COVID-19 Updates

Day 10 – Friday, 3rd April 2020

Thank you again to all of those parents and carers working so conscientiously with the school to help us maintain some form of meaningful education for your child(ren). We realise that many of you have been working hard and, in some instances, struggling to keep up with all of the work that is being set. Please be patient with us while we work out the correct amount of work to set; we have learnt you are not able to cover as much at home as in school.

Our plan for the Easter holiday is to try and give you bit of a break while offering you something to do while more tied to home. We ask that parents and carers be the judge of what can be achieved. If you wish to do no school work that is fine.

Key stage 3 

Students may use the time to catch up with outstanding firefly tasks if their parents wish.

Some subjects will set a single short extended two-week task. This is as we might typically do over a long break to give you something educational and fun to do while on holiday.

Mr Gough has set an Easter themed activity in addition for all KS3 students. Again, this task is optional at parents’ discretion.

Key stage 4 

Teachers will set a short consolidation task which you may continue after Easter.

BTEC students should continue to complete any theory coursework as we can use this as evidence for assessment.

Year 12

We shall set some consolidation work bearing in mind you will hopefully be sitting exams next year.

Year 13/14

We know many of you are anxious about college and university entrance and places on apprenticeships. Teachers will only set work that is essential.

Key stage 4 and Post 16 parents/carers will have received an email from the school this afternoon with a letter from OFQUAL. The letter gives further information on how grades for GCSEs, AS and A Levels will be awarded. As you can read, teachers have been tasked with providing exam boards with two pieces of information: –

  • the grade we believe you were most likely to get if teaching, learning and exams had happened as planned, and
  • within each subject, the order of students, by performance, for each grade. This information will be used to standardise judgements – allowing fine tuning of the standard applied across schools and colleges.

This work will be achievable in the timescale set and will be thorough and robust to ensure fairness.

From everyone at the school – have a good Easter and stay safe!

Day 8 – Wednesday, 1st April 2020

Our online Library has welcomed a 30% rise in students using it this month from home. 129 books have been loaned out. 86% were eBooks and 14% were audio books. To access the book stock visit the online library where students can sign in with their student ID and usual password. 

Yesterday we received some additional information on free school meal vouchers from the government. We are waiting for further communication on setting up accounts with the government’s approved supplier and will update parents/carers as soon as we are able. In the meantime we shall continue to provide Tesco e-vouchers until such time as able to change to the official scheme. We are particularly concerned that children on free school meals can access funding over Easter. 

Day 6 – Monday, 30th March 2020

So, we begin the second week of school closure! Remember it is still early days for us all in working out what works best by way of home education. Some good advise for parents/carers on routines has been produced by Hampshire County Council’s Virtual School

The government have provided additional information on the awarding of exam qualification in 2020. It is seems some of the detail is still being thrashed out but the general direction is clear. 

Day 5 – Friday, 27th March 2020

The first week of home education is over and a big pat on the back to parents and carers for your input in helping staff with work set online. Who would have thought this possible in such a short time? After the initial teething  problems on Monday and Tuesday, it seems the majority of the school are accessing and completing tasks on Firefly. Many tutors are also in routine contact with their tutor group which is pleasing to hear. The number of students attending school has diminished as more business are finding ways for employees to work from home. However, we have a steady attendance in school and are delighted to be able to support critical workers and others who need our help.

Further information on sixth form studies will be issued later this morning by Mr Colman. We recognise that for Year 13 in particular this is an anxious time. University entrants have been given reassurance by the higher education sector that they should not be penalised by changes in assessment this summer, irrespective of the form by which qualifications are awarded.

Parents/carers of children on free school meals have been sent further information this morning at 7.30 a.m. In light of the Prime Minister’s announcement last Monday evening it became obvious that distribution of grocery parcels from the school site might be more challenging within the guidance issued on social distancing. The school has now sourced e-vouchers through a local supermarket which will be distributed shortly. Please be mindful of a scam supposedly being directed at free school meal families – nobody from the school, government or participating supermarket will contact you by phone or email to ask you to provide your personal banking details. Thank you for your patience while our Senior Finance Officer has been administering the process of voucher purchases and distribution; it is no small task and mountains have been moved in days!

Further updates will be issued from time-to-time as necessary.

Day 3 – Wednesday, 25th March 2020

This morning we have received further guidance to that issued when the Prime Minister addressed the nation on coronavirus (COVID-19) and asked people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes.

There is no change in guidance for education settings, which remain closed except for the children of critical workers and vulnerable children. With this in mind The Arnewood School remains open with a skeleton staff for this purpose while other employees work remotely where possible. We continue to ask that parents keep their children at home, wherever possible. Teaching staff are doing a brilliant job setting work on Firefly. 

While there have been some problems with logging on to Firefly on Monday and Tuesday, it is evident that many students are able to access the system and logs show that many students are successfully completing work. Well done to all of those students actively continuing with their studies, many supported in their home education by parents and carers. 

Mr Colman, Assistant Headteacher, Head of Sixth Form, has written to post 16 students with an update on what we know about student qualifications this summer. 

The Year 10 work experience programme has been cancelled and employers notified. Mrs Bennett, our careers adviser has provided her contact information for Year 10 students in the letter sent yesterday. 

Day 2 – Tuesday. 24th March 2020

Yesterday Mr Pressnell, Headteacher, and Mr Neale, Head of Year 11, wrote to parents/carer and students to update them on what we know at this stage about the awarding of qualification in 2020. We have also been receiving communication from some examination boards.

Here are the main points from AQA:

  • Regulators will develop and set out a process that will provide a calculated grade to each student which reflects their performance as fairly as possible, and will work with us and the other exam boards to ensure this is consistently applied for all students.
  • Exam boards will be asking teachers, who know their students well, to submit their judgement about the grade that they believe the student would have received if exams had gone ahead.
  • To produce this, teachers will be asked to take into account a range of evidence and data including performance on mock exams and non-exam assessment. Clear guidance on how to do this fairly and robustly will be provided to schools and colleges soon.
  • Exam boards will then combine this information with other relevant data, including prior attainment, and use this information to produce a calculated grade for each student, which will be a best assessment of the work they have put in.
  • Regulators and exam boards will be discussing with teachers’ representatives before finalising the approach, to ensure that it’s as fair as possible. More information will be provided as soon as possible.

In addition to providing online learning and school places for the children of key workers without child care, Arnewood support staff and volunteers distributed over 100 grocery packages to children eligible for free school meals. We are grateful to New Forest Basic Bank, who led the charge by deploying their logistical know how and supply expertise. This certainly  helped Arnewood and Eaglewood schools bridge the gap while we wait for updates on the government voucher scheme. 

Day 1 – Monday, 23rd March 2020

The Department for Education and Public Health England have issued updated guidance for education settings on COVID-19 requiring school closure from 3 p.m. on Friday 20th March 2020. Advice issued on 19th March 2020 states every child who can be safely cared for at home should be.

Please, therefore, follow these key principles:

  1. If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.
  2. If a child needs specialist support, is vulnerable or has a parent who is a critical worker, then educational provision will be available for them.
  3. Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions.
  4. Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.

We have already been contingency planning and staff are preparing for online learning making use of Firefly to operate an Arnewood Virtual School. Resources will be found by clicking on the red button at the top of this page from Monday 23rd March 2020.

We shall be providing on-site education only for children of key workers who are unable to arrange child care and for vulnerable children identified in conjunction with local authority children’s social services.