Headteacher’s Blog May 15th 2020 Personal development and well-being.
I hope you and your family are well. The importance of well-being is the theme of today’s blog. Following Boris Johnson’s announcement last Sunday night, we are acutely aware that many children will be worried about not returning to school in the near future. It is therefore important that all of our children know that we are still there for them and our school community will still very much be a part of their lives in the weeks ahead, even if it is remotely for many of them.
This week all tutors have emailed their students to remind them of what remote learning they should be engaging with and also to ask them to complete a survey, which is giving us valuable information about both students’ well-being and also engagement. This feedback will be important in helping us plan the next phase of our remote learning, which I will communicate in next week’s blog.
Please can I ask you to check that your child has completed the survey and encourage them to do so if not. Surveys should be completed by Wednesday of next week. We will make contact with you if you request it or if surveys are not returned so we can check that all is well and your child is accessing and engaging in activities, when well and able to do so.
Weekly assemblies and challenges
From next week there will be weekly assemblies, which will be posted on our website for students to view. Next week the assembly will be posted by the end of the week for a fun challenge that students can take part in over half term. From 1st June there will be a weekly assembly posted, which will have activities for that students can then complete during the week.
Coleshill’s got talent….
All students in Years 7, 8 and 9 are getting weekly activities to complete on a range of PSHE topics. Over the coming weeks we will be sending you a range of personal development activities, using some of the excellent PIXL resources. Look out for these and make the most of this time to develop those SPIRIT skills.
I hope this gives you a flavour of what we will be doing in the coming weeks to ensure that students still very much feel part of school. Remember, we are here for you if you need us and we look forward to seeing your contributions and hearing any news.
Take care and stay safe.
11 May 2020: ATLP response to last night’s Ministerial speech
Many of you will have seen last night’s speech, by Boris Johnson, in which he outlines a number of stages, now that the virus appears to be past its peak. We know that as part of this, reference was made to education, albeit high level. It is important to recognise that the Prime Minister’s words were heavily caveated and conditional: “If we as a nation begin to fulfil the conditions I have set out, then in the next few weeks and months, we may be able to go further. In step two at the earliest by June 1st after half term, we believe we may be in a position to get primary pupils back into schools, in stages, beginning with reception, year 1 and year 6. Our ambition is that secondary pupils facing exams next year will get at least some time with their teachers before the holidays.”
We recognise that this will be causing angst for children, pupils, parents and staff. At this time all schools are awaiting further guidance from the Department for Education which we are expecting later this week. It would be remiss of us to speculate on the detail but assure you that we will be in touch once we are in receipt of more information.
Whatever decisions we take in our schools, we will be guided by the advice at the time. We are committed to supporting all of our children, staff and parents at this difficult time.
Headteacher’s Blog - 1st May 2020
Working at home
As we finish Week 6 of the lock down, I think we are now finding our way in the Smith-Childs household, with a Year 6 doing Joe Wicks and Google Classrooms, a Year 9 working through her home learning tasks and a Year 11 beginning some preparatory work for his A Levels. I am not saying this is working perfectly and we have definitely established that Mrs Smith-Childs is far better at home schooling than me!
I do hope that some of the strategies we have put in place over the last week have helped you, including the use on online teachers to support Oak National Academy lessons and the work packs that we have been sending out for those that need it. Please see last week’s blog for all the information you need and expectations of students who are able to work from home, though we are very conscious that this will look different for families at different times. You can find all my blogs on our website from the homepage, just scroll down to Headteacher’s Blog.
We would very much value your thoughts on what we are doing to support learning at home. There will be a survey coming out next week, so please do respond to that. You can also reply to this e mail with any thoughts or comments.
Sixth Form Update
Our current Year 12 students are working hard and have been engaging with their teachers through a number of ways. It is pleasing to hear teachers talking about the quality of work that is being submitted and to see that courses are continuing, despite the current situation. A letter for Year 12 families is coming out separately today.
Courses have now finished for Year 13 and students will be thinking about the next stage in their education or careers. A separate letter will be coming out for Year 13 students with tips about how do this, but a key idea Mr Owen wants all Sixth Form students to think about is the question employers may ask in the future ‘what did you do during lock down’? Remember Leighton Buzzard everyone….
Year 11 students who are doing preparatory work for their courses in Year 12 or college we have created a new are in the Home Study section of the website called Preparing for Year 12 https://www.thecoleshillschool.org/students/preparing-for-year-12 which will be populate over the coming week.
The Wilson Block nears completion!
As I type this the world outside my office window is looking very different! Diggers, construction staff and their machinery have been hard at it as we enter the final phase of construction. The scaffolding is now down and the plaza area is being worked on. I had a tour of the inside of the building two weeks ago and can share some photos with you. The school will look very different when we do eventually return.
Support for families in need of financial assistance
Families entitled to Free School Meals are currently receiving vouchers through the Edenred system. Although there have been a number of issues on a national level with the system I want to thank the team in school, especially Helen Bingham our Finance Manager, for ensuring families get their vouchers. A reminder that if you feel you are eligible for Free School Meals now or in the future you can apply by clicking the link on our website which you can find here: https://www.thecoleshillschool.org/parents/financial-assistance
As we hear of any other ways to support you we will update you, the fund below is one that may be of interest.
Turn2us Coronavirus Grant Fund
The Turn2us Coronavirus Grant Fund has been set up to support people who have lost their income as a result of the Coronavirus and to meet their immediate basic household expenses.
Last updated on 28 April 2020
Who is eligible?
We can only help those who are in immediate financial difficulty due to the Coronavirus. You will need to satisfy all of the following criteria:
You can clearly demonstrate a loss of income due to Covid-19 (evidence will be required showing at least a 50% reduction in earnings, we can accept bank statements, letter from employer outlining change in employment)
You are a resident of the UK / Republic of Ireland
You are not currently in Further or Higher Education
You are over 18
You have less than £1K savings (single person) or less than £2K savings (couple/family)
Please note that if you have received a Turn2us grant in the last 6 months we will be unable to assist you.
How to apply?
Please go to the Turn2us Coronavirus grant fund page and and follow the instructions.
Turn2us London W6 7NL
I wish you and your families well. Stay home and stay safe.
How The Coleshill School celebrated 60 years since the signing of the Antarctic Treaty!
On December 1st 1959, 12 nations signed the Antarctic Treaty, a document declaring that Antarctica would be off limits to military activity and setting it aside as a place for peace and scientific discoveries. This past December, The Coleshill School’s Year 7 cohort teamed up with the UK Polar Network to celebrate 60 years of this milestone by designing an Antarctic Flag to be flown on the continent. The project coordinated nicely with the pupils Antarctica topic and allowed students to design a flag based on what they have learnt.
Mr Simmons, Head of Humanities, said of the project; “we hoped that by teaming with the UK Polar Network on the Antarctic Flags initiative we gave new generations the opportunity to learn about the Antarctic Treaty and to share, interpret and cherish the values associated with Antarctica!”
In late April, the 5 winning design entries finally got their chance to be flown on the continent at the Rothera Research Station, as you can see in these stunning photographs (attached)
The Coleshill School would like to congratulate all pupils involved, especially the winning pupils as well as the UK Polar Network and the scientists at the Rothera Research Station.
Headteacher’s Blog: 24th April
Oak National Academy and other developments to support learning at home
I hope that you are your family managed to enjoy some of the sunshine over the Easter break. I am writing today with an update on what are putting in place to support your child whilst they work at home. Before I go any further, you may have seen a letter from our CEO Richard Gill; we recognise the challenges that this unprecedented time has brought and I want to echo the sentiment in this letter that your child, and your family’s, well-being is the most important thing. Gaps in learning can be plugged and it is our job as educators to do this. Having said this, there are parents and carers who are asking for more structure in our offer for home education and so we are making some changes from next week.
Year 7, 8, 9
Over the Easter holidays, the government commissioned forty excellent teachers from across the country to create some online lessons for students up to Year 10, called the Oak National Academy. These resources provide a good opportunity for students to follow lessons guided by a teacher who has recorded a narration with instructions over the tasks and quizzes to monitor what has been learnt. We are going to be using these resources with our students to set work for English, Maths, Science, Spanish or French, History and Geography.
The lessons will be timetabled during the day with 3 sessions on offer for each year group every day. Alongside the timetable, we plan to have available a subject teacher who can be contacted using Microsoft Teams during the hour lesson, to deal with any questions or misconceptions the students may have. We feel this will support our students in their learning and perhaps ease any pressure from parents/carers who may not have the necessary answers. There is no expectation that work done during these sessions will be returned to school for marking, as any queries can be dealt in the session by the on duty subject specialist.
A student guide to using Oak National lessons can be found here Using Teams and Oak National Academy
For all other subjects in Year 7, 8 and 9 staff will continue to set revision based activities and projects.
In recognition that our Year 10 students will need to continue with their GCSE content, we have asked subjects to each set a unit of work to span a 3 week period. The unit of work may be a new topic or it could be consolidation of work already covered. The methods used for teaching this unit should include an opportunity to return work to students with specific teacher feedback. The work will be sent in the week beginning 27th April.
For any students who will not be able to access on line resources please contact the school as we will have packs of work available to be sent out.
At this stage we are now expecting Year 10 students, when they are well and able, to be engaging with the lessons and activities being provided. Work set should be returned via school email, through Microsoft Teams, for feedback. There will be a specific instruction sheet for Year 10 students coming out next week about how to return their work.
A separate letter has been sent to Year 11 families.
Each subject and class are finding their own ways of what works best for them and this process will continue. If parents have any questions please contact the class teacher in the first instance.
Work packs for students
We understand that it may not be possible for all students to access the online resources and therefore we are providing work packs that can be sent out from school for Year 7, 8 and 9. The work packs will contain enough work for around a fortnight and once this is completed, you can request further work packs for your child. The school reception is manned all day from 8:30am to 3:30pm and you can make any requests here or by contacting your Year Leader via email.
As ever, please do contact us at school if you need us. We are here for you every day. Stay safe.