Communication

Links to recent letters to Parents and Carers and school newsletters are available via the links on the right hand side of this page. 

Email communications relating to Coronavirus are listed below for reference. 



Home Learning Newsletters

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School Trips and Duke of Edinburgh Expeditions

A Level History and Politics Trip to Washington DC

Dear Parent/Carer

In light of the current situation in the United States, we have taken the decision to reschedule the October 2020 A Level History and Politics trip to Washington DC.

If the DfE guidance on educational visits allows school trips to resume overnight and overseas, the trip will take place from Monday 15th February to Friday 19th February 2021 (during February half term).  The itinerary and cost for the trip will remain the same.

We do hope that all students will still be able to join us on this fantastic trip.  Please re-confirm your child’s place on the trip by e-mailing a.carter@parmiters.herts.sch.uk before Friday 17th July.

Please also feel free to contact me directly, should you have any queries.

Yours sincerely

Alex Carter
Head of History and Politics

 

Year 10 Art Trip to Cornwall

Dear Parent/Carer

Following the current government advice based on residential school trips, we have decided that the Year 10 trip to Cornwall scheduled to take place in September will not go ahead.

This decision has not been taken lightly, but the need to safeguard staff and student welfare is of paramount importance.  We have spent considerable time liaising with our accommodation provider and other venues.  Many are currently shut and none of them can actually guarantee that they will be open for September.

All payments will be refunded in full.  In light of this, the Information Evening scheduled for this coming Tuesday 7th July will no longer go ahead.

I would like to emphasise that the cancellation of the trip will have no impact on the students ability to enjoy and achieve in GCSE Art.  We are currently planning different ways we can provide students with the initial inspiration for their first project.  We hope that once this crisis has passed, we will be able to consider re-organising a trip at some point during the next academic year.

Thank you for your continued support.

Kind regards

Mrs Miah
Head of Art

 

Duke of Edinburgh - Bronze Award

Dear Students and Parents/Carers

Following the postponement of the Bronze Expeditions, we have re-scheduled accordingly.  Subject to Government Regulations, the Bronze Final Expedition will take place on 25 - 26 September.  This will minimise time out of school and will currently NOT involve camping overnight.  Parents/carers will need to drop off and pick up students each day.  In all other respects, the expedition will be run as usual with students carrying their full equipment and cooking their meals together before leaving for the night.

In order to be allowed to attend the Expedition and in line with previous requirements in place from the start of the Award, all students MUST have completed all of their sections and had them signed off by their Assessor - please NOW check that this is the situation.  Students should go on to eDofE and check that it records them as having completed each section and that there are no messages from their Leader.  In case of doubt, they should contact their Leader.

For those students intending to undertake their Silver Award, this expedition can also count as their Silver Practice Expedition, a compulsory requirement for Silver. This would require students to complete one extra day of journeying and so the expedition would finish on 27 September rather than 26 September. The Silver Final Expedition will take place in June/July after the GCSE examinations.  A letter will be sent out shortly inviting students to enrol for their Silver Award. If students are intending to progress to Silver, I would urge a speedy application so that they can undertake their sections immediately - there is a facility for backdating 3 months from the date of enrolment. The subsequent letter will have more details.

Obviously this is a fluid situation and further details for the Expedition will follow, but please keep the dates free.

At this stage it would be helpful to know how many students intend to undertake all 3 days of the expedition, so please could students email me to let me know if they will be doing so.

We will need some adult assistance on the Friday and if you are in a position to help out, please email me (m.holloway@parmiters.herts.sch.uk).

Yours sincerely

M Holloway
Duke of Edinburgh Award Co-ordinator

 

Duke of Edinburgh - Silver Award

Dear Students and Parents/Carers

Following the postponement of the Silver Practice Expedition, we have re-scheduled both the Practice and Final Expeditions.  Subject to Government Regulations, the Practice will take place on 25 - 27 September and the Final will be from 23 - 25 October.  Both expeditions will be local to Hertfordshire and currently will NOT involve camping overnight.  Parents/carers will need to drop off and pick up students each day.  In all other respects, the expeditions will be run as usual with students carrying their full equipment and cooking their meals together before leaving for the night.

Obviously this is a fluid situation and further details will follow, but please keep the dates free.

The Practice Expedition will run concurrently with the Bronze Expedition, for which we will need some adult assistance on the Friday.  If you are in a position to help out, please email me m.holloway@parmiters.herts.sch.uk.

Yours sincerely

M Holloway
Duke of Edinburgh Award Co-ordinator

 

Duke of Edinburgh - Gold Award

Dear Students and Parents/Carers

Following the postponement of the Gold Practice Expedition in June, I am pleased to advise you that Peak Pursuits are in a position to convert the previously booked Final Expedition into the Practice to be run on 22 September - 25 September in the Peak District.  The re-arranged Final Expedition will take place on 24 - 28 October in the Yorkshire Dales. This will off course be subject to any Government Regulations in place at the time.

Further details will follow as the situation becomes clearer, but please ensure that you keep the dates free.

Yours sincerely

M Holloway
Duke of Edinburgh Award Co-ordinator

Headmaster's Update 13 July 

Dear Parents and Carers

Plans for September 2020

Please find attached my letter outlining our current plans for September.  Of course, if the details change before the start of the academic year, I will update you over the summer break.

We are aware of a number of students who were classed as extremely clinically vulnerable at the point we went into lockdown.  Please refer to the latest government guidance, link below, and let us know if your child falls into any of the categories listed. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19

Kind regards

M Jones
Headmaster

Headmaster's Update 10 July 

Dear Parents and Carers

As mentioned in one of my previous updates, you will be aware that Mrs Stevens is retiring at the end of term but parents and students may not know of other staff who are leaving. Ordinarily, teachers would have shared this information in class with their students.  At the end of next week, we will be bidding farewell to; Mrs Harris (Maths), Mrs Murray (Head of English), Mrs Nixon (Geography), Miss Campbell (Drama), Miss Harding (Art) and Mrs Sankey (Maths).  We wish our colleagues well as they move on and hope that they keep in touch with Parmiter’s. 

Last night I joined the final "virtual" Parents' Association meeting of the academic year and I just want to thank the whole committee and all of you who have supported the school through PA events and all forms of fund raising this academic year and, indeed, in years gone by.  Even more than the funds the PA raise, it is the work parents do to help establish Parmiter's as a community school that is of most value.  In addition, your words and gestures of support and appreciation are hugely valued by myself and all my colleagues.  I am particularly grateful to those parents who so generously made donations to the school  this term following the communication sent out by Mr Moss and his team.  In the event, we have raised more money than we would normally have raised had we been able to run our customary Summer term fund raising events.  Thank you all so much.

The Parents' Association has already met the target they set themselves for fund raising to support teaching resources to be included within the laboratories of our 'soon to be built' Science block. and I look forward to sharing much more information about this with you all in early September.  Lockdown has not delayed our ambitious building plans and we are currently on course to open our new Science building in September 2021.

Kind regards

M Jones
Headteacher

Headmaster's Update 8 July

Dear Parents and Carers

Year 11 students will have received a message from Mr Poulton, Head of Year, inviting them to a celebration event in school next Wednesday.  Students are being invited into school for an hour each, two form groups at a time, it is important that they adhere to the timings given in their invitation.  There will also be an opportunity for them to return any text books.  Students do not have to wear school uniform for this visit but should be dressed appropriately.  We are really looking forward to seeing our Year 11 students and I am sure they are looking forward to collecting their Yearbooks and Leavers’ hoodies.  Plans are in place to host a similar event for Year 13 students and I will be sending further notification before the end of this week.

As I am sure you are aware, significant guidance has been released around the opening of schools in September as well as a consultation process in process regarding the examination series in the summer of 2021.  Please rest assured that I will be communicating about both of these issues before the end of term.

Kind regards

Mr M Jones
Headmaster

Headmaster's Update 6 July

Dear Parents and Carers

Further to the government's announcement last week, we are busy planning how the new academic year will be managed in September.  We are keen to welcome as many students back to school as possible and will be communicating how we envisage this working as soon as we can.

Virtual Sports Awards
We are determined that the school year will not pass without celebrating the success and achievements of so many students.  Indeed, 2020 has been an historic year for the school if only for our Senior Ladies Hockey Team's accomplishment in qualifying for the National Finals. 

To start the celebrations - Instructions on how to access the Virtual Sports Awards website will be sent out to parents/carers' and students' email addresses at 6pm this evening. 

Kind regards
M Jones

Headmaster's Update 3 July

Dear Parents and Carers

Thank you as ever for your continued support of your sons and daughters throughout the week.  It has been wonderful to welcome back Year 10 for core lessons and have the chance to share a few words with them at the start of each day.

Please find attached a message regarding our planned Virtual Sports Day which will be the final major opportunity for students to earn points for their Houses.  Thank you so much to Mrs Wood for leading this initiative.

I wish you all a most enjoyable weekend

Kind regards

M Jones

Headmaster's Update 30 June

Dear Parents and Carers

Ofqual announcement

Parents & carers of Year 11 & 13 students may recall that the arrangements for the grading of this summer’s A Level and GCSE exams included provision for an Autumn exam series.  Today, Ofqual (the body that oversees qualifications in England) confirmed this exam series.  The full press release can be read here.

Key points that may be of interest to students and their parents/carers are:

·                     All GCSE and A Level subjects should be offered in the Autumn, with the same number and format of exam papers as in any normal exam series.

·                     However, grades will be based on exam performance alone, with no non-exam assessment (NEA).   The only exception to this is Art & Design.

·                     Exact timing of the exams have not yet been confirmed, but the current plan is for A Levels to be held in October and GCSEs in November.  

·                     This exam series is intended for students who were unable to receive a centre assessment grade (e.g. private candidates) and students who want to improve on the grade they receive this summer.

As we have further information regarding results days, the appeals process and this Autumn exam series we will be in touch.

Kind regards

M Jones
Headmaster

Headmaster's Update 26 June

Dear Parents and Carers

Thank you again for all your support for our students throughout the past week.

It has been wonderful to welcome back our Year 12 students and I do hope they have found it a positive experience. I am very proud of how well the school has been able to manage the experience safely and am very much looking forward to welcoming our Year 10 students back to school next week for their face to face sessions in the core subjects. I know that Ms Absalom has contacted all the parents and carers of Year 10 students and I do hope you have found the guidance around student protocols and expectations helpful and clear.

Over the past week and next, I have been meeting and will continue to meet with all our subject leaders to discuss and hear about the plans being put in place to ensure that we have an effective Recovery Curriculum in place for September. Staff have a very clear picture of individual student’s progress and we are all committed to ensuring that every student is given all the support necessary to help them catch up, where needed, and be fully prepared for the academic challenge ahead.

 Key worker families and vulnerable student provision in school - advance notice

As you are aware, we have been open for the children of Key Workers and for those students whom the Government  deemed vulnerable since lock down began.  We have very much enjoyed having the students in school and hope that this has supported our families.  At the end of term, we will be closing this provision at 1pm on Thursday 16th July. If your child normally attends on a Thursday, we would be grateful if you could make arrangements for them to be collected at 1pm. We will not be open to students on Friday 17th July.

Kind regards

M Jones
Headmaster

Headmaster's Update 19 June

Dear Parents and Carers

Thank you, as ever, for all of your support for your children's online education throughout the past week.  Although we are not yet out of lockdown, the reports from the Government have given me greater heart that, come the end of July, we will see the end of this particularly extreme form of school closure and can look forward to re-opening to all if not the vast majority of students in September.  We have already begun our planning for this next phase and I look forward to sharing with you our developing plans for September over the course of the next few weeks.

In the meantime, our academic reviews with students in Year 10 and Year 12 have proved even more successful than my highest hopes.  Year 10 students and parents must be commended for an exceptional attendance with almost every student crossing the threshold.  Students should also be commended for their impeccable uniform, manners and the quality of the feedback they provided to their form tutors. I wrote last week that I wanted this to be a two way communication and Miss Hall has been able to compile such a useful feedback document to share with every subject leader on both the areas that are going well as well as those we can improve.  The data that we have amassed, as well as the feedback from students, flies in the face of the current depressing media narrative around "a lost generation" and "widening gaps".  Our students have coped amazingly well and we are so confident that they are or soon will be on track to make the academic progress across all areas that we come to expect at Parmiter's.  Far from falling behind or missing an education they have taken full responsibility for their learning and made full use of all the resources their teachers have put on line.  I am so proud of them all. 

And the same goes for Year 12.  The feedback I have received from their tutors following their Google Meets has been equally positive. I am so looking forward to seeing them in school from Monday and popping into their lessons to see for myself how well they are coping.

Having received feedback from our Curriculum leaders, I can see for myself how far our staff have come in developing recorded lessons and materials for students' learning and I know that a number of subject areas will be offering more "live" opportunities for teaching and providing feedback for students in Key Stage 3.  Teacher reports are being compiled for every student in Year 7, 8 and 9 which shows how well they have engaged with the work they have been set.  Ms Absalom has also compiled a questionnaire for every student asking for their self evaluation as well as offering them an opportunity to speak to their tutor about their progress.  I am also aware from Mr Hughes that we have increased the level of pastoral communication for all our students although tutors are saying it would be appreciated if some students were more proactive in replying to their communications.

On a personal note, I have held meetings with four students who wrote very articulate and thoughtful reflections about the issues arising from the death of George Floyd.  These meetings have provided me with such a valuable opportunity to listen to students' experience in school as well as discuss with them the strategies we hope to put in place from September such that our Equalities agenda and anti-racist stance are as strong as they can possibly be.

For parents, carers and students from Years 11 and 13 who are reading this communication, you have not been forgotten.  My plans for bringing the students back into school are taking shape but, I am sure you can understand that I am waiting for the Government announcement at the beginning of July regarding distancing and other matters so I can be absolutely sure what is achievable, safely, on site.  I have held two meetings with our School Captains and they have been very much involved in my thinking and our plans. 

Our students are amazing.  This week has shown me that young people in Britain these days bear no resemblance to the image the media seems so determined to portray.  Yes, lockdown has been incredibly challenging and frustrating for all of us young or old and yet, the younger generation that I see at Parmiter's is neither lost nor falling behind.  I for one feel that more educational professionals, parents and carers should be pointing out just how fantastic our children are!

Kind regards

M Jones

Headmaster's Update 17 June

Dear Parents and Carers

It has been great to see Year 10s in school this week looking so smart in their uniform, and the feedback I am receiving from Form Tutors is showing how incredibly well they have been coping throughout the protracted period of lockdown.  I have had equally positive responses from the Sixth Form Team and Year 12 tutors about the virtual meetings they have been holding with their tutees.  Staff are so appreciative of the feedback we are receiving from the students which will help us, not only with planning and preparation for the remainder of this term, but the work we are doing to ensure that we open in September with maximum benefit for our whole student body.  Key Stage 3 students will soon receive a self evaluation form which should provide us with an excellent oversight of their progress during lockdown.

An updated version of our Risk Assessment has been posted on the school website. This version reflects the changes made to the list of vulnerable groups and clarifies the procedure to be followed in the event of a suspected case of Covd19 . 

Kind regards
M Jones

Headmaster's Update 12 June 

Dear Parents and Carers

Thank you for all your continued support and care for your children throughout the course of another week of home learning.

We have been extremely busy on site with preparations for the partial re-opening to Year 10 and 12 students over the course of the remaining weeks of this term. After next week, during which every student will have an extended meeting (either face to face or virtually) with their Form Tutor or Head of Year, we have a time table in place for extended teaching sessions for core subjects for Year 10 and all subjects for Year 12. These will be supplemented by on-line learning tasks and resources, including more pre-recorded sessions created by staff. Whilst staff have completed extensive reports across all subject areas on our students and staff will also ask questions regarding well-being, we are very keen that the review meetings are a two-way conversation. They are an opportunity for the school to receive feedback from every student about the positives, as well as the challenges, they have faced with their on line learning.

I have encouraged staff to increase the level of pre-recorded materials for students and, to trial some live lessons, with an initial focus on Year 12 and we are looking to increase this provision as we move forward. I will be holding meetings with every Head of Faculty or Department next week to review the provision of on-line learning and discuss their plans for further improving the students’ experience for the remainder of this term. As we move forward, I am very confident that all Year 10 and 12 students will receive extensive feedback and support from staff, both academically and pastorally, under our partial re-opening plans. I am equally committed to ensuring that our plans for Key Stage 3 students enable them to receive feedback and communication from their Form Tutors and teachers. Staff are in the process of completing reports for every student in Years 7, 8 and 9 and I will be communicating with you next week about our plans to report back to KS3 students, parents and carers.

I would just like to take this opportunity to reflect with you on Parmiter’s virtual learning offer since lock down began. The most important point to stress is that, ever since and in fact even before the Government’s announcement, I have been in constant communication with local Headteachers and local schools on a weekly, if not daily basis. As Chairman of the South West Herts Association, as well as representative at the County wide body, I am fully aware of what other schools are providing. We have all been on a massive learning journey and are more or less at a similar stage of development in terms of maximising the use of technology to provide an educational experience for all our students. Whilst never being able to replicate the true school experience, I am confident that this period of lockdown has not been the educational disaster that so many seem to be claiming in the media. I will come back to this.

The decision we made at Parmiter’s not to offer live on line lessons was informed by two key factors, and I am fully aware that a few schools have found themselves in the fortunate position of being able to do more than the majority of us have. The first was that we did not believe we could run them on a consistent basis and to a good enough quality and thus directed staff to put their energy into high quality teaching and learning resources posted on Show My Homework. Training has been put in place and it is our strategic objective to move towards becoming a one-to-one device school such that in the event of any future lockdown we can have all our staff as well as students trained and confident to teach and learn on line. Even more relevant, I believe and believe strongly, live on line lessons are not in any way the definitive answer to or even a fair replica of the actual school experience. Whilst a live on line lesson may be considered by some a way of controlling students’ learning and pressing them to “do the work”, I would question whether those students who are not engaging or even refusing to engage (and we are talking about a tiny minority in the case of Parmiter’s) are likely to engage in a live on line lesson. It is extremely difficult for any teacher to make them do it. The other factor that was very important to me is that we have students of a very high academic calibre and thus by focussing on Show My Homework we could set the additional challenge of work and activities that students could access at their own time and at their own pace.

As a school, we are constantly reflecting on what we can do better. I was proud when speaking to other local Headteachers to find that whilst a number of schools had surveyed their parents, only Parmiter’s had a box for comment. And I appreciated all the comments that I received - from the very supportive and positive to the most critical. You raised the really important point about feedback both in terms of marking and suggested improvements to pastoral communication. These are very important to me and, hopefully, we are working to address this and improve and I would appreciate your feedback both on where it is working well as well as where you think we can further improve.

I have received a number of emails and spoken to a number of parents who have expressed their immense pride in how pro-active and independent their children have been in taking ownership and responsibility for their learning throughout lockdown. And it has nothing to do with their academic aptitude. It has everything to do with their attitude and their character. I know there are many parents reading this who work or have connections with the university sector. I have a friend who is a Professor at Warwick university and I have lost count of the times he has told me about berating his undergraduates over the past decade for failing to take any initiative or responsibility for their learning. Well, I think this generation is going to be different. I don’t believe coronavirus will have a long term adverse impact on our children or education in fact I believe it could have the opposite effect. As schools, it is making us rethink and re-evaluate everything we do. It is providing the most powerful learning opportunity for every adult as well as student and I am convinced that when we return to school it will be stronger than ever.

With kind regards
M Jones
Headmaster

Headmaster's Update 9 June 

Dear Parents and Carers

As I mentioned in my update last week, Parmiter’s supports Black Lives Matter.  As Headmaster, I feel it is my duty to make a clear stand on this issue as it is so important for every school and, in particular, for one with students from such diverse cultural backgrounds.  Although it is not possible for us to be together at the moment, this will not prevent us working with our staff, students and other members of the Parmiter’s community to ensure Black Lives Matter is championed and awareness is raised.

A light is being shone on schools and our collective responsibility is to ensure black history is given an appropriately significant place, that we are raising student awareness of racism and racial inequality, and that we provide an appropriate platform for our young people to effect positive change, both in schools and in our communities.

Now is the moment to reflect on our own curriculum and co-curriculum to ensure that Parmiter’s ethos and values are properly reflected, and that we embrace black history and social justice education throughout the School.

Over the past few days, I have received communications from students, former students and members of staff offering ideas of ways in which we, at Parmiter’s, might make a difference.  I have already met with some and have further meetings planned with others.  Together we will work to review our current curriculum and recommend areas in which it might be enhanced to implement lasting structural change ensuring that our students are educated to embrace the cultural diversity of today’s world.  We will also review our co-curricular offering, to make sure that we are meeting the needs of our community and championing social justice.

As an initial step I will be recording an assembly address for the whole student body over the next day or so but this is only the start of what I want to see as a concerted drive to address the many issues that have been highlighted by the tragic death of George Floyd.  It is our intention to launch staff and student working parties with the aim of creating a robust anti racist stand for our school both in terms of the educational experience all our students receive as well as the polices and practices we have in place to ensure racism is never tolerated or accepted in any form in our school.

As parents or carers, if you would like to be involved or contribute your thoughts or suggestions, I would be delighted to hear from you.  Please contact my PA, Mrs Clark on h.clark@parmiters.herts.sch.uk

‘In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist.’ Angela Davis

Kind regards

M Jones
Headmaster

Headmaster's Update 4 June

Dear Parents and Carers

The focus of today's communication is on student well being and tomorrow I will be writing to you with regard to our teaching and learning plans for the remainder of this term.  As the content of this communication is very relevant to our students I would be most grateful if you could share this with your sons and daughters.

I'd like to start with reflecting on the very serious issue that has affected us all on the news - the death of George Floyd in America.  Like all of us, I was profoundly shocked by the footage and moved by the peaceful demonstrations that I watched on the news channels yesterday evening.  I also received a very thoughtful on the issue from a student In Year 10 which has also prompted me to publish this statement from the school:

Black lives do matter.
Our thoughts go out to the family and all who are grieving and hurting after the tragic death in the US of George Floyd.  Racism has no place in the world today and we will continue to defend all those whose rights are abused and stand up against such mindless and cruel behaviour. In these difficult times we have been reminded of how valuable human life is ; no one should be made to feel afraid or prevented from fulfilling their potential. Equality and love must extend to all humanity.

Certainly the news stories has inspired us as a school to redouble our efforts to counter racist attitudes and beliefs in the educational provision at Parmiter's.

 

This morning we held a virtual Governors Standards and Curriculum Committee meeting and it was so helpful to receive direct feedback from a Parent Governor with their insight into their children's current experience of home learning.  As with the start of the Summer Term, we are very conscious that unrelenting work set every Monday for seven weeks without any break will be overwhelming for any student whatever their Year Group and, we are looking to break the experience up (as we did with the VE Commemoration week) at some points to enable students to catch up and reflect on wider PSHE issues or topics that would not be covered in our core curriculum offer.  Such periods are also great opportunities for Form Tutors and other staff to communicate with their students to check on well being and reflect on coping mechanisms as lockdown begins to feel ever more isolating and gruelling.  As the term progresses, do please look out for the opportunities we will be putting in place for virtual competitions and activities (with a House competition element as ever). 

Students in Year 10 and 12 will shortly be notified of  individual "academic review" meetings that will be held in school for Year 10 and will be conducted remotely for Year 12.  Whilst there will be an academic element to this, Form Tutors will also be discussing well being issues with every student.  We have put an assessment calendar in place and every student in Key Stage 3 will be receiving a report which will reflect on his or her engagement with the on-line work during the period of lockdown.  Should time permit, I would like to see this supported with contact between students and their tutors before the end of term. 

This afternoon I had a Google Meet with our School Captains, Rhys and Emma as well as their Deputies, David and Toluwa  which provided me with much appreciated feedback from the Year 13 students' point of view.  We discussed the logistics of a rescheduled Year 13 Prom plus holding what Toluwa has christened a "Year 13 Graduation event" - socially distanced of course - at the end of the summer. 

As I am typing this, I have just been shown the Parmiter's 2015-2020 Year 11 Year Book and, hats off to Mr Poulton and the Yearbook Committee because it looks fabulous!  Mrs Stevens and I have already hatched a plan for a Year 11 Celebration event - also socially distanced - that will involve collecting Yearbooks, hoodies and more... but I will be communicating more about this once we have fully tested the logistics.  Mr Poulton and I will be discussing ways we can also keep in contact with our Year 11 students through the course of this half term.  I was delighted to hear from Mr Henson about the excellent take up from Year 11 students regarding the range of Sixth Form transition tasks.  It is so encouraging to see so many students making the most of this time to prepare for the academic year ahead.

We have received a number of requests regarding students visiting school to collect belonging from lockers.  Students are welcome to come to school any day between 9am and 3pm and should report to Reception when they arrive.

Finally, I would like to thank the whole parent and carer body at Parmiter's for your support and forbearance through this extremely difficult time.  I would like to remind everyone that these are testing times for schools and particularly as regards communication and emails.  Staff are under a great deal of pressure and are working hard to both prepare and provide feedback for the on-line provision.  Whilst we will endeavour to reply to all emails as promptly as possible, it remains our expectation of staff that they will respond to parents and carers within two working days

Kind regards
M Jones
Headmaster

Headmaster's Update 1 June

Dear Parents and Carers

Partial re-opening and on-line learning

Welcome to the start of our final half term of this academic year.  Attached is a joint letter that I have signed as the Chair of the South West Herts Secondary School Headteachers' (SWHSSH) Association outlining our joint approach to partial re-opening over the course of the next two months.  Hopefully it will show that, although there will be slight differences in how each individual school will re-open, given its particular context, we are taking the same cautious approach and putting the health and well being of our students and staff as the main priority in all our planning and preparation.

Over half term, the Government finally released its guidance for Secondary schools and the provision of some face to face contact in school for students in Year 10 and 12 from Monday 15th June.  There was nothing I have read that has altered our plans to invite students in Year 10 into school from Monday 15th June for face to face academic review meetings with their Tutor or Head of Year and then begin delivering some face to face teaching sessions for Year 12 students from Monday 22nd June.  In accordance with the Government's guidance, we are in the process of putting the requisite Risk Assessments in place.  It is still my ambition that we will be able to host some Year 10 face to face teaching sessions in school before the end of term as well as host Key Stage 3 review meetings for every student, even if this has to be a "virtual" meeting.

Prior to that, we are hoping to begin the delivery of some live streamed lessons, initially with Year 12, as early as next week and certainly increase the amount of pre-recorded lessons that students experience in all Year Groups following our on-going staff training and support.  I am very conscious that even the most optimistic outlook shows that the overwhelming majority of students will be dependent on the quality of our on-line teaching until September at the very earliest and we are committed to ensuring that this is of the highest quality as we can possibly provide.

 

Staffing update

It is with mixed emotions that I announce that my wonderful Deputy, Mrs Stevens will be retiring at the end of this academic year.  This is certainly not the way any of us would have wanted her to bow out having given such superb service to our school.  I will, of course, be writing about her in great detail at the end of term but for now want to note that whilst I wish her a well deserved and thoroughly enjoyable retirement with her husband John and devoted family.  I will miss a colleague who has been such a huge support to me personally ever since I arrived at Parmiter's in April 2018.

From 1st June, I have appointed Miss Davison to the Senior Leadership Team.  Miss Davison has extremely strong links to the school having worked here as a teacher in the past and having been a Parmiterian and former School Captain!  It really is a homecoming for her.  Miss Davison has extensive experience of leadership and management across a range of educational settings and will be a real asset to the leadership team.  I am also delighted to announce that Mr Hughes will replace Mrs Stevens in leading on Safeguarding, Child Protection and our Looked After Children.  Mr Hughes has worked closely with Mrs Stevens over the past year and Mrs Stevens and I are confident he will do a sterling job continuing her excellent work in this role.

 

Sixth Form and Year 11 notice

The Heads of Sixth Form have today sent out a very important message to all Year 12 students concerning university application, the UCAS process and life after Parmiter's. Students should have received an email detailing how to approach thinking about University/apprenticeships/next steps and starting the UCAS application process as we do it at Parmiter's. The advice in these documents is comprehensive, but if your children have any queries about the process, would you urge them to contact Mr Porter and Mrs Rowland rather than their subject or form tutors.

As Year 13 will no longer be provided with structured learning, having completed their A Level courses, the Heads of Sixth Form have sent an email to all Year 13 about the value of using their time productively.

Can I urge all parents/carers to ask their child to regularly check their school e-mail and to encourage them to ‘tidy’ their inbox.  In particular, Year 11 students will have received an email on 26 May from Mrs Littlefair regarding work they have saved in the ‘Your Documents’ area of the network.  Students must take action on this if there is work saved on the school network that they wish to keep.

Kind regards
M Jones
Headmaster

Headmaster's Update 22 May 

Dear Parents and Carers

InForm newsletter

As the half term draws to a close I am very proud to recommend our latest InForm newsletter with many examples of the amazing work our students have produced during this latest period of "Lock Down".  Please see the link below:

https://www.parmiters.herts.sch.uk/page/?title=InForm+Newsletters&pid=48&action=saved

Wider opening of the school after half term

School leaders have been surveying staff and beginning the process of planning to further open the school to more students when it is safe to do so next half term.  Like all schools we are still waiting the Secondary school specific guidance we were promised earlier this week as well as the latest national picture update from the Prime Minister on 28th May.  For this reason, I am not in a position to give you any precise information about dates when we will be in a position to partially open and I certainly do not wish to raise any expectations that we will not be  able to fulfil.  Over half term we will be completing the Risk Assessments and making the necessary adjustments to the site so that we are in a position to respond to any Government request when it comes.

As I mentioned earlier in the week, our focus during the first week back is on improving our use of technology and extending our use of the full functionality of Google Classroom across all teaching areas.  I hope this will improve not just the students' experience in terms of engaging with on-line teaching but also increase the opportunities for feedback from staff and opportunities for students to ask questions and interact with their teachers.  For Year 10 and 12 students, the first step towards "face-to-face" engagement will be for Year 12 students a virtual meeting with their Form Tutor, Head of Sixth Form or a Senior Leader to discuss both well being and academic progress such that we can target individual support where it is necessary and we can begin to quickly identify where students are having any concerns.  For Year 10 this may, if appropriate, involve an invitation into school for a meeting with their Tutor who will have received feedback on their progress since Lockdown from their individual teachers.  Following this we will look to prioritise Year 12 with some subject based lectures or teaching in small groups on site and if this proves successful and the time allows we will provide such an opportunity for Year 10 before the end of the academic year. 

This is, of course, provisional but I wanted to make parents aware of what we consider might be possible given the current guidance around health and safety and the numbers of students it is permissable to have in a classroom at any one time.  Parmiter's has its own specific challenges in the short term as well, not least of which is the lack of a school bus service.  We know that a number of students who would like the opportunity of attending a session in school will be unable to come in.  For that reason, we will seek to record and make available any learning opportunity on-line so that no individual is disadvantaged.

Students in Key Stage 3, you have not been forgotten.  Whilst your education will be delivered on-line, we are very keen to set up virtual "face-to-face" feedback sessions with reports on your on-line work since Lockdown before the end of the summer term.

Year 12 UCAS

All Year 12 students will be notified about UCAS applications on June 1st. Mr Porter and Mrs Rowland have put together instructions on timings and how to begin the process of applying to University. There is no rush for this but students can register and look at courses over the next few months.

I wish you all a happy and healthy half term.

Kind regards

M Jones

Headmaster

Headmaster's Update 20 May

Dear Parents and Carers 

As we approach the end of the half term it has been a real pleasure seeing the new InForm newsletter taking shape and the superb quality of student work that we are collating ffrom the VE Day week of commemoration.  To be honest, we have have been overwhelmed with the sheer volume of creative responses that, although we have some highlights ready for InForm, we have much more that we will be showcasing on the website.  The end of a half term or full term are always opportunities to celebrate students' effort and commitment.  Mr Hughes, who leads on Student Celebration in the Main School, and Mr Henson, in the Sixth Form, are liaising with our teaching staff to receive the names of students who have impressed with their on line tasks and activities so we can contact home and recognise their achievements.  For my own part, my Headmaster's InForm address will again be intended for your sons and daughters and, though my thoughts were shaped following a conversation I had with my niece in Ireland who is 18 and facing her Higher Level examination results this summer, the message is aimed at all Parmiterians from Year 7 through to Year 13.

This week, I have held numerous on line meetings with Headteachers across Hertfordshire to discuss planning regarding potential partial opening and what shape that might take.  As promised last Friday, I will provide what information I can at the end of the week although the beginning of June will see us continue this planning that will involve staff consultation and Risk Assessments being carried out and signed off by our Governing Body.  All Hertfordshire Secondary schools are also awaiting further more detailed Government guidance for our sector and, as the Prime Minister said, things could all change again when he provides his next national update on 28th May.  The Chair of Governors and I share the same commitment to the safety and well being of every child and every adult when they step on site at Parmiter's and this will be at the forefront of every planning decision we make.

This is why Parmiter's is so committed to further enhancing and developing our virtual educational offer for all students in all Key Stages in June and why we have invested in training and staff are networking with other schools so that our students will have every advantage and opportunity we can possibly provide.  With particular regard to Year 9 please see the notice below:

Year 9 home learning after half term

All Year 9 students and their parents/carers will have received an e-mail on Monday giving further details of the work they will be doing after half term.  So that Year 9 students are clear about what is expected of them from Monday 1 June it would be helpful if this e-mail could be discussed at home, and any queries sent to Mr Baker (a.baker@parmiters.herts.sch.uk) this week.

Thank you as ever for all your support and care for your sons and daughters.

M Jones
Headmaster

Headmaster's Update 18 May

Dear Parents and Carers

The focus of my message today is for our students in Year 11. 

First a reminder that all Year 11 Students have already been sent details on how to access information on opportunities post 16, including transition to the Sixth Form via this link:
https://sites.google.com/parmiters.herts.sch.uk/year-11-transition/main

For those Year 11 students who are considering places at West Herts College from September, the college is holding a Virtual Open Day on Wednesday 20th May (3 - 6pm). This should also be of interest to those who are thinking about other college courses post 16 and with a particular interest in vocational studies.
https://www.westherts.ac.uk/whats-on/events/virtual-open-day/

Kind regards
M Jones
Headmaster

Year 9 Home Learning after Half Term

Dear Year 9 Students, Parents and Carers

Year 9 Home Learning after May half term

Following feedback from parents and students, and having considered how students could best make use of their home learning time after half term, I can confirm that from Monday 1st June all Year 9 students will study the following:

  • The core subjects of English, Maths, Science
  • The option subjects they have chosen to study to GCSE (this includes their MFL option)
  • PE, as it is important that all students remain physically active (please note that additional work will be set for those studying GCSE PE)
  • History, please see information below as to why all students will continue with their study of HIstory.

We hope this change in curriculum after half term will allow students to make the very best start to their GCSE courses next year, having already studied some introductory material.

Please note the following arrangements for Year 9 after half term:

  • Students have already received their confirmed option subjects in an e-mail last week.  If they have any queries about this they must contact Ms Absalom g.absalom@parmiters.herts.sch.uk  by Wednesday 20 May
  • All Option Subject work will be set and submitted on Google Classroom.  Instructions on how students register on Google Classroom will be made available on Show My Homework under an assignment called “Year 9 Option Subjects” .  This will also inform them which teachers to contact with any queries on the work set.
  • The following subjects will continue to set work on Show My Homework as they currently do:
    • Core subjects: English, Maths and Science
    • PE: All students are encouraged to stay physically active, and so the PE department will continue to set tasks for all students on SMHW.  Those students studying GCSE PE will also have work specifically related to the GCSE PE course and which is accessed through Google Classroom.
    • History: All students will continue to study History with work being set on Show My Homework, irrespective of whether they are continuing it to GCSE.  After half term, all Year 9s will be set work to learn about the Holocaust. Between 1933-1945, Jewish people throughout Europe were dehumanised and systematically murdered on an industrial scale by the Nazis. As a subject of history, the Holocaust allows us to investigate what went so horrifically wrong in a country of high culture and supposedly a 'civilised' European way of life. Why did so very few of the Jews' fellow citizens, neighbours and friends stand up for their rights?  How could a racist murderous regime bring about a policy of mass murder through the abuse of democracy and the legal system?  These are all vital enquiries that every student should engage with.  Hence all students, both those studying GCSE History and those who have chosen not to, are expected to complete the work set on this area of study.

Students may find their workload slightly reduced but they must spend time ensuring all work is completed to the very best of their ability.  Where time allows, they should be accessing the extension tasks which each subject is making available. 

We do hope these new arrangements go some way to ensuring Year 9s remain focused on their learning and provide them with renewed motivation. Work completed now will stand them in good stead for September.

Kind Regards
Mr Baker
Associate Assistant Headteacher

Headmaster's Update 15 May

Dear Parents and Carers

Today, I would like to reflect on the meeting I chaired with local Headteachers this week, as well as share with you some of the initial thoughts and discussion we have begun regarding the Government’s aspiration that there is “face to face” contact for Year 10 and 12 students before the end of the term.


As an experienced Headteacher, with over ten years of experience in Buckinghamshire as well as in Hertfordshire, I have long been a champion of school to school collaboration and the sharing of best practice between school leaders.  Whilst I am passionate about Parmiter’s and phenomenally proud of our school, I do not believe that we cannot benefit from such collaboration and gain, as well as contribute, so much.  It is certainly what nemo sibi nascitur means to me.  On that note, I was delighted to see, not only the overwhelming number of local schools taking part in the meeting, but the willingness to share experiences around home-school education, as well as initial thoughts as to the educational potential and the logistics around a partial reopening, when it is safe to do so.

On a general note, the overwhelming number of schools are using Google Classroom and, I found that Parmiter’s work is certainly as good, if not better, than most provisions with the unsurprising element of very high engagement from the majority of our students.  Where a few schools had trialled live lessons in Year 12 (with mixed results), the overwhelming majority of schools had not, although we all agreed that this is a feature of our offer we would like to develop from 1st June.  

Before I come onto Year 10 and Year 12, I do want to mention Key Stage 3 students who are every bit as important to me and my staff.  As previously mentioned in a communication, from 1st June we have amended our approach to Year 9 home learning such that students will focus only on the Option subjects they have chosen for GCSE, alongside the core curriculum of English, Maths and Science.  In addition, we want to focus on further improving and developing the home learning experience for all our students in Key Stage 3, as well as students in Year 10 and 12, by further utilizing the many features of Google Classroom across all subject areas.  To that end, we have booked some staff training for 1st June to improve and enhance our teachers’ delivery.  This will include exploring, where possible, the use of “live” lessons, although in such cases where this is possible, we will be prioritizing Year 10 and Year 12 classes or small groups.  At the end of this half term, I will be sending out a survey for students asking for their feedback to help inform our training and on-going delivery.  One thing to note, in case your sons or daughters ask about this training day - Staff WILL be setting work on the morning of Monday 1st June.

Year 10 and Year 12 parents and carers, as well as students, will also be wondering what our plans are regarding the Government’s announcement of some “face to face” engagement from 1st June.  As you will see from the government's Guidance to Parents document that I attach below, this is surrounded by caveats and strong guidance about ensuring the school is a safe environment in such cases for staff as well as students.

guidance for parents

Our planning is naturally at a very early stage at present and we, along with all local Secondary schools, will not be likely to begin this service on 1st June.  However, I hope to bring you an update about our plans by the end of next week when we break up for half term.

Finally, Years 11 and 13 have not been forgotten and, with the grading work that continues, you are very much in all of our minds.  Next week and over half term, as Head of Centre, I will be finalising the process before sending grades off to the Examination bodies who will make the final decisions.  In the meantime, I do hope Years 11 and 13 students have been able to access materials regarding their Next Step choices regarding Sixth Form or Higher Education or training.  I have every intention of staying true to my promise of hosting separate “Leavers Events” for both your Year groups at some point this summer and as social distancing measures and protocols for July and August become clearer I will be contacting you about these.

Thank you as ever for your continued support for your sons and daughters at this challenging time.

Kind regards
M Jones
Headmaster

Headmaster's Update 14 May

Dear Parents and Carers

The link below has been forwarded by a member of staff who found this webinar particularly interesting.  It concentrates on how parents and carers can motivate their children to work at home.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jykJVqdrvs&feature=emb_title&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=87803829&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-_IrUK52Qs6HEFgmE-WBeP_GzjJxOLiwgGTBF__4cPrgJGhkeVgGcDjogJ4NiapNku6adK3wRYJ_IRqKNMy9O59V7IE2R0TYduVigzJWWNcb9GG_Vo&_hsmi=87803829

(Please note that the webinar starts around 5 minutes in.)

Kind regards

M Jones
Headmaster

Information for Year 11 students not returning to Parmiter's

Dear Year 11 Students

Normally at this time of year before you would be going on revision leave myself and Vicky from Connexions would speak to you in school about what to expect at college and how to best prepare for leaving school.

Here are some points and facts I think will be useful for you but please remember that you can email me, a.green@parmiters.herts.sch.uk or Vicki, Victoria.harris@hertfordshire.gov.uk, if you have further questions.

  • More and more students are opting to study BTECs over A Levels these days
  • They are vocational qualifications rather than traditional academic courses
  • Everyone turning up on your course at college will be a new student
  • The standard 18 unit extended BTEC level 3 diploma is the equivalent of 3 A Levels
  • For some courses, even if you get A* in your GCSEs you have to start in Level 1 or 2. This is for courses teaching practical skills you don’t learn in GCSEs.
  • Diplomas are more practical, use coursework and assessment of practical projects throughout the year instead of exams at the end of the course
  • More and more students studying BTECs are applying to university

 

From experience and talking to students who have taken BTECs the advantages include:

  • Being able to go on to further study which doesn’t use traditional teaching methods and exams
  • More directly career related than A Levels
  • Gives more practical skills, more independence and flexible support
  • Allows you to interact more with your teacher and fellow students
  • A more relaxed atmosphere
  • Can concentrate on one project at a time and focus on the one subject you’re interested in
  • Will test and develop your employability skills more, time management, communication, problem solving and planning, as well as academic skills

Please remember that you can change your choice of course at college at any time before the start date in September.  Speak to the college directly if you want to do this or email me with details and I will talk to them on your behalf.

Other Advice:

  • If you have any needs which the college should know about and will carry on supporting you with please email Mrs Wood in school, j.wood@parmiters.herts.sch.uk
  • For financial help to cover travel or other requirements for you to attend college please look at the respective college website and search for the Financial Support page.  Bursaries are usually available for students to apply for if you are eligible
  • For impartial advice the national careers service for teenagers is great.  Go to www.gov.uk/careers-helpline-for-teenagers or phone 0800100900. On the website you can also arrange for a national careers service adviser to call you which won’t cost you anything
  • Don’t forget a lot of careers advice and information is also on the careers page in Google Chrome which you can access at any time

It is important to remember that most young people do not really know for sure what they want to do until they reach their 20s or even early 30s so now is not a time to worry about your long term plan, it is a series of transitions and transformations, a time to try out and find out more. 

Don’t forget that your teachers at Parmiter’s, myself and the other staff from school can be contacted by you or your parents at any time, even after you have officially left Parmiter’s.  We always support our students beyond their time here and we will look forward to hearing from you and learning about what you are doing.

I hope you really enjoy the course you choose and enjoy the experience of college, gaining new friends and learning new things.

Best Wishes and Good Luck
Mrs Green

'A Career in Medicine' Conference Postponed

Dear Parents/Carers and Students

It is with regret that we are having to postpone the 'A Career in Medicine' Conference scheduled to take place on Saturday 27th June until next summer.  We do hope that you will sign up and attend the conference at Parmiter's at the end of the 2021 Summer term.

Refunds for any payments made for the medical conference will be processed in due course, via your WisePay account.  If you are an external student and not studying at Parmiter's School, please e-mail your bank details to R.Grieves@parmiters.herts.sch.uk so that your refund can be made directly into your bank account.

Confirmation of the date for the 2021 medical conference will be sent out during the Autumn term, when you will be able to sign up to join us.  The impact of Covid 19 and how it will have affected the NHS and all its workers will certainly play a part in the conference discussions, as we have so much to thank them for.  I have no doubt there will be more interest in the medical profession than ever before and we look forward to seeing you next summer.

Kind regards

Anne Green  
Head of Careers

Headmaster's Update 7 May 

Dear Parents and Carers

I do hope you and your families have been coping with the on-going lock down "experience" over the past week and will enjoy a happy Bank Holiday.  Like you all, I await news this Sunday from the Prime Minister regarding any proposed relaxing of the current restrictions as well as any news regarding proposals for re-opening schools at some point in the future. 

I hope your sons and daughters have been able to catch up, if need be, on the work that has been set so far this term and are ready for the next set of work that will be set from Monday.  Thank you to all the students who participated in the VE week tasks and activities.  I hope that they have received communication from their Form Tutor or Head of Year and where necessary are posting comments on Show My Homework requesting support and advice if they are stuck with anything.

With the rise of e Safety concerns during lock down, please see this very useful link to the that allows our student’s, parents and carers to access interactive guidance on setting up parental controls on their child’s devices, as well as guidance on apps like TikTok, YouTube and Instagram and more: https://parenthub.thekeysupport.com?uuid=f94eca44-4c90-4080-ae61-a456dc10644b

I would like to draw the attention of our Year 11 and 13 parents and carers to the communications emailed today which contain important information regarding results days in August and the subsequent support available.

With very best wishes

M Jones
Headmaster

Headmaster's Update 5 May

Dear Parents and Carers 

I hope that you have had the opportunity to look at our VE Day website and the activities available to our students this week.  I have already been sent some great examples of work.  Please take a moment to take part in the virtual orchestra’s rendition of ‘We’ll Meet Again’ https://sites.google.com/parmiters.herts.sch.uk/parmiters-virtual-orchestra/home

For students who currently feel they are behind on the work that has been set since half term, we hope that this week will also provide an opportunity for them to catch up and consolidate their learning so far. Feedback from schools in other countries has also suggested that student productivity and engagement reduces during long periods of home learning; hence we felt the opportunity to provide students with some time away from dedicated curriculum study would be beneficial in helping them focus for the remaining two weeks until the half term break.

For Year 12 students there is a lot of extension material on the Sixth Form Intranet site in terms of lectures, seminars and wider reading. Sixth Form students usually begin to research higher education at this time and would have been going to University Open Days. These are now available in virtual form. If students are doing an EPQ, they can use this time to work on that.

Rest assured that the work being set this half term, in all subjects and across all Key Stages, covers every aspect of the Key Stage 3, GCSE and A Level schemes of work and syllabi that would have otherwise been taught in school.

Food parcels
We have been approached by the Sewa Day Charity who are providing food packages to local families via schools.  We were very happy to be able to assist them in providing some small support to members of the Parmiter’s family last week.  The charity is very keen to help and has the capacity to provide packages to the school, for us to deliver to our families on a weekly basis.  If you would like to take up this offer during this challenging period please contact admin@parmiters.herts.sch.uk 

Kind regards
M Jones
Headmaster

Headmaster's Update 1 May 

Dear Parents and Carers

Next week's work is structured slightly differently in recognition of the 75th anniversary of VE Day.  We had planned a week of activities in school but instead have made a bespoke website which will be sent to all our students on Monday morning.  Please ask your child/children to share the site with you so you can see what has been arranged.  I encourage you to take part in the virtual orchestra's rendition of 'We'll Meet Again'!  Form Tutors will be in touch with the students throughout the week and we look forward to compiling a showcase of creative work.

I would like to thank the very many of you who contributed to the parent and carer Home Learning survey and for the comments you have provided that are proving so helpful in planning and setting appropriate work for your sons and daughters. Next week I will share the data that has come in so you can see the broad pattern of your responses. I will also provide a more detailed set of responses and a clear plan of how we will seek to improve our home learning provision from now on.

Having met with my Leadership Team this morning I would like to address just a few of the issues that have been brought to light.

Students’ workload at present
From the data that you have provided, it seems that the workload for students in the main is about right, although there is an even balance between some parents who feel there is too little and those who find it is too much. From the comments, there are clearly some students (and parents and carers) who are feeling overwhelmed. As a result, from a week on Monday, Heads of Department will be given clear guidance about setting minimum/manageable expectations for the work to be completed each week with OPTIONAL extension activities to challenge those students who find they can complete these tasks with time to spare. It is never our intention for students to be working for unreasonable hours but neither do we want them to feel that the work lacks challenge.

End of year Summer examinations will not take place
I just want to clarify that we will not be running end of year examinations this academic year.  As soon as we are able to open the school and get back to classes, the focus will be on curriculum coverage and any assessment will be low stakes, short and sharp activities so that we can identify and close any gaps in learning that have arisen over this disruption to our academic year.  For students in Year 12 who are anxious about predicted grades for UCAS, I can assure you that the University application process will be adapted this year to acknowledge the disruption that your whole cohort across the country has faced. Parmiter’s is committed to supporting each and every one of you in this year’s process (in whatever form it eventually takes) so that you are not disadvantaged in anyway. Parmiter’s has an unenviable reputation among Oxbridge and all the Russell Group universities and however they organise the UCAS process, the top universities and Degree Apprenticeship providers will be competing to secure our students.  Remember, the current Year 13 students at Parmiter’s are going to attain some of the highest overall grades in the county and the country this year. This is because their prior attainment is so high and because the school has the highest Value Added score for A Level among all state schools in Hertfordshire. The same is true for the current Year 11.  For Year 12 and Year 10, although there has been no notification yet, next year’s examinations and grading procedures are guaranteed to be modified to reflect the disruption that the entire national cohort will have suffered this year.  There will be a huge outcry from students, parents, carers and the whole educational establishment if they are not.  I consider it far wiser to focus on education and curriculum coverage for the remainder of the Summer Term until more certainty over what the examinations are going to look like becomes clearer in September.

Feedback and interaction from teachers
This is of paramount importance to you and your students and we will endeavour to improve this moving forward. Form Tutors and/or Heads of Year will be in touch with their Forms next week as we launch our VE Day activities’ week. I do want to encourage all students to feel they contact their teachers through show my homework if they are uncertain about any aspect of their work or they want guidance for areas to improve. It was so good to read of the examples where staff have been able to use filmed instructions and resources for their home learning work and we will seek to support more teachers in doing this. Over the next couple of weeks, I hope you will see far greater evidence of this and we will be surveying the students before the end of this half term to gain their feedback.

The Headmaster’s short story challenge
Speaking of staff who can be technologically challenged, I am so grateful to one of my very fine young Historians in 7KPO who drew my attention to the fact that I had missed some notifications on Show My Homework. Sometimes this Headmaster work gets in the way of the important stuff.  I have discovered many new stories that I have failed to look at and I send a general apology to all these students and a promise that if you have not received a personal response to your story you will have before the end of next week. Those I have read have been fantastic and have provided the quality we need to compile our own Parmiter’s collection of short stories to be published once we re-open the school.

Thank you for your patience with reading this message. 

My very best wishes to you and your children,

M Jones
Headmaster

Headmaster's Update 27 April 

Dear Parents and Carers

Thank you to those who have completed our Home Learning Survey. If you have not yet done so, please follow the link below and submit your responses by the end of the day tomorrow (Tuesday).

https://forms.gle/3ukiYprWKHoxnfUF6

Our Sixth Form team has been working hard to keep in contact with the Year 12 and 13 students to make sure that they are not missing the important information that is usually shared at this time of year. Sixth Form students are reminded to check their emails regularly for updates on various new opportunities and should they miss anything, all links continue to be posted on the dedicated Sixth Form page. Sixth Form students are able to access the school’s intranet site remotely and a reminder of the link is on the Essential Weblinks link on the website https://www.parmiters.herts.sch.uk/page/?title=Communication&pid=37

 

We have received the information below which we feel may be helpful to some parents:

Elevate is an award-winning organisation that has been working with our school to help your child become a more effective learner. They are hosting an exclusive webinar for parents at schools that they work with across the UK showing you how you can help your child study most effectively.

Details of the event are as follows:

Title: How to help your child study effectively without becoming the enemy

Date: Tuesday 12th May 2020

Time: 6:00 – 7:00pm

Cost: Free

Sign up link: https://www.elevatecoaching.info/webinar-uk-1/

 

Finally, in case you have not yet seen or heard the first compilation by the Parmiter’s Virtual Orchestra https://drive.google.com/open?id=1ty0QiL-mY9Go0kIzR1jiFlwMHPOP-Crg

And a photograph of some of the participants https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Ve22fXltYEdBQFFnTCFv6DlshovOmAhw/view?usp=sharing

Thank you to Dr Tyack for masterminding this, I’m very much looking forward to the virtual orchestra’s rendition of ‘We have all the time in the world’.

Kind regards
M Jones
Headmaster

Headmaster's Update 24 April

Dear Parents and Carers

Following our Senior Leadership meeting yesterday, I am sending out today a questionnaire (see link below) to gain feedback from parents and carers about the home learning work we have been setting since the lockdown began last month. Hopefully, the questions are self-explanatory but there is also a box for you to add any particular comments or questions you may have. We are particularly interested to see your perceptions regarding the quality and quantity of the work being set for your individual child or children.

There have been a few common themes that have been raised by parents who have contacted the school so far and I would just like to take this opportunity to address these here:

The first is a request for live steamed lessons from teachers which, I am afraid, Parmiter’s is not in a position to offer, in line with the majority of schools, not only locally but across the country. Whilst I do know that a minority of schools are offering these I would like to outline the reasons why this is inappropriate for Parmiter’s.

The essential fact is that the current workload and commitment expected of my staff is such that an expectation of delivering live streamed lessons on top of this would be impossible for them to implement. Aside from the safeguarding and technological challenges that would need to be resolved, I have a significant number of colleagues who are trying to manage their own children’s home learning and a fair number who have been personally affected through their own illness or illness affecting their loved ones. On top of all this, with over 200 A Level candidates and over 200 GCSE candidates who need their grades forensically and fairly assessed and submitted by each individual teacher, there is a huge additional work load pressure on them that is not faced by teachers in much smaller schools.

It has been good to hear positive feedback regarding some of the more creative approaches staff are taking to setting the work and, for example, sending filmed exemplars to their classes. We will continue to share examples of great practice and students' work across all teaching areas of the school in our Home Learning Newsletter.

A second concern raised has been around the scheduling of the work being set. Rest assured we thought long and hard about our decision to set work on a weekly rather than a day by day basis. Again, much of it is to do with the workload expectations on staff but it is not unreasonable for students at Key Stage 3 and certainly at Key Stage 4 to be in the habit of scheduling their own learning by using their school time table. This forms the basis for revision planning which is key to all successful examination candidates and, the more the students take responsibility for organising their working patterns as set out by their school timetable, the more prepared they will be in their later school years for the reality of revision preparation and practice.

On that note, I have also had some concerns raised about examination practice and preparation in advance of end of year examinations this Summer. Now, at present, I cannot predict exactly when or how we will reopen the school once lockdown is ended.  However, I can assure parents and carers that our focus, in whatever is left to us of this Summer term, will be on curriculum coverage rather than losing more time to long formal examinations. Subject teachers will be focussed on shorter low stakes testing to ascertain gaps in knowledge and be using crucial classroom time to close whatever gaps are exposed.

Finally, I have passed on a message from a number of parents of students in Year 12 about enabling their children to access information about universities so they can begin exploring their options prior to the UCAS process later this year. The Sixth Form Team and our Careers leader will be sending on information and guidance very shortly.

Survey link: https://forms.gle/hTiG85C4e6DSuMBz8

Kind regards

M Jones
Headmaster

Headmaster's Update 23 April 

Dear Parents and Carers

I hope that you and your families are keeping well and that our students are settling back into their home school learning.  We continue to receive messages in school with various queries relating to this and will endeavour to respond to your questions with an update on home school learning in tomorrow's communication.  Having held a virtual meeting with my Senior Leadership Team this morning I have received feedback across all subject areas and Year groups including examples of the superb work that has already been completed.  I am anxious to receive feedback on the quality and quantity of work being set from a Parents and Carers' point of view so will also be sending out a survey to help us moving forward which you should receive tomorrow.

Message for those whose children are in receipt of Free School Meals

Supermarket vouchers are now being emailed directly via a government approved portal to parents and carers of those students who usually receive Free School Meals. We have done our best in school to ensure that these are delivered promptly to parents but we understand that there have been various issues that, unfortunately, are beyond our control. We have today had assurance from the Department for Education that the problems with the system should be sorted. Please make sure that you check your emails (and junk folders) to access your vouchers.

Kind regards

M Jones
Headmaster

Headmaster's Update 21 April

Dear Parents and Carers

Just a brief update today with a focus for Year 11 and 13 parents and carers. 

GCSE and A Level grading this summer

As I mentioned at the end of the Easter term, much of my work this week is involved with beginning the process as outlined by Ofqual of awarding grades for all students across all their subjects in Year 11 and Year 13. This will be a lengthy process and Ofqual have given us a deadline at the end of May by which we need to submit our grades. All schools have been instructed that the grades to be awarded and the process by which they have been arrived at is to remain confidential until the examination results are released in August. In regard to this I respectfully ask that no student, parent or carer contact any of their teacher in order to either gain information regarding the grading or to influence any decision that is being made. I have every confidence in my staff, the process we are putting in place and ask you to trust that we will aim to be fair and just to every single one of our students across all their subjects. In August not only will students see the grades but I will be fully transparent about the process by which these grades were determined. That said, I will be including a further communication later this week regarding our current work, if only to dispel any myths that are currently circulating amongst some of our students.

Kind regards
M Jones
Headmaster

Headmaster's Update 20 April

Dear Parents and Carers

Welcome back to the start of a new term and the recommencement of our regular communications. I do hope that you were able to enjoy some sort of a break over the Easter period.

I am pleased to attach to this communication our second Home Learning Newsletter.  This edition focuses on Art & Crafts and Mental Wellbeing.

Whilst this is a very different start to a new term, it is important that all students recognise that now is the time to re-engage with home learning.  I very much value your support in re-establishing routines and structure into the day; however, I fully recognise that these routines need to work in the context of your family and so we do not expect you to replicate the usual pattern of a school day.

I do hope that you have had a chance to read our ‘remote learning guide for parents & carers’ that was sent just before the Easter break.  If not, I urge you to take the time to read it.  In it we have addressed some of the more frequent queries from parents/carers, as well as explaining some of the rationale for how we have structured your child’s home learning.  The document can be found here https://www.parmiters.herts.sch.uk/page/?title=Communication&pid=37&action=saved

Please be reminded that we simply do not have the capability to respond to all individual email queries at the current time. 

Ofqual consultation on aspects of the grading of GCSE and A Levels
I am sure the Year 11 & 13 students and their parents/carers will have been keeping abreast of information regarding the grading of GCSE and A Levels.  In previous e-mails, I have provided the links to the Ofqual guidance documents.  You may be interested to know that Ofqual have launched a public consultation on some particular aspects of the arrangements for grading this year. If you are interested, the consultation document and online response tool are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/exceptional-arrangements-for-exam-grading-and-assessment-in-2020.  The deadline for responses is 23.59 on Wednesday 29 April 2020.

GCSE & A Level Results Days
The DfE has confirmed that students will receive results on the following dates:

A Level results: Thursday 13 August

GCSE results: Thursday 20 August

These dates are as originally published prior to the cancellation of this summer’s examinations.  Further information regarding arrangements for collecting examination results and the process and deadlines for registering for Sixth Form courses will be provided in due course.

 

Year 11 students
There is no easy answer to the question 'what work should my child be doing now?', as they do not yet know their results, and hence whether they will want to do an exam (similar to a resit) early next academic year.  It is therefore for them, with your support, to decide on how they use their time.  However, our suggestion is:

  • Students continue using the revision materials and past papers provided on SMHW.  They do not need to revise with the intensity they would have done were they doing exams in May/June, but keeping their recently learned skills and knowledge fresh means if they choose to do exams early next academic year they will be in a strong position.
  • Where there are areas of the specification that have not been completed, students will be directed to relevant resources on SMHW.  Again, should they choose to do exams early next academic year, they will be as prepared as possible.
  • The above revision can be balanced with the use of the other resources recommended by departments; these resources will offer students the opportunity to broaden and/or deepen their knowledge of the subject. If a student is likely to continue their study of the subject at post-16 or degree level then they should be actively making the most of these resources; however, all students are encouraged to use this time to engage with the material. Where a student has no love for a subject, we appreciate this may not be appropriate!

Our Heads of Department are currently reviewing and updating the Summer Task booklet that details the work students are expected to complete over the summer holidays for the subjects they are considering studying at A Level.  In a normal year, this is issued to students at the end of June, but we aim to have this to students by mid May.  This will provide them with focused study material.  

We do appreciate that for some, there will be little motivation to do this work.  I am sure many of them are also still feeling emotional, having worked so hard for so long, only for the target of their energies to have been completely removed.  Whilst we would encourage a steady continuation of work, as per the above detail, the primary focus at present must be the mental wellbeing of your child.

Kind regards
M Jones
Headmaster

 

Headmaster's Update 3 April 

Dear Parents, Carers and Students

Welcome to the final communication of the term.  Please find attached our slightly different InForm newsletter and I do urge all our students to read my message and the words of our Chair of Governors which are very much intended for them.  That said, I do want to express my sincere thanks for all the kind messages and good wishes my staff and I continue to receive from our parents and carers.

We received notification form the government today regarding arrangements for awarding grades for this year's GCSE and A level students and I have sent a dedicated email to all parents, carers and students sharing the information we have received. 

It only leaves me to wish you all a restful Easter holiday.  I am happy to confess that I am looking forward to having a break from work and I have encouraged my staff to do likewise.  Any urgent enquiries can be made via the admin@parmiters.herts.sch.uk email address rather than to direct staff addresses which will not be monitored on a regular basis over this holiday period. 

Kind regards
M Jones
Headmaster

Ofqual message for GCSE and A Level students and parents/carers

Letter to Students

Guidance for Parents/Carers and Students 

Dear Years 11 and 13 Parents, Carers and Students

Please see the attached letter and guidance that the government has released today regarding the calculation of Year 11 and Year 13 examination grades. It will naturally take some time to develop the school approach to this and we will be beginning our communication with our subject leaders straight after the Easter break.

We do appreciate that the guidance may raise a number of questions for individual parents, carers and students, however, we would respectfully request that you do not send individual queries related to the guidance at this present time until we are able to provide further clarification.  We will of course be sending further communication regarding this during the first week of school when we are back after the holiday. 

Kind regards

M Jones
Headmaster

Headmaster's Update 2 April

Dear Parents and Carers

Parmiter's Remote Learning Guide

Home Learning Newsletter 1

Please find attached today guidance provided by my leadership team on Home Learning and our plans for setting and monitoring student work over the next half term.  I also commend the attached newsletter which I am sure you will find of great benefit.  It should certainly provide plenty of family diversion, fun and games throughout Eastertide!

Thank you for your continued patience and support for our students' learning.  I also appreciate the feedback that we continue to receive.  I do hope our guidance goes some way to explain why it is impossible for any school to tailor-make the work set to every individual student's needs.

Kind regards

M Jones
Headmaster

ABRSM Examination Refunds

Dear Parents/Carers

Further to my e-mail of 17 March, I write to inform you that through their website the ABRSM have stated that they intend to refund all fees, in full, for cancelled examinations from Wednesday 18 March 2020.  We are waiting to hear from them directly with details of how and when these refunds will be processed and also if and when we will be able to reschedule these examinations.

Thank you for your continued support and patience whilst we await clarification.

Yours sincerely

Stuart Bates
Director of Music

Headmaster's Update 30 March

Dear Parents and Carers

As we start the second week of our 'lockdown', I would like to thank you for your continued support for my staff and your children.  Please see below updates regarding home study and examinations.

Home Learning

It is great to see how well the majority of our students are adapting to home learning. Please ask your child to show you what they have been working on as and when you can. 

We have had a number of messages with questions relating to working at home and we appreciate that it will take time to adapt to the current situation which is very different for all of us.  We will be collating and using your feedback in our planning for the continuation of work after the Easter break. 

Teachers will continue to set work via Show My Homework this week. Some departments have also begun to send reminders to students who have not yet fully engaged with the work ​as ensuring students continue their learning in all subjects is important. In general, subjects are setting work once a week to give students the space and time to complete it at their own pace ​and when they can access the facilities they need, e.g. shared laptops, printers etc. ​Please do bear in mind that work has to be accessible for all students but we recognise that they all learn differently and at different paces. ​If your child is struggling with the work set, they should email their teacher (using school email addresses) to ask for support.  ​Staff have set sufficient work to ensure those who work at a faster pace have sufficient material and challenge.  If your child is not able to complete all the work set by the end of the week they can e-mail their teacher if they are concerned; staff are aware that students will not always have the time or facilities to do all work.  If ​however, they do finish all work set, they could revisit some topics from earlier in the year, particularly those they found harder.  To enrich their learning, there is a huge amount of online support available ​and the LRC Google Site provides a wealth of suggested resources, as detailed in my e-mail last Friday.

School Examinations

Understandably, several students have been asking about the school exams which are scheduled for next term. We cannot confirm plans for exams as we do not know for how long school will be closed.  Students should complete work set on SMHW, which may include some revision tasks.  ​In the shorter term, some departments may ask students to complete assessments at home; if this is the case, students will be told in advance and given advice of which areas to revise.  Further information ​about any more formal examinations will be sent home as soon as we are able to do so with confidence.

 

Year 10 Students

Year 10 students were due to take part in workshops about effective revision, delivered by an outside company. The company has sent us a link to some of their resources (see below) which offers a good opportunity for students to try different revision techniques and see what does, and doesn't, work for them; this will stand them in good stead for when they return to school.

https://vimeo.com/ondemand/improveyourmemory/

Please see below the information sent to us by Zumos whose details we have previously written about.

Kind regards

M Jones

Headmaster

 

ZUMOS

We at are passionate about building strong mental wellbeing and resilience in all our pupils. This is why as a school we have embraced Zumos as a major part of our school’s pastoral care. Zumos is a leading online wellbeing system that is CAMHS kitemarked and was developed as part of the HeadStart project.

During this very difficult time where everyone is expected to spend long periods of time stuck at home it is even more vital that we take care of our children’s mental wellbeing as well as our own.

As we have this great resource available to us and your child already has a login, we are asking if you would be willing to take your child through some of the features each day and help them to practice the techniques as a fun family activity.

The system has been developed to follow a curriculum, so all you need to do is sit with your child, get them to login and play the recordings outlined below. It is a great thing to work on together or as a family. The messages are very powerful, we know our teachers love to hear them too. If you like you can discuss the recordings and ensure the messages have been understood.

These steps can be done in one go or spread out over the day. The more time practicing on Zumos the better, but please help them to complete each task each day.

Step ❶

Take your child to www.zumos.co.uk

Step ❷

Ask your child to login with the details they will have been supplied with. On logging in Zumos will ask them how their mental health is today, get them to really think about how they are feeling and ask them to click on the most relevant icon. (If they have forgotten their login details please contact us)

Step ❸

The first time you login to Zumos please click on ‘Games Room’ and then ‘Power Quiz’, let your child complete these CAMHS approved quizzes themselves by thinking about each question. If they have already been completed, they will not appear. They only appear every three months. These quizzes show what level of wellbeing your child has to start and measures the impact Zumos is having on your child’s wellbeing each quarter.

Step ❹

Click on their named room, then in the middle screen you will see ‘How to be Happy’ click play and listen to that recording. Once played if you can spend a minute or two asking them about it, maybe how they could apply it in their life or in the family. Maybe tell them about how you have done it in your life.

Step ❺

Back on the home screen, please click on ‘Chill Room’

This step is to practice mindfulness and is a great practice for the whole family. The more you practice the greater the benefits. Experts recommend 20 minutes twice a day. But even just 10 minutes a day will show benefits. Settle everyone down either sitting comfortably in a chair or lying on the floor, then simply click on the length of ‘Me Time Minutes’ you want. The recording will do the rest. There is much to explore in this room, have fun. It takes 21 days to form a habit, with 12 weeks at least ahead of us this is a great habit to form.

Step ❻

Click on Life book, this is once again something that can be done as a family or alone. Filling in the questions asked, helps to send their mind on a search for the positive. You can really help them to focus on the positive here.

Step ❼

Click on the games room and ask them to play the games for at least ten minutes; more if possible. The games are based on the latest scientific research coming out of our universities called cognitive bias modification or CBM. The evidence is that if these games are played for ten minutes three times a week, after three weeks they are measurably more positive. And the more you play the better the outcome.

keep exploring

Zumos also has lots of self-help titles in ‘My Room’ - please encourage your children to explore these titles and to listen to anything they might have a worry with. The titles are all expertly written and will really help them to deal with problems they might be worried to tell you about. These will help them to seek the help they need.

We will send further emails from Zumos that will help you to support your children’s mental wellbeing and keep them occupied.

Thank you so much for your support, this national crisis has forced us all to look at how we do things in a new way and we are determined to offer as much support with this as we can.

 

Headmaster's Update 27 March

Dear Parents and Carers

We hope that students have started to establish good routines at home and that they are able to access work from their teachers. I know that many students have been in contact with teachers and I encourage them to do this if they have questions or would like feedback on a piece of work. My staff have been sharing examples of some of the outstanding work that has been produced. Remote learning is new to us all, and so we are all learning about how best to share work and resources. We know that it is not always possible for you to print worksheets, or for students to have uninterrupted access to a computer/laptop. Whilst students should endeavour to complete all work set, we know that sometimes this won’t be possible. We are aware that students are struggling to access MyMaths, likely because of the volume of students online.  They should continue to try but not worry if they can’t log on. 

Beyond their academic work, please do encourage your son/daughter to be creative and I look forward to receiving entries for my short story writing competition (details on SMHW - the first entrant arrived this morning - well done Phoebe!). We would also encourage you to help your child distinguish weekends from weekdays; a change in routine will help them return to their school work on Monday feeling a little more refreshed.

 Zumos website

Your son/daughter has been provided with access to zumos.co.uk which is a website designed to help young people manage their mental well-being. We are delighted that so many students are already using it. If your child has not created their account yet, instructions are available on SMHW.  The important thing to know is that it is completely anonymous. We cannot see who has created their profiles and what topics they have accessed; we only receive numbers of boys/girls from each year group.

Over the weekend, please encourage your daughter/son to log on to Zumos and explore some of the features. Any questions should be directed to g.absalom@parmiters.herts.sch.uk

 

Resources available via the LRC Google site

Beyond that work set on SMHW, our LRC webpage can direct you to excellent online resources that are free and cover a wide range of interests. The webpage can be found at:https://sites.google.com/parmiters.herts.sch.uk/parmiterslrc/lrcs. To access this, students must use their Parmiter’s Google account, but please do look yourselves at the resources as I am sure there will something of interest to everyone in your household.

Navigating to 'Reading for Pleasure' (under LRCs drop down menu) directs you to free audio books, e-books, magazines and newspapers.

Navigating to 'Information' (under LRC's drop down menu) directs you to some academic journals, gives the username and password for Newspapers in Schools and has links to three different providers of free online courses. The online courses cover topics as diverse as 'A History of Royal Fashion', 'Atmospheric Chemistry: Planets and Life Beyond Earth' and 'Masterpieces of World Literature'. I am sure there is something for everyone, students and parents! Please do take a look.

Navigating to 'Information' (under LRC's drop down menu) then 'Databases' gives access a range of sites and resources, everything from the BBC Shakespeare Archive to articles from Scientific American and New Scientist to digitised information from the New York Public Library. Plenty to keep the mind active.

 

Awarding of GCSE & A Level grades

We know that many of you, understandably, continue to feel anxious about this year’s GCSE & A Level results and how these will be awarded. Ofqual, the body that regulates exams and assessments in England, yesterday announced that they expect to publish further details next week. The full press release can be read here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/further-update-on-2020-exams.

The DfE has also produced a FAQ document that may be of interest to you:https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-cancellation-of-gcses-as-and-a-levels-in-2020/coronavirus-covid-19-cancellation-of-gcses-as-and-a-levels-in-2020

Once we have further details we will be in touch.

 

Work for Year 11 & 13 students

With so many questions about the grading of GCSEs and A Levels, we appreciate that students will be uncertain as to what work they should be doing. We hope the information below will provide some guidance, but definitive answers are simply not possible at this stage.

If students have coursework/NEA at home:

·                     If the deadline has passed and you are able to submit the work electronically, then you should do so as per instructions given by your subject teacher. If the work cannot be submitted electronically it is vital that you keep it safe – don’t lose it!

·                     If the deadline has not passed, continue working on your coursework/NEA as best you can. If you require access to specialist facilities or equipment we know this may not be possible. Do as much as you can and please do not worry.

 

From Monday 30 March, work will be set on Show My Homework for Year 11 & 13 students. Work may consist of revision materials and past papers so students are revisiting the skills and knowledge they have covered over their GCSE/A Level courses. Where there are areas of the specification that had not been completed, students will be directed to relevant resources. As explained in the DfE and Ofqual announcements, some students may choose to sit examinations during next academic year and continuing to work steadily over the coming months will be the key to success. Teachers will also recommend other resources students can access; these will offer students the opportunity to broaden and/or deepen their knowledge of the subject. If a student is likely to continue their study of the subject at post-16 or degree level then they should be actively making the most of these resources; however, all students are encouraged to use this time to engage with the material. Year 13s have also received an e-mail update from the Heads of Sixth form.

I would like to thank you all for the feedback and many kind messages I have received this week.  Wishing you all an enjoyable weekend.

Kind regards
M Jones
Headmaster

Headmaster's Update 26 March

Dear Parents and Carers

I hope you are all coping well as we near the end of the first week of lockdown.  We have been pleased to keep the school open for the children of Key Workers and will continue to do so.  I aim to share with you our arrangements for the Easter holiday next week. 

I am very aware of the amount of academic work that has ben set but I would also like to urge all our young Parmiterians to be creative in their 'study time'.  To this end, I have launched the first Headmaster's Challenge which I hope our students will all respond to.  This is a short story writing competition with a deadline of next Friday and full details are on Show My Homework.  I know one colleague, at least, is concocting another creative challenge to follow this, so do ask your children to keep their eyes peeled to SMHW!

 

Year 12
The Heads of Sixth Form have emailed all of Year 12 with an update. This email explains the importance of following the schedules of work laid out for A Levels in allowing both a smooth return to school once the closure is over, as well as covering information regarding EPQs, end of Year 12 Examinations and UCAS applications. Further information on these and other topics will be circulated as soon as any of the current circumstances change.

 

 Please see below two pieces if information from Herts County Childrens' Services

 Dear All,

I know you will be working hard to support children and young people with additional needs either at home or in a school or setting. It is a challenging time for everyone and the Integrated Services for Learning teams want to make sure you have access to the support you need. As per the attached, we will have one dedicated telephone contact number for you where our educational psychology service will respond and if necessary signpost you to someone who can offer specific advice and support. This contact line is available Monday-Friday between 2:00-4:30pm via 01992 588574.

We are working hard to put together a list of resources to help you with teaching, learning and support for mental health and wellbeing and will get this to you as soon as possible. Please let us know if there is anything else we have missed that you may find helpful.

Thank you for all the work you are doing to support our vulnerable children at this difficult time for us all.

Take care of yourselves and your families,

Jennie Newman
Head of Integrated Services for Learning
Children's Services

 

Scam email being sent to parents asking for bank details if they are Free School Meals

HCC has received reports that a scam email is being sent to parents, asking them for bank details if they have children who qualify for Free School Meals. Please could all schools send out a communication to their parents, warning them about this scam email. In addition, it may be sensible to remind them not to give out private information (such as bank details or passwords), reply to text messages, download attachments or click on any links in emails if you’re not sure they’re genuine. Please see this government link for further helpful information: https://www.gov.uk/report-suspicious-emails-websites-phishing

Regards
Juliet Whitehead
HfL Relationship Manager | Education Leadership Team | Children’s Services

 

Thank you, once again, to all who are supporting the school through these tricky time.  Please continue to look after yourselves and each other.

Kind regards

M Jones
Headmaster

GCSE and A Level announcement

Dear Year 11 & 13 students and their parents / carers,

Please find below the link to the government’s announcement regarding the grading of the GCSE and A Level students were planning to sit this summer.  

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/further-details-on-exams-and-grades-announced

We have no detail beyond this and so cannot provide you with further information.  We are fully aware that this announcement will provide students and parents with little comfort or clarity, and indeed may add to anxieties.  We, like you, hope further detail will be provided soon.  Ofqual and exam boards will be discussing the process with teachers’ representatives and if there is an opportunity to, we will ensure we contribute to the discussions.  Our reputation with the Department of Education for academic excellence as well as our reputation with Ofqual for integrity are both second to none and thus Parmiter’s students can be confident that this will count significantly towards how any alternative to the final examinations is determined.  As always, we will communicate to you as soon as we have information.  

In these times of great uncertainty, what I am clear about is that my staff will work with the utmost professionalism if asked to consider grades for students.  I am proud of the quality of teaching and assessment at Parmiter’s and we run a rigorous and robust examination system.  Our experienced staff have an excellent track record of accurately assessing student work and of forecasting student outcomes.  I ask you to recognise that my teachers are experts in their subjects and that they have the professional skills to accurately assess against the qualification criteria.

I politely ask that parents and students do not contact teaching staff to ask about the process, or about grades.  I have asked my staff not to reply to individual queries of this nature.  In due course we will provide you with information and details of who to contact if you have a query.

I know many of you will have questions regarding progression to University and Sixth Form.  Again, I politely ask that you do not contact us with questions at this stage.  We will share further information as soon as it is available and will provide you with a point of contact for queries.

I would again reiterate that if a student has outstanding NEA (coursework), it is absolutely vital that this is submitted so it can be stored securely in school.  Details of how to submit Year 11 Design & Technology NEA are given below.  Year 11 Art students are reminded to keep the Art coursework they currently have with them safe in case it is required by teachers at a future date.  Queries regarding the handing in of NEA for other subjects must be e-mailed to their subject teacher. 

Year 11 Design & Technology NEA 

Work must be submitted by Wednesday 25 March 2020 in the manner detailed below.  If any student is not able to bring work to school due to illness/isolation, they must e-mail Mr Field (j.field@parmiters.herts.sch.uk).  

Product Design & Graphics: Folder work must be submitted via the Google Drive and shared with their subject teacher.  Their making project should already be with their subject teacher; if this is located outside the classroom please e-mail their subject teacher to let them know.

Electrical & Mechanical Systems: Folder work can be submitted via the Google Drive and shared with the subject teacher or e-mailed to the subject teacher as a pdf document (not Publisher).  Students must e-mail their subject teacher to let them know where their making project is located.

Textiles: Folder work must be brought in to Reception.  Students must e-mail their subject teacher to let them know where their making project is located.

I have asked my staff not to set work for Year 11 & 13 students on Show My Homework at this stage.  It will be important that students continue with their studies but the work that staff had prepared is now less appropriate.  Many students will have work they can continue with, but please bear with us while we prepare work to share with students via Show My Homework.

Kind regards
M Jones
Headmaster

 

 

URGENT Information for Parents/Carers of Bus Users

Dear Parents/Carers of Parmiter’s bus user/s

In light of the recent developments, can you please CANCEL your standing order to Parmiter’s Bus account with immediate effect.  Mullany’s will not be running a service to and from school as of Monday 23rd March.

If you have paid in full by cheque at the start of the year, please go onto the link below to instruct a reimbursement.

Reimbursement Form

Kind regards and please keep safe.

Jane Johnstone
Director of Finance & Resources

Headmaster's Update, 19 March 2020

Dear Parents and Carers

I am writing to update you on the latest arrangements for school following yesterday’s announcement from government.  A separate message will follow to collect details of students who are children of key workers.

Years 11 and 13 will finish school today, Thursday, and are not required to attend school tomorrow.  Details of how and when to drop coursework/NEA into school will be sent to the relevant GCSE students by the end of tomorrow (Friday).  Please do not contact subject teachers with individual questions at this stage.

Years 7 and 8 will attend school tomorrow.  Students will be reminded to bring PE kits and the contents of their lockers home at the end of the day. 

Any student who has books or belongings in school will have the opportunity to collect them next week; school will be open each day between 9am and 3pm.

Work for students in Years 9, 10 and 12 will be available on Show My Homework from tomorrow.  Work for students in other year groups will be available from Monday as detailed in yesterday’s message.

Work Experience week for Year 10 students will, unfortunately, be cancelled. 

Please refer to the school website for all messages sent this week https://www.parmiters.herts.sch.uk/page/?title=Communication&pid=37&action=saved

Kind regards

M Jones
Headmaster

Update for Years 11 and 13

Dear Year 11 & 13 students and their Parents and Carers,

We know the announcement that this summer’s GCSE and A Level examinations will not take place as planned has caused significant anxiety.  We currently have no information beyond that in the public domain.  We understand that Ofqual and UCAS will provide further details tomorrow (Friday).  I am sorry that we can add no more clarity to the situation at this point.  Please be assured that any information will be passed on to you as soon as we receive it. 

I would like to reiterate that if a student has outstanding NEA (coursework), it is absolutely vital that they adhere to the deadlines as they have already been published.  We do not yet know if we will be required to submit coursework marks, either now or at a future date.  All work must therefore be submitted to teachers and will be stored securely in school.

There is much speculation regarding the use of predicted grades or trial examination results and I know some students and parents have already contacted teachers regarding this.  We are not in a position to discuss how these grades may be used; we ourselves do not know what will be required of schools.  I have asked my staff not to reply to individual queries of this nature.  If Ofqual’s guidance is that these grades, or other assessment information, will be used we will provide you with full details of how this will be done and who to contact in the event of a query.

I am sorry that I cannot provide greater clarity and I thank you for your patience and understanding.

Kind regards
M Jones
Headmaster

Headmaster's Update - Working from Home

Dear Parents and Carers

I am e-mailing to provide you with details of how we will continue to support your son's/daughter's education through any period of closure.

As you will be aware, the school is already closed to students in Years 9, 10 and 12.  This is to allow staff who are able to be in school to focus on our Year 11 and Year 13 students who are still preparing for GCSE and A Level examinations.  It also allows us to have Year 7 and 8 students in school and minimise the need for families to arrange child care for these younger members of our community.  In addition, staff are working hard to plan for any longer periods of closure.  Students and parents are reminded to check Show My Homework for details of any work set during Wednesday or Thursday, but can I politely ask that parents/carers understand that this is not our staff's immediate priority.

From Friday 20 March, students in Years 9, 10 and 12 will be set work they can complete at home.  If we need to close to the other year groups, we will send out information letting you know when work will be available.  All work will be set on Show My Homework and students and parents/carers must use this as their point of reference regarding all work.  Work will be set on a weekly basis, this does not necessarily mean work will be set on Monday, but once set will have a one week deadline. Any longer pieces of work will have interim deadlines so students are aware of what must be completed each week.  

As well as information about the work set, Show My Homework will include details of: 

  • how students should complete the work, e.g. on the worksheet, in their exercise book, etc.
  • whether students should mark the work themselves and, if so, how.
  • how students should submit the work / mark they achieved on a piece of work.  
  • who to contact if you or your son/daughter has a query about the work.

Please note that it may not be your son's/daughter's class teacher that sets the work.  Please do not search for work by teacher name.

To help students maintain a focus on school work we ask that parents/carers help by:

  • regularly checking Show My Homework with your son/daughter so you can discuss work set and what has been completed.
  • encouraging them to follow their school timetable, or a timetable you devise at home, so appropriate time is dedicated to each subject over a week and students maintain a structured routine.
  • provide an appropriate space for them to work in.
  • help them organise the work they complete so when we return to school the necessary work can be brought in.

As students will need to access a number of websites in order to work effectively at home, we have produced a summary of web links.  This also includes information about how to get forgotten usernames and passwords.  This document, along with all communication related to the Coronavirus, is on the school website under Parents - Communication (https://www.parmiters.herts.sch.uk/page/?title=Communication&pid=37).

We are aware that not all students have access to computers / internet at home.  Please let us know if this is the situation and we will find an alternative means of providing work. 

We are very grateful for your support during these difficult times.  The continued education of your son/daughter is at the forefront of our planning but we ask that you bear with us while we all navigate this uncharted territory.

Kind regards

M Jones
Headmaster

Headmaster's Update 2, 18 March 2020

Dear Parents and Carers

Further to my earlier message, I have this afternoon made the decision to close the school to Years 9, 10 and 12 from tomorrow, Wednesday 18 March.  In line with the latest guidance, a number of staff are required to stay at home and, consequently, the provision of an effective education is becoming increasingly challenging.  School will remain open to Years 7, 8, 11 and 13 until further notice.  Please encourage your child/children to continue to monitor their school email accounts whilst they are away from school and check Show My Homework for updates.  A reminder of how to access school accounts will be sent out and posted on the school website.  

The canteen will be closed to students and staff so please provide your child/children with a packed lunch and a water bottle/drink.  Children who receive free school meals will be provided with a packed lunch.  Cafe 6 will remain open for Year 13 students but will provide limited snacks and drinks only. 

Please continue to adhere to the government guidelines.

Thank you for your continuing support and understanding. 

Kind regards
M Jones 
Headmaster
 

Headmaster's Update 18 March 2020

Dear Parents and Carers

I am writing to update you on the situation in school in light of the most recent Government updates.  

We have made the decision to cancel all assemblies and have implemented plans to stagger students’ attendance in the dining rooms at lunch times. 

Whilst we are doing our utmost to maintain the usual day to day operation of the school, I would like to make you aware that I may be forced to implement a partial closure in the event of staff numbers dropping to a level that makes this unsustainable. 

I am grateful to my staff for their patience and understanding and fully appreciate the additional pressures they are facing.  To this end, I would respectfully ask that you do not expect individual attention from staff. Teachers are focussed on delivering lessons and preparing a model to ensure that our students’ education continues in the event of a closure.  

Sixth Form students need only attend school for lessons. Registration, assemblies and Liberal Studies sessions have been cancelled. Students must check in and out with their school ID passes or inform Mrs Smith when they arrive and leave the site.  Students who wish to study on-site during non-contact time will still have the facility to do so.  

I would ask that all families follow the advice available.  As a school we are unable to offer anything beyond this; please do not contact school to ask whether your child should be attending.  We respect the decisions you are making in line with the guidance and ask that you only contact us to let us know the reason for any student absence. 

I have not been advised of any confirmed case of Coronavirus within our school community.

Finally, I would like to thank you and every member of the Parmiter’s community for your support of our school and each other in what are testing times for us all. 

Design & Technology NEA Submission

Dear Year 11 students who study GCSE D&T and their parents/carers

We are e-mailing regarding the GCSE Design & Technology NEA. The school’s deadline to submit their work is Friday 20 March. We fully appreciate that some students have been absent from school over the last week and will not be in school to submit work on Friday.  In the absence of guidance from the exam boards all students must submit their work this Friday. However, we will continue to liaise with exam boards regarding the situation and take all steps necessary to ensure students are not disadvantaged.  If we receive information from exam boards we will pass this on to you.

The project consists of two parts:

The making part (the physical object) is already in school and students will submit this to their teacher at the end of Friday’s lesson.  If a student is not in school, they should e-mail their D&T teacher directly to notify them of where their product is currently stored.  We appreciate this may not be finished.

The folder work must be submitted by all students by the end of period 4 (1.20pm) on Friday.  For students studying textiles a printed copy must be submitted.  If a student is unable to do this due to absence they must contact Mrs Foster.  Students studying all other disciplines must submit their work electronically on to the shared area (W drive/Google Drive).

If you have any questions about the submission of the NEA, please contact Mr Field, j.field@parmiters.herts.sch.uk.

Kind regards

Mr J Field (Head of Design & Technology)
Mrs E Berks (Deputy Headteacher)

GCSE Examinations (Ofqual guidance, MFL examinations and access arrangements)

Dear Year 11 Students and Parents/Carers

I appreciate that this is a worrying time for students and parents/carers and that the uncertainty regarding this year’s GCSE examinations is adding to these anxieties.  

Arrangements for this year’s examinations will be determined by Ofqual, the body that regulates qualifications, examinations and tests in England.  Ofqual’s most recent statement can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/updated-statement-on-coronavirus.  In summary, students must continue to prepare for GCSE examinations as normal.  If we are informed of any changes to arrangements we will let students and parents/carers know immediately.

Access arrangements

In line with this guidance, student access arrangement notification forms have been issued to relevant students this week.  These will be given to students via form tutors or students can collect them from register trays.  Any student who has access arrangements (ie special arrangements/ support) for their examinations should receive a notification form.  This form will detail these special arrangements for their GCSE examinations.

If you are expecting to have access arrangements for your examinations and you have not received a notification form by Friday 20 March, please contact me by e-mail (e.berks@parmiters.herts.sch.uk).  If you wish to discuss anything within the form, or you think there is a mistake, again please contact me by e-mail.  Please note that no changes to examination arrangements can be made after this date.

MFL oral examinations

Again, in line with Ofqual guidance to continue planning for examinations, please find below the scheduled dates for the MFL oral examinations.  This is an official examination and represents 25% of their GCSE.  It is important that students are available on the date and at the time they are allocated.  If the current situation continues, we appreciate that some students may not be able to attend but we have not yet received guidance on how this will be managed by examination boards; as information is made available to us we will pass this on to you.  The specific time of a student’s examination will be given to them nearer to the actual dates.  If a teacher has two dates for a particular language then students must make sure they are free to attend their examination on either day.  The examinations will take place upstairs in the MFL block.

There is a considerable amount of language to revise and students should be learning their questions and answers to the various themes and topics now. They also need to revise vocabulary and phrases for role-play and photo cards.  It would help if a little revision is done every day - perhaps a sub-topic from a theme per day and draw up a revision timetable.

Please note, if your son/daughter does two languages, we will make sure that his/her examinations are on different days with sufficient time between them to avoid unnecessary stress.

If you have questions relating to the preparation for oral examinations, please contact your son/daughter’s language teacher.  I respectfully ask that you do not contact them with questions regarding alternative arrangements for these examinations, as any information we receive will be passed on to you as soon as possible.

Monday 20 April:  Mrs Griffiths (German) and Miss Manrique (Spanish) 

Tuesday 21 April:  Mrs Griffiths (German) and Miss Manrique (Spanish)

Friday 24 April: Mr Perkins (German) and Mrs Callington (Spanish) 

Monday 27 April: Mr Perkins (German), Mrs Callington (Spanish) and Mr Gulino (Spanish)

Tuesday 28 April: Mr Gulino (Spanish) and Mr Doherty (Spanish) 

Wednesday 29 April: Mrs McKenna (French) and Ms O’Donnell (French)

Thursday 30 April: Mrs McKenna (French) and Mr Doherty (French) 

Friday 1 May: Mr Doherty (French (dual linguists))

Please be assured we will pass on any information we receive from Ofqual regarding this summer’s examinations.

Kind regards

Mrs E Berks
Deputy Headteacher

A Level Examinations (Ofqual guidance & access arrangements)

Dear Year 13 Students and Parents/Carers

I appreciate that this is a worrying time for students and parents/carers and that the uncertainty regarding this year’s A Level examinations is adding to these anxieties.  

Arrangements for this year’s examinations will be determined by Ofqual, the body that regulates qualifications, examinations and tests in England.  Ofqual’s most recent statement can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/updated-statement-on-coronavirus.  In summary, students must continue to prepare for A Level examinations as normal.  If we are informed of any changes to arrangements we will let students and parents/carers know immediately.

Access arrangements

In line with this guidance, access arrangement notification forms will be issued to relevant students this week.  These will be given to students via form tutors or students can collect them from register trays from Wednesday morning onwards.  Any student who has access arrangements (i.e. special arrangements/support) for their examinations should receive a notification form.  This form will detail the arrangements for their A Level examinations.

If you are expecting to have access arrangements for your examinations and you have not received a notification form by Friday 20 March, please contact me by e-mail (e.berks@parmiters.herts.sch.uk).  If you wish to discuss anything detailed in the form, or you think there is a mistake, again please contact me by e-mail.  Please note that no changes to examination arrangements can be made after Friday 27 March.

Please be assured we will pass on any information we receive from Ofqual or the examination boards regarding this summer’s examinations.

Kind regards

Mrs E Berks
Deputy Headteacher