Dear Parents

As we venture into our third term, our school community is adapting very well to our current situation with regard to the online learning situation. Thank you for all your feedback and your support, it is very encouraging to receive overwhelming amounts of positive comments and some excellent suggestions – several of which we have already adopted to customize our provision.

In these unprecedented times it has never been clearer that in order to overcome this situation, the strength of our school community is paramount. With your support and involvement, Oryx has already built up a very strong sense of community identity within a short space of time and this enables us to continue to deliver the highest quality education in these circumstances. I am delighted with the continued levels of engagement from our students particularly our Year 11 who have regularly achieved 100% engagement in lessons. Our FS students are also very heavily engaged in their learning activities and I am especially grateful to these parents for their considerable involvement at home. Our teachers are live-streaming weekly ‘assemblies / PSHE’ lessons and daily welcome messages to keep students in contact with their peers. These are proving very popular and provide a platform to share concerns and ideas as well as imparting advice and celebrating our achievements.

As a five-star school, we strive to offer levels of pastoral support equal to our academic provision and this is something which presents more challenges when working in a virtual learning environment. The lack of face to face ‘in-person’ contact is even more keenly felt by students who benefit from some additional support. Our SEND and EAL team are working very hard to maintain contact and to continue to support individuals and small groups of students, as are our school counsellor, Mrs. Tobun, and our Safeguarding Team led by Mrs. Murphy. We understand that this current period of isolation within homes will bring additional strain and our SENDCo, Mr. Peacock is sending out our twice-weekly Oryx Occupier virtual magazine which includes a range of wellbeing articles to help support families at home. I will continue to send regular updates during the weeks ahead as well as our weekly newsletter in addition to the regular messages from Mrs. Smith and Mr. Haggarty. This term we will be offering opportunities for parents workshops, information sessions and we will continue with our English language programme online.

There will be more challenging times ahead, and it is possible that we might not be permitted to re-open our premises for students before the end of this summer term. However, we are committed to provide a full programme of learning until 25th June as per our original calendar. This is our students’ entitlement and our desire. We will be adapting to Ramadan hours as in previous years, and observing the Eid holiday as per our calendar. As recently as this morning, we contacted the MoEHE again to enquire about next academic year school calendar dates, but, understandably at this time, the ministry are not yet able to confirm dates.

Sending you all our best wishes from Oryx and we hope to see you all again ‘in-person’ soon.


Derek Laidlaw

Executive Principal