Open post

Headteacher’s Blog – Week 10

Last week, I shared the virtual Remembrance Sunday event that was held in Cheadle and that representatives of The Kingsway School were very honoured to attend. Reflection upon this loss and sacrifice continued throughout the week: Ms Bowers (Head of History) held virtual assemblies with all year groups and Mr Lawton led us all in a minute’s silence with the Last Post. We were delighted that so many of our students who were self-isolating were also able to uphold the silence online. Usually, our community ambassadors are actively selling British Legion poppies, both within our school and local community. Despite being unable to do this, our students continued to do us proud and showed their respects by creating their own poppy window displays and sharing this with us all. Take a look at these wonderful images.

Anti-Bullying Ambassadors

This week is National Anti-Bullying Week, and we are looking forward to Ms Nay’s (Behaviour Mentor and Anti-bullying Coordinator) virtual assemblies. 

If you have any concerns about your child we would urge you to contact the school but you may also find this link to the Anti Bullying Alliance Parents’ page useful

Anti-bullying is a year round commitment as such we were delighted to be able to welcome our new Year 7s to our growing Anti-bullying Ambassador team last week. They are; Brooke, Jaxon, Levi, Ruba, Megan, Zara, Zak & Abdul

I’m certain that alongside every other student and member of staff, they will keep a watchful eye on everyone to help keep The Kingsway Schoola safe and happy place to be.

Remote Learning Updates

As we continually respond to the new world of remote learning, I thought it would be useful to share a few updates:

Initially, we asked students to keep their cameras off but over time, students have become familiar with this new way of learning so we would like all students to keep these on but muted. This enables teachers to check understanding and engagement more immediately. 

Although accessing learning via a computer is more desirable, if your child is struggling to access Google Classroom via a computer or laptop, there are a number of alternative ways.  If your child has access to a tablet or smartphone, the Google Classroom app can be downloaded and used to join meetings and complete work. Alternatively, students who have either Playstation or Xbox are also able to access Google Classroom if their system is web-enabled. 

For students who are self-isolating, we have been trialling streaming lessons from the classroom. We are working on rolling this out further but we will be using the teacher's professional judgement on when this is used. There are many benefits to this system, but equally it does not always fit the intended learning outcomes or the nature of specific subjects and topics. Teachers will send out a message to students if they are intending to use this method and students will need to join via Google Meet - students should check the Google Classroom at the start of each timetabled lesson. Students need to be aware that teachers will share their screen and audio only and will not be able to fully monitor the chat box; sound quality may also vary. We hope that this will help students feel more connected to the class during periods of self-isolation.

School Nurse Services

After 16 years Jayne Seedhouse, our school nurse is leaving The Kingsway to start a new position within Stockport Family/NHS. Jayne joined us in 2004 and has been a wonderful addition to our pastoral care offer. She has asked us to pass on the message: “I will miss the school, the students and the wonderful staff I have worked with. I believe that The Kingsway is a great school with wonderful teaching and support and a fabulous safeguarding, pastoral and welfare team. I have very much enjoyed my time with you.” We wish Jayne all the best in her new role and thank her for all the support and work that she has done with our students over the years - good luck and we will miss you! Alison Renshaw will be joining us shortly, we look forward to welcoming her. 

Reception, on both sites, have reported that they are finding an increasing number of parents dropping off forgotten equipment. Due to COVID safety measures we are unable to allow parents to do this at this time. Please can you help your child with organisation of their bags the night before. Should you child forget any equipment we will try to provide alternatives or adjust the lesson to accommodate this but we will, unfortunately, no longer will not be able to permit visitors on to the school site until further notice.

With the nights closing in much earlier, can we take this opportunity to remind our students and families about keeping safe. A number of parents have started to park closer to the school again, making it very dangerous for our students to leave safely.  Wherever possible can you please arrange a meeting point away from the school. It is also that time of year again, to remind students that all bikes should be locked up, even if you are using the bike shed. Can our cyclists also take a few minutes to provide a service check on their bikes and check their lights and reflective gears #BeSafeBeSeen

On Friday I sent out wishes to all our students, staff, families and members of our local communities who are celebrating the Festival of Diwali. We hope you have all been enjoying the celebrations and that the festival of light has given us all a reminder about the importance of hope.

Dates for your diary

Date Event
Friday 18th December School breaks up for students at noon
Tuesday 5th January Students return to school at 8:30am

Have a good week, and stay safe and well.


Mrs J. Lowe
Headteacher

Open post

Headteacher’s Blog – Week 9

A time to remember

I am writing this week’s blog on Remembrance Sunday - a day to remember and commemorate the contribution of military and civilian servicemen and women in the two World Wars and later and current conflicts.

I had the pleasure of laying a wreath at the cenotaph in Cheadle village on behalf of our school community. This was videoed and made available to the public via the Cheadle Village Partnership. You can watch the Act of Remembrance from the Memorial below.

It was really nice to see a few Kingsway students at the event representing their community groups.

As well as remembering those at war, the work of Marcus Rashford has encouraged us all to remember those who are less fortunate and for whom providing a daily square meal for their families is a challenge.

FSM provision for self-isolating students

Students eligible for free school meals who are being asked to self isolate due to suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases within their year bubbles, will receive a supermarket voucher to cover the 14 day isolation period. If a student is self-isolating for other reasons, i.e. because a family member is symptomatic and waiting for a test, they will be sent out a supermarket voucher on a weekly basis each Friday following the start of their isolation period. Vouchers will be posted on a Friday.

It is also worthwhile at this point reminding ourselves of the need for self-care and looking out for others. With the second lockdown it is important to be mindful that this will affect people in different ways. Our students have amazing resilience and we are so very proud of them, but we know that things affect individuals in many different ways.  

Inspired by the words of one of Mrs Wardle’s favourite artists, Charlie Mackesy, ‘Hold on..the dawn is coming’ we are hopeful that with news of a vaccine that there is an end in sight but until then our children will be looking to us for ways in which we deal with this situation. In the meantime we do not want anyone to suffer in silence. For those families and individuals who may need some support please approach school and we will offer any support and guidance possible; alternatively you may find some useful information on the NHS page.

Finally, Exams regulator Ofqual is holding online focus groups in November. They want to hear from parents of Year 11 and Year 13 students for their views on arrangements for grading Exams in 2021. Email ofqualfocusgroups@ofqual.gov.uk for details or to take part.

Dates For Your Diary

Date Event
Friday 18th December School breaks up for students at noon
Tuesday 5th January Students return to school at 8:30am

Have a good week, and stay safe and well.


Mrs J. Lowe
Headteacher

Open post

Headteacher’s Blog – Week 8

Half term 2 - a new normal?

I am writing this blog as our half term comes to an end - I hope you and your families had a lovely week - despite the awful weather!

COVID remains high on our radar, with more positive cases being reported during the half term via our dedicated COVID email address (covid@kingsway.stockport.sch.uk) and the increase in cases locally and nationally.

It seems that sadly we have reached a period of new normal.

In school we are continuing to drive forward the message of hands, face, space to reduce the risks of transmission. We are urging parents to help us by:

  • ensuring students have their own hand sanitizer and use it regularly. All students (except those exempt) will be expected to santize on their way into school each morning and break time and also on their way into the canteen.
  • they wear a clean, washable face mask each day (and a spare just in case). We are encouraging any students, particularly in KS4, who want to keep their masks on in lessons to do so. If we do not see a drop in cases in year 10 & 11 bubbles, the wearing of masks in lessons may become mandatory.
  • they maintain social distancing wherever possible between themselves and others including their teachers

Sending year group bubbles home is a last resort, but a necessary step to prevent the further spread of the virus whilst we identify close contacts. Whilst I very much hope this is not something that we will need to do as we embark on a new half term, please ensure the school knows we have your consent to send your child home in such an instance. Year 7 parents have been sent a link for those who haven't already completed School Closure Consent form to do so. For our older students in years 8 to 11, we are assuming we have consent unless you have informed us otherwise. Please contact your child’s Pastoral Head of Year if you have any concerns about your child being sent home during the school day. All parents/carers will be contacted via our text messaging system in the event of a year group needing to be sent home.

Students will return to school this week on Tuesday 3rd November, as we have a staff INSET day on Monday 2nd November. The programme for the day will focus on assessment and remote teaching. Teachers will work in departmental teams (socially distanced) to develop strategies to assess students’ gaps in understanding either in the classroom or via remote learning. Like many walks of school life, staff training now has a different style - but nonetheless it is valuable time spent to improve students’ learning experience.

A reminder that our next INSET day will be on Monday 4th January 2021; students will return to school after the Christmas break on Tuesday 5th January 2021.

There are some helpful resources for parents on the Education Endowment Foundation website on supporting their child’s remote learning experience

If your child is learning from home (e.g. due to bubble or self-isolation) they can download the Google Meet App on their smartphone. To aid engagement and interaction, students are asked to have their cameras ON during lessons. If your child has any issues with the technology, preventing their full engagement with the learning, please contact their form tutor or Pastoral Head of Year for support.

In 1943, Abraham Maslow wrote a paper on ‘A theory of human motivation’ from which was born Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

At the top of this pyramid is our school’s vision ‘to be the best version of ourselves’ - something which is strongly embedded into our school’s culture. However, it is also true that for some of our students their basic needs are not always being met - something that Marcus Rashford has been championing on the news over recent months. Financial hardship can affect any of us at any time and present a struggle for our families to meet the psychological needs of their children.

If this is something that is affecting you, please reach out to us for help, via your child’s Pastoral Head of Year. We are more than the providers of education for your child, we are at the heart of our community and are here for all our families at their time of need. Please find below some information from Stockport council on accessing food banks.

Have a good week, and stay safe and well.


Mrs J. Lowe
Headteacher

Open post

Headteacher’s Blog – Week 7

When is a classroom not a classroom?

When it’s your bedroom or living room or kitchen table!

With more students self-isolating for various reasons, the classroom can be very different for each child. When we asked year 10 on their return where their learning took place, we had many different responses. My advice is to have a clear space at home for school work, whether isolating or just for homework/revision at the end of the day. It needs to be a space away from distractions (e.g. TV, X box etc.) and a tidy space - a cluttered desk can cause a cluttered mind.

I know when I am working at home in the evening or at the weekend, I need to make sure I have done my housework chores first. I then light a candle with a calming aroma and get my head down to working.

One year 10 example of great learning from home is Charlie L: “Yesterday, I completed 1 of the activities from the English remote learning, 2 hours of maths revision, watched 2 x 20 minute biology videos as revision for the test that I was meant to take part in that day and planning for my spanish writing exam”. Here are some examples of Charlie’s work:


How fabulous is this… Leland H in 8C has his very own Kingsway mask! I see an opening in the market…

The following information has been provided by the local authority for families living in Stockport:

  • We advise against all social contact with people from outside your home. Up to six people from different households can legally meet – maintaining social distance - in parks, but not in homes and gardens.
  • Picking children up from school who aren’t in your household is social contact, and isn’t allowed unless you have formed a childcare bubble.
  • A childcare bubble is where someone in one household can provide informal (meaning unpaid and unregistered) childcare to a child aged 13 or under in another household. This must occur on an exclusive basis – always the same two households, and never more than two households.
  • If people don’t follow these rules, it increases the chance that they, their children, and potentially their class or year group bubble at school will need to self-isolate at home for up to two weeks.

Does your child have Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities? If so, you may be interested in the public consultation which was launched on Friday 9th October, closing on Friday 4th December 2020. This consultation follows a 6 month review of the Dedicated School’s Grant (DSG) - the £32 Million that Stockport spends on SEND provision.

A stakeholder video can be accessed here:
https://video.stockport.gov.uk/secret/64447169/c51c068bd2abd4f4291ddf04f85e9556

To have your say on the future of SEND provision and view the consultation, visit:
https://consultation.stockport.gov.uk/policy-performance-and-reform/dedicated-schools-grant-high-needs-funding-consult/

In addition to the online public consultation currently being undertaken by Stockport MBC on the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) Review, the council are also running a number of focus groups to understand individuals’ perspectives on the recommendations that have been put forward. These will be taking place online via Zoom:

  • Parents and carers of a child who is accessing SEND Support - 18th November 2020 at 19:15 - 20:30. This focus group will be facilitated by PACTs (Parent and Carers Together Stockport) and Stockport Council.
  • Parents and carers of a child who has an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) - 18th November 2020 at 10:30 This focus group will be facilitated by Qa Research, an independent market and social research organisation, on behalf of Stockport Council.

If you would like to take part in a focus group, please email your name, email and phone number and indicate which workshop you would like to take part in to DSG@stockport.gov.uk

The council are also offering support for families with remote learning:

Venue: Stockport College

Course Length: 5 weeks

Date/Time: Thursday 5th November to 3rd December

Description
Everything we do today involves using a computer. This course is particularly relevant to the current situation with Covid-19 which has meant that many services, including education, has moved on-line.

If you would like to improve your computer skills so you can support your child’s learning
on-line then this short course is for you.

The course covers a number of topics including:

- Using computers (identifying and solving basic technical problems)
- Communicating online
- How to use online software e.g. Microsoft Teams/Zoom
- Staying safe on-line
- Useful websites to help support learning

Sessions are delivered by an experienced tutor in a very supportive environment.

Cost
There is no charge but you are expected to attend all five sessions. Social distancing will be in place and learners will need to follow appropriate health & safety guidelines as advised at enrolment.

 

On our return after half term, The Kingsway School will have transferred from Abney Trust to Education Learning Trust. This transfer means that we will be part of a collaboration of local schools working together to bring about improved outcomes and educational experience for all our students. There will be no noticeable differences for our parents, carers and students - our school day, uniform, staffing and governors will remain the same. Behind the scenes, our staff will be working in teams to develop their practice for the benefit of your children. I look forward to sharing with you some examples of this partnership working in the coming months.

Finally, as half term approaches, please make sure you all stay safe and well. The current lockdown rules will impact on how you will relax or spend time with your friends and family - nonetheless, I hope you all have a really lovely week.


Mrs J. Lowe
Headteacher

Open post

Headteacher’s Blog – Week 6

Let’s be rainbows!

There have been some spectacular rainbows over the past week with the weather we have been having. Each time I see a rainbow, I am reminded of the words of American poet Maya Angelou: “Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud”.

Leading a school during the Coronavirus pandemic feels like there is a grey cloud over me most of the time. Each day, I dread the call that we have another positive case and have to make decisions, which seem to please no one. Students want to be in school. Parents want their children in school. Teachers want their students in school. But we must also make every effort to avoid further transmission of the disease to keep our school community safe and well.

Thankfully, there are many people who are my rainbows.

On a particularly cloudy day, I decided to ditch the paperwork needing my attention, and instead walk around the Year 10 lessons taking place. I was so impressed with the engagement of every single student in their lessons - all working hard and soaking up their learning.

Mr Williams shared some rainbows last week in the form of Year 7 budding artists in 7C selected by Ms Whadcock-Jones.

I have also been really grateful to those parents who have taken the trouble to send me an email thanking me for the communication from the school in these challenging times. Here’s just a flavour of the rainbows on a gloomy day:

“I just wanted to say thank you for the way Kingsway School is handling everything at what is a really difficult time for everyone. I'm sure the current situation is a logistical nightmare for you all but the regular updates are really helpful, & I appreciate the steps that are being taken to keep our children safe. I, along with many other parents, are obviously worried about our children in year 11 who are in their final year & face an uncertain future with regards to GCSE exams & job prospects but I have confidence that we will be kept informed every step of the way so thank you for that. I hope the staff & their families are all safe & well.”

“I just wanted to say thanks to you and all of your staff for the work you're doing to keep students and families safe and minimise disruption to learning. It is a massive undertaking in a school of this size, but the communication between home and school, and the online work have been excellent. I can only imagine what a nightmare it must be for you, so thanks again.”

“I just wanted to add how impressed we have been with communication from the school throughout the induction process and how much Oliver is enjoying Kingsway so far. We are so glad we chose Kingsway for him and appreciate all your hard work and dedication.”

“The communications we received from the school were fantastic, in what must have been difficult circumstances. We have been kept informed throughout and I can happily say the one day of homeschooling we took part in was also brilliant. Thank you for looking after my daughter and her friends so well - it really does put my mind at rest whilst the rest of the world is losing theirs!”

Please keep these messages coming - I share them with our teachers and support staff to remind them of what a great job they are doing. Your positive feedback really does help staff morale at a time when grey clouds are all too frequent.

Talking of which - last but not least - the staff at The Kingsway School are my array of rainbows. They are all working so hard to provide a safe and inspiring learning environment for your children. Rushing from one classroom to another every hour, ready to shift from face to face lessons to virtual teaching and all with a smile on their face.

You can meet many of them in our first ever virtual open evening. Even if you don’t have a child in primary school, it is worth a look at what is really great about Kingsway.

As I write this blog, I am responding to the latest report of a positive case in Year 10. Again, we find ourselves putting our plan into action. Year 10 students will need to isolate at home whilst we go through the process of identifying close contacts.

We know that parents will be disappointed that their year 10 children are back learning from home. We hope that the majority will be back in school shortly.

COVID is certainly making its mark on our normal school routines. We have noticed a particular impact on our attendance data. Not surprising you might think! However, COVID related absences apart, we have also noticed an increase in non-COVID related absences. Previously, students with sniffles would have been sent into school, whereas now parents are choosing to keep them at home.

If you think your child is well enough to be in school, and they are not displaying any of the COVID symptoms, it is better for them to be in school to receive the education that they need. I appreciate this is a difficult call to make as parents; if you would like any guidance on whether your child should be in school, please get in touch with their pastoral head of year or our attendance officer Miss Stansfied - l.stansfield@kingsway.stockport.sch.uk

Looking forward to a week of rainbows (without the clouds!).

Have a lovely week,


Mrs J. Lowe
Headteacher

Posts navigation

1 2 3 4 5
Scroll to top