year 13 students will be given a range of short assessments (except for textiles/ art and BTECs) in each of their subjects.
  • Teachers will not teach any new content to students from Monday March 15th at the latest until the 17th May while revision/ assessments take place
  • Students will be given the topics of each assessment in advance and time to prepare for those assessments
  • Wherever possible, students will be given a range of questions within each topic to choose from
  • Teachers will use lessons prior to the assessments as revision sessions
  • Each subject area will choose which assessments will best demonstrate students’ ability and count towards a student’s grade and which topics will be used for the short assessments
  • Y11 and Y13 will be given study leave (though Beis and the Midrasha will still run), with secular teachers available to support students who wish to see them either via G Suite or in person (dates to be confirmed)
  • Any access arrangements that would normally be given to students taking exams will be retrospectively taken into account when determining the mark of assessments taken in class throughout the course where this was not given at the time of the assessment
  • Special consideration will be given to students who require it according to the normal JCQ guidelines
  • Year 10s who are sitting GCSEs in RS and BH early will also be part of this process (and given some study leave)

We are sure that you will have many questions about this important topic when the guidance from the examination boards is published. Once we have received this guidance we will inform you and your children about our plans and take you through how we intend to implement it in more detail. However, we thought it best to share with you what our initial plans are based on Ofqual’s guidance.

Please be reassured that we will support students through each step of this process.

With kind regards,

Andrew McClusky – CEO – Hasmonean MAT

Debbie Lebrett – Headteacher – Boys’ School

Katherine Brice – Headteacher – Girls’ School