3 Apr 2020

Message from the Principal

Dear Parents/Guardians and Students,

1)  Thank you very much to our Year 12 parents/guardians for their feedback on our recent online Parent/Teacher Conferences (PTC). It is fair to say they were a great success! We are now going to reschedule the Year 10 (Wed April 29th 1pm – 4pm) and Year 8 (Wed May 6th 1pm – 4pm)  PTC to be online conferences. Please reserve these dates. You can expect to receive a letter from Kate Rogers VP Teaching & Learning after the Easter holiday with further details.

2) You may have noticed some recent media coverage about security risks associated with the use of Zoom and other platforms for online teaching. This is something we are actively working on with our ICT team to ensure our settings and use prioritise online safety.

3) Following a Zoom Q&A with Year 13 students, our Year 13 parents/guardians can expect communication from Kellie Fagan VP and Jane Parry Head of Senior School with detailed Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). With exams now cancelled the IB, over the course of this week, have been clarifying how the award of grades will be done. This varies from subject to subject but it does require further work to be done by our Year 13 teachers.  We will continue to update you as we receive information. As you can appreciate, information and subsequent clarifications are coming in piecemeal and there are still some unanswered questions.  We continue to actively engage and advocate for our students with the IB and our universities.

4) Our IGCSE/GCSE exam boards have yet to clarify the process for the award of Year 11 grades. We expect further information next week. It would seem likely that there will be further additional work for our Year 11 teachers to now do in regard to the exam boards. I had mentioned in a previous communication that we were looking at a Term 3 Year 11 programme. There are preliminary discussions underway and we recognise the opportunity that the current situation affords to continue to work with Year 11. However completing all Year 11 requirements has to be our first priority. Until all work has been completed so that final grades can be awarded, we will move slowly on Term 3 planning for Year 11 students. You can expect to hear more on this in due course.

5) While there may be some adjustment to the examination fees for Years 11 & 13 students we have no information from exam boards as to what that will be. We are also not expecting this to be clarified for quite some time. Once we know this information we will of course be refunding any unused examination fees. Year 11 parents should continue to send the IGCSE/GCSE examination fee in to school.

6) We had expected by now to have sent information out to families about CAS Week 2020. We had already moved the date of CAS Week to Nov 2020. However, in light of the ongoing uncertainty and the financial challenges we are reviewing whether or not we can offer our usual CAS Week. As this situation becomes clearer we will of course update you.

7) When I wrote to you after CNY I committed to regular and detailed communication so you felt well informed as to what was happening. As the current situation will continue beyond Easter we are now going to return to our newsletter style of communication. We may increase the frequency to once every two weeks rather than once every month if there is a volume of things happening that we want to share with you.

There is no doubt the last nine weeks have been exceptionally challenging for us all, professionally and personally. We often talk fondly about the Sha Tin College community. The last few weeks have shown us at our very best: patient, supportive, trusting, and helping each other to keep going. When I look at what is now happening globally I realise we shouldn’t take for granted what we have in being part of this community.  Online learning can’t and doesn’t happen for every child. Not every teacher has engaged and driven students. Not every child is supported by diligent and caring teachers. Not every community is supported by trusting and interested parents/guardians. As tough as this period of time is, we are very fortunate to have each other.

It is now time for a well-deserved holiday and a chance to put away the computer for a few weeks! I also hope the Easter Bunny brings you all an abundance of chocolate eggs!

I wish you continued good health. Stay safe.

Kind regards,

Carol Larkin