Important Information - Headteacher's Updates
Updated Thursday 1st April 2021
Thursday 1st April 2021
Dear Parents & Carers
Once again, I thank you again for your continued support and cooperation throughout this term. Despite the challenges, it has once again been an excellent term at Bishopshalt, with all of our students chasing brilliance.
Lateral Flow Testing - Easter Holidays & Next Term
The students have really demonstrated their character; overcoming the changes involved in wearing masks, returning to bubbles and conducting Lateral Flow testing. I acknowledge that the impact of COVID has been felt this term, and I share the frustration that many feel, when students have to isolate due to a positive lateral flow test of a peer.
In advance of next term, in accordance with the current Government Guidance that if your child tests positive on a lateral flow test, regardless of whether it is in school or at home, they must be taken for a PCR test and this must be booked as soon as the result is read and within a maximum of 48 hours. You must not book a postal PCR test, the test booking must be done immediately and you child should be taken to a testing centre for this.
We also ask you to note that the time the lateral flow test is conducted should be recorded and you must not record the results of a lateral flow after 30 minutes as this can provide a false positive. As per the Government Guidance, we have to isolate all close contacts of any positive lateral flow test by law, therefore any delay in providing the school with the results of a PCR test has a severe impact not only on the education of your child, but also the students who are required to isolate.
If your child tests positive to a lateral flow test up until Monday 5th April, please immediately communicate this with email@example.com as we will need to track and trace any close contacts. If you child tests positive after this time it would also be helpful if you could notify us on that email address.
We also ask that everyone conducts a Lateral Flow test on Sunday 18th April before we return to school on Monday. If your child is positive, they should be taken for a PCR test and they must not attend school.
Reporting a Student Home Lateral Flow Test Result
For the remainder of the time we are required to test, please can I ask that everyone tests Wednesday and Sunday evening so as to gain alignment across the school.
I regret to inform you that despite my protest, the London Borough of Hillingdon is insisting that the Mayoral elections polling for this ward be held at Bishopshalt on Thursday 6th May. This has been regardless of my challenge and they have been inflexible to a reasonable change of venue, despite the amount of time lost to learning, and the fact that they have moved from a primary school to Scout Hut in another area of the Borough; they are directing us that the elections are held here.
Our current Risk Assessment, and the way that the school is currently run in bubbles, means that I will not allow students or staff to be on site when various members of the public will be using our facilities to vote. Therefore, on Thursday 6th May, the school site will be closed to students and staff . Lessons take place as a Virtual Learning day, where students will attend all lessons remotely.
I am sure you share our frustrations and if you would like to raise your concerns with the Local Authority, or our MP you can find the addresses below:
MP – Right Honourable Boris Johnson - firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr I Edward, Head of Hillingdon Council - email@example.com
Arrangements for Next Term
Next term will be an exceptionally important time for our Year 11 and 13 students as they will be completing their final assessments and the school will be determining their final Centre Assessed Grades.
Taking into consideration the amount of current lost time, and also that students will not be in school on Thursday 6th May, we have made the decision to move the calendared training day that was due to take place Friday 30th April to Friday 21st May. The 30th April will now be a normal school day and students will be required to attend. Friday 21st May will be a Training Day to enable staff to mark and moderation day the Year 11 and 13 Centre Assessed grades.
Thank you again for all of your support and cooperation, and I would like to wish those that celebrate it, a Happy Easter, and for those who will commence fasting during the holidays good start Ramadan.
For everyone I wish you a wonderful break and I look forward to welcoming our students back to school on Monday 19th April, for the final term of the academic year.
L McGillicuddy (Mr)
Friday 26th March 2021
Dear Parents & Carers
Please be advised that we have today issued all Year 7 & 13 students with Lateral Flow tests. We will be issuing Year 8/9/10/11 & 12 early next week before the school breaks up for the holidays. The kits allocated will enable students to test up to the 23rd April and we anticipate that we will be issuing further provisions to all students in the first week back.
To keep our community safe, we are asking for the cooperation in ensuring that students are testing twice weekly. Only by participating in this can we try to maintain a safe environment for all. We note that the London Borough of Hillingdon currently has the highest COVID rate in London and it has been reported in the media that the R rate is again going up nationally.
As well as testing twice a week at this current time, students will also be required to test throughout the Easter Holiday. As the tests take 30 minutes to administer correctly, we would recommend that all students test Sunday evening after 6pm and Wednesday evening after 6pm, this will need to continue until we inform you that students are no longer required to test. We remind you and our students that when administering the test you must record the time of the test and read the results at 30 minutes; you should not read them after this time as it can provide you with a false positive. Test results should be uploaded to the NHS site as outlined in the guidance booklet and also to the school via this link:
Reporting Student Home Lateral Flow test results.
Please note if your child tests positive during the Easter Holidays, you will must notify us via email to firstname.lastname@example.org at the earliest opportunity, to enable us to "Track & Trace" as necessary.
If you require testing kits for other members of your household you can source them from this link:
Home Testing Kits
Virtual Progress Review Meetings - Wednesday 31st March 4:30-7:30 & Thursday 1st April 8:30-12:30
The end of term Virtual Progress Review meetings will take place as above. If you have not already done so, please can you log into https://bishopshalt.schoolcloud.co.uk/ to make your virtual appointments. If you cannot access the system, please email email@example.com for assistance.
The appointments will be held virtually with your child's Form Tutor or Head of Year. They are 10 minutes long and you will access them via the Bishopshalt School Cloud; the teachers will not be telephoning you. Accessing your appointments via the Bishopshalt School Cloud does not require a computer or tablet, if you do not have these, you can log into the system via a smartphone with sound, a camera is not necessary.
Please also note that as the Progress Review Meetings will be taking place during the morning of Thursday 1st April, students are not required to attend school.
Thank you for your continued support and cooperation.
Mr L McGillicuddy
Tuesday 2nd March 2021
Dear Parents and Caregivers,
Bishopshalt is truly looking forward to the return of students next week. Though we are very proud of what we have accomplished during this most recent lockdown in terms of our Remote Learning curriculum, having the students back on school site in physical lessons is truly exciting.
With the return of students, we must remember that we are in the middle of a pandemic and therefore we will have procedures and expectations that students and staff will need to adhere to, to ensure that we minimise the risk of transmission. As Government guidance changes we will continue to refine our practice.
As you are aware, all students will be tested three times in the first two weeks of return to school. Thank you to all the parents that have filled in the consent form, or provided the school with further details. Following the three tests, Bishopshalt will provide students with testing kits to take home, so that they can still be tested twice a week. As we have been testing students and staff onsite since Christmas, we are very confident in the process, and that we will be able to support students who may feel anxious. If there are positive cases within the school community we will continue to track and trace and have to isolate close contacts. Students that have to isolate will have access to their curriculum from home.
Last week we sent home consent letters. Thank you to the parents that have all completed the electronic consent form. If you are intending to complete the Electronic form, can we please ask that that is completed today to ensure we are able to follow up where necessary in advance of students returning. The form is available here. This morning during assembly, we played the students this video to help them understand the process that will take place, this video is also available on the Website.
Please be reminded of the individual Year group arrangements for returning to school as follows:
Year 13 Year 12 Year 11 Year 10 Year 9 Year 8 Year 7
Students will be required to wear either blue, black or surgical style masks throughout the day when they are not in their Bubble Zone. In classes where it is possible to socially distance to two metres, it will be at the teachers discretion to not enforce mask wearing. When students are in the Bubble zone, for either break, lunch, or Study periods for Sixth Form, students will not be required to wear masks. However they will still be expected to socially distance. Masks will not be required during lessons where there is physical exertion such as PE or Dance, nor if lessons can be conducted outside. The school is aware of students who are exempt from mask wearing, however please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if the situation has changed for your child.
With the return to school, please can I remind your child to try on their uniform as soon as possible to ensure everything still fits and that they are ready for school. The standard uniform will be expected, and on PE uniform days students will be expected to wear a full Bishopshalt PE kit. Students will still be assigned to Bubble Zones, and as such they must ensure that they have wet weather gear to hand if necessary. We do suggest that each child brings an umbrella with them each day. Though the weather is warming, it is not improbable that we will have cold and wet weather in the months ahead and therefore students must be prepared for that eventuality.
Before school, during break and lunch and in between lessons students will remain in bubble zones, and must arrive at school during their allotted arrival times as per before Christmas, and that has been recently communicated with you. There have been changes to Bubble Zone locations, which we will share with students upon their return. As per before Christmas we will return with staggered exit times at the end of the day. I remind you that at the end of the school day students are not to meet up with peers but return directly home.
As throughout this Pandemic, our Risk Assessment for return of students is on the Website https://www.bishopshalt.hillingdon.sch.uk/ .
With this year's Summer grades now being determined by the school, Bishopshalt has worked on a system that is fair and appropriate for our Year 11 and 13 students. We will be completing two small assessments for each subject for the remainder of the year. Both assessments will take place after two weeks of re-teaching material that has been covered previously. These results, and the students work throughout the last two academic years will then inform the Centre Assessed Grades. For Year 11 and 13 parents we will write to you with more detail in the coming days about how the entire process will work.
I thank you again for your continued support and cooperation.
Mr L McGillicuddy
Reminder - Friday 12th February is a Staff Training Day. Key Worker / Vulnerable students will not attend school and virtual lessons will not take place.
Bishopshalt School Read for Good Readathon information letter
Wednesday 10th Febuary - End of Half Term Headteacher's Letter
Monday 8th February 2021 - Important information for Year 11 & 13
Dear Parents & Carers,
I am writing to give you more guidance about what to expect with regards to the forthcoming Parents evening for your child, and also to provide more clarity over the way that schools will award grades this summer.
Bishopshalt has created this short video for you to watch in advance of the Year 11 & 13 Parents' Evenings which take place in the very near future.
As you know there is still much uncertainty around how Grades are to be awarded this Academic Year. There was a recent Government consultation, however the results have not been released as of yet. What we do know is that this year we are going to be awarding grades based on where students are currently working, as opposed to last year where we predicted grades. The importance of students continuing to work hard, and follow the curriculum as set by teachers can not be underestimated.
The second key area that we do know is that the Government wants there to be more 'fairness' in this year's awarding of grades. There will be no 'algorithm' and all standardisation and moderation will be conducted by real people. As such, Bishopshalt, are going to provide many opportunities over the next few months for students to be formally assessed, and also to provide students with ability to demonstrate their knowledge and skill.
As there is still uncertainty, we want this Parents Evening to be focused on how students can improve their school work, and as such their performance at the end of the year. As we have not conducted formal assessments during this current lockdown, and to ensure fairness, we will not be providing a Current Working Grade, nor a Predicted Grade in this report. The Mock exams for Year 11 and 13 were just before Christmas, and were conducted under real exam conditions, and as such are still the best data to work from when talking to your child's teachers.
We do hope that Year 11 and 13 return during March. We will then have time to prepare students for exams, and then assess them fairly. Bishopshalt will do everything it can to give each of our students the best opportunity to succeed. As such this parents evening is about you and your child having an honest and frank discussion about how your child can maximise their grade this year, and put in place structures and plans to help them study and prepare.
Please don't hesitate to contact your relevant Head of Year for any further clarification, and as soon as we know further details we will communicate with you as soon as possible.
I thank you again for your continued support.
L McGillicuddy (Mr)
Tuesday 2nd February 2021
Dear Parents & Carers,
As always, I thank you for your continued support and cooperation during these challenging times.
Last week, from Year 7 to Year 13, the attendance to lessons was in excess of 95%. This is a fantastic result and it simply would not be possible if it weren't for your support, and the dedication of the staff at Bishopshalt.
I would like to thank parents that took the time to complete the parent survey which was circulated last week and closed on Friday 31st January. We have examined the feedback and we know that there are things that we can continue to work on and we will be doing so. We also take great comfort from knowing that so many parents are very appreciative of the work that our wonderful staff are doing.
I shared many of the comments with staff last week and it was an excellent reminder that even though teachers are not able to see their students at the moment, they are still having a great impact.
Having taken into consideration the things you have told us from the feedback we have decided to implement the following:
- We will not be setting Homework for Key Stage 3 students for the remainder of this lockdown.
- From the week beginning the 8th of February, Year 11 Core PE will not be a live lesson. Year 11 students will be able to direct their own time. The PE department will provide pre-recorded lessons which Year 11 can engage with or they can spend the time catching up with other work or revising.
- We are instituting more clubs and opportunities for students to interact with their peers, more details will follow directly to students as these clubs evolve.
- We will have a 'screen free' half term holiday. For older students who are set Homework we will want this set without the need for access to a screen.
- Bishopshalt Challenges have returned, and we are now linking them to house points, so not only are they an activity to do with your family, but will also contribute points to our students school house.
As we move closer to the middle of the academic year, we understand that Year 11 and Year 13 students and parents will become more anxious as to how students will receive grades this academic year. In advance of the Year 11 and 13 Parents' Evenings, and the next School report, we will write to you later in the week to update students,parents and carers on the Government's current position on summer exam grade awards.
With so much time being spent on line by our students we are providing links below that parents and carers may wish to consult regarding e-safety.
- ThinkuKnow – https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents
- London Grid for Learning – which again has a specific online section and parent support section Online Safety Resource Centre - London Grid for Learning (lgfl.net)
- Internet Matters Online Safety guide – Online safety guide 14+ year olds - Internet Matters
If there is any further guidance required or support needed around e-safety please contact the school.
Thank you again for your continued support and cooperation.
L McGillicuddy (Mr)
Monday 25th January 2021
Dear Parents & Carers
Firstly, thank you for your continued support and cooperation with Bishopshalt in the provision of our remote education. We are very proud as a school of the amazing effort and commitment that our students are displaying. They are truly building character, and this would not be possible if it weren't for the support of parents and carers.
Your view is exceptionally important to us, and we would therefore appreciate you taking 5 minutes to fill in this short survey to help us continually review and refine our current provision.
Secondly, can we please ensure that your child is not sharing any of their own personal details, for example School Google Log-ins, with anyone else. This is something that we have been alerted to, which is occurring across the country, fueld by 'Tik-tok' challenges. Can we please ask for your continued support in keeping your children safe online, but also ensuring that Bishopshalt lessons remain as focused and productive as possible.
Thirdly, can I remind parents of the following events
- Year 9 Options information and videos will be released on the school Website on Monday 8th February 2021. Ms Berry, Assistant Headteacher - Director of Studies for Year 9 and Mrs Emerson, Head of Year 9, will then send all Year 9 students a Google link to complete their option choices.
- Year 11 Parents Evening is on Thursday 11th February. This will be a virtual event and it will run from 3.45pm and 6.45pm via the https://bishopshalt.schoolcloud.co.uk/. Further details to follow.
- Friday the 12th of February is a staff training day and there will be no lessons delivered.
Finally, please may I ask parents and carers to refrain from emailing teachers and staff over the weekend. Bishopshalt staff have been working exceptionally hard, and also managing their own challenges throughout this difficult time. I want Bishopshalt staff to be able to refresh and recharge over the weekend to ensure that they are able to deliver fantastic lessons throughout the week. I have therefore asked them not to check emails over the weekend, and your cooperation in this is appreciated.
Thank you for your continued support and cooperation,
Monday 11th January
Dear Parents & Carers
Thank you for all of your support and cooperation over the last week in ensuring that your child has attended their virtual lessons. We are very proud of the fact that all of our students are receiving a full curriculum virtually, and we will continue to look to improve our provision as the current situation evolves. We will continue to track attendance, behaviour and effort to online learning and will communicate with you as necessary, and will be introducing clubs and other activities in the weeks ahead.
We understand that at times there can be technical difficulties at home where you need school support. We have set up an email address, ITsupport@bishopshalt.school, that your child can email if they require any assistance throughout the school day.
Parents, please be mindful of the amount of time your child is spending in front of their internet device. We have purposefully built time into the school day for students to get a break from 'screen time', and your support in ensuring that they also get time away from the screen is appreciated. We have also seen over the last week times where 'Google' itself has been slow, please be patient when this does occur.
Here are two links that we do hope you find helpful. The first is from Amazon that provides free online resources. The second is get-help-with-tech.education.gov.uk/internet-access which helps families get more data for their children to access on-line learning.
I am pleased to report that Bishopshalt began Lateral Flow testing on site last week. Staff and students have all been tested, and we will continue to offer this as the weeks progress.
As an amendment to the calendar the Year 9 Parents' Evening will take place on Thursday 21st January via the BishopshaltSchoolCloud, details of which can be found on this link . Year 9 parents will also be aware the Year 9 Options Evening was also scheduled to take place this half term; this will now be available virtually and will be 'live' and on the website during the last week of the half term. We suggest that for the Parents' Evening you prioritise appointments of subjects your child wishes to study at GCSE.
Thank you for your continued cooperation,
Tuesday 5th January
Monday 4th January
Dear Parents & Carers
As you will be aware from the Prime Minister's announcement this evening, all schools will now close to students, with the exception of Key Worker/Vulnerable students. If your child is within this category and you have not yet secured a place but you wish to send them into school, please contact Key Worker/Vulnerable Student Place and we will contact you to advise you of the arrangements.
For those students who remain at home, we would like to remind you that students need to be logged into Google Classroom for 9:00am each day, for either Form Time or Assembly, the Form Tutor/Head of Year will send a link out for students to join. Students will then follow their curriculum timetable each day, with teaching staff providing lessons. Please note that any non-attendance to lessons will be followed up bu a telephone call from our staff and the Behaviour for Learning policy also still applies; we expect the same level of engagement and behaviour as we would if the students were in school.
We appreciate that our Year 11 and 13 students will be as disappointed as we are that the Public Exams will not take place in the summer term and we will be speaking to them all in assemblies tomorrow to advise them of what will take place and how we will support them.
We will continue to update you with further information as and when we receive it and in the meantime we ask that you continue to support the school by ensuring your children are accessing the on-line curriculum on a daily basis and by regularly checking this page for up to date information.
As always, we thank you for your continued support.
L McGillicuddy, Headteacher
Thursday 31st December 2020
Dear Parents and Caregivers,
As you are aware the Government has delayed the return of students to Secondary schools. As it currently stands, we anticipate that Year 11 and 13 students will return from Monday 11th January 2021, and other Year groups will return from Monday 18th January 2021. Whilst the students are not in school, all lessons will be delivered live by teachers via Google Classroom. Students will access their Live Lessons through their School Google account, and Google Meet.
Whilst the students remain at home, the school will continue to take registers and inform parents of any issues. Students will continue following the curriculum, and it will be recorded if there are any IT issues at home. Lessons will be slightly shorter to allow students a ‘virtual’ changeover. This will help ensure there is a sensible approach to the amount of time that students spend in front of a computer screen.
I remind you that during live lessons we hold the same high expectations of effort and behaviour, and students' cameras must be switched off. Students must be ready to learn and have all necessary equipment for the lesson. Please communicate with your child’s relevant Head of Year if there are any issues that the school may be able to help with, and we will do our best to support.
Year 7 has not had the same experience as older students with Google Classroom. It is very intuitive once logged in, and we ensured that all Year 7 students have logged into their Google account. Students must be ready to learn and have all necessary equipment for the lesson. If there are any issues can your child please email Mr Jones, email@example.com and Mrs Denial, firstname.lastname@example.org before 10.30am on Monday 4th January 2021.
The student’s week will start on Monday 4th January, with a Virtual Assembly at 11am, followed by Lesson 3.
The timing of each day from Tuesday 5th of January is as follows.
8.50 - 9.15
9.25 - 10.10
10.20 - 11.05
12.45 - 1.35
2.30 - 3.20
BTEC / CTEC and Trial Examinations
For students in Year 11 and the Sixth Form who have external exams next week, these will continue. We will communicate these arrangements directly with you on Monday 4th January. The Year 12 Trial Exams, due to start on the 4th January, will continue but be delayed until the week beginning the Monday 18th January.
Rapid asymptomatic testing for Coranavirus (COVID-19)
We will update parents and carers in the early next week about the school’s work in relation to asymptomatic testing using lateral flow tests.
Free School Meals and Key Worker Children
Thank you to the parents that responded to my previous communication around children of Key Workers. Please ensure that if you are a Key Worker, and you haven't requested a place, you do so before 12pm on Friday the 1st January to enable the school to prepare.
Students from Key Worker families or key groups who are attending school and are entitled to Free School Meals will be able to access their lunch on site in the usual way. For students entitled to Free School Meals who will not be attending school, we will contact you directly on Monday 4th January to inform you of details regarding Free School Meal provision.
We will continue to receive information and guidance in the coming days; therefore, I will write to you again next week with further information on a number of matters.
Finally, I thank you for your ongoing support and cooperation.
L McGillicuddy (Mr)