Carmel College Update – Tuesday 17th March 2020

Can I thank everyone for your continued support and understanding. These are challenging times for us all. Our focus at Carmel is currently to try and bring a small window of normality and calmness to all our students. There are still many questions that we cannot currently answer, particularly around what will happen to summer exams. As I explained yesterday, for now we are continuing with our schedule to prepare students for the summer exams as they stand now. We have now moved to online teaching with the university students who attend Carmel in line with their Universities. It may be that this could be the next step for some 6th form students over the next few weeks and this is something we are preparing for.

State of Play
Apart from the guidance about social distancing last night, we have so far had no significant updates from Government or Public Health England. The Secretary of State met with the Education Professional Association leaders yesterday. We understand that the three key discussion points were:
• Reality of trying to keep school and colleges open with the revised guidance re self-isolation and the criticism many school and college leaders are facing from their communities re the directive to stay open.
• Should there be a focus on prioritising certain groups of students e.g. Years 11 and 13 and the children of key workers such as NHS staff?
• Exams – Can we please have a clear steer on the likely scenarios we are facing so that we can reassure students and their families and work on more realistic contingency planning.

The Education Professional Association leaders will meet with the Sec. of State again tomorrow, when hopefully there will be a response to these concerns.

We are just starting to run attendance reports and we have had 18 students today report that they are self-isolating in line with the revised guidance. We have around 5% of our staff currently off for similar reasons.

Can I thank everybody for their commitment and understanding and please keep asking questions and raising any concerns you have, we continue to monitor this.

Can I also report again that at the moment we have had no confirmed cases at College and still only one case in the immediate area (the primary school affected has re-opened this week). We are aware that a student at the University of Liverpool has now been confined with the virus; this is a student based at the Liverpool site and has not been to Carmel.

We are open as normal.

Supporting each other
Can I remind all students that we need to be tolerant and supportive of each other during these times and that any act of racism, direct or indirect, will be challenged.  Students should speak to their PAT if they are subject to any racism or bad feeling. No particular race or creed is to blame for this current crisis and it’s clearly a virus that affects the whole of humanity with equal vengeance.

Good news
Our draft Denominational Inspection report arrived today. We were inspected the week after half term and it is a very positive read. We are graded as ‘Outstanding’ in all areas. We will hopefully be able to share this with you all over the next day or so.

We have also been shortlisted for this year’s Archdiocese School awards in the categories of:
• School/College of the Year
• Outstanding Spirituality Award

Thank you