Dear Parents, Students, Staff and Friends of Chauncy School

Thanks to everyone who has continued to support the education of our children during this pandemic.
I want to bring you up to date on what we are doing.
We continue to care for a small number of children whose parents are key workers.

Lisa Smith, Dean Nicholls and Elena (from St. Catherine’s School) have been busy making visors for NHS staff. Steve Walton and I will be delivering hundreds to 4 local NHS care homes tomorrow. Lisa, Dean and Elena have worked fantastically hard for the last week and in true Chauncy style have said, “Can we do some more?” Steve Walton will be telling you how we can fundraise for the visors. We already sent hundreds of goggles and gloves to The Lister.

Year 7,8 and 9 students have been trying to do the work set on various online platforms. They can’t access the sort of immediate help teachers and teaching assistants give and so the kids’ task is harder. However, one third of all students have achieved a gold award for their excellent attempts at doing all the work set. We have written individually to the Year 7s who earned a gold award and we will do the same with Years 8 & 9 soon. Steve Walton, who is in charge of our Covid-19 work, has posted lots of examples of wonderful work on our Facebook page.

We have only just gathered Information on Year 10 & 12 task completion so we haven’t contacted them yet. I hear great things about Year 12 lessons and student commitment.
Our form tutors have been ringing or emailing parents of kids accessing the work and giving it a good go.

Learning co-ordinators have been emailing and phoning the kids not managing to do much of what we set. You will remember, I hope, that I have asked parents not to beat themselves up trying to teach or supervise or even ask for 25 hours of lessons each week. What we have asked is for the students to do one piece of work for each subject each week – around 5-10 hours.

I know that some of you lack the computers to allow parents to work from home and each kid to have full access. I also know that some children, unsurprisingly, are ticking “work complete” boxes when they haven’t done the work. Others are quietly playing games when parents aren’t looking. Naughty children!

I know it’s hard to keep an eye on them but would it be possible for them to do an hour a day in the same room as you? Then you could give the odd glance. How about a compulsory Chauncy hour from 11 till 12 each weekday? Most are out of bed by then. Pretty much every parent we contacted has been keen for their kids to do the work.

Now, I know you want your kids back in school and I have staff asking if they can come back. The simple situation is that we are not open. I think we wont open at all until June. And then it will be for a few kids at a time. Suggestions on how we social-distance children directly to me, please.

There’s a bottom line here, for me, as headteacher: kids may not die from the virus, or usually get very ill (unless they have other medical conditions). I cannot propose anything that endangers a single child’s health.

Three local heads have estimated around 10 teachers in each school won’t be able to return until it is totally safe. Schools, in my opinion, will not be fully open this side of a vaccine.

Again, I will not endanger staff. I might even have to hide from my own doctor.

I am really worried that the kids are losing touch with reading and writing and that it will take us years to get all the kids achieving their best when we all return. Please, get them to read. Let me know if you need materials and we should be able to do something with access to our school library.
If you are interested in my wider view and aren’t one of the 18,000 who have already read it, my blog on Child Care Exam Factories and Education seems to have agreed with many people.

I know we all support Chauncy School; we all want to see the children back with their friends and learning with an amazing staff in an outstanding school. Stay safe and do not ingest or inject bleach or other disinfectants.

Dennis O’Sullivan (Headteacher)