Headmaster’s Newsletter – 8 January 2021

Dear Parents,

It seems amazing that just over a week ago we were preparing the school to welcome back all our pupils and looking forward to hearing all their stories of exciting happenings during the Christmas holiday. But now the buildings are all but silent again with only a few staff present to look after the children of “key workers”. As parents I am sure many of you are understandably frustrated and stressed by the return to online teaching, so I want to assure you that we are doing everything we can to make the experience as fruitful as possible for the pupils of all ages.

We will be making some changes for the coming week to help parents – thinking particularly of those with children of different ages – with timetabling. When the enforced move to online learning was initially announced it was for two weeks and so we decided to press ahead with the regular timetable but online. Now we know this situation will last until at least Half Term adjustments are required to make the timetable more manageable for staff, pupils and parents. One such change will be to have a standard lunch hour for the whole school at 12.30pm. We are conscious that some pupils and staff have had too many consecutive lessons, which is tiring for both parties. We are actively looking to improve this situation where it arises. 

For any technical queries please email rls@hillhouseschool.co.uk Please have patience if you do not receive a response immediately. This email address is attended to by a couple of tutors who have their own timetables and other responsibilities that also need their attention. We will endeavour to help as quickly as we can.

Our enduring hope is that schools will be allowed to reopen after the Half Term break.  It is imperative that as little time as possible is lost away from the classroom.  We have taken every precaution to make our school as safe as possible and you will know that we succeeded during the autumn term with providing a full school experience for everyone with no major illness. We cannot state too often that safety at school is our top priority at all times.

It is too early, and there are too many unknowns at present, for us to know what savings can be passed back to parents so we anticipate giving a discount on the Summer Quarter fee once we can evaluate the situation correctly.  The major costs of the school – staff employment costs, rents, rates, insurance, utilities –  remain the same whether school is open or online but there should be some savings in catering, transport and sports facilities.

Best wishes, 

Richard Townend