Letters to Headteachers – 27/03/2020
I hope you are keeping as well as possible in this extremely difficult and unique situation that we find ourselves in.
I wrote to you last week explaining how GwE would be supporting schools in this initial very difficult period.
The support identified was:
- Supporting schools to remain open by deploying GwE staff in schools on requests;
- Deploying GwE staff to local authorities to support their capacity;
- Creating a great Google classroom to collate resources to support learners and teachers across the various key stages and subjects;
- Daily telephone call to schools to support headteachers’ well-being and to discuss any queries that they may wish to raise.
This support is ongoing if you require it.
I am aware that you have very pressing and urgent situations to organise and take care of this week. However, I would like to make you aware of the support that will be available to schools once this urgent current situation has hopefully settled down a bit.
We have been, and will be working with Welsh Government, Estyn, Qualifications Wales and the WJEC on a range of issues.
Some which need urgent attention such as:
- Awarding grades to year 11 and year 13 pupils;
- How do we best support year 10 and year 12 pupils in continuing with their studies; and
- What will be the qualification requirements for them if the present situation is sustained for an extended period of time?
These discussions are ongoing.
With the other regions, we are preparing a distance learning strategy that will help you guide learning between schools, parents and their children. We must have realistic expectations on what we expect learners of different ages to undertake and to achieve in what is a very difficult situation, not only for staff in school, but for parents as well. We need to be mindful of equity of opportunity for learners and the significant challenge of ensuring that the most vulnerable are supported effectively to learn and be safe. This will be quite a challenge
To support the strategy, we will provide guidance that you may wish to consider on expectations on teachers, learners and parents. This guidance will be underpinned by making everybody aware of what software is available freely to support the learners. These tools will be accompanied by tutorials to demonstrate to staff and parents how they can best utilise them. These will be available in the next few days by following this link: https://hwb.gov.wales/distance-learning/
When the time is right, we will hold discussions with yourselves on how best we can support you in developing a shared understanding of what is on offer and what we should offer learners of different ages, and the kind of support you feel that is needed for your own staff, parents and different groups of learners in your school.
To avoid as unnecessary workload as we can for yourselves, I think sharing resources and approaches between will be a necessity. If needed, new resources can be developed jointly. I’m sure many of you have already put plans in place to allow this to happen.
I hope you understand that we are very sensitive to the pressures that you are under at this point but wanted to ensure that you are aware that support for the next steps in this difficult journey is already being planned for you. We will share details with you when you feel that the timing is right to move forward.
Best wishes and keep safe.
Arwyn and everyone at GwE