Headmaster’s Newsletter – 20 March 2020

Dear Parents,

We are certainly living through unprecedented times and the last week has been the most extraordinary in the history of the school. Firstly I would like to pay tribute to the entire staff for their dedication over the last few days. Two weeks ago there was a modest amount of online provision mainly focused at the upper end of the school. Today the entire school has access to online learning and the staff have worked together to train and help each other in the most wonderful example of collegiate support. Their desire to ensure that each and every one of your children continues to have a truly meaningful education cannot be faulted. This is a very different style of teaching and learning and as such will inevitably take a little getting used to. The commitment and positivity of the tutors to make this a success will I hope come fizzing over the Internet.

I would like to emphasis that school is not shut: it has changed tack in how the teaching is provided. As I said in my letter earlier this week, I would ask you to engage fully in the next week of school so that when term begins after Easter everybody feels as comfortable with the new way of working as possible.

Maintaining a routine is crucial to ensuring the continuation of good disciplined learning. Different ages will necessarily work in different ways and have different needs. To help with this Senior Tutors have and will be sending out advice on what will be expected from the children.

For the pupils at the upper end of the school remote learning will provide an excellent opportunity to develop habits of self-motivation and self-discipline that will pay great dividends when they progress to their senior schools. For those who are younger and will be requiring more parental input we hope to be able to support you as best we can. As all parties become more accustomed to remote learning, we will undoubtedly seek to make our offering more innovative and interactive.

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If you are having difficulty with accessing any school specific elements of the Edmodo platform please email rls@hillhouseschool.co.ukThis is being staffed by a small number of tutors who will do their best to help. Any technical difficulties with accessing the main site (i.e. forgotten passwords etc) should be addressed to Edmodo support directly.

End of term reports will be sent to your home address in the first week of the holidays. There are two Parents’ Evenings that are outstanding. We are working to find an alternative option, which we will inform you about in due course.

The instrument teachers have been coordinating to develop a method and set of protocols for providing lessons over the Internet that is robust and most importantly safe. Details of this will be passed on to all relevant parents as soon as possible.

You will be unsurprised by the news that the Billings & Edmonds pop-up shop in Founders’ Hall will no longer take place tomorrow. In lieu of this they have sent us this message.

We hope that you and all the School community are safe and coping at this worrying time.

Under these difficult and exceptional circumstances, we have decided to offer all parents and customers a 20% discount off all items purchased from us online between 19th March and 12th April 2020 (Easter Sunday), including all items of uniform and sportswear. In addition in order to assist parents who wish to avoid visiting our shops within the current environment, we are offering free carriage on all web orders. A code will be displayed on the Home Page of our website which should be used to claim these discounts.

In some lighter news, on Wednesday the remaining children in Lower School gave me a private show of their Storytelling Performance of The Rainbow Fish, which was originally going to be performed at Assembly. It was a wonderful performance and a great feat of memory. A video has been posted on Edmodo for the Lower School parents so they have not missed out. For those who may be concerned by the perceived lack of Social Distancing, the picture was taken very quickly before we all spread out again!

Finally I would like to thank all those parents who have written, sent messages and emailed letters of encouragement and thanks. They are greatly appreciated at this time.

Best wishes,

Richard Townend