14 July 2020
Dear Parent / Carer
As we come to the end of the Summer term in this extraordinary year, the Sixth Form Leadership Team would like to take this opportunity to wish all parents, carers and students a safe and relaxing summer break. Whilst the unprecedented events of 2020 have caused severe disruption to the normal operation of the College, we are immensely proud of the resilience our students have shown in adapting to the new way of learning. We are hopeful that the new academic year will bring with it a return to some sort of normality, so that we can look forward to continued success with our students in the future.
Summer Holiday Arrangements
The Secretary of State for Education has confirmed that they are not asking schools to open during the summer holidays. Students, teachers and all support staff need a break to recharge and rest. The College will follow the publicised term dates and close on Tuesday 21 July 2020 for all students. This closure will include the suspension of the online Virtual Learning Environment, Frog. Staff will not be contactable through Frog but can be contacted throughout the summer as usual through the Academy's main Reception telephone number and the Enquiries email.
DfE Summer Food Fund
Throughout the lockdown period, Aspens, our on-site catering company, have continued to provide excellent food parcels to families. However, as you may be aware, the Government has released guidance on the Covid Summer Food Fund, where vouchers of £90 per child are available to cover the six-week holiday period for those in receipt of Free School Meals. The Sixth Form Team have contacted the families of students in receipt of Free School Meals in order to verify contact details. More information will be sent out as soon as it is available.
September 2020 Arrangements
Early advice indicates that all students will be returning to college full time in September. Returning to college is vital for the education and wellbeing of our students, and will be an important move back towards normality for young people and their families. We want to reassure parents that we will be following all of the updated guidance and making plans for the safe return of students and staff. As soon as arrangements have been finalised, they will be published on our website and all students, parents and carers will be contacted.
Full term dates for the 2020-21 academic year can be found on the Tollbar MAT Sixth Form College website under ‘Sixth Form Guide’.
Additional Curriculum Time
We are delighted to inform you that from September 2020, our students will benefit from an additional taught period each week, for every subject that they study. This means students will have 7 periods per subject, per week, and we are confident that this additional time will prove invaluable in supporting students throughout Year 13. In order to accommodate the additional period, the college day will be extended to include a period 8 lesson, which will run from 4:05pm-4:45pm.
As students return to college, our priority will be to ensure that they feel supported and can re-engage fully with college life. The safety and mental wellbeing of our students is extremely important, and will continue to be a focus as we plan the way forward.
College Bus Service
We regret to inform you that the college bus service will not resume in September 2020. We have been unable to offer this service during our phased reopening, and in these uncertain times, operating the bus service is no longer viable. We understand that this will cause difficulties for some of you, and appreciate your understanding in this matter.
During this final half-term, students have begun preparations for the UCAS application process and have been working on their personal statements, with support from the Sixth Form Team. Whilst students have unfortunately been unable to have the same face to face experience of visiting universities and careers fairs, there is a wealth of information available online to support students as they consider their next steps. We routinely send out information and opportunities to students via e-mail, and would encourage you to talk to students about their future plans. We are, of course, very happy to discuss any queries that students or parents/carers may have in relation to this, and will be working with students upon their return to ensure that they are well-prepared for their next steps.
Sixth Form Leadership Team
The Sixth Form Leadership Team is currently undergoing some changes, and after three wonderful years leading our Sixth Form community, I will be moving on to a new role within the Tollbar MAT in September 2020. Our new Head of Sixth Form is Tollbar Academy Vice Principal, Mr Ritchie, who will be joined by Assistant Principal, Mr Green, who replaces Mr Foster as Deputy Head of Sixth Form. Mrs Clorley and Mrs Gabbitas will remain in their current roles to complete the team, and I know all are looking forward to supporting our students, both old and new, in the year ahead.
Finally, we would like to take this opportunity to thank you once again for the support you have given us and the students in these particularly challenging times; it has been a pleasure working with you this year.
Mrs C B Hook
Head of Tollbar MAT Sixth Form College
Mrs C L Yates