Dear Parent and Guardian – It was nice to reflect back over the weekend on the good work last week. When I think back to last March, no one had tested online learning let alone knew what blended-learning or Teams meant. The seamless transition to online learning last week is testament to the hard work and planning by the teaching staff and the skill and resilience of our students.
A survey has been sent to all 1st 2nd & 3rd year students this morning to glean their feelings around on-line teaching and learning last week. The students have responded really quickly and have given me very valuable feedback. I will be summarising the issues for teachers later today. Some of the concerns are around uploading material or viewing the teachers’ powerpoint on the screen along with varying opinions on ‘lockdown learning’. Remember any student having IT difficulties please let me know – but I can see students have taken to the on-line platform really well. A longer survey will be sent to our senior students later today.
Last night I sent a bulletin to all 6th years outlining changes in coursework dates e.g. DCG and LC Economics. The relevant teachers will have been in touch with their students regarding the changes. Last week the SEC (State Examinations Commission) stated that they are monitoring the situation regarding this current lockdown and are ready to make changes as deemed necessary. They have already extended the deadline for Leaving Cert DCG projects, and the SEC say they are ready to make other changes but that it is too early to finalise any such changes.
We should, I hope, get some early indications later this week on the prospect of returning to the classrooms on 1st February. I will be in contact as soon as there is concrete news. But in terms of mock examinations at the moment and pending public health advice it is our hope to go ahead with the mock exams. The papers are in the school and will be ready for the day we begin the mocks. If the reopening of schools goes beyond February 1st we may have to revise the mocks schedule. But for the moment I want our students to maintain a revision timetable and stay on top of their subjects and the homework assigned to them by all their teachers.
The entire Education Community has stated their desire for the State Examinations to proceed this June – The Government, Students Bodies, Parent Bodies, Teacher Unions and Management Bodies. They recognise the difficulties in holding the exams in the traditional format, but each accept it is the ideal outcome. These Education Stakeholders meet very regularly and are working through contingency plans for the State Examinations. I hope we hear some news from these meetings soon as it would benefit students to know that plans are afoot to ensure the next number of months go as smoothly as possible.
With best wishes for the week ahead.
Le gach dea-ghuí