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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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Virtual School Launch

We hope you and your families are safe and well. We were absolutely delighted with the news at the beginning of this week, in which Government said that they were working to ensure all schools would be fully open to students in September. Whilst we await more details on what this may look like, we are excited at the thought of seeing all our students again.

Over the past couple of weeks, we have been supporting the return of our Year 10 students for some face to face delivery and it has been a pleasure catching up with them again. During this time, we have also been working hard on developing a Virtual School offer. We have been trialling with small groups and also checking the infrastructure and systems will cope with a larger cohort of students and we are delighted to say that as from 29th June we will be supplementing the remote learning package with live online lessons.

In the first week of our virtual school, we will be delivering a smaller scale offer to each year group, whilst they familiarise themselves with the system and this new approach to learning. The following weeks will see this increase to every subject offering live lessons to every year group until the end of term.

We have included timetables at the end of the letters below, which will show you and your child what lessons are available and when. We hope that you will take a few minutes to discuss with your child/ren how important their engagement in these lessons will be to developing a learning mind-set ready for their return to school.

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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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Year 9 Transition to GCSE Information

The below document has been designed to support your child in their transition to Year 10. It contains key information relating to Examination Boards which you might find useful in supporting your child. It also contains information which your child may want to access now, in preparation for commencing their studies in Year 10. They may want to access this work in the final four weeks of the school term and as holiday work.

For any further information, please don’t hesitate to contact your child’s subject teachers, or k.clarke@kingsway.stockport.sch.uk

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