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Headteacher Blog

what's happening at Chesham Grammar

Posted on: January 8th 2021

Head's Blog

Dear Parent,

I do hope that you and your family had a peaceful and relaxing Christmas even though it already seems a long time ago. 

This time last week, I was preparing to return to school on Monday and was expecting to focus on what we needed to do to prepare for the rollout of the planned mass asymptomatic testing of students and staff we had been asked to undertake in advance of student returning to school this term.  What a difference a week makes.  Since then, it has been quite hard to keep up!  We have seen a significant number of changes such as the announcement that students will not be in school this half term and the cancellation of summer GCSE and A levels.  It has been immensely frustrating and challenging and I would like to thank you all for your support.  For those in Years 11 or 13 and their parents and teachers, there is huge uncertainty about what will happen in order to determine A level and GCSE grades.  All we know at present is that exams will not take place and that teacher assessment will instead be used to determine students' grades.  While exams may be cancelled, the courses most certainly are not and we are carrying on teaching the specifications as normal which will help to ensure that when we do find out the details, we are in a good place to be able to act accordingly.  I will keep parents of those in Years 11 and 13 updated as we learn what is happening in the weeks and months ahead and for now I would ask that you also just encourage your child to carry on and to work hard. 

Thank you to those parents who have completed the Microsoft form to give or withhold consent for Covid-19 testing for their child in school.  While the timetable for the roll out of this has obviously - and thankfully - changed since this time last week, we are still going through the planning and set up processes so that if we are told to undertake testing when students do return to school, we are ready.  The pattern throughout this pandemic has been to tell us what needs doing with very little notice so we are determined to be prepared for this announcement if and when it comes.  If you have not yet completed the form please can I ask you to do so for this reason.  I would like to say a huge thank to those parents who very kindly offered to help with testing; we will be in touch with further details in the next few weeks so that again, we are ready for any announcement about a return to school.

Well done to Veena in Year 7 who completed her Bharthanatyam (South Indian Classical dance) Grade 4 exam with distinction during the Christmas Holidays and to Rithvik, also in Year 7, who wrote and published a book during the holiday. Shaanti and Jio in Year 7 organised a post-Christmas doorstep food donation.  They posted flyers through the doors of their neighbourhood and managed to gather a large collection of non-perishable food items for The Dens Homeless Shelter.  Well done to them all.  During the last week of term, Mrs Armstrong and some of our Year 13 students delivered the Christmas hampers we had made to the elderly residents of the town.  These were most gratefully received with some of the elderly telling us this is all they would be receiving this year as they would not be seeing anyone - other than our school representative.  My thanks to those parents who ferried their children around the town so that the hampers could be delivered before Christmas and a particular thank you to Mrs Armstrong who delivered the majority.  I have had a number of letters and thank you cards from the elderly who were so sad to have missed the party this year and who are already looking forward to the one next Christmas!

Our students may like to know of a competition for KS3 and KS4 students being run by the Microbiology in Schools Advisory Committee (MiSAC) which is open until Easter.  It aims to help students develop an understanding of the interrelationships between fungi and climate change.  There are cash prizes available for the top three entries for the individual student as well as their school and more details are available here: http://www.misac.org.uk/PDFs/Misac-competition-2021.pdf

I do hope your child is starting to get into a home learning routine.  Please get in touch if you feel s/he needs some support. Having already done a week of this before the holiday our students were in many ways well placed as they were resuming remote learning rather than starting from scratch.  However, doing this for a week is one thing, doing so for the whole of this half term is quite another and we are mindful of the amount of time students are spending in front of a screen each day.  We will be asking parents, students and staff for feedback during the next week so that we can understand how things are going and look at whether or not there are any modifications we need to make moving forward. In the meantime, as ever, please get in touch if you have any questions, queries or concerns.

With best wishes for a relaxing weekend, 

Annmarie McNaney 
Headteacher