THE headteacher of John Kyrle High School has praised “the whole of the school community” for “excellent work” in the difficult lockdown circumstances ahead of half-term.

And Nigel Griffiths has urged parents and students to “chill out, recharge and keep fit” next week pending the return to online learning and the government’s announcement on future schooling, pencilled in as March 8 at the earliest.

In a letter to parents and carers, he says: “When we return from half-term on Monday, February 22, there will be a statement from the government on lockdown arrangements…

“Like you, I hope it will be safe enough to begin planning for students to come back to school.”

He says that as soon as staff have a chance to look at the announcement, they will inform parents and carers about the way ahead.

Thanking parents and carers in an earlier letter, he admitted: “Home education is tough. Trust me on this, you are doing an excellent job. We are pleased with the work students are doing...

“We must all continue to make remote learning as successful as possible. A recent report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies stresses the need to focus upon high quality learning and qualifications.

“This is in order to support students’ confidence and for their future economic well-being.

“The more we do now the better we can address ‘learning gaps’ when we return.”

Praising students, he pledged: “We will be here for them as soon as it is safe to return. In the meantime, they need to concentrate on their work, stay fit, remain positive and keep everything in perspective.”

And thanking staff and governors, he added: “With good communication, long-term planning, adherence to our strong systems at school and teamwork we can face the undoubted challenges of the future with confidence.”

Some 85 students at the school have been going in daily as children of key workers and vulnerable children, while weekly Microsoft lessons delivered by the school online have risen from 889 team meetings in January 14-20 to 1,413 in January 28 to February 4.

Recommending this week that parents look at the PE department’s exercise ideas on Show My Homework and the weekly well-being update on the same platform, Mr Griffiths added: ”Over the next few weeks we are looking at how we can utilise online systems for parents’ evenings and sharing information to support Year 9 options.

And he urged: “Please continue to get in touch with us this week. Then enjoy the half-term break. Teachers will not be setting any work.

“Chill out, recharge and keep fit. The whole of the school community deserves a rest after the excellent work this half-term.”