Thank you for your support and understanding during the last few months which are clearly now times of historic significance. It has been challenging for us all but we have tried to maintain our community and our ethos of Everyone Matters, Everyone Helps and Everyone Succeeds.
As we have gone through lock down and started to emerge at the other side much has been achieved in a few months and now, as we look to move to a better place and future as a school community, we will decide what we have learned in this period and what we can use to make things better but also, how we have to change what we had before, to make our new normal a better one than the one we have left behind.
We will look to return in September to a full school that still operates with care, compassion and high expectations. Our school day will remain the same and we are working closely with transport providers to have a positive solution to the challenge of school buses.
Our reopening will be based on the Government guidance and meet all the public health requirements laid out in those documents as well as meeting to the best of our ability all the recommended advice. We will also look to each other as a community to protect and keep each other safe by handwashing, having good respiratory hygiene and supporting each other to maintain high standards of cleanliness and respect for the new distancing measures.
The key strategies that will be in place are more handwashing and sanitising, year group bubbles and restricted and closely managed movement around the school. Staggered breaks and lunchtimes and a more tightly managed bus arrival and departure system than we have had to implement in the past will be in place in September. This will allow specialist classrooms to be in use and students to have a level of normality in bubbles and within their school day.
We will be expecting students to play their part in keeping the whole community safe by being proactively responsible for hygiene of themselves and the school environment by using on occasion scientific aseptic cleaning techniques as well as adhering to appropriate social distancing. This will be reflected in our approach to behaviour and attitude that students display around school and we expect that they will all maintain our ethos of Everyone Matters, Everyone Helps and Everyone Succeeds.
We will be sending out supporting materials such as videos and further instruction nearer to our September return with the latest guidance and information for both parents and students. The risk assessment for our September return will be available on the school website towards the end of August.
At KS3 we are introducing a mixed prior attainment teaching approach that will mean less movement within groups and will support improved progress and outcomes in the future for all students but will also support social bubbling in a more effective way than setting has done in the past. The decision to move to a mixed prior attainment teaching model is based on a number of factors and closely tied to our school ethos. Students will be in two mixed ability groups across the week and this will support our bubbling approach in September.
1 Due to some decisions being made by some faculties, the number of students being placed in top sets was too large and this is not a sustainable model that allows students to receive the best quality education. The research for most subjects suggests that ability grouping can slow progress.
2 The balance of workload for teaching staff working with a group of 36 rather than 30-32 students and the issue of resources.
3 We are committed to give the best opportunities for all our students and to further develop the schools collaborative planning model and teach to the top, with all students being scaffolded to improve in order to achieve strong progress and attainment.
1 Student voice has shown how demoralising being placed in ability sets is for a number of our students and this can lead to levels of disengagement which we cannot ignore.
2 All our students can benefit from being able to showcase their different talents in different groups with different peers.
3 We are proud and committed to our inclusive approach and the fact we want all of our students to thrive.
1 Girls at Rainford achieve well above national levels but boys achieve less well at Rainford High; from research and student voice we believe our existing setting policy plays a large part in this.
2 We need all our students to be given the opportunity to reach their full potential and the use of setting from research suggests our disadvantaged students are more affected by this grouping model.
3 All GCSE option groups, including Separate Sciences, are taught in mixed prior attainment groups; this shows that students can achieve well in this grouping model.
We are equally aware that some research suggests that for the highest attaining Maths and science students, mixed prior attainment groupings are not the most effective grouping model; it is for this reason we will be using prior attainment grouping for Maths and Science in years 7, 8 and 9.
There have been many examples of great work and fantastic achievements during the last few months and I would like to thank parents and students for their ongoing support. We are certain we will return with a focus on improving and building on all the hard work and learning that has taken place in these now historic times.
Usually I would include in this letter a message of good luck to the Y11 and Y13s who would be receiving results in August following exams this summer. On results days we are looking to commemorate these year groups and celebrate their careers at Rainford High in a way we have been unable to do so far and create a social record of our recent history that is a lasting testament to the challenges they have had to face in recent months. More details will follow to these students but we are trying to make your Results day something a little different and special for you to have some special memories of this period of your education.
Mr Ian Young