Virtual Learning Update from Mr Bowles

31 March 2020

Dear Parents and Carers,

Having just completed the first week or so of learning in this new, and rapidly changing, environment I thought it would be a good time to update everyone. I hope this will help you understand the current situation and our expectations of the students whilst we are not ‘at school’, I also hope it will help you understand what you can expect from us in the coming days and weeks.

First of all, I would like to begin with thanks, to our teaching and pastoral staff that are working around the clock to provide learning content, lessons and support. To our support teams, particularly our IT team who, at an impossibly quick rate, have created an online learning platform and are working all hours to ensure it copes with the ever-growing demand. To our parents and carers who are supporting everything we do, with kind words of support, and a helping hand encouraging your children to learn. Most of all I would like to thank our students, amidst all of the disruption their thirst for learning is incredible. Although I hope to calm their stress, it is strangely comforting to hear that students are ‘worried’ when they miss lessons, or they have completed all the work they have. Not for one second do I enjoy the thought of our students being stressed or feeling under pressure, but, the sentiment that they want to do more means that we are creating the right culture.

On this note, this first week or two has been very ‘reactive’ staff have been adding content to your VLE’s Space/Ello/Edge/Aspire/More+/Wise) and have been hosting virtual lessons when they can based on each individual schools strategy. The heads and I are currently discussing a more proactive strategy to take us forward, we will communicate this as soon as we have it. Like I mentioned, each school has offered a different menu this week given their resources and the fact the virtual lessons were untested, especially at this level of demand.

My message is simple, you as parents and carers will know your child better than anyone, you will know if they welcome the distraction of school work during this peculiar time, or if its adding to the pressure they are feeling, All of our 5000+ students will be feeling slightly, or very, differently. The amount of content we offer will only grow; we would much prefer to supply too much than not enough. We are asking you to help your child to decide how much work is right for them, considering their wellbeing and learning progress, in that order!

There are no objective ‘expectations’ from us in terms of completing work, students engage with any work set if they are able to and that we all, staff/parents/carers, do their very best to support learning, the more students can do, the less disruption to their learning they will face. It is that simple.

I wish you all the very best of health in the coming weeks and urge for you and your families to remain safe and continue following our governments guidance.

Tony Bowles
CEO – Invictus Education Trust