As we reach the midpoint of our academic year, we are holding our breath as we await news from our political leaders on when and how schools will be reopening from 8th March 2021.
As I write this blog there remains a conflict of opinion with some experts advising a steady, staggered return and others proposing students return in one go. We also await guidance on testing of students and staff and expectations regarding face masks. So how do we prepare for the unknown?
Well, we have plans A, B and C! The expectation of students to wear face masks in school is likely to be an expectation for all students. Like many public venues, face masks will be compulsory from the school entrance and throughout the school. The decision about face masks in classrooms is yet to be made. Please help us keep your child, other students and staff safe by emphasising the importance of wearing a face mask to your child and ensuring they are equipped with one (and a spare) each day.
We will be sharing our plan for students’ return with parents in the coming days, along with our lateral flow testing programme. Again, parents can help us to be better prepared by completing the consent form for their child to be tested. Guidance on testing of students is not yet known, and may not be an expectation. However, we are collecting consent now in the event that testing of students is part of the government’s plan for the wider opening of schools.
If you haven’t already seen the newsletters from your child’s Raising Standards’ Leader, you can find them on our letters home page.
I was thrilled to be alerted to some lovely feedback in the Manchester Evening News over half term.
"The Kingsway School in Cheadle, Stockport. The head Mrs Lowe and all staff have gone above and beyond throughout the pandemic. The staff are always there for the kids and parents. My daughter is thriving still, they follow the school planner for live lessons as though it's a normal school week. Lots of fun challenges as well. Welfare checks made with their form tutor daily. This pandemic has proven that our choice of high school for our daughter was the right one 100%. Thank you Kingsway staff."
It was nice to see in black and white how appreciated our staff are and the difference they are making to our beloved students during this pandemic.
We are thrilled that this view was also evident in the remote learning feedback that was undertaken last half term. Parents and pupils were overwhelmingly positive about the current offer, and were fully appreciative that whilst we all agree that the best place for our children is back in school, until that can happen The Kingsway’s remote offer is providing the best education in very challenging circumstances. In the interests of transparency we have produced a Remote Learning Feedback document analysing our findings and outlining our responses.
Remember, whilst this feedback cycle has closed, you can share your feedback with Ofsted at any time of the year via Ofsted’s Parent View or just dropping an email to the school.
We have an active staff wellbeing (SWB) team at The Kingsway School, led by Mrs Gray and Miss Murray. Before half term, staff were invited to submit entries for our SWB photo competition. The theme was “go outdoors on your doorstep” and the competition was judged by ex-member of staff and parent, Kirsty Edgson, a local photographer with a good eye for creative flair. Here are the top three winners:
In third place was Mrs Beattie
In second place was Miss Burrows
In first place was Mr Soles
Like the bicycle in Mr Soles’ photograph, we encourage our students to keep themselves fit and healthy and reduce their carbon footprint by cycling to school. We have bike sheds and pods where students can safely store their bicycles. Electric scooters are not permitted on the school site and will not be allowed storage in our school facilities. We also hope that our students are keeping active with our ‘Seven Summits Challenge’ and that they will provide their tutors with their half term updates this week. We know that several are well on their way to their first summit!
We were delighted that our students have also got involved in a number of House Challenges that were set last half term. Mrs Lucas shared the final results of the Taskmaster challenges today. The final challenge was to take a photo of the best outside thing and the results are as follows -1st Rylands, Joint 2nd Lowry & Pankhurst, 4th Turing, 5th Whitworth, 6th Gaskell.
The amazing photos can be seen here. After the final competition, the Taskmater competition results are:
Mr Howarth has already launched one of this half term’s challenge and this time we are aiming high to see if we can set some World Records! The Heads of Houses are challenging our students to see if they can beat the following World Records:
Congratulations to Dylan R and Emma B in Year 9, our first students to successfully complete the STEM Den project. Dylan’s invention was a motorised solar panel that follows the sun, therefore maximising the amount of electricity produced. Emma produced a perfect running and walking shoe, including a mobile app. We hope all the other students who registered will successfully meet their deadlines and we can celebrate again.
You may recall that we recently shared some images of the fabulous cakes that Mrs Guess has been making as part of the Year 10 Food Technology demonstrations. We are delighted to inform you that over half term, Mrs Guess and her daughter were both sold out and raised over £300! This combined with a 10% discount from Morrisons supermarket meant that she was able to make a sizeable donation of over £330 worth of essential food to her local Foodbank. Well done Mrs Guess and family!
We hope that our students and their families will take inspiration from this and continue to contribute to those in need. Altruism is one of the opportunities that our students have been offered as part of the Wellbeing Wednesday enrichment programme that will commence this Wednesday afternoon. Please don’t forget to share all the wonderful things you are planning on getting involved with or completing.
Finally, some sad news regarding a retired member of our school community Mr. Tony Wintringham who passed away during half term. Tony worked at The Kingsway School for over 25 years - as Deputy Head of the Girls’ School originally and then after the merger - Head of Kingway upper site. Our thoughts are with Tony’s family at this sad time.
Dates for your diary
Have a good week, and stay safe and well.
Mrs J. Lowe