This newsletter comes with my very best wishes for a Happy New Year. I hope that you are all well and had a wonderful festive period.
Sadly, as we know, not all of the community were well over recent weeks, with a number of students unable to travel back to school due to COVID infections. Anecdote and evidence suggest that the rate of infections has increased, but the severity of symptoms has diminished. I am sure it does not feel that way for those who have fallen ill, but the consensus seems to be that a case of COVID is currently not what it might have been in terms of severity, say, twelve months ago. That is all to the good and we all certainly hope that this trend continues. At Earlscliffe too, we have seen an uptick in cases, but as yet, every case has been quickly picked up by our rigorous and frequent testing and we have no evidence that any case has spread beyond one person. We are, of course, continuing to follow strictly any guidelines on ventilation, hand-washing, isolation and so forth to ensure we all remain as well as possible. We must all learn to live with the conditions in which we find ourselves and soldier on.
To that end, we have published a wonderful programme of co-curricular activities with a poetry festival, movie, park run, horse-riding, Folkestone market trip, and art sessions all available this weekend alone. Please do encourage your child to get involved, to work hard and play hard and to participate in the activity programme for our Interact Club too – the opportunity to serve and help others is one that I encourage all students to take up. We are looking forward, later this term, to having the students involved in a sleep-out, using sleep pods for comfort, which we will then donate (after cleaning) to those in need. Please visit the website sleeppod.org.uk if you would like more information. We are all enormously privileged in our circumstances and affluence and an occasional reminder of the lives of others is useful and provides a good sense of perspective.
Looking forward, those students who face public GCSE or A-level examinations this summer, as well as having weekly TRaC tests, will have a full set of mock examinations in the week beginning 21 February, straight after the Half-Term break. The more preparation this cohort can do, the better and we expect all students to treat these exams just like the real thing in terms of revision and preparation. Only then will they identify gaps in their knowledge and be able to garner specific support. We have offered students the chance to stay here for the Half-Term break, if they would like to, and if so, revision sessions can be made available. We are waiting to see what level of interest there may be in that provision, and have asked the students for their views. If your child does come home, please allow for the need for revision, and do not plan, for example, a complete week of holiday such as a ski trip which would negate the chance to study. If you need help advising your child on how to revise, please refer to www.learningscientists.org for help.
This letter comes with my very best wishes.
Joss Williams, Head Teacher