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Headteacher's update 48

Published on 08/01/21

Good afternoon everyone,

I hope that you and your families are well, and that you have managed to cope as well as possible with the significant changes brought about by the most recent national lockdown. I am very aware of the challenges that the lockdown will create for all Westfield families, and I hope that the many changes we’ve had to make to your child’s education, and the many communications we are sending out about these changes, have not added too much to the inevitable stress of the situation.


Thank you #1

We have received lots of messages from parents, carers and students this week. Some of these messages have been very positive and offered praise for the remote learning offer for students, the provision we’re making for key worker children in school or yesterday’s Year 11 remote parents' evening. Others have offered feedback on how we can improve our remote offer and asked questions of the difficult decisions we’ve been forced to make, for example our decision to cancel Year 11 vocational exams. As ever, parents/carers have been polite, supportive and understanding whether offering praise or criticism, and have been patient in a fast moving and confusing situation.


Thank you #2

Thank you to our fantastic students who have remained positive, enthusiastic and supportive despite the upheaval that they are again experiencing in their education. Our Year 11s in particular have learned recently that GCSE exams will not go ahead as planned, but they will have to continue to learn and produce excellent work to ensure their teachers have evidence to provide a fair grade for each subject. They have continued to engage well with remote lessons nonetheless. Moreover, the students who have continued to attend school this week have provided a great tonic for our staff with their good humour and hard work. Well done!


Parents' Evening

Our first remote parents evening for Year 11 students was a real success. For the most part, the technology did not let us down and I know our teachers really valued the opportunity to speak to Year 11 students and the parents about their learning, and how we can support our Year 11s to keep making progress to secure grades that reflect their true potential in this most difficult of academic years. We look forward to the next parents' evening with Year 9 students and their parents/carers. Parents and carers of Year 9 students will receive information about this and the options process that we are about to begin with them.



If you completed our online survey requesting to loan a device from school to support your child with remote learning, please rest assured that we are working hard to ensure we can provide you with a device as soon as possible. A number of you have already come to school to collect your device, and I hope they have been working well! We are waiting for a further delivery of laptops that is due very soon, and will do our best to provide a device for everyone who needs one.


Remote Learning

We continue to work hard to develop our provision for students who are working remotely. We are continuing to offer our teaching staff training to support them to teach great lessons online. I taught my first ‘live’ lesson on Teams today to my brilliant Year 10 group, which I hope went pretty well! The students themselves may hold a different view.

Our ambition is to provide all students with high quality ‘live’ Teams lessons following their normal timetable where possible. This is easier in some subjects (such as maths) than other (such as drama!). Please continue to provide us with feedback on what is working well and what we could improve to ensure your children get the best deal.

We are also developing a system to record attendance to remote lessons so that we can keep parents/carers up to date with information on whether your children have accessed their remote learning. We understand that remote learning is more difficult for some students than others, but hope that by continuing to improve our offer, an increasing number of students will be able to access and enjoy their remote lessons. We’d ask parents/carers to offer whatever support they can to encourage students to engage with our remote lessons.


While I don't want to overwhelm parents/carers with information, I will endeavour to offer updates on a regular basis.


Take care,

Joe Birkbeck
Head of Westfield School