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Letter to Parents and Students from Mr Chahal

03 April 2020

Dear Parents/Students,

As we roll towards the Easter holidays I thought it would be worth writing to give you an update.

First and foremost I hope you and your families are safe and well and have had a chance to adjust to what we are all finding very strange and challenging times. I begin by reminding you of the Government advice below:

Stay at home

  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home)
  • If you go out, stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home
  • Do not meet others, even friends or
  • You can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms

DfE coronavirus helpline

Email DfE.coronavirushelpline@education.gov.uk

Telephone 0800 046 8687 

 

Onto more school related matters:

Advice for Year 11 and Year 13 students

1.     Ofqual revealed further information today regarding the awarding of grades. Below are the key points:

2.     The process will be fair, objective and carefully considered;

3.     The Ofqual message to students can be found on our website;

4.     The school will be asked to give a centre assessment grade for every subject which is the grade they most likely would have achieved if they had sat their exams and completed any non-examined assessments. This may include classwork, bookwork, mock exams, participation in performance in some subjects, any non-examined assessment whether complete or not, previous exam results and any other records of student performance over the course of study;

5.     Exam centres will be standardised to ensure fairness;

6.     The process will recognise the past performance of schools and colleges;

7.     Schools and colleges have been told that they must not share their centre assessment grades with students, parents or carers, under any circumstances, until after final results are issued. This is to protect the integrity of centres’ judgements, and to avoid anyone feeling under pressure to submit a grade that is not supported by the evidence;

8.     Results won’t be delayed after the dates they were expected in August and ideally will be released a little earlier, so students can have the certainty they need;

9.      Students will also have the opportunity to sit exams at the earliest reasonable opportunity in the new academic year.

 

Please have a read of the full Ofqual advice found in the link below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/how-gcses-as-a-levels-will-be-awarded-in-summer-2020

Free School Meals students

As you know all FSM students were offered the chance to come in and collect a meal over the last two weeks. We appreciate that with more families self-isolating or having to use public transport, this becomes more problematic.  The Government do not subsidise meals over Easter but if you feel you may struggle for food over the holidays please contact the school.

Those eligible for FSM should have been contacted via phone or email. Once we are sure we have correct email addresses we will ensure you have the vouchers emailed to you ready for use straight after the holidays (Monday 20th April).

Working remotely & checking emails

Another reminder to say that work for all year groups can be found in two places:

1. Core work all subjects-School website-Useful Info-Coronavirus Contingency work for students

2. Specialised/additional work set via Frog

 

It is vital all students are logging on to Frog each day and are checking their school email (Frog-Waffle-Outlook).

Username: (networkusername)@ga.newcastle.sch.uk

Password: (network password) [Students will know what we mean!]

We are currently in the process of collating and evaluating further remote learning sites. You may find departments recommending these more as the week’s progress.

Easter work

To support parents over the Easter holidays we have asked staff to ensure students have enough work for over the Easter break. Clearly, students will need a break too but we’d rather it was there to use than not at all.

Keeping your child safe online

Please can we remind parents to be vigilant about the websites your child is accessing. There is a lot of support available to keep your child safe online. Below are some useful links to help parents and carers:

Thinkyouknow (advice from the National Crime Agency to stay safe online)

Internet matters (support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online)

Parent info (support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online)

LGfL (support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online)

Net-aware (support for parents and carers from the NSPCC)

In general:

·       Use filtering systems, keep settings private and monitor usage

·       Be mindful about sharing personal information-addresses, dates of birth, telephone numbers should not be required for any site.

·       Be careful when accepting emails, downloading files/images from unknown sources

·       Use the school email address to communicate with staff

·       Do not share passwords with friends

·       If you feel something online makes you feel uncomfortable, tell someone.

·        

Headstart Year 11-CGP Guides

For those students who are considering A level study in Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Biology take a look at the Head Start CGP Revision guides and get ahead before September. Amazon are at the time of writing this, offering a free download of these books to a kindle or to a kindle app.

If your only internet is your phone

Please do not worry, there are plenty of ways round this should this be the case. On the student home page of Frog you will see a useful guide as to what you can do to submit work. If all else fails using a pen and paper, taking a picture and uploading it to Frog is absolutely fine.

And finally……

Those unfamiliar with schools could easily think this is an extended holiday for staff; believe me this is not the case. Remote duties have ranged from the constant setting and feedback of work to home welfare checks, free school meal vouchers, accommodating limited in school provision for key worker provision, providing remote pastoral support etc. etc. - there is lots going on! I cannot thank staff enough for the truly professional job they are all doing.

Over Easter, don’t worry about staying on top of all the work that is sent to you, do as much as you want to but build this around a variety of activities including physical exercise, reading, creativity, watching films or generally just making the most of enjoying the opportunities this enforced grounding is offering.

Finally, many thanks for being so calm, supportive and community minded throughout. Thank you for all of your support by keeping your children at home unless you are a keyworker and there is no safe alternative. Your support means that more of our staff can work from home, helping to keep them and their families safer, as well as taking the strain off the NHS and reducing the spread of the virus. The kind and thoughtful messages that have been sent in are passed on and fully appreciated. I’m also aware of some of the wonderful things you are all doing beyond school to help those worse off. The school were pleased to donate nearly 400 of our Science goggles to the NHS this week to protect those workers in hospitals - we will continue to do anything we can to help. 

Wishing you and your families a restful, healthy and harmonious break.

 

Mr Chahal

Principal

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