COVID 19 School closure: latest information for parents of students in years 7-10

This information is updated regularly. We will send you a text informing you of significant updates.

This page was updated on Monday 18th May 2020.

This information is for parents of students in years 7 to 10. Parents of students in year 11 and parents of year 6 students who will join the school in September, should see the separate information for those groups.


Dear Parents,

As we start the seventh week of school closure the days of normal school life seem a distant memory. Whilst these are undoubtedly very difficult times for us all, there is much in our school community that makes me proud. We have staff in school every weekday providing some brilliant provision for those students whom the government has asked us to accommodate. I have been really impressed by the response of many of our students to the challenges of learning at home; I know that many are trying really hard to learn and to develop skills in difficult circumstances. I’m also very proud of the work our Design Technology team have done over the last few weeks in manufacturing face shields for NHS and care workers. Around 450 of these vital items of PPE have been made and distributed by the school.

It is becoming increasingly obvious that this is going to be a long haul, with no obvious return to normality in sight (see below for details). With this in mind I would encourage you to “keep at it” in supporting your child with learning at home. Can I remind you that you, or your child from a school e-mail address, can e-mail any teacher about work that has been set. Staff contact details are on our website. Our teachers are having some really productive interaction with some students, please encourage your child to get involved. If your child does not have their e-mail password then please contact the school office ( and we will do our best to help.

Given the ongoing nature of the closure, we are constantly reviewing and trying to improve the provision we are making, we’ll use this page to keep you up to date.

I hope that you find the information here useful. Please remember that you can contact us at any time if you have any worries or questions.

Simon Grieves

School closure

School remains open only for students classed by government as vulnerable, some students with special educational needs and children of key workers. If you are a key worker and want your child to attend school you can arrange this by contacting us by e-mail ( You will need to provide your name, your child’s name, your job and your employer. Government has issued a list of qualifying key worker roles which can be accessed here.

Following government announcements this week, it now seems likely that school will remain closed to year 7 to 9 students, other than those listed above, until the summer holiday. It is possible, however, that schools will be allowed to provide some limited in school sessions for year 10 students, later next half-term. This will not be normal schooling for year 10. If the government does allow year 10 to return, provision is most likely to consist of a series of workshops in core subjects and perhaps in the options subjects that students have taken. Students would be invited into school for workshops relevant to them. The provision would be designed to complement and support the student’s home learning.

Government initiatives

We have now received details of the government scheme to provide laptops and internet access to a small number of students in year 10 who meet very specific criteria. The decision on who is eligible for the scheme is made by the local authority, not the school. The local authority are currently working to determine who qualifies. We will let you know if and when we find out more.

Students entered for examinations in year 10

Government have now confirmed that students entered for examinations or assessments in year 10 will receive grades this year. This includes students taking Astronomy in year 10 and students who have completed the Higher Project Qualification (HPQ). These grades will be awarded on the same basis as grades awarded in year 11. Examination boards will award the grades based on information provided by schools.

School trips

The issue of trying to secure refunds for cancelled school trips is causing problems across the country.

We understand the frustrations of parents who are waiting for refunds, especially in these difficult times and we are working hard to resolve the remaining issues. The situation is complicated. Firstly, we don’t hold the money that needs to be refunded; that currently sits with the tour companies. Secondly, in the case of future trips, the tour companies maintain that “this trip may still run”. If we cancel a trip ourselves, then the school and you as parents forfeit any right to a refund. Annoyingly therefore, we have to wait for the tour company to tell us that the trip won’t be able to run, before we can make a claim. The position is summarised below:

Spain and Poland trips: the tour companies were forced to cancel these trips based on FCO travel advice, refunds are with our insurers. They are required to make a decision within the next two weeks.

London trip: we cancelled this trip and parents have been refunded.

Watersports trip: this is proving the most difficult, PGL maintain that “the trip may still run”, though in practice we know that this is not going to happen. We have refunded any money that had not yet been paid over to PGL. We are working to resolve the situation.

France and Belgium trip in October: to provide some certainty, and to avoid parents having to continue paying for a trip that may not run, we have postponed this trip. The trip will now take place 8 -11th February 2021. We are happy to refund all parents the full cost of the original trip. We will re-advertise it in the autumn term and you can then rebook a place if you wish. Alternatively, we are happy for you to rebook a place now, in which case we will retain your deposit to secure the place. If your child has a place booked on this trip could you please e-mail Mrs Davies ( and let us know if you would like a full refund, or for us to retain you deposit and reserve a place for the new dates.

Learning at Home

Our approach to learning at home remains unchanged. To summarise:

Year 10: Work for year 10 will be set in separate one hour chunks (lessons) on Go4Schools. Year 10 will do two hours per week in each subject (except science where they will do 3 hours).

We won’t be setting work for extra-curricular courses such as GCSE Astronomy. The course will restart when schools reopen.

Year 9: Work for year 9 will be set in maths, English and science and the option subjects a student has chosen. Work will not be set lesson by lesson, but will be set in manageable ‘chunks’.

Years 7 and 8: Work will not be set on a lesson by lesson basis, but we will try to break work down into manageable tasks.

The amount of work that students should be doing per week in each subject is set out below:

Year 7 and 8 Time per week Year 9 Time per week Year 10 Time per week
Maths 2 hrs Maths 2 hrs Maths 2 hrs
English 2 hrs English 2 hrs English 2 hrs
Science  2 hrs Science  2 hrs Science  3 hrs
ICT 1 hr Option 1 2 hrs Option 1 2 hrs
P&E (RE) 1 hr Option 2 2 hrs Option 2 2 hrs
PE 1 hr Option 3 2 hrs Option 3 2 hrs
DT 1 hr Option 4 2 hrs Option 4 2 hrs
Geography 1 hr
History 1 hr
Art 1 hr
Music 1 hr
Drama 1 hr
MFL 1 hr

I know that some parents and students are finding it very hard to keep up with work at home. Equally, some would welcome more work. We appreciate how difficult the current situation is for families. We also know that many families are sharing limited IT facilities. We are aiming to keep things as easy as possible for you, whilst keeping students in the habit of learning. In other words it is a compromise.

My suggestion would be that your child makes themselves a timetable for the week, based on the time allocations above. This would work out as around 3 hours work per day. They can then arrange work to fit into these sessions. I am sure that we all acknowledge that it is also important that students get some fresh air and that they exercise within the current social distancing guidelines. A day planned around these time allocations should leave adequate time for this too.

School work is important because it helps maintain a habit of learning, but please do not let school work add to your stress in an already difficult situation. Much more important than school work, is that you and your family stay happy and healthy.

Please remember that you are welcome to contact individual teachers by e-mail. Staff e-mail addresses are on the school website. Teachers cannot respond to messages from a child’s personal e-mail address, only to those from their school address, or from a parent’s e-mail account.

Some of our students have been working very hard. If you child needs a new exercise books you have several options: they can work on paper, you can buy your own book, or you can collect new books from school reception during school hours.

Making the most of time at home

Many people are using the enforced time at home to learn new skills and to improve their education. If your child would like to complete some additional work during the school closure then Oak National Academy provide online lessons for students. BBC bitesize have also launched a range of online lessons that may be useful.

Reading is one of the best things anyone can do to learn and to relax. Our school librarian and Literacy Coordinator have provided a range of ways that children can access books during the school closure:

Derbyshire libraries offer a variety of free eBooks, eAudiobooks, eMagazines and eNewspapers to download onto kindle/phone/laptop/tablet and this can be accessed via the link below:

Audible are still offering their huge selection of children's audio books to stream for free while schools are closed.

Empathy Day is on 9th June 2020 and Empathy Lab have created a list of suggested reading for 11-16 year olds which covers a wide range of genres and formats.

The website below is also great if you're after ideas for hard copies of books and allows you to browse by age.

The Carnegie 2020 book award shortlist was announced before Easter and again this link will direct you to some high quality and age appropriate reads.

MyOn are offering a limited period of access to free online digital reading materials to support schools and studentsduring the closure. This is more appropriate for our learning support students, younger or reluctant readers.

Students who are registered on the Accelerated Reading programme should already know that they are able to continue to access this from home and quiz in the same way that they did at school. Students know their login and are very familiar with the system so there should be no issues with them using this from home by using this link:

Thanks for reading, please email or with any queries.

Happy reading!

Gemma Dobson (School Librarian) and Carolyn Clarke (English Teacher and Literacy Coordinator)

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