Today, all year 11 students at Holmes Chapel Comp received a personal invitation to join a specifically designed programme aimed at helping them to get ready for the next stage of their learning journey. The Coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc in countries all over the world and disrupted schools and businesses everywhere, but as Denis Oliver, executive Headteacher explains:
“What has happened has disproportionately affected students in year 11 which is such a critical point in their development. They were all busy preparing for their national examinations, working hard and thinking carefully about what they need to achieve to set them on the next part of their personal development journeys, when the virus hit. This summer, they are in a different position than any year group before them and potentially, they will be away from structured learning for quite some time. We had to do something, we care very much about every single one of them.”
The message that has been sent out to students and parents today invites students to take part in a programme of learning over an eight week period starting on the 11th May 2020 and offers subject specific learning of around two to three hours per week in each subject. The programme has been put together by teachers and senior leaders at the school after their concerns were mirrored by parents and students concerned that they were at risk of becoming the lost generation.
Joanne Camm, Director of Sixth Form Studies went on to explain:
“We are offering transition support in all of the subjects that we offer within our very successful Sixth Form College. The transition to a different way of learning, moving from GCSE studies to the next level can be difficult in the best of circumstances but for this year group it’s more important than ever that we help and guide them as much as possible. Students don’t need to have made any final decisions about where their next steps may be or exactly which subjects they will choose to study. The beauty of this programme is the ‘try before you buy option’.
Following the announcement by the Prime Minister that schools would close and that the summer examinations for this year would be cancelled, students in their final year at secondary school must now wait to see what grades they will be awarded to take forward based on previous work and teachers assessments. Nobody quite knows at this stage how the national system will be moderated which leaves students and their families playing the waiting game during the country's lockdown. Year 11 students will find out their final grades on August 20th as previously expected.
Mr Oliver went on to comment:
“These students have been here, part of our school community, for the past five years. They are a wonderful group of young people and we must pay tribute to the way they have handled this situation but we must also help them to stay engaged in learning. When all of this has settled down, we will find a way to bring them all together to celebrate their journey at our school and to celebrate their achievements. In the meantime, we need to make sure they don’t get forgotten by the system.”