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Peterhouse Boys

From the Rector's Desk - 11th June 2020

Thursday 11 June 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians,


A date has been set and schools are to ‘re-open’ on Tuesday 28 July. In our case representation, through ATS, will be made to facilitate a possible adjustment of term dates to accommodate the fact that we have been teaching online since the beginning of May. Obviously, as I write this, I am not in a position to provide any detail of what any revised term dates might look like. Hopefully, we will be provided with an opportunity to negotiate some flexibility around an August school holiday. In the immediate, we will continue to take half term next week. Online lessons will end at midday on Wednesday 17 June and recommence at 07h30 on Tuesday 23 June. We are very conscious of ‘digital fatigue’ at the moment, and there is a real sense that the half term be considered screen-free time.

During the course of this week, we hosted our District Schools’ Inspector who we briefed on our preparedness to re-open and how we would manage a return of pupils to the school. Similarly, he was able to see, first hand, Digi-school in operation. While there is some fine tuning required in terms of ensuring levels of compliance around being able to re-open, we have ticked many of the boxes necessary to have pupils back at school. Obviously, for our out-of-country families, cross-border movement continues to be restricted, and given the spike in Covid cases linked to cross-border traffic, this restriction is likely to remain in place. Nonetheless, we are very conscious of our responsibilities to our community and will continue to seek ways in which we can ensure that no-one is disadvantaged by not being able to return to school.

In terms of staff feedback this week, tutors are reporting some degree of apathy from tutees in registering for the Tutor period each morning. Please can I remind pupils to register from 07h30, and to register on Classroom and not via WhatsApp? On a similar tack, during lesson time the expectation is that you remain with a lesson for its duration, and that you do not exit the lesson prior to its conclusion.

In recent weeks Peterhouse, in conjunction with Outward Bound Zimbabwe, have been working on ways to make our outdoor education programme as Covid safety compliant as possible. With this in mind, we will be shortly running a Duke of Edinburgh Adventurous Journey in Calderwood Park for pupils who have been partaking in the Adventurous Journey Programme with Mr Shoesmith. Also worth noting is that a number of new hiking trails are being established by Mr Shoesmith, and these will offer small or family groups a number of new opportunities. If you might be interested in this please would you contact Mr Shoesmith.

For our candidates in the Cambridge June cycle examinations, assessed marks and grades have been submitted to the examination board. Results will be announced in due course. In terms of our own mid-year examinations (including mocks) these will take place. The dates will be determined once we have clarity on final term dates for the year. As previously reported, pupils will be given adequate notice of any impending examination session.

As we approach half term I would like to commend staff, pupils, and parents for ensuring the success of our online programmes. While it has not all been plain sailing, my sense is that it has given us the opportunity of supporting our academic commitment and expectations for 2020. The upcoming break is well deserved and I do hope that it will offer everyone a chance to take a step back and enjoy a respite from the demands of e-learning. Much has been learnt in a short period of time and we recognize, as a school, that this has been a real team effort.

Enjoy the half term break, enjoy a break from routine, and I hope that we will have greater clarity regarding the shape of the rest of the academic year in the not-too-distant future. There will be no letter next Thursday; the next letter will be sent on Thursday 25 June.

Please stay healthy and safe,

Jon Trafford