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Headteacher’s Blog – Week 39

Monday 13th July 2020

In his speech at the start of this month about the measures schools need to take to ensure all pupils in all year groups return to school full time in the autumn, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson stated that “returning to school is vital for children’s education and their wellbeing”.

I would add that returning to school is also vital to our teachers who have absolutely loved returning to their role as teachers through our virtual school. As great as that has been, I know they can’t wait to get back in September and share the same physical space (socially distanced) as our amazing young people.

I expect that after such significant disruption to their lives, what our children need most of all in September is ‘normality’.

However, in response to the government announcement, our students will face some differences so that we can create the ‘bubbles’ needed to minimise transmission of the virus. Initially, each year group will be allocated a ‘zone’ within the school and will follow their normal timetable in that zone. Subject specialist teachers will move around the school campus to the relevant classrooms.

To help support our young people with remaining in bubbles, from September, we are going to ask for our students to bring some reading material with them to school each day so that they can use any spare time to develop their literacy skills. If you require any recommendations about suitable reading materials, our English department will tweet out some recommendations this week. 

We will be sending out detailed information of the changes to parents so that they can share with their children this week.

This will include time in the canteen, which will be divided equally across year groups ensuring that ‘bubbles’ remain separate. In addition, students will enter and leave the building by separate entrances. So, our students will see some things out of the norm in September.

But what will remain unchanged is the passion in our teachers to get on with their role so that your children can be the best learners they can be. Our expectations for the students will remain high, not only in their academic achievements, but also in their conduct around school. The pastoral care we provide will continue to be exceptional with targeted support for those students who are in specific need. 

So whilst some things may look differently in September, what remains unchanged is the beating heart of The Kingsway School.

Tuesday 14th July 2020

Over the past couple weeks (and even months), our heads of departments have been leading their subject teams to manage their subject specific responses to the varying challenges that have been presented to them. Since the government’s announcement that all of our students will be returning to school in September, all teachers have been working extremely hard to map out how we can move forward in September. Our subject departments at Kingsway have fantastic curriculum plans in place for the new academic year, which will be aimed at mastering the excellent learning that our students have done over the whole of the academic year and then moving them forward onto the next stages of our high quality curriculum.

Upon their return to school, our teachers will be working with students to master their prior learning, deepen their knowledge of each subject area and build upon what they know so they can continue to make excellent progress into the next academic year. For the class of 2021 students, this will include the usual journey, where pupils will be asked to challenge themselves to be fully prepared for their summer examinations. All staff are currently partaking in the Ofqual consultation with regards to curriculum content and what the terminal exam season may look like next year. Departments will continue to work within the recommendations provided by the government via our exam boards to ensure that our GCSE curriculum is mapped and delivered in the most impactful way possible. We want the best for all our students and are firmly committed to achieving this in the most supportive way possible, so that they are fully prepared for their next steps at the end of Year 11.

It continues to be our belief at Kingsway that high quality teaching and learning in the classroom will be the key to enhancing the knowledge, skills and mastery of each subject for each learner;it is for this reason that much of our efforts will continue to be focused upon providing our pupils with high quality lessons that will ultimately inspire pupils to develop their learning and eventually succeed in any external examinations.  

We are at our best when our pupils are in front of us and we can’t wait for them to see all of the exciting learning experiences we have planned for them!

Wednesday 15th July 2020

Even with everything that has been going on the past few months, we haven’t forgotten about our fabulous Year 5 primary students and their families who will shortly be making decisions about the next stage of their education.  We are currently finalising potential plans for our Open Evening, which may look different to previous years, but we will keep you fully informed of how that is progressing. In the meantime, we hope you will find the newsletter below helpful and provide you with information about the unique nature of The Kingsway School’s transition programme.

Year 5 Transition Newsletter - July 2020

Under normal circumstances, we would be holding our whole school rewards assembly on Friday, celebrating the achievements of hundreds of students throughout the academic year. Not wanting to miss an opportunity to celebrate your child’s achievements, a virtual assembly has been recorded and will be sent out to students via their FROG noticeboard on Friday morning.

Keeping your brain active over the summer holidays is important.  At the end of every year, work is set for students to complete over the summer holidays. Raising Standards’ Leaders have sent out details of work that has been set for each subject for each year group and where the work can be found. If you require more information or guidance, please contact your child's Raising Standards Leader.

Finally, a message from our friends at Cheadle Village Partnership:

I am writing on behalf of the Cheadle Village Partnership – an organisation which is run to help the businesses and residents of Cheadle. You may be aware that we are currently trying to reintroduce a station in Cheadle.  To that end there is a survey which we are asking everybody affected to complete. The link is here through our website – www.cheadlevp.info.  We would be really grateful if you could send it out to all your staff and parents/students and ask them to complete it, the closing date is the end of July 2020.

Thursday 16th July 2020

Nearly there! One school day to go until the end of the term

Remind your child to watch the whole school assembly tomorrow - there are some great achievements pre and during lockdown.

A text is going out to parents giving some detail about the adaptations that have been made to our school in response to latest guidance. 

Parents Information for September

We have also sent out information on our school’s approach to supporting your child with their learning in September. I hope that this provides reassurance for our students and their parents.

Teaching & Learning Plans - September 2020

We will continue to keep our website updated throughout the summer holidays.

Finally, some lovely news from Mr Whitham (Head of Technology):

Year 7 and 8 have been working on a monster challenge project. This has involved students in producing a specification, mood board, researching themes and designing a monster of their own. In the final 2 weeks, students were tasked with manufacturing their monster in a material/medium of their choice. It seems that parents have been getting involved too! It's lovely to see such weird and wonderful family teamwork! 

Friday 17th July 2020

Thank you to all those parents and carers who have taken the time to provide some much appreciated feedback and praise for the work of the school during lockdown. I know we found the first few weeks difficult, but we soon found our feet and staff have really enjoyed delivering live lessons and doing what they love … teaching your children.

As mentioned yesterday, the whole school rewards assembly has now been uploaded onto the school’s FROG platform.

Parents should have also received information about our plans for September. We will continue to keep our website updated over the summer and respond to any changes in government guidance.

This has been a tough year as a Headteacher. These new and unexpected challenges I have faced have, at times, made me feel more like a trainee than an experienced leader! Some days have been particularly harder than others, especially when my best has not been good enough, but like medicine - it doesn’t always taste nice, but it makes you stronger! And so now as I turn my back on one crazy summer term and look ahead to a possibly crazier autumn term, I know that I am ready and raring to go! My thanks go to the support of my staff, the warmth of our parents and the incredible Kingsway kids who never cease to amaze and inspire me!

Please have a safe, happy and restful summer and don’t worry about next year - we’ve got this!

Happy holidays 🙂


Mrs J. Lowe
Headteacher

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Headteacher’s Blog – Week 38

Monday 6th July 2020

I hope all our families had a nice weekend, albeit a little wet. I spent time going through the guidance for the full opening of schools in September. As you can imagine, there is now a lot of planning taking place by school leaders.

We will keep our parents and students informed as our plans develop for a full return to school for all pupils in the autumn term. We will also be planning for the eventuality of a local lockdown, but very much hope that we won’t need to take that plan off the shelf!

A few things that our families can be considering in the meantime:

  • Unless your child is unwell, attendance to school is mandatory from the autumn term.
  • If your child can walk or cycle to school, this is the preferred method of travel. 
  • We will be resuming our full school uniform policy in September (including tie, blazer and jumper).
  • All students in Year 11 will be expected to continue to study the full suite of their GCSE subjects and sit their exams in the summer of 2021.
  • There will be an update to our school’s behaviour policy to set out any new rules and the consequences for breaking them.
  • Remote learning (learning from home) will remain a feature of our school’s curriculum, e.g. homework or extension tasks.
  • Students will be required to have their own equipment (pen, pencil ruler), hand sanitiser, tissues and school bag
  • There will be no large gatherings of students e.g. for assemblies in the autumn term, nor any overnight school visits.

The government has also confirmed that they will continue to support those families with children eligible for free school meals over the summer holidays.

If your circumstances have changed and you believe you may be eligible for free school meals, please follow this link.

Tuesday 7th July 2020

Today would be the day that I would be giving a warm welcome to our new staff - so we did it virtually instead! Welcome to:

  • Miss Ashton (Teacher of MFL)
  • Miss Brennan (Teacher of Computing)
  • Miss Butler (Teacher of Technology)
  • Mrs Dean (Teacher of Drama)
  • Miss Forber (Teacher of Art)
  • Mrs Kilroy (Second in Science)
  • Mr Lomax (Teacher of Maths)
  • Miss McQuiston (Teacher of Dance)
  • Miss Stendall (Teacher of Art)
  • Miss Williamson (Teacher of English)

I am delighted to have these staff on our team - they were all really excited about starting at Kingsway in September. And what a start that will be!

Following on from my update on the return to school yesterday, here’s a few extra points:

Water Bottles - ideally all students would have their own water bottle and use the school water fountains to fill them during break times. Please be aware it is unlikely that these fountains will be in operation under the current restrictions. Water will be available to purchase in plastic bottles from the school canteen if needed.

Finally, we have received notification from the government that the Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to address all school leavers on Friday 10 July at 10am.

The Prime Minister will be giving an address to all school leavers which will be broadcast on Facebook and YouTube.

Wednesday 8th July 2020

Some students and parents have been asking whether masks will need to be worn in September. The current guidance is that there is no expectation for masks to be worn. This guidance, of course, may change during the summer. Parents may therefore wish to be prepared and have a mask ready as part of their child’s school kit for the new academic year. At this time, as a school we are not expecting the wearing of masks for students or teachers.

In September, parents will need to ensure that they use Parent Pay to top up their child’s account to pay for school dinners. Previously students have had the facility to top up their own account with cash, using biometric machines in school. Due to the risk this presents, these machines are likely to be out of use in September. If you are unsure how to add funds to your child’s account please follow this link.

Barnardo’s ‘See Hear Respond’ service

See Hear Respond is a service provided across England by Barnardo’s and other national and local community-based organisations in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The programme has been created to help children and young people in England who are experiencing harm and increased adversity during this period by providing support to those who are not being seen by social care or other key agencies. Working with its partners, Barnardo’s aims to reduce the likelihood of harm and ensure other support and protective networks are in place using:

  • online digital support, including advice and information, online counselling and a telephone helpline
  • face to face interventions, such as support for groups at risk outside the home and one to one support
  • reintegration into education, including assessments and the delivery of support pathways back to education

See Hear Respond accept referrals from any source either through the Freephone number 0800 151 7015 and via the online referral hub.

Thursday 9th July 2020

We are delighted to have received an award in recognition of our response to keeping children safe during COVID-19. The Award is assessed against both the safeguarding initiative and the impact it has had in keeping children and young people safe during COVID-19 and recognises:

  • How the school has adapted safeguarding policies and procedures during COVID-19; 
  • ​How the school has identified vulnerable pupils and ensured that they are kept safe during COVID-19; 
  • ​How the school has been innovative in their approach in safeguarding children and young people during COVID-19. 

Mrs Clarke will be inviting applications for the post of House Captains and Deputies. This is for current Year 9 students only. The deadline for applications is Friday 18th July 2020.

September Update

Our plans for September continue and we will be sending out details to parents before the end of term. I will provide information as we know it through my daily blog. At present our plans are on the basis that the current guidance remains unchanged and these plans will operate initially until 25th September 2020.

  • School will start and finish at the normal times (8:30am-3:00pm). We expect students to be in school, in front of their form tutor for 8:30am, therefore arrival to school by 8:25am is advisable. Due to the COVID guidance and need to keep students in year group, or form group bubbles, the school building will not be open to students until 8:15am. Please make sure your child does not arrive before this time as they will be unable to get in the building. 
  • On a similar note, unfortunately our school canteen will not be open for breakfast in the morning - please make sure your child has breakfast before they come to school. If you would like some support with providing breakfast for your child, please contact their Pastoral Head of Year.
  • Visitors will only be allowed onto the school site by appointment only. Please help us by making sure your child is organised for their day e.g. bag, kit, lunch etc as we will not be allowing parents on to the site to drop off forgotten items of equipment.
  • Parents can also help by getting their child in the habit of cleaning up after themselves! Once back in school, students will be responsible for keeping their work area clean and tidy and where required will need to wipe clean any equipment they have used.

Friday 10th July 2020

September update:

As previously mentioned, all students are expected to return to school in the autumn. We will be doing this as follows:

  • Monday 31st August 2020 Bank Holiday
  • Tuesday 1st September 2020 Staff INSET Day
  • Wednesday 2nd September 2020 Staff INSET Day
  • Thursday 3rd September 2020 Year 7 and 8 students only
  • Friday 4th September 2020 All year groups

On students’ return to school, we have the highest expectations of their behaviour and have updated our behaviour policy to reflect some of the changes we have made to the operation of the school as a result of COVID-19.

We will continue to keep parents informed of plans through our communication channels. 

Have a lovely weekend - the sun is on it’s way!


Mrs J. Lowe
Headteacher

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Headteacher’s Blog – Week 37

Monday 29th June 2020

We hope that the launch of our Virtual School was well received and Year 7 enjoyed their first Performing Arts session today. Tomorrow sees Maths for Year 9, whilst Year 7 and Year 8 both have an Art lesson to look forward to.  Year 10 were in good attendance today on the first of the live lessons on Paper 1 English Language and we hope to be able to greet many of our Year 10 students over the remaining days this week. Please don’t forget that the remote learning timetable will continue to support the live and face to face lessons forming an enhanced blended learning environment until we are able to have all students back in school.

Our key worker provision is continuing to prove increasingly popular with students accessing their remote and online lessons. Please can we remind parents and carers that if you are entitled to a key worker place for your child because you meet the eligibility criteria, you must ensure that you have booked your provision via the online booking system. Students cannot turn up on an ad hoc basis due to the social distancing measures and pupil/staff ratios that we need to adhere to. As the places are becoming more in demand, any student who has not secured a place via the booking system may not be permitted into the classroom in order to maintain the safety of the students and staff. Students who do secure a key worker placement, will now participate in the live online lessons, and should bring in appropriate materials such as their exercise books so that they can fully participate and engage in the classwork.

Hopefully, you will have seen that the Performing Arts Department have been working hard to develop a virtual performance of ‘This is me’ from ‘The Greatest Showman’ Mr Wood has posted an update in the Google Classroom that the deadline has been extended until Wednesday 1st July. We really hope all you budding performers get involved and send it your contributions.

We also have a second reminder from Mr Wood today about the British Red Cross First Aid Champions training which is taking place for all year groups. Details of the weekly training elements and how to submit your evidence is available in the Virtual Enrichment Classroom but all students should have a go at completing these vital life-saving skills.

This is a big week for the families and students in the Class of 2025 as they will shortly be receiving their form details and on Thursday they will take part in the Virtual Transition Day. But we have a special present for them today from Malaika in Year 8, who is The KIngsway School’s first ever Poet Laureate. Malaika was asked by the transition team to create a poem for our class to help them as they join our school community. It is a fantastic piece of writing and we’re sure every student will identify with transitioning from one stage of their life to another.  

Finally, we have received a letter today for parents from Stockport’s Director of Children’s Services, Chris McLoughlin.

Tuesday 30th June 2020

Some exciting news today from Mrs Guess on our House Team Challenge:

We have a couple of challenges for all students to try. 

All students who take part will get merits in September. The winners will be announced as part of the end of term virtual rewards assembly and the winners will receive prizes in September.

Challenge 1  Masterchef challenge – Students should choose the best dish that they have made during lockdown. They should send a photograph and a description of it to their Head of House. The best one from each House will then be forwarded to Mrs Guess for the final judging.

 Challenge 2  Football tricks challenge – Students should take a video of their tricks that they have been practising during the lockdown. The video should be no longer than one minute long. The best entries will be forwarded to Mrs Lowe and the overall winner will be announced during the final virtual assembly. 

Students have until Monday 6th July to email their entry to their Head of House

  • Whitworth – h.duffy@kingsway.stockport.sch.uk
  • Rylands – j.howarth@kingsway.stockport.sch.uk
  • Gaskell – l.willett@kingsway.stockport.sch.uk
  • Lowry – k.lucas@kingsway.stockport.sch.uk
  • Turing – c.bentham@kingsway.stockport.sch.uk
  • Pankhurst – l.slater@kingsway.stockport.sch.uk

Good luck everyone!

Virtual school continued today with content being offered to all of Key Stage 3. Students in the key worker provision also participating in their lessons today and they produced some excellent work, such as this picture by Amelia in Year 8. 

This is a learning curve for us, as well as the students and we have a couple of guidelines we would like to reinforce.

Students must log in with their school address and their name. We have a number of students using emails which are outside of our school system and as such we do not recognise their names. Any student not using their school email, or altering their name will not be permitted into the classroom

Students are not allowed to share links to the lessons and should only attend the lessons that have been scheduled for them.  This is so we can ensure the pitch and access enables us to best support the students attending the class. Any student who shares links or enters the classroom and causes disruption may have access to the virtual lessons and ICT facilities restricted.  Conduct expectations remain the same as those in class and any student failing to uphold these standards will result in the students being ‘kicked out’ of the room and their parents being conducted regarding their behaviour, this also counts for students who have shared the classroom link without the teachers' permission.  

Students would also benefit from attending the lesson with their exercise books, should they have them at home.

Any student having difficulties accessing the network should log their issues and the network staff will respond as soon as possible. Please do not phone the school as they will be unable to answer your questions.  Should there be any queries other than technical support, please contact your child’s Raising Standards Leader in the first instance.

Wednesday 1st July 2020

Where has the sun gone? As we move into July I was expecting much less rain!

I know that many parents will be keen to know our plans for September. We are still waiting for clear guidance from the government with much speculation about secondary bubbles, staggered starts, blended learning and cohorts of 240 students in school (our average year group is 300)!

What I do know is that we will be having a slow, steady return to school so that students feel safe and secure and reconnected with their friends and our staff. 

Our current intention is that the first week in September will look something like this:

  • Monday 31st August 2020 - Bank Holiday
  • Tuesday 1st September 2020 - Staff INSET Day
  • Wednesday 2nd September 2020 - Staff INSET Day
  • Thursday 3rd September 2020 - Some year groups in (following government guidance)
  • Friday 4th September 2020 - More year groups in (following government guidance)

Our aim is for all students to be back in school by the end of the first week - however we will need to wait to hear if this is in line with government regulations. 

We break up for the summer in just over 2 weeks and expect that we can share more detailed information before then. Of course, what we don’t yet know is what may or may not happen during the 6 weeks to affect our plans. We will be keeping parents informed through our website and social media during the summer holidays.

Thursday 2nd July 2020

Today we have a much quieter school than we would have liked, as today would have been the Year 6 Transition Day. But whilst the world has paused, our Class of 2025 have not and neither have our preparations. Our Year 6 students have been amazing and over the past few months actively engaging in weekly challenges, our ‘Be Awesome Go Big at the KIngsway’ programme and their parents have also been busy with remote workshops and making value connections in the closed Facebook Group for the Class of 2025.

Whilst we are disappointed that we have not yet been able to physically welcome the students into the school we are delighted to launch our Virtual Transition Day. Here students will be able to get a taste of school life by sampling some of our lessons, completing virtual tours, and meeting key staff. We hope that they will enjoy their day in whatever format they choose to engage with and we can’t wait to see them in the Autumn term.

Friday 3rd July 2020

Happy Friday

The long awaiting guidance for schools for September was released yesterday. I am so excited at the prospect of having all our students back in school and welcoming our new Year 7s.

The guidance covered the actions schools should take to ensure all pupils in all year groups return safely, accessing a full curriculum. The intention is that secondary schools will form ‘bubbles’ the size of year groups. We are currently poring over the guidance and will share the detail of our plans for September with parents in the coming weeks. The Department for Education has provided guidance on what parents and carers need to know about schools in the autumn term.

Although the current government guidance does not stipulate masks being worn in schools, nor is it an expectation for us at Kingsway, we would support those families who wish their child to wear one. Please consider being prepared if this is the case, as availability may drop and prices rise as we nearer September.

Hand sanitiser however is key in the government’s guidance on reducing the risk of transmission and we would recommend that students bring their own sanitiser into school with them in the new academic year. Again, being prepared is advisable.

As far as uniform is concerned, the guidance has been relaxed and does not require additional washing of clothes, therefore we are expecting that students will wear full uniform in September.

Finally, a new month saw another proud moment for GCSE students. Mrs Mackay was asked by the DfE to take part in a consultancy role about Year 11 life during COVID-19. Mrs Mackay, Mr Williams and Year 11 leavers Halle B, Amy B, T’yana S and Sakib U took part in this research, alongside 3 other schools. The DfE wanted to know what Year 11 had struggled with and how they were coping with their circumstances. Yesterday, these findings were shared with Gavin Williamson, the Secretary of State for Education.  We are extremely proud of these students and are very pleased that they got the chance to have their voices heard by the people in charge! They did a brilliant job of eloquently explaining their unique position and flagging the concerns of both themselves and their contemporaries. Well done Year 11!

 


Mrs J. Lowe
Headteacher

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Headteacher’s Blog – Week 36

Monday 22nd June 2020

We are now in week 14 of Lockdown and pleased to hear the government discussing a full return to school for all students and that September is their target.

The face to face elements of each day are a real boost to staff. We miss the contact with our students and look forward to hopefully resuming normal service in September. 

In line with government guidance, a quarter of Year 10 enjoyed a face to face maths lesson today, with English next week and science planned for the week after.

There is also an increase in the number of ‘live’ and pre-recorded lessons being delivered by our teachers. Full details will have been emailed to your child.

In addition, a core team of staff have been working on our school’s ‘recovery curriculum’ - a series of lessons for when students return to school to help support them with re-establishing routines and relationships as well as looking back on their learning during lockdown and building up their knowledge and understanding.

Please can you make sure your child is checking their emails on a daily basis. Form tutors and teachers are using school email to communicate with students every day and a lack of response can raise concern regarding their well being. 

Towards the end of this week, you will be receiving details of the launch of the Kingsway Virtual School.  We appreciate that a number of parents have requested this but upskilling staff, and the technology to a place where we can ensure that this is an effective delivery, has taken thought and consideration.  

Over the next couple of weeks, teachers will continue to trial small groups for online lessons and this will increase so that before the end of term all students will be able to receive a live online lesson in every subject.  This will then supplement the face to face lesson Year 10s are having, and the remote learning offered by class teachers and the enrichment and daily challenges on the Year Group noticeboards. We hope this blended learning approach will be well received and that students will participate fully.

Key Worker provision has been continuing to steadily grow and it has been delightful to see new faces joining us. A reminder that your child needs to be booked on to the system using the booking form which closes on Thursday 25th June at Midday.

Students attending will be provided with access to the computers to complete the remote learning work for their year group and due to social distance requirements may not be in a room with their friends or year group.  

With the numbers increasing, we are beginning to re-establish some of the routines, such as no access to mobile phones during the school day, and being punctual at the beginning of the school day. Students are also reminded that they need to bring a healthy snack/lunch if they do not use the canteen services.  Cans and fizzy/energy drinks are not permitted, as are shared bags or family packets of crisps and sweets.  

Tuesday 23rd June 2020

In school today, we had our biggest cohort of students yet accessing our Key Worker provision with 27 in total.  Because of these increasing numbers and the delivery of the Year 10 maths lessons this week, it is beginning to feel as though the school is coming alive again.  There are increasing numbers of staff in school too as the weeks go by and it has been lovely to see colleagues catching up with each other and admiring each others’ ‘lock down haircuts (all from to two metre distance of course).

In their lesson times, students are also keeping their distance in our ICT suits, where they are able to access their online and remote learning each morning in our computer rooms.  At lunch today, we made the most of the sun and the students went out onto the field to let off some steam.  Once they had completed their learning for the afternoon, the final session of the day was an active one and students once again took to the fields to do some PE with Mr Duffy and Mr Howarth.

Wednesday 24th June 2020

Gosh what a hot day it was today! I hope you managed some time in the sun.

School life carried on in the form of our new ‘normal’ today with around 25 students accessing our Key Worker provision and a further 55 Year 10 students in school for their Maths lesson. 

For students in Year 9, September will see the start of their GCSE courses in most subjects. To supplement their remote learning, Mrs Clarke has put together a helpful document containing key information on each GCSE subject and how students can best prepare themselves before September.

Mr Wood has added some information to Year 7, 8 & 9 students’ Google Classroom about British Red Cross First Aid Champions. Students are invited to complete 4 first aid skills over 4 weeks. What more valuable skills can we have than caring for someone else?

Thursday 25th June 2020

What a scorcher it was today! Another busy day at Kingsway with our key worker and Year 10 students all working hard in the soaring heat. With current restrictions in place, it is important that you send your child into school with their own sun tan cream if they need it as we won’t be able to provide this in school.

We are delighted to inform you that from the week commencing 29th June all year groups will begin to receive live online lessons through the Kingsway Virtual School. Each year group has a separate timetable which, by 6th July, will offer online lessons in every subject area, supplementing the remote learning timetable. It is hoped that this blended learning approach will best prepare your child to return to school in September. Further information and all the details are provided in the specific year group links below. Should you have any questions please contact your child’s Raising Standards Leader in the first instance.

It has been great to see so many of our Year 10 students back in school this week for their Maths lessons and attendance has been excellent. Students should also be praised for their conduct in both their approach to learning and in following the strict social distancing and safety measures that are in place. Their face to face content continues next week with English Super Sessions. Miss Dean has emailed all Year 10 students to confirm their room and time. The session will be concentrating on English Language Paper 1, looking at all questions and skills which need to be covered.

 


Mrs J. Lowe
Headteacher

Open post

Headteacher’s Blog – Week 35

Monday 15th June 2020

Welcome to the start of a new week, which sees our Year 10 students returning to school over the course of the week.

There were around 60 students in school today, all following the stringent social distancing measures we had put in place. The focus of this week is well-being with the aim for students:

  • to feel supported, safe and reassured
  • to understand the social distancing measures in place in school
  • to learn about plans for the remainder of this term 
  • to share experiences of lockdown and home learning
  • to ask any questions.

Here’s Mr Traynor’s account of the day with 10H:

It was brilliant to see the majority of 10H today in small groups at a time - groups of 8 felt very different to our usual 25. We spent time talking about experiences of home learning; both the positives and negatives. I was pleased that everyone was honest and it was good to reflect on what we can do to improve our motivation when learning from home and how to stay on top of our school work. I am going to inform Dr Holdsworth of the things people said have gone well and not so well. We discussed the changes to the school site and the upcoming Maths, English and Science sessions. It was good to hear about the new skills students are learning, I will be coming to Heidi S when I need some hand made jewellery for a gift and hope one day I will be treated to a delicacy from Will P's kitchen! Pupils asked a lot of sensible questions about Year 11, some of which we don't have the answers to yet and they were all keen to go away and look at post-16 options with the help of an extensive document provided by Mrs Flood. It was great to see positive attitudes and I am pleased to say that no one in 10H has fallen victim to a dodgy home hair cut!

Whilst Year 10 have been in school, similar conversations between students and form tutors in other year groups will be taking place this week via video conferencing or over the phone.

Following these well-being conversations, we will be shifting our focus to the academic progress students have made during lockdown and how teachers can support individuals. 

Remember, each Raising Standards Leader is available to respond to any queries you may have regarding your child’s experience of remote learning.

Tuesday 16th June 2020

Just look at what we do when we come together. This is England 2020”.

These were the words of premier league footballer Marcus Rashford on Twitter this evening, after the prime minister announced that the government would be funding free school meals for eligible students throughout the summer holidays.

That is good news indeed and the right news. Around 20% of our students are eligible for free school meals to support their families who may be facing financial hardship. As well as being eligible for a balanced meal each day, these students are a focus for us in other ways.

As a group, we want to ensure that their parent’s financial position is not a disadvantage to their academic success, we therefore monitor their attendance and progress regularly and put in place additional support to close any gap with their peers.

Now we are in lockdown, we have seen more families face financial hardship, perhaps through redundancy, unemployment or the fullough scheme. Rather than wait for the government’s FSM (free school meal) voucher scheme to become available online, we purchased hundreds of Asda vouchers and posted them out to these families so that they didn’t have to wait for the help they desperately needed.

On a similar note, rather than wait for the arrival of government funded devices to support remote learning, we will be issuing our own school devices so these children don’t fall further behind.

The Raising Standard’s Leader in each year group will also be identifying those children who need more support from their teachers during lockdown and looking at creative ways we can help them catch up.

At The Kingsway School, we are committed to our ethos ‘A posse ad Esse’ - turning potential into reality for every child, including those who are disadvantaged by poverty. 

I am proud of what a 22 year old young man from Wythenshawe has achieved today. I am also proud of the work we are doing and the work that is to come to support these children.

Wednesday 17th June 2020

As you may recall, a couple of weeks ago we promoted Cheadle FM as one of the latest community events to be launched.  Today we are excited to announce that Mr Williams, Raising Standards Leader, will be on the show this Friday.  Luke Blakeley, former Kingsway student and Youth Pastor at St Mary’s Church, will be hosting the show and Mr Williams will be sharing insights into life at Kingsway during lockdown and the school’s ongoing commitment to support students no matter what the circumstances.  We hope that you will support Cheadle FM and Mr Williams by tuning in Friday 19th June between 9am and 11am on 87.9FM.

Usually, this time of year we would be buzzing with the imminent arrival of a new year group, but for the Class of 2025 this has been a very different experience. Whilst we have not been able to have as much face to face contact as we would have liked, we have been creative in building the foundations of our relationships with our new (and some existing) families.  Mr Burton of ’Educating Yorkshire’ fame praised the students for their involvement in our ‘Be Awesome Go Big at The Kingsway School’ programme, which has seen students complete weekly lessons.

But today, we shared the disappointing news with these families, via their weekly newsletter, that the transition day planned for Thursday 2nd July would be very different and unable to take place physically in the school environment.  Not to despair though as we have been working hard and will be launching our virtual transition day, via our website and prospective Year 5 parents (Class of 2026) will also be able to access this information. The format will be very flexible to support those families, who may wish to experience it together and students who may or may not have returned to school.  As Headteacher, I will share my welcome and vision for the year group, with Mr Williams (Y7 RSL) conducting an assembly on ‘New Beginnings’.  There will also be guest appearances from the form tutors of this year group.  Other resources will include, a virtual tour and map of the school, sample pre-recorded lessons, a workbook from our EBACC subjects, and a Q&A panel with Mrs Lowe, Mr Williams and one of our Year 7 and Year 10 students.  Whilst we know this won’t replace the face to face experiences, it will still provide students with a clear insight into the school and build strong foundations on which they can start their 5 year Kingsway journey.

Finally, our face to face sessions with Year 10 students continue next week. From 22nd June to 9th July Year 10 students will be in school one day a week from 10am – 12pm for a Maths, English or a Science lesson.  Each week will focus on a different subject.  These face to face lessons will support the remote learning students complete at home.  Information is available on our website and each student has been sent an email to inform them of where to go on their allocated day. If you cannot access the information, please call our school reception - open from 8:30am to 3:00pm every week day to answer your calls (0161 428 7706).

Thursday 18th June 2020

On Thankful Thursday, I am thankful to our dedicated learning support team (or B11 as we know them!). Today our Learning Support Manager, Mr Oldham, shares his experience of school during COVID-19.

How Have Learning Support Assistants risen to the challenge of Lockdown and Home-Schooling?

The closure of the school in March is undoubtedly the most challenging and unique event in my 23 years at Kingsway. Usually, my day consists of managing my team of staff who support the SEND students in their learning and helping support some students myself. Suddenly, there was no lessons, no students and a remote team. The LSAs (Learning Support Assistants) all have a number of key students who they are expected to meet weekly; this process shifted online and throughout the school closure the team have been contacting their key students offering help with their home-learning. We sometimes even get a reply! We can check when students or parents access Class Charts and when there were gaps we have liaised with Form Tutors and Pastoral Staff.

The LSAs, along with the Resourced School staff, have been helping support the Key Worker provision on a daily basis. This has at least given us an element of normality. I have been running the rota, whilst trying to accommodate staff who have had to shield, staff who use public transport and staff who have their own children to home-educate. We are now also supporting the Y10 subject weeks. Needless to say, the spreadsheet got very complicated. However, no-one has complained and staff have been very flexible and adaptable.

The LSAs have also taken the chance to carry out a lot of online CPD (Continuous Professional Development), so far completing 466 CPD hours on a wide range of SEND and Pastoral topics. This is far and above what they were asked to do and I know the whole team are looking forward to returning to normality and putting these skills into practice.

Mr A Oldham
LSA Manager

Mrs Maxey (Assistant Headteacher) has sent out some information to parents about how Class Charts can be used to help school track the emotional wellbeing of your child.

A message from our School Business Manager, Mrs Heard:

Free School Meals Reminder

Further to the wonderful efforts by local lad Marcus Rashford in raising awareness about Free School Meals, I would like to urge any parent that is unsure if they qualify to register on our eligibility checker https://www.cloudforedu.org.uk/ofsm/sims. In most cases, you will get an instant reply. Those in receipt of free school meals will be able to claim food vouchers now and over the summer. This also unlocks extra money for school to help towards resources for disadvantaged families.

Our students are continuing to impress us with their commitments and dedication to their work and both Ms Hulance and Ms Bowers were particularly impressed with the extra TIF (Take It Further) work produced by Eliyah in 7S. Last week, History set several optional activities around Black Lives Matter. Eliyah not only completed every single one but bowled us over with the thought she had put into the question: what people,  that we currently do not study, would you like to see within our history curriculum?  Well done Eliyah.

We are also very very proud of Olivia-Rose in 7K who has been asked to train with the world athletes at Rising Stars. This will be preparation for her to join the world team when she comes of age next summer. To keep her on track and maintain her fitness levels, she is currently completing her virtual training every week.  We hope that she continues to build on this success and we will be supporting and following her every step of the way.

Friday 19th June 2020

Happy Friday everyone!

I thought I would share with you the experiences of our staff during the lockdown. Here’s an account from our School Business Manager, Mrs Heard.

A day in the life of a virtual school Business Manager:

My day starts early with a hot cup of coffee whilst I log into my emails - 45 new messages overnight! I read through and then begin to respond to queries. I am helping staff to place orders for materials in September, sorting out a Data Access Request, checking our catering invoices and a query about someone’s pension.

I start working on the first of the jobs on my “to do” list. Our Year 8 trip to Paris has been cancelled and I work with our finance officer Mrs Lockett and to develop a system to ensure the families receive their refunds quickly. Leaving Mrs Lockett to start to process the ParentPay refunds, I check up on where our travel insurance claim is up to.

My daughter stumbles out of bed so I grab us both some breakfast and we talk about her home schooling plan for today. I leave her with her sister’s laptop to get on with her assignments.

My next task is to review our guidance and risk assessments for COVID. Most of the work on this has already been done but Mr Knott has made a few small changes, which we discuss, working remotely on a google document that we can both edit “live”.

Mrs Earnshaw, our other finance officer, sends me a payment batch to authorise, using Adobe e-sign instead of the traditional signature. We talk about how we could continue this in the future, as it reduces movement around school by teachers.

I then continue to work on our budget for September 2020 onwards.  I need to make sure there is enough money in each cost centre pot to pay for energy, school supplies, free school meals, IT and building maintenance as well as the wages for all of our staff- around 160 people in total! When Mrs Lowe and I are happy with the figures I will send a report to governors and upload the figures to the DFE for approval.

This afternoon, I will meet with the rest of the Leadership Team as we do each week, to update one another on our progress. This week, some of our team has been working on a new virtual school strategy which I am very excited about. I will need to make sure our network manager Mr Humphreys has all the software and settings in place for any changes we make.

My professional development continues later, with a webinar by ASCL on school finance. I will need to find out if there are any changes to our income next year.

Finally, I am holding a remote meeting with Mr Cross, our facilities manager, who has been working really hard with his team to get the premises ready for reopening with signage and barriers, but we now need to plan what essential maintenance projects we need to get on with over the summer closedown. I will be encouraging him to take a few days’ annual leave first to re-energise!

And now off to check on how my daughter is getting on with her work…

Some news from Mrs Flood

Colleges are all extremely busy planning for the next academic year and what this will look like.  This is a new situation for them as well as our students who will be starting with them later this year.  College's  are actively trying to ensure they stay engaged with their future students via email and we continue to post information on the message boards which gives students lots of opportunities to find out more, have a virtual look around the campus and ask questions.

Year 10 students have also missed out on opportunities to visit colleges and as we don't know when this will change, we are also trying to encourage our year 10 students to actively engage and look at the college information we are posting on their message board.  Due to the cancellation of our Post 16 Evening, we have produced a booklet giving a brief introduction to our local colleges and their websites, which hopefully will enable our students to start researching and making some decisions - this has been emailed to all students.  We hope these measures will ease any worries/concerns a little.  Advice is still available to our students but in a more limited format to what we are familiar with.

Let Kingsway entertain you!

Come & join 'Lockdown with The Kingsway School's Performing Arts department. There are lots of events taking place over the next few weeks for your child to get involved in.  There is something for everyone!

The first event is The Kingsway School Performing Arts Fest 2020: An online Performing Arts Festival.  Pupils can submit a short film of them performing either dance, drama, verse and prose, singing or playing a musical instrument.  There are PA badges and certificates available for all entries and short clips of each performer will be put together as a montage for parents and carers to watch.  

Tutorials by dance professionals & friends The Kingsway School, Bryn and Rhona are available on google classroom.  Information and material to use are also posted there. Code c6ppa2o

Dance online workshop

Talking of Dance, Rhona will be holding an online Dance workshop on Monday 22nd June at 3pm on Google Meet. All welcome - code available from Miss McSheffrey 

Community Choir

For all our Kingsway staff and pupils - come and join the Lockdown Choir!! You don't have to be a great singer - we just need you to come and share in our community event!  Information on how to get involved coming soon

Speech and Drama

For the budding thespians:  join us for Lockdown Lamda. Fancy working on your use of voice or your other acting skills?  Want to help develop your oracy & literacy skills?  Join Miss McSheffrey and Mr Lawton for Lockdown Lamda sessions to start week beginning 29th June 2020.  Get in touch with Miss McSheffrey for a code to the Lamda Google Classroom

Playwrights

For the budding writers:  If you enjoy writing, send us your short monologues to j.mcsheffrey@kingsway.stockport.sch.uk. We want to make a writer's corner for people to read

Arts Award

Arts Award Bronze is a short course that young people from the age of 11 can participate in.  It celebrates achievement in the Arts.  We are lucky at Kingsway to have two teachers trained to deliver all the Arts Award courses.  This is something we will be introducing to Kingsway next academic year, however, there are some elements that interested pupils could be working on at home.  Please get in touch with j.mcsheffrey@kingsway.stockport.sch.uk if you would like your child to have more information.

Help from parents for Lockdown with the Professionals

We need your help Parents and Carers of The Kingsway School!  We want to inspire our young people and make them aware of all the various careers that come under the umbrella of the Creative and Media Industries.  If you work in this industry or have family and friends that do and can spare a little time, please get in touch with Miss McSheffrey at j.mcsheffrey@kingsway.stockport.sch.uk.  

Get practising this weekend! Have a good one,

Mrs Lowe


Mrs J. Lowe
Headteacher

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