Chiswick School gets ready to open on 8 March

Images above: Chiswick School Head teacher Laura Ellener; the school’s gym laid out ready for mass testing

School gym transformed into a mass testing centre

Chiswick School is getting ready to welcome students back to classrooms following the Prime Minister’s announcement that from 8 March children could begin to return to school.

The sports hall has been transformed into a lateral flow testing site where students will learn how to self-test before being given test kits to use at home.

Since January, teaching and support staff have been running the test site for those children still attending school on site and the school say they are very confident that they can manage the increase in students using the facility.

READ ALSO: Schools open but Hounslow still has highest infection rate in London

LB Hounslow’s Director of Public Health, Kelly O’Neill says it’s important for parents to play their part and allow their secondary school age children to be vaccinated.

Parents must be careful about social distancing and wear masks when dropping children up or picking them up from school and if they have any symptoms they should not go to school, but get themselves tested and self isolate.

Image above: Chiswick School Head teacher Laura Ellener talking to pupils

Exams this summer

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has announced the method that schools will use to arrive at students’ GCSE and A Level results. Schools will have to work out pupils’ grades themselves, using a combination of mock exams, coursework and essays.

The exams watchdog Ofqual has confirmed that there will also be optional assessments set by exam boards for all subjects, but they will not be taken in exam conditions nor will they be used to decide final grades.

The exams administrator also says results will be published earlier in August than usual, to allow students time to appeal against grades they don’t think are fair.

After the exam debacle of 2020, when teachers assessed students and 39% A Level grades in England were downgraded by Ofqual, and the system was abandoned in favour of using mock exam results, Schools minister Nick Gibb said this time the government had devised:

“the best system possible to ensure there is consistency and fairness in how teachers submit grades for their students”.

Chiswick School leader, Graham McNamara said:

“our students have been learning throughout this time and teachers have been delivering all lessons through live teaching. We are confident that students are in a great position to do brilliantly and we are proud of how hard they have worked during this difficult time”.

Image above: Children at Chiswick School

Summer Schools

Ministers announced on 24 February that funds would be made available to provide summer schools for Year Seven students. Sir Kevan Collins, who was quickly given the nickname ‘catch up czar’ when he was appointed at the beginning of February to address the problem of children missing out on learning, said:

“We know that ensuring all children and young people can make up for lost learning will be a longer-term challenge, and the range of measures announced today are an important next step.”

The Government has allocated £200 million for headteachers to run face-to-face teaching over the summer holidays as part of a the national catch-up plan.

Before the Government’s announcements Chiswick School had already been making plans to run a Summer camp, says Headteacher Laura Ellener, for current Year 6 students who plan on attending the school from September.

Big increase in children choosing Chiswick

On 1 March parents across the country will find out which secondary schools they have been allocated. Chiswick added an additional Year seven class in September 2020 because of the growing popularity of the school.

It is a year ago that Chiswick School was inspected by Ofsted and pronounced ‘Good’ and praised for its ‘Outstanding’ personal development.

“We were delighted to see a 62% increase this year in parents choosing the school as first choice for their child”said Laura, “a sure sign that the school is moving towards its aim of being at the heart of the community.

“We are delighted that parents can now have great confidence in their local secondary school and I cannot wait to welcome children from local primary schools to join us in September.

“We are planning a fun and exciting Summer programme where children can enjoy being with their friends and having a great time through a range of exciting activities”.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Interview with Laura Ellener, Head teacher of Chiswick School

See also: Chiswick Head Teacher “devastated” that exams have been cancelled

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