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Headteacher’s Blog  Friday 27th March 2020

Working at home – how to support your child and managing expectations

I am writing to you at an unprecedented time for all of us.  We are all having to adapt the way in which we live our lives and I know this will be presenting some real challenges for many of you, as it has for staff at school.  Today I am writing with some thoughts about how you can support your child in working from home, as well as some guidance about keeping your children safe online as they may be spending more time than normal accessing the internet. 

With three children at home myself, in years 6, 9 and 11, I can assure you that I have seen first-hand both the amazing work that teachers are putting into ensuring children continue to get high quality resources and the challenges of supporting children to complete them.  I hope the following can act as some support in managing expectations in the coming weeks.

Please be aware that there are currently NO NEW TOPICS being covered. All of the work we are setting is to review, revise and embed the learning that has already taken place in schools with topics that we have already taught.   This may change later in the Summer term, but this is the case for now.  It is for you as a family, and individual students, to pick and choose from the work available to help keep minds active and to keep their learning live.  We are simply providing enough for you who want to do more, but no one will be judging anybody on how much is done. As staff we are aware that every family will be facing different circumstances and challenges at different times . We also know that individual students will be learning at different paces, just as they would with their teacher in the classroom. You may want to build a wide variety of activities which may include physical exercise (my 11 year old is loving Joe Wicks every morning at 9am!), reading, creativity, cooking, gardening, watching films, chatting with others as a family and with friends online. Make the most of enjoying the opportunities that this enforced grounding is offering. Please don’t worry about completing all activities and trying to return them to us. Guidance can be seen in the FAQ sheet which is linked at the end of this blog.  Our current focus is on Year 11, who should be completing work as set as this may form part of their predicted grade, as well as any outstanding BTEC work, and ensuring any outstanding Y13 coursework is compete.  After Easter we will increase our focus on Year 10 and 12. As the weeks progress we will communicate further about marked work, but we are all feeling our way with the situation as it stands now. If you are having difficulty with using the online resources, we are developing new packs of work for those that need it after Easter and we will be sending information out about this next week.

The FAQ sheet will hopefully provide some more answers to some of the common questions that have been asked over the last week. 

Everyone is dealing with the current situation differently.  We know and appreciate this and ask for the patience of our families as we also adapt what we are doing.  Teachers and support staff are being asked to work in ways we never have before.  This week the school has been open for children of Critical Workers and we will continue to be open, throughout the Easter holiday and through to the time this crisis is over, for these families as well any families who feel their children are vulnerable and in need of our support.  This should of course be an absolute last resort, where you are unable to support your child at home.  We would ask you to contact our school reception, which is open during normal school hours, if you are in need of this service so that we can plan, as we have minimal staffing operating and cannot manage many students.

Teachers are adapting to the new way of working with an incredible level of creativity and innovation and we are actively seeking out the latest applications and technology to support with student learning.  There will be communication coming out after the Easter holiday about this.

At the bottom of this blog are some links to useful links:-

FAQ – this goes into more detail about some of the common questions families have had this week

Frequently Asked Questions

Social Media Guidance – as some children will be spending more time online and will understandably want to socialise with their friends via social media there are some reminders here about staying safe online.

I hope that you have found this information useful.

Take care of your families and stay safe.

Ian Smith-Childs

March 27th 2020

Cyber Crime Update

 
Dear all, 

Welcome to an update.

Due to COVID-19, students will be online a lot more often than before with school closures. We have compiled some internet safety and gaming advice sites and guidance for both students and parents.

There is also some Crime Prevention Advice Leaflets covering topics such as two-factor authentication, antivirus, backing up data, recovering an infected device, malware and ransomware, passwords, and phishing emails. 

You will find links to helpful advice from the NCSC regarding working from home and also a link to an article stating that Coronavirus-related fraud reports have increased by 400% in March. 

Many of you may be seeing this come up in your junk email folder, we are in the process of getting this fixed however have been urged to suggest that subscribers  add This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to their address book.

Many thanks, 

Abbey and Joe.

 

Students:

If a young person needs help or wants to speak to someone regarding something that has happened online or offline – use the following helplines on this webpage: https://www.childnet.com/young-people/secondary/need-help

If a young person wants to report abuse on a specific site, or in more serious cases, report to the police or other bodies that regulate bodies on the internet, they can use the following site: https://www.childnet.com/resources/how-to-make-a-report

This online reputation checklist is a simple way for young people to learn what a digital footprint is and how this this can be either negative or positive and can even influence their future: https://www.childnet.com/ufiles/Online-Reputation-Checklist.pdf

The Safer Internet Centre Site provides information and advice if students are unsure how to stay safe online (the site caters for ages 3-11 and 11-19): https://www.saferinternet.org.uk/advice-centre/young-people

Some small guide checklists for students if they’re not sure how to set privacy settings/blocking someone on certain apps:

Some extremely important Top Tips to remember are: 

  1. Protect your online reputation: use the services provided to manage your digital footprints and ‘think before you post.’ Content posted online can last forever and could be shared publicly by anyone.
  2. Know where to find help: understand how to report to service providers and use blocking and deleting tools. If something happens that upsets you online, it’s never too late to tell someone. 
  3. Don’t give in to pressure: once you’ve pressed send you can’t take it back.
  4. Respect the law: use reliable services and know how to legally access the music, film and TV you want.
  5. Acknowledge your sources: use trustworthy content and remember to give credit when using others’ work/ideas.

Parents: 

For parent’s, National Online Safety have a campaign called Wake Up Wednesday whereby they release a pdf guide every week discussing a social media app or online game. It gives a brief description of what the app/game is then lists what risks it has as well as top tips for parents. They have also released guides for topics such as pressures online and mental health in young people. You have to create an account in order to download the guides, but this is all free: https://nationalonlinesafety.com/guides?utm_source=Twitter&utm_campaign=School-Closures-GuidesSocial

As well for parents Internet Matters provide information on parental controls and offers clear and concise step-by-step guides for how to set these up on apps/devices and even as far as blocking certain websites from being accessed wifi:  https://www.internetmatters.org/parental-controls/

Online Safety Tips and checklist for Parents 11-13:  https://pwxp5srs168nsac2n3fnjyaa-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Internet-matters-Parent-Age-Guides-11-13.pdf

Online Safety tips and checklist for Parents 14+: https://pwxp5srs168nsac2n3fnjyaa-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Internet-matters-Parent-Age-Guides-14.pdf

For some families it might be useful to have a ‘Family Agreement’ whereby you talk through how they use the internet and how to behave positively online. There is also an ‘Online Safety Agreement’ option to cater for non family settings e.g. foster carers and youth groups: https://www.childnet.com/resources/family-agreement

Gaming

As well as social media there is also online gaming where the same rules to stay safe apply, however, there are many concerns that come along with this, for instance:

  1. Online Gaming Addiction
  2. Contact with Strangers
  3. Online gaming health
  4. Online Video Game Costs and Gambling
  5. Online Gaming Effects on Behaviour

Internet matters provides information on parental controls and more information to do with online gaming from the basics, the risks, the benefits and the resources that are available: https://www.internetmatters.org/resources/online-gaming-advice/the-basics/#advice

Further to this there is also more information regarding online gaming : https://www.internetmatters.org/about-us/our-partners/supercell-internet-matters-corporate-partner/gaming-advice/

Online Gaming Safety tips and checklist for Parents 11-13: https://pwxp5srs168nsac2n3fnjyaa-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Internet-Matters-Guide-Gaming-advice-PreTeens.pdf

Online Gaming Safety tips and checklist for Parents 14+: https://pwxp5srs168nsac2n3fnjyaa-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Internet-Matters-Guide-Gaming-advice-Teens.pdf

Mobile Gaming: https://www.internetmatters.org/resources/online-gaming-advice/mobile-gaming-tips-for-parents/

Crime Prevention Leaflets

Cyber Crime Prevention Leaflets can be found on the Safe in Warwickshire Website
 
Read more >
Are you working from home? Due to many of us working from home to help manage the Covid-19 outbreaks NCSC have produced the guidance below to help protect you, your businesses, devices and data.
Read more >
 

Coronavirus-related fraud reports increase by 400% in March.

 
Read more >

A statement from the DFE was issued on 20/3/2020 following the cancellation of GCSE and A level examinations. This statement (below) provides some further information on how grades will be awarded.

Schools do not yet have any further details. We are committed to ensuring that we work with the awarding bodies to ensure that students’ hard work and dedication is rewarded and fairly recognised.  In order to ensure this process is fair and transparent, subject staff have been asked not to respond directly to any parental or student queries relating to individual student or subject grades.

We will continue to update this page as we are given more information.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/further-details-on-exams-and-grades-announced?utm_source=96f31727-1fb9-408b-a7fa-d91d4ceaeb6b&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate

A message from AQA’s Chief Executive, Mark Bedlow, on how they will be awarding grades this summer can be viewed here:

 

https://www.aqa.org.uk/coronavirus-updates

 

Letter To Year 11 & 13 Parents - 23th March 2020

 

Letter To Year 13 Parents DHo - 23th March 2020

 

Parents will be aware of the statement made by the Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, in Parliament on 18th March.

Schools will be closing their doors on Friday 20th March 2020 due to the national pandemic.

Our children are always our priority. We have been planning over recent days in the event that such a decision was made.

We will communicate further details on Thursday. These are difficult times and we thank you for your continued support and understanding.