After very careful consideration, it was with great regret that the Headmistress announced the decision to move entirely to online teaching and learning from Monday 23 March 2020. Girls will begin to leave from lunchtime on Thursday, 19 March 2020, with the aim of all pupils having started their journeys home by 12 noon on Friday. This staggered finish will support parents in giving them time to make logistical plans.
We are acutely aware of the pressure that this will put some families under, particularly those not able to work from home and those in frontline healthcare services and apologise for the inconvenience that this will cause. However, this decision has been taken as a result of the recent Government guidance on self-isolation and of course the need for many overseas’ residents to return home. This combined with our desire to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our staff, and with the need for some staff to self-isolate, means that we are currently at risk of not being able to deliver the quality of education that is so important to us. As a Microsoft Showcase School, we are incredibly well-prepared to move to digital teaching and learning and many staff have already successfully taught their lessons in this way this week and will continue to do so. We believe that this will provide a positive way ahead and enable us to conclude the Lent term positively, even if virtually!
Online learning is already underway and girls will be able to access this with immediate effect. We are providing guidance to all girls to ensure that they continue to progress academically and also to enable them to have contact with their Tutor and/or Housemistress each week, as far as is practical in these extraordinary circumstances.
We very much hope that we will be able to welcome all pupils back at the start of the Summer term; we are keen for their return as soon as possible but of course we will be reviewing the situation over the coming weeks.
In the meantime, we wish for every member of the Downe House community and their families to stay safe and well.