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13th January 2021

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Whole School News

Years 7 to 13 – Welcome Back and Important Information from Mr Penlington      

Dear Parent or Carer

Welcome back. It’s a new term and a new year, but, unfortunately, a similar position. 

Following the recent updates from the government, I wanted to try to address some of your concerns and let you know of our plans, at least for the coming weeks based on the very limited information that we currently have from the DfE. I am sure that you will appreciate that we are constantly having to adapt to the situation and therefore any decisions we make will need to be constantly reviewed in the light of future announcements.  I will work through all year groups in turn, but I would encourage you to read the whole letter (I apologise for the length) as there is pertinent information at the end.  

Years 11 and 13 

With the announcement that the GSCE and A-Level exams will not go ahead as planned in June, we have been provided with both some clarity and much uncertainty as we still await the final details of exactly what will happen. Here is the statement from Simon Lebus, Interim Chief Regulator for Ofqual:  

“We know that this is a difficult time for students, their parents and carers, teachers and trainers. Our message to students is this: please continue to engage as fully as you can in your education. That will be online for the majority of students, or face-to-face for those students still going into their school, college or training provider. This will put you in the best position, whatever arrangements are made for your qualifications. It’s important that teachers and students can focus on the knowledge and skills needed to equip students to progress to the next stage, whatever form that might take – whether to college, an apprenticeship, university or employment. 

“The way ahead is not straightforward: exams and standardised assessments are the fairest way of determining what a student knows and can do. We need to consider a wide range of qualifications – from A levels and GCSEs to many different vocational and technical qualifications – and the solution won’t be the same for all. Following the government’s announcement on Monday evening, we also need to consider how alternative arrangements will work for different students, including those who are independent learners. We are discussing alternative arrangements with the Department for Education. We know that many are seeking clarity as soon as possible. We will provide further updates as soon as we can.”  

In addition, we are seeking clarity regarding the IGCSE science qualification. Currently the Pearson website states: 

“At this time, our intention is to run the May/June 2021 series for International GCSE, as planned. As above, schools should run exams in line with public health guidance.” 

Of course, as soon as we know anything, we will inform both students and parents, but it is vital that students continue to work hard and prepare as fully as possible for assessments so that we are prepared for all eventualities.   

Most pressing for both year groups are the mock exams which are scheduled to take place in January (Year 11) and February (Year 13). For both year groups, the mocks will now be delayed until, at least, March 1st. If we can return after the half-term break, this will allow us to be able to complete any required Covid testing and to connect with the pupils ahead of the exams. More details regarding these will be sent out closer to the time and when we have more information. That said, for both sets of mocks, we are planning to spread the exams out more than initially intended, over three weeks rather than two for Year 11, so that pupils are supported as much as possible in their performance to achieve their best grades, given that these grades are likely to carry with them significantly more weight.  

The Year 11 Parent Consultations will go ahead as planned during the week of February 9th.  

Year 11s will naturally be thinking about their future plans. Mr Leddington and I will be completing our pupil interviews this half term – these were postponed following the move to online learning last term. We would request that pupils submit their A level options choices to us (a form will be sent out in a couple of weeks) by February 22nd to allow time for discussion with staff regarding suitability and career choices. We will also be arranging scholarship interviews later this term.   

Year 12 

At this stage there has been no mention of changes to the current A level course for the Year 12s. The message is very much to keep working as hard as possible. There will be a slight change to the Year 12 assessments scheduled for February 1st, but, at this stage, that is the only significant development. That said, please do read Mr Leddington’s extensive Year 12 letter from yesterday, which outlines further aspects of study and UCAS applications.  

Year 10 

As with the Year 12s, there has been no mention of any changes to the GCSE course for the Year 10s. At this stage, then, the pupils must be committed to working hard in all subjects and in all units. 

The Year 10 Parent consultations will still take place in the week of January 19th with the booking form being sent out in next week’s Bulletin, and the Year 10 exams are still scheduled to take place just after Easter at the beginning of the Summer Term. 

A major change on the calendar is the school play: “Arsenic and Old Lace”. The Year 10 cast and crew have been working incredibly hard rehearsing for their performance, which was scheduled to take place later this month. Rather than delivering something online, we want to do justice to the pupils’ dedication and to that of Mr Packer and so we are re-scheduling it to take place in the week before the May half-term break. While it is likely that it will still not be performed in front of an audience, it will provide the pupils the opportunity of performing it on stage, with the recording then made available to all pupils and parents of the school.  

Year 9 

Many of the key details for Year 9 focus on the Options Process, which wereoutlined in the letter sent out yesterday. If you have any questions regarding this, please contact your tutor, Mrs Hay, Mrs Pettitt or me. 

One major change to the Year 9 calendar is the timing of the Year 9 exams. Previously scheduled for the end of the Spring Term, these will now take place in the Summer Term. This is to allow, hopefully, more time for us to work with the pupils in person ahead of exams, providing them with more effective revision guidance and exam practice. 

The Year 9 Parent Consultations start next Tuesday (please see this week’s Bulletin for the details and the booking form). 

Year 8 

There are no changes planned for the Year 8 pupils. The Parent Consultations take place in the week of March 17th and the exams will occur as scheduled in the Summer Term after the May half-term break.  

Year 7 

As with the Year 8s, there are no major changes for the Year 7s. They too will have their exams just after the May half-term break. That said, I do want to highlight one slight alteration to the upcoming full written report, which will be sent in early March. Usually this would include an achievement grade for each subject which is based on a one-off test-based assessment. Instead of running these during a time of remote learning, we will be providing a half-year progress grade which will consider all aspects of the pupils’ learning. We will revert to using one-off assessment grades on the reports once we return to school. 

All Years 

As I outlined in yesterday’s assembly, we may have been coming into 2021 wishing ‘Good riddance’ to 2020 and hoping for an easier time, but while the year is not starting the way in which we might have hoped, we must remain positive and dedicated to doing our best, believing that through perseverance we can cope with adversity and with the specific challenges that we may face through this challenging time.   

One key challenge all pupils are facing is the extended period of remote learning. It is vital, though, that pupils stay focused and committed throughout, striving for the highest level of achievement. Central to this is maintaining engagement in all lessons, shown through positive interactions and always having their cameras on. This is a fundamental requirement of every lesson and one which all pupils must follow. 

Finally, I need to finish on a more personal note. Following various checks and scans over the break, it has been confirmed that I have cancer. While the prognosis is good and the treatment is not likely to start for a few weeks, I wanted to let you know early on as I will be out of school for at least two months once it does start. Over the coming weeks, I will be gradually reducing my workload (I have contacted my classes separately) and passing various aspects of my role to my colleagues. My exceptional Deputy Head, Sian Pettitt, along with Fraser Halliwell, will take on the bulk of my duties in my absence. As it is currently, your first point of contact is your tutor, Head of Year and Head of School. 

I am incredibly grateful for the support I have already received from family, friends and colleagues and am confident, maintaining the same approach which I have been pushing with the pupils, that I will be able to successfully negotiate these upcoming challenges.  

Best wishes,  

George Penlington - Head of Senior School 

Absence

Please be reminded that if you need to advise the school of your child’s absence due to a medical or dental appointment, illness, or any other reason for absence, please email absence@radnor-sevenoaks.org and also your form tutor.

What to read next?

It has been fantastic to hear from pupils about the books they have been reading recently. 

If you are looking for recommendations about what your children can read next then try these 2 websites for readers of all ages:

#BookMatch/The Reader Teacher and Book Trust's What to Read to read after both provide suggestions for what to read next if you like a particular author or series. 

If you enjoy listening to stories:

Audible is free for a selection of audio books - no subscription required. 

Supergreat Kids Stories is a website with stories for 5-105 year olds. 

Community Help Needed for Staff at Pembury and Tonbridge Cottage Hospitals

An approach has been made to a parent of RH7 (Julie Humphreys who has children in Years 10 and 11) with a wish list for essential items urgently needed for staff, nurses and doctors at Pembury Hospital who work on the A&E, COVID wards and ICU.  Tonbridge Cottage Hospital have also reached out for help.

The essential items they need are:

  • Small bottles water / fizzy drinks / isotonic drinks
  • Snack bars / nutrition bars
  • Hand cream
  • Antibacterial wipes (for their belongings once they have left wards to wipe down phones, name badges, pens etc)
  • Lip balm
  • Hairbands

In a non COVID world, we would be putting out a plea to our parents and staff to make donations of these items which could be collected and then dropped off to the hospital staff, however, in this time of high risk of contagion, this is not viable and the need for these items is urgent.

We would therefore request, (if you are able and willing), to make a donation to the cause which will enable items to be ordered and then delivered in one trip thus reducing the risk of infection to all involved. 

An example of what donations will buy are as follows:

£5           16 cans of drink OR 45 hair bands

£10         10 Lip balms OR 1 pack of 200 Clinell antibac wipes

£20         64 cans of fizzy drink

£30         60 protein bars

£40         140 cans of Lucozade energy drinks

£55         800 individual packs of Clinell Antimicrobial wipes

If you would like to make a donation to this cause, please complete this short form so that we can email you the bank account details to enable you to donate.

To ensure that we meet the urgent demand, the donation form will be open from today @6pm and will close on Wednesday 13 January @11pm. 

We will update everyone with all items we have been able to donate in due course and as always, thank you for your continued support of our local community and of those in need to keep the community safe.

Year 12 News

No Current Content

Year 13 News

No Current Content

Parents' Association - FoRH7

Contact us at  friends@radnor-sevenoaks.org

As we finalise some fun lockdown activities it would be superb if more families could sign up to Easyfundraising or Amazon Smile.  

With more and more shopping being done on-line this is such a great opportunity to raise funds for our charities, with no catches. 

We are also keen to see who may be able to help us with match funding for any of our fundraising activities so that we can really maximise every single opportunity to support our charities.  Please can you email us at the address above if you think your company has such a scheme that we could potentially tap into?  Many thanks! 

Easyfundraising

So far we have 46 supporters who have raised over £300.  Let's try to hit 60 by half term!  Sign up here.

Amazon Smile 

We are also registered to receive donations (0.5% of the net purchase price), from eligible purchases as you shop via Amazon UK.  It's easy to start donating by clicking here and selecting Friends of Radnor House Sevenoaks as your chosen beneficiary. 

Twitter

We are @rh7friends, please do follow us!

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