Headteacher’s Blog – Week 33

Monday 1st June 2020

Welcome back to our families - I trust you all had a lovely half term. How fantastic was the weather?

I can’t believe we are in June and it has been 11 weeks since we had ‘normal’ service in school. It has really flown by. 

There has been a lot of activity over the half term by the government, local council, school unions and school leaders with regards to when and how schools should open. Whilst I am finding a rhythm now to my days of virtual meetings - I am looking forward to Kingsway re-opening and getting back to the business of providing a good quality education for our children.

However, we can only do that when it is safe for everyone - students, staff and their families. Over the past few weeks, key staff have been carrying out a risk assessment and action planning for the planned return of some Year 10 students from 15th June 2020. We will be sharing our plans with parents in the coming days.

For those students in Years 7 to 9, it looks like a return to school for them before September is unlikely and so we are looking at how we can improve the remote learning that will be taking place this half term - including some 1:1 or small group contact with their form tutor.

We are continuing to provide provision for Key worker children and today they enjoyed a sun soaked day in school. Students checked that they have completed their remote learning and then went to burn some energy in the Sports Hall by playing badminton or basketball or choosing the Cardio suite.  Back in the classrooms, students completed subject quizzes and some additional maths tasks on ratios. Brains were tested by completing a triangle puzzle using mathematical antonyms and synonyms.

Students were very respectful while they completed a current affairs activity on equal rights and black rights movements. They watched a video about Emmett Till and wrote a biography. A discussion took place into the very sad and emotive issues that are being reported in the news, linking their learning to real experiences. Finally, the day ended on the field studying the cardiovascular system and testing heart rates and breathing rates.

With the easing of lockdown restrictions and a number of adults returning to work, we have seen an increase in our Key worker provision. Please can we ask that all parents and carers have booked a place for their children who meet the criteria. This is crucial for us to apply the safety measures with regards to social distancing but also the correct staff to pupil ratios. Students who are not booked on to the system, which is done on a week-by-week basis may not be able to be accommodated. Students need to be mindful that they are unlikely to be socialising with their friends and that school will look and feel different to usual. However, expectations around behaviours and standards, such as following staff instructions, appropriate dress and no mobile phones are still maintained.

Finally, a reminder that the RSLs are setting daily challenges on the student pages of Frog, which is accessible via the school website. There are some interesting activities that will stretch and challenge all students, but some exciting competitions as well. Students are encouraged to check these daily and to inform their tutors and RSLs of their progress. This supplements the learning from the new remote learning timetables that are active from today.  If you have any queries about accessing the work or your child’s engagement please let your year group RSL know.

Key Stage 3 form tutors will also be rolling out a programme of wellbeing phone calls/conference calls over the next few weeks to check how your child is doing and any issues that may have arisen. Please encourage your child to engage fully with this conversations and we can’t wait to hear from everyone again.

Tuesday 2nd June 2020

Another beautiful day in lockdown!

School leaders have been meeting to discuss the many challenges and opportunities in the widening of our school opening later this month. We have been considering how we can best support the quarter population of Year 10 students with their well-being and their academic progress, all in a safe environment.

Our school will certainly look differently this summer, not just with the small numbers of children and staff, but physically with markings, posters and hygiene stations. But whatever the changes, our priority is that any return to school is safe for all and of benefit to our students. We will be sharing more details with Year 10 students and families by the end of this week. Today, parents will have received a questionnaire to help us take account of your views.

Heads of our core departments (Maths, English and Science) have started to think about what the provision for Y10 students might look like in school and how their short time in the classroom will help students complete their remote learning with more confidence in these areas… more information about this will be with you in due course. 

Finally, in school, we are now trying to transition our ever growing cohort of key worker children into a much more academic routine. It is important that they have more time to access the remote learning so they can complete the curriculum their teachers have set for them with the support of staff in school.  In spite of this, Mrs Jones managed to take the students outside for an art lesson so that they could soak up the last of this week’s sun, whilst doing some nature drawing.  They also managed to keep up the routine of doing reading and physical activity to break the day up. 

Wednesday 3rd June 2020

A quick mid-week update from me.

Thank you to all Year 10 parents who have completed the online form regarding their intention to send their children into school from the 15th June. Your quick response is helpful for our planning.

Our school’s senior leaders have met again today to discuss our plans for Year 10 students’ return to school. We will be sending out a ‘Loom’ before the end of this week to parents to talk through our plans on how we will be keeping your child safe and how we will be supporting their full time return to school.

If you’d have asked me three months ago about Zoom, Loom, Hangouts and Teams - I’d have looked at you blankly. This technology is now part of our daily routine in school. The ‘Loom’ presentation will be a simple slideshow narrated by our Deputy Headteacher, Mr Knott. All you will need is internet access.

We continue to value the feedback from parents of students in all year groups with respect to your child’s experience of remote learning as well as how we can further support them. If you would like any further support or have any queries, please do not hesitate to get in touch via their Raising Standards’ Leader (RSL).

Remember there are daily updates from each Raising Standards Leader on the parent noticeboard on Kingsway Online as well as on the noticeboard for students.Finally, I have attached a letter from Stockport’s Director of Public Health England for your information along with a link to the latest newsletter from Stockport’s Youth Council.

Thursday 4th June 2020

Today we had 8 students in school joined by Miss West, Mrs Lucas, Mrs Watson, Miss Hunt, Mrs Hulance, Mrs Jones and Mrs Bradbury-Cheetham.

We were really impressed by the students’ hard work and focus in completing subject work set on Class Charts.

As well as completing some quizzes, students took part in a typing competition.  Brandon was the quickest of the students but no one could beat Mrs Lucas with a typing speed of 4 seconds for the whole alphabet!

Students took part in a basketball match in the sports hall later in the afternoon, socially distanced of course!

Also in school today were Mrs Guess and the Year 11 team to hand out yearbooks and hoodies to the class of 2020. It was lovely to see some of our Year 11 students back in school. There were some questions about the prom raised but at this stage, with no clear indication of when large social gatherings will be allowed, we have sadly informed them that their Prom has been cancelled. Once lockdown measures have been fully released, and if there remains an appetite for a formal gathering, the year team will consider ways in which we can appropriately celebrate the successes of this year group.

The premises team were also in school hard at work, preparing for our wider opening from 15th June 2020. For Year 10, this first week will be a 1:1 session with their form tutor to ‘check in’ on their well being and see how they have been managing during lockdown and what support school can provide to help them feel settled in their gradual return to school.

In the following three weeks, Year 10 students will be required to attend, a quarter at a time - one day per week. Each week will have a different focus with subject specialists delivering lessons in Maths, English and Science to small groups of no more than 8 students so that we conform with government social distancing guidance.

More detailed information for Year 10 parents will follow ensuring parents and students are fully informed of what to expect and feel confident about their return to school.

Friday 5th June 2020

Thank you to Mr Knott, Miss Heard, Miss Burrows, Mr Atherton, Mr Duffy, Mrs Bartle and Mr Oldham who supported the 4 key worker students in school today.

Year 10 return to school

Year 10 parents should have received a text message with a link to a presentation from Mr Knott, giving some further detail to our plans for the school’s wider opening to some year 10 students from 15th June 2020. The non-audio presentation can be found here.

Literacy Ambassadors

In order to continue to promote literacy and provide students with leadership roles within the department, the English department set out a plan to appoint Literacy Ambassadors to be involved in a number of literacy initiatives that are starting in September. These include: mentoring/tutoring students; leading literacy projects; contributing to whole school literacy proposals. Prior to half term, we invited all students with a passion for helping others and driving literacy forward to apply for the post. We were absolutely delighted to see a multitude of students wanting to be involved in this opportunity. Students were provided with formal application forms, asking them why they would be suitable for the role and asking them to provide any supporting evidence - all very professional! All applicants rose to this challenge and showed a clear passion for reading, improving literacy across the school and helping others. It was very hard to narrow down our applicants to the positions we had available. We are absolutely delighted to announce our newly appointed Literacy Ambassadors for September 2020:

  • Zach K in Year 7
  • Emma B in Year 8
  • Ruby W in Year 9
  • Alex W in Year 9
  • Charlie L in Year 9

We could not be prouder!

Poet Laureate

"Poetry is music written for the human voice" - Maya Angelou

Part of the role of a Poet Laureate is to contribute to significant occasions in the UK through poetry and The Kingsway School decided we wanted our significant occasions to be commemorated and celebrated with wonderful poetry too. Prior to half term, we invited all students with a passion for poetry to apply for the role of Kingsway Poet Laureate. Students were provided with a formal application form, asking them why they wanted to be Poet Laureate and asking them to submit an original poem for consideration. All applications and poems that were submitted were fantastic, highlighting current issues, personal and poignant messages, and bringing words to life. It was a truly difficult decision to elect just one Poet Laureate but we are delighted to announce that our first Kingsway Poet Laureate for 2020-2021 is:

Malaika M in Year 8

Her submitted poem, entitled 'Why not peace'?, is powerful and pertinent to the current situation we find ourselves in and she has already been given her first "assignment".

We are excited to see how our future celebrations and events are commemorated by her wonderful poetry.

Duke of Edinburgh

We received a lovely email from the Duke of Edinburgh Award office today, thanking us for our continued support of the DofE charity. “In the midst of uncertainty, our DofE Leaders and Participants continue to set a precedent, a shining beacon for our communities to look to for inspiration. We would like to take this opportunity to firstly congratulate you and your participants, whilst also thanking you for your continued hard work, motivation and dedication to our Charity’s core values. ”

Paris Trip Update 

Finally, as you know, we have been waiting for our trip to be cancelled by PGL in order to try and acquire refunds for the deposits we've paid. On Monday we received confirmation from PGL that as government advice on travel has not been lifted, our trip has been officially cancelled from their end. We are incredibly disappointed to say that despite this, they are refusing to refund deposits.  We realise that many families may have financial concerns at this time and therefore the school is going to provide refunds to our parents/carers and claim the money back from the school's insurance. We are confident that we can reclaim all the money paid so far. 

We are currently working with ParentPay in order to make this happen as soon as possible. We will be in touch again when we have details of the date on which you should expect a full refund of all payments made towards the trip. 

Thank you so much to those families affected  for your patience whilst we have been sorting this. 

Have a lovely weekend,

Mrs J. Lowe

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