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Kennet School in Thatcham steps up preparations for reopening

"It’s been hard work, lots of hours, but the staff have been absolutely fantastic in their adaptability"

John Herring

John Herring


01635 886633

Kennet School in Thatcham steps up preparations for reopening

KENNET School is putting measures in place to welcome back some of its pupils.

The school has been closed since March, except for vulnerable pupils and those whose parents are key workers.

With primary schools re-opening to certain year groups last week, headteacher Gemma Piper said that Kennet was monitoring its plans. 

She said that Year 10 to 12 pupils would be offered 10 minutes with their tutors in school and a return to physical school groups with between 10 and 15 pupils on allocated days to continue remote learning on-site.

“We are going to carry on with remote learning, but carry out on-site supplementary support,” she said. 

Remote learning suites will allow pupils to work at a work station and do lessons in school, and Kennet would “continue doing that for groups in Year 10 to 12 who have the opportunity to come in on-site”.

Tutors from every core subject would be available to “help with any technical, niggly problems they have been having,” Mrs Piper said.

There would be no break in the curriculum and Year 12 would have a timetable for every week, she added.

Kennet is also dedicating half a day for higher education resources and was “making good of a crisis”.

Mrs Piper said: “This has given us opportunity to focus on the core of our best teaching mechanisms.

“It’s been hard work, lots of hours, but the staff have been absolutely fantastic in their adaptability.

“It probably helps that we are a community with a good core moral purpose running through everything we do.”

Exams are to be assessed differently  this year, with teachers submitting assessments and looking at predicted grades and mock results.

Piper said: “I’m still mourning the loss of them.

“We were set to have an exceptional performance across all three schools [Whitelands and Francis Baily Primary], but GCSEs were set to be staggering.

“I’m sad for pupils and staff who have had worked so hard for this.

“It’s like stopping the race 10 metres in front of the finish line.

“The build-up of emotion has been hard to manage there.

“I realise that schools are going to be measured on their collective response as a community and I think that our response has been outstanding.”

Kennet has also been making personal protective equipment (PPE) for local care settings.

The school has made more than 1,000 visors and ear protectors, which Mrs Piper said had been “really greatly received by our health care community”.

She added that the manufacturing had been a “beneficial activity for staff to get engaged in” and had “really solidified the whole community”.

Mrs Piper said Kennet was in a position to make its own PPE for schools in the trust, if it was required.

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