Headteacher’s Blog – Week 16

Never a dull moment!

Well, what a busy week the first week of 2021 turned out to be.

Whilst our teachers were delivering quality remote education from their homes, we opened our school for vulnerable and children of critical workers. This in-school provision provides a supervised classroom where students log onto their remote education and join their classmates who are learning from their homes.

We have used our allocation of devices from the Department for Education, as well school Chrome books, to ensure that every student has a digital device so they can access remote learning from home. If you need help with your child accessing or using their device, support with mobile data, or a camera/microphone so they can interact in each lesson, please contact your child’s RSL in the first instance.

We understand the demands that remote learning places on families and the home, to support this we have devised a Parents Guide. We hope you find this useful. We will continue to share information and support but please do let us know how you are finding it and celebrate the successes with us too. Please make sure that you follow our social media pages to keep up to date with daily tips to support remote learning, and ensure that you have downloaded the Class Charts app so that you can track attendance, progress and homework for your child.

We have noticed that many students are reluctant to turn their cameras on during their live lessons. This makes teaching in an interactive manner difficult. Along with independent tasks to provide time for screen breaks, during their lessons, teachers will also be including activities that require all students to turn on their cameras. Please make sure your child has a camera and has it turned on when the teacher asks them to do so. We want to address the social interaction they are missing from their classmates as well as filling gaps in knowledge.

Remote learning can present many challenges but it is fabulous to see the efforts that the students and staff are going to. Ms Guess has been providing a cook-along session with her Year 10. This week they made homemade shepherd’s pie and next week, upside-down pineapple pudding is on the menu!

We are also very excited and proud that our Year 8 girls will represent The Kingsway School in a virtual national competition. Cyberfirst is a competition run by GCHQ and we are delighted that Aminah M, Elizabeth F, Hannah P, Jwan A, Laiba C, Lucy A, Lucy W, Mary R, Thea G and Patrycja K will form three teams for the first round during the week commencing 25th January. The girls were nominated by their Maths teachers because they are logical problem solvers. This week they have been given training videos to keep them busy at home! We wish them all the best and will keep you up to date with their progress.

The government advice is that where possible we should be staying at home and where possible parents should be keeping their children at home. Our in-school offer prioritises those children who are vulnerable and school is the best place for them to learn, as well as the children of parents and carers whose work is critical to the battle against the spread of the virus. 

Those parents who are eligible and need placement can book our in-school provision no later than 3pm on the Wednesday before the week ahead. In order to deliver a safe and effective offer in school and protect the quality of the provision being delivered at home, places in school will be limited on a daily basis. Please do not be offended if we ask for evidence of your critical worker role in order to prioritise a place for your child.

Developing skills was not unique to our students last week, with Year 11 teachers venturing into the realm of remote parents’ evening. For some of our more verbal colleagues it, having a strict five minute slot presented a challenge but the reality was a huge success with positive feedback from staff and students alike.

Mrs Evans hopes the technology will work as she embarks on her first virtual Parents Evening.

We intend for our future parents’ evening events to operate in the same way and will be in touch with our Year 9 families shortly about the upcoming options information evening and parents’ evening later this month.

If you’d have told me a year ago that we would be turning a school space into a mass testing site, operated by school staff, I’d have thought you were kidding me! But in another Kingsway first, last week we did just that. Eleven staff donned their PPE and after completing the relevant training, began testing our staff and students who were in school. By the end of the week, over 80 staff and students had been tested successfully - this is helping those of us who are still working in school stay safe and also protecting the families of those children who are still attending school.  More information will follow shortly about the testing of the whole school community on their return to school.

In other news

We wish the best of luck to the Year 11 students sitting their OCR National examinations in Sport Studies and Health & Social Care this week.

Mrs Rouse is continuing her literacy intervention remotely to help students improve their reading skills so they can fully access their curriculum. If you have any concerns about your child’s literacy skills, email Mrs Rouse k.rouse@kingsway.stockport.sch.uk

Mrs Nay our Anti-Bullying coordinator led a poster competition before Christmas. Our resource centre students took part in the competition and were all winners. Well done guys! Here they are with their certificates. See their winning entries here!

As well being great advocates for anti-bullying, our resource centre students also celebrated success last term - all passing their AQA assessment in Skills for Life. Here they are with their well deserved exam certificates.

Finally, the recent media headlines included ‘Parents turn tables on Williamson’ in response to the Secretary of State for Education’s message to parents to complain to Ofsted if they are dissatisfied with their child’s remote learning offer. #Ofsted began trending on Twitter with thousands of parents praising the response of their schools to the pandemic to Ofsted. I was overjoyed to hear that some of our parents have joined the band of supportive parents. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. If you want to join the movement, you can email enquiries@ofsted.gov.uk or complete Ofsted’s Parent View. 

This situation is not ideal for staff or students, but we are all doing our best and I am glad that this is being brought to the attention of our nation’s leaders.

Have a good week, and stay safe and well.

Mrs J. Lowe

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