I hope you and your loved ones are well.
Now that term is in full swing, I thought it might be helpful to provide you with a brief update on how things are going.
As a College, we have been determined to not let Covid defeat us or stop the plans we have for our students. I have been deeply appreciative and proud of the efforts and ideas our students and staff have had to redesign and rethink what we do. We are focused on what we can do, not what we can't. We are also learning that some of our ideas are actually better than what we were doing before. Our extra-curricular programme (published on our website) is full of opportunities for our students beyond the classroom. Please do discuss with your daughter what she may want to do. As always, if there is something she would like to do but it isn't already happening, please let us know. We live-streamed our Prize Giving (also available on JCGtv) and are enjoying weekly College assemblies and House meetings via Zoom. We obviously cannot have visitors in College for our monthly Music Café. Instead, our first College Café comprising Music and Drama went out on JCGtv, thus giving our students an opportunity to perform. House Drama is just around the corner and that will be live-streamed too. Our first Parent Evening of the year was online. This worked very well, and the response from Year 13 parents is that they preferred it to the normal speed dating scenario! We couldn't have our Open Evening. Instead we have begun a series of Tea and Tours for prospective students and parents. These have been very well received and fully booked. It's been lovely to see and hear our Sixth Formers talk so warmly about their College as they take people on tours. We won't be able to have our usual Sixth Form Open Evening either. Instead, our Year 13s have made a fantastic video for future students. We are delighted that, due to our kitchen team, we are one of very few schools able to serve food. Our Chef tells me sushi will soon appear on the menu too. Our Year 11s take their English Language GCSE next week and I wish them every success and know they will do very well. Our Year 13s are finalising their university applications and preparing for online interviews, for which we will ensure they have much practice and feel prepared. Our Year 12s begin a series of internal exams next week too, to help them get back into 'work mode'. We are very impressed by how they and Year 10 have started their GCSE and A level courses. Our Year 7s are already settled and feeling very much at home. Our Year 8 and 9 are enjoying being back in the rhythm of College life. It's truly wonderful to have our College back. And our teachers are confident that any learning loss for all our students due to lockdown has been minimal and very retrievable.
GCSE and A levels Summer 2021
Given that the Scottish Government has announced this week that the Nationals (equivalent of GCSEs) will not be going ahead and instead teacher assessment and coursework will be used, I expect the UK media will mount pressure on the UK Government to do the same for GCSEs. At this point, the Government is stating that exams will go ahead. It's important we don't speculate or assume this or that is going to happen but wait for the Government to make an announcement, which I expect will be in mid-October. Whatever the plan for the summer is, we will be ready and our students will be prepared.
One of the most significant factors in dealing with information surrounding any aspect of the pandemic is clear lines of communication; something we have strived to do since March. I thought it important to let you know that we have clear guidelines in place to ensure the safety of our community, and to reassure you that at all times we are following the strict procedures as set out by the Governmental scientific and medical teams. There are a variety of scenarios that we have plans for, from a student or member of staff testing positive for Covid-19 to someone being asked to self-isolate by the contact tracing teams. As with anything of this emotive nature, there can often be speculation on social media and discussion groups which is not always accurate or helpful, leading to false alarms and upset. As a parent, you will be informed by the track and trace team if your daughter has been in close proximity with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19. The track and trace team lead all communications when a student or member of staff is asked to isolate. Should you be contacted by the trace team they will advise you of the next steps you need to take. Should there be a confirmed case within our community, I will also write to you. In the meantime, please be assured that we are working hard to continue with College life safely and with as close a semblance to normality as possible.
Finally, as our 140th celebration continues, our new website for Jersey College for Girls, Jersey College Prep and Jersey College Foundation has gone live. The new design brings all three elements of Jersey College under one roof and includes a Parent Portal for both JCG and JCP. Here you will find all information in relation to your daughter’s time with us. If there is anything additional you would like to see there, please do contact us and let us know. Our website is an ever-evolving project and as always, we welcome your comments and suggestions.
Mr Carl Howarth