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LATEST LETTERS


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25 MARCH 2020


Dear Parents/Carers,


FSM SCAM

 

We have been alerted Cheshire West and Chester fraud manager that it seems that Fraudsters are taking advantage of the COVID-19 disruption and as a result they are seeing a number of new scams circulating.

 

We have today been made aware of a scam around Free Schools Meals and fraudsters tricking people into sharing bank details.

 

Scam around Free School Meals

 

Some Schools have already reported that parents and carers of children in receipt of free school meals are being targeted by fraudsters. Fraudsters are targeting families, emailing parents and carers with messages such as ‘ If your child is entitled to free school meals send your bank details to the school and they will help with funding while the school is closed’. The email contains links for the parents to follow if they want to receive the this funding – these links are fake. This is a scam.

 

Any information regarding The Whitby High School will come from us and not a third party. If there is to be a third party involved you will be inform of who it is and why by me through our email system.  This may well be the case with regard to free school meals over the coming weeks however I will inform you of this before a third part is involved.

 

Please, if you are approached by anyone suggesting that they are working on behalf of the school. Cheshire West & Chester or The Department for Education and you are unsure that it is legitimate please do not respond but contact me here at school.  These are unprecedented times and whilst the vast, vast majority of us respect the situation we are in it is unfortunate that there are elements within our society that wish to capitalise on it in an illegal way.  Please do not let them succeed.

 

Thank you for your continuing support.

 

Yours sincerely


 

Mr B Heeley

Headteacher


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20 MARCH 2020



Dear Parent/Carer


I am sure that by now you will all be aware of the announcement made by the Prime Minister, where he confirmed that all schools and other education establishments will close at the end of the day today.  For the vast majority of students this means that they do not have to attend school until further notice.  All schools however will open to support vulnerable students and the children of Key Workers as outlined in government guidance.  This can be found on our website or by logging onto:


https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision


The government stressed that ‘every child who can be safely cared for at home should be’.


The most recent scientific advice on how to further limit the spread of COVID-19 is clear.  If children can stay safely at home, they should, to limit the chance of the virus spreading.


That is why the government has asked parents and carers to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and asked schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend.


It is important to underline that schools, colleges and other educational establishments remain safe places for children.  But the fewer children making the journey to school, and the fewer children in educational settings, the lower the risk that the virus can spread and infect vulnerable individuals in wider society.


Schools are, therefore, being asked to continue to provide care for a limited number of children – children who are vulnerable and children whose parents/carers are critical to the Covid-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home.


Vulnerable children include children who are supported by social care, those with safeguarding and welfare needs, including children in need plans, on child protection plans, ‘looked after’ children, young carers, disabled children and those with education, health and care (ECH) plans.


Normal arrangements for students at The Whitby High School have ceased however, they will resume sometime in the future.  I strongly recommend that all students continue to be active in their education and use the work that can be accessed through our Resource Hub

https://sites.google.com/whitbyhs.cheshire.sch.uk/twhs-resource-hub/home   This will also be available through our website.


We continue to await information and guidance with regards to examinations, and as it is unlikely formal examinations will take place, we are working hard to ensure we have all the necessary information ready if examination boards require it.  Please be assured I will be scrutinising the methods by which decisions are made to ensure our students receive the grades they deserve.


The past week has been a difficult one for everyone but particularly for our young people.  I have been impressed with how they have all taken the situation at what is a worrying time for them.  They are a credit to you and to our school community.


It is clear that some students are anxious so please take time to talk to them and reassure them.  Family time and the love of those around them is important not only to them but also to you.  I believe we may be facing a difficult few weeks ahead with a media base that bombards us all with ‘the very latest’.  Please remember they are youngsters and may be frightened.


I will keep you informed as things progress over the coming weeks, but now please accept my sincere thanks for your help and support.  Please take care and I look forward to welcoming everyone back into school as soon as possible.


Yours sincerely




Mr B Heeley

Headteacher


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19 MARCH 2020


Dear Parents/Carers,


SCHOOL CLOSURE - SURVEY LINK


As you will be aware, schools will be closed at the end of the day on Friday 20th March.


From Monday 22nd March we will be offering child care arrangements. We are still awaiting confirmation from the Department for Education (DfE) as to which children and young people will be eligible for that childcare. This information is not yet available to us and we will send further information with details of the offer.


We know that this is a difficult time for everyone but it is important that everyone waits for and follows national advice and guidance.


We ask that you complete the online survey to give us as much information as possible to help with our planning for the coming weeks. Please use the below link to complete this survey no later than the close of the school day on Friday 20th March.


https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=Hb5f2cACE0uq30qVQfew_QeuAonyjxFPlqURLwDENKNUNVE3M0tDNUpTNUtPTDBWRjNQWTZBV1I0Vy4u


Once again, thank you for your support and cooperation at this time of national need.


Kind regards,

 


Mr B Heeley

Headteacher


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19 MARCH 2020


Dear Parents/Carers,


YEAR 11 TEACHING


You will no doubt be aware that the Government has announced the closure of all UK schools for most pupils from this Friday and until further notice.


A major announcement is the cancellation of all exams for all schools. This morning in a Sky News interview, the Minister for Education has confirmed that examinations will not take place or be rescheduled. We are in the process of confirming what will be put in place to ensure, in the Government’s words “children will get the qualifications they deserve.”


To allow Year 11 students to say a proper goodbye to classmates and staff we are inviting them to come into school as usual in the morning. Following registration with their form tutors we will provide all with a bite to eat and a drink to mark the occasion of their leaving. Following this, students will be expected to leave the premises by 9.30 and to remain at home after this time.


We encourage students to keep in touch with their teachers during this period of home learning but please be mindful that although our staff are still working there may be cases where individuals become unwell and are unable to respond. Therefore, any urgent messages should be sent via the school central email address whitby@whitbyhs.cheshire.sch.uk.


We will be in touch when we have further information.


Many thanks for all your support over the years and in particular the last few weeks.  I wish all our students every success and happiness for the future.


Yours sincerely



Mr B Heeley

Headteacher


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19 MARCH 2020


Dear Parents/Carers,


YEAR 13 TEACHING


Following the information released yesterday, by the Secretary of State for Education, I have taken the decision to suspend Year 13 teaching from lunchtime today.


I am extremely disappointed in this, however, it is clear that the shock of yesterday’s announcement has left our Year 13 students feeling anxious, confused and disappointed.  With this in mind, the students have spent Period 4 with their Form Tutor and had a low key 'Leavers Assembly' where we have spoke to them about what they should be doing now. I think it is important to make this as positive as we can for them.


Many thanks for all your support over the years and in particular the last few weeks.  I wish all our students every success and happiness for the future.


Yours sincerely,



Mr B Heeley

Headteacher


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18 MARCH 2020


Dear Parents/Carers


PARTIAL CLOSURE OF THE SCHOOL - YEARS 10 AND 12


Following my letter yesterday, I have taken the decision to direct students in Years 12 and 10 to home study until further notice.  As the effects of COVID-19 virus continues to develop it is becoming difficult to support lessons across all school years in school.  This is as a result of staff sensibly taking the guidance laid down by government and the reduction in agency staff available.


I have therefore reluctantly decided that as of tomorrow, Thursday 19 March, 2020 all students in Years 12 and 10 should study at home. I appreciate that this is a slight change to the sequencing detailed in yesterday’s letter however all Year 9 students are sitting a GCSE/BTEC examination this summer, and need to complete vital assessments.  An oversight on my part. 


Staff are working hard to ensure learning materials are available electronically and students should check their school emails daily for information.  If your child is unable to access these learning resources, please contact their House Progress Manager and we will arrange alternatives.  I ask for your patience in this matter as we work with restricted staffing.  For those with access to the internet (computer, ipad, tablet, phone) there is a wealth of study materials through on-line packages such as My Maths, Doddle and Seneca.  All these will be familiar to your child.


If your child is in receipt of free school meals, we can offer a packed lunch to be collected from school daily.  If you would like your child to receive this please inform school reception (0151 355 8445) by 9am tomorrow morning, giving your child’s name and form.  Packed lunches will need to be collected at 11.30am each day from reception.  If you find you no longer require this lunch, please inform reception to avoid food waste.


As detailed in my letter yesterday this is a temporary partial closure and as staffing returns to normal I will inform you of the need for your child to return to school.  This will be the day prior to return.


I do appreciate your support in this matter and as the situation changes I will keep you fully informed.  For guidance on the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) please logon to our website and click the banner at the top of the page.


Yours sincerely,



Mr B Heeley

Headteacher


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18 MARCH 2020


Dear Parents/Carers

STUDENT ABSENCE


As parents and carers the current situation is a worrying time.  Collectively we must continue to impress upon our children the need for cleanliness particularly hand washing etc.


If your child displays symptoms of the COVID-19 virus, they must self-isolate for 14 days or similarly if they are in a household where someone displays symptoms they must self-isolate.  In such cases, this will be regarded as an authorised absence.


However, if you remove your child due to your concern around the virus but they do not meet the criteria above this has to be treated by the school as an unauthorised absence.  If this changes due to government intervention we will of course amend our records, however, at present this is the case laid down by the Department for Education.


Yours sincerely



Mr B Heeley

Headteacher


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17 MARCH 2020


Dear Parents/Carers


CORONAVIRUS


As you will be aware through the various media streams the development of the COVID-19 virus and resulting actions has moved on apace over recent days.


As a school please be assured that we will respond to all guidance given by the Department of Education and Public Health England in an informed and measured way.


The school will remain open unless instructed to do so or operationally we are unable to maintain an acceptable level of safeguarding for students.


Students should continue to attend school unless they display symptoms of Coronavirus, however mild.  You can access information via the links below but symptoms include:


A new and persistent cough

A high temperature


Under current guidance students should not attend school if they are experiencing symptoms or live within a household where someone is self-isolating due to displaying symptoms. In either of these instances they should self-isolate for 14 days.  Whilst we have been planning for this we realise that as we move forward there will be additional difficulties in school.  These will be due to the unprecedented levels of staff and student absence.


If staff absence increases over the coming days and weeks it may be necessary to move to ‘partial closure’ where certain school years will not be in school but work from home.  In the event of this being put in place the order of home study will be as follows.


1. Year 12

2. Year 9

3. Year 10

4. Year 8

5. Year 7

6. Year 11 and Year 13


This will be a fluid situation whilst staffing levels vary.  Once self-isolation has ended we will return to school based study.  I will ensure details of any such action will be sent to you at the earliest point.  Until informed otherwise, students should attend school if not self-isolating.


Following a meeting of senior staff and supported by our governing body I have decided to postpone until further notice assemblies, parents’ evenings, visits and sports fixtures out of school and visiting speakers etc into school.  We held assemblies yesterday to reassure students and to promote simple hygiene processes when washing hands, coughing and sneezing.


In the unlikely event of a school closure or to support students having to self-isolate please ensure that your child is able to access their school email address.  Staff will, as necessary inform students of where to access work for the period of their absence.  I would appreciate your patience in this matter as we put these measures in place.  If your child does not have access to a computer/laptop, please contact their House Progress Manager to enable us to arrange an alternative.  In the unlikely event that your child cannot access their school email, please contact our network manager, Mr Cook ncook@whitbyhs.cheshire.sch.uk


As yet, there is no indication that there will be any alterations to the summer examinations schedule so Year 11 and Year 13 must remain focussed.


How can you support us?


If you suspect your child has symptoms of the virus or someone in the household has symptoms, please do not send them into school

Please let us know as soon as possible if your child is self-isolating.  Please give reasons why.


Please reiterate to your child the impart of hygiene and washing their hands regularly.  If they wish to bring hand sanitiser into school, they must use it sensibly.


Please refer to guidance by checking the banner on our school website and through the following websites:


www.gov.uk/coronavirus

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus


I will issue future guidance as this becomes available through our E-Bulletin, the school website and email.  Please check your junk mail if you find you are not receiving information.


These are unprecedented times for us all, however please be assured I will continue to review the situation regularly and keep you informed.


Your sincerely



Mr B Heeley

Headteacher


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10 MARCH 2020


Dear Parents/Carers,

EDUCATIONAL VISITS


For the past several weeks, we have been carefully monitoring the quickly evolving worldwide health crisis resulting from the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Whilst Public Health England have not given a definitive decision regarding the risk of travel, I have made the decision to suspend all school trips abroad, including visiting groups from other countries, until further notice. At present school trips in the UK will continue however, this may change as the situation develops.  Any school trips due to take place between now and including the Easter break will not go ahead. This unfortunately includes the ski trip to Italy. Interski have issued a statement informing the school that they are suspending all resort activities for the remainder of the current season.


We will endeavour to do all we can to obtain refunds for planned trips, but ask for your patience and understanding while we do so. I will contact you again as soon as I receive further information.


Thank you for your ongoing support.


Yours sincerely,



Mr B Heeley

Headteacher


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