13 January 2021

Good afternoon,

Engagement:  As an update to my notice yesterday it is good to see from the system reports that 90% of our students accessed Teams on Monday.  The highest percentage was Year 11 (93%).  Obviously we want the percentage to be 100% across all year groups and we are working with individuals and families to address the various issues.  We also know that accessing Teams is not always the same thing as engaging with lessons! Given that some students are unwell, however, the 90% figure overall is positive - well done to everyone!

Teaching and learning:  Having the whole school remote learning is new for all of us and teachers are adjusting fast to the new ways of working.  None of us have ever been trained to teach online!  We are working through all issues as fast as we can and working out what we hope are sensible solutions.  A current issue appears to be the sheer volume of messages from students and the fact that work is being submitted through a whole variety of channels - email, chat, uploads etc... It is great that students are engaging and that the work is being submitted, but please be aware that, if a message is missed or a piece of work is not intercepted it is just a mistake on our part and everyone is working flat out!  Writing answers to every question asked in a class takes a lot longer than a swift verbal answer in a physical lesson, for example, but it is important in order to support all our learners.  Thanks for your support and understanding and for working with us.

Year 11 examinations in February:  We have received notification from Pearson (who are the examination board for BTEC) this afternoon that the BTEC examinations in February will not be running.  The exams are Digital Information Technology and Health & Social Care.  The relevant quote from the email I received earlier this afternoon follows this notice.  While I recognise that Year 11 students, parents and carers will have questions about what happens now you need to give us a few days to get more information and consider the implications for each subject - I am just doing as I promised and keeping you updated!

DfE update: No BTEC external assessments to take place in February or March this year 


The DfE has announced today that scheduled assessments for Vocational and Technical Qualifications (VTQs), specifically Performance Table Qualifications, will not take place in February or March this year. For schools and colleges taking Pearson qualifications, this means that external assessments for BTEC Level 2 Tech Awards, Firsts, Technicals and Level 3 Nationals will not go ahead in February or March.   

While we welcome this decision, which aligns with the position for General Qualifications and puts the safety of students and teachers first, we know that many learners and centres will be disappointed, as they have been working hard towards these assessments.  

We want to reassure BTEC learners and centres that we will put arrangements in place for students who are now unable to take their external assessments to ensure they are not disadvantaged. So, those expecting to complete their qualification this year will be able to progress normally.

Mental health support: Our Family Support Worker, Miss Shaw, has asked me to publicise the following information: 

With the latest lockdown and children accessing school from home, young people may really benefit from some additional support with their mental health.  Kooth is a free anonymous counselling and emotional wellbeing service that can offer that Mental Health and wellbeing support free to young peple in Lancashire aged 10-16.  They are hosting two parent/carer information sessions on the 21 and 27 January. These sessions will offer an insight into the service and give space for a Q&A too. Parents and carers can register a place to attend with these links. 


Best wishes

James Harris


Posted by James Harris

Category: WLD Updates