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Headteacher COVID-19 Update – 6th January 2021

What a difference a day (24 little hours) makes!

Like me, I am sure many of you will have watched the government announcement last night regarding the concerning increase in cases of Coronavirus and the subsequent impact on schools. Including:

Year 11 examinations are currently planned to go ahead for those students sitting OCR exams next week in Health and Sport. For all other summer GCSE exams, we await further guidance but know that 'not all' exams will be going ahead as had previously been intended. What this does not mean, is that students should feel that preparing for the GCSEs is pointless - instead it is a time to continue to work hard and apply themselves in the knowledge that an assessment of some sorts will be required at the end of the academic year. Whatever the system, tool or algorithm used - I am confident that each student will be awarded the grades he/she deserves and will support them in their future pathway.

Remote education will now be in place for the vast majority of students (including Year 11) until February half term, with only vulnerable students and children of critical workers accessing provision in school. Our remote learning provision will be of a high standard and will provide a continuity of education during this lockdown. If your child is having issues accessing their remote learning, support can be received via the Home Learning page. If you have any queries about your child's remote education, email their class teacher or raising standards leader.

Student wellbeing remains a priority during lockdown. It is critical that they attend their timetabled lessons, including form time, so staff can support them with any struggles they may be having. If you are worried about your child and would like some help or advice, please email their pastoral head of year or form tutor.

Mass testing has now been put on hold for all students and staff. We will be carrying out testing of the small number of consenting students and staff who are in school using the LFD (Lateral Flow Device) tests which were delivered yesterday. This will help us to prepare for mass testing when all students return, with a fully trained testing workforce but also ensure we are minimising the risk of the spread of the virus in school.

I will continue to communicate with our families as further information comes to light. These are tough times for us all, and it is crucial that whilst at home our students follow the tier 4 restrictions which apply to us all. My advice to all our young people is to stay home, stay learning, stay safe!

Mrs J. Lowe
Headteacher

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Start of Term Message to Parents – 2nd January 2021

Happy New Year to our families, I hope you all had a safe and enjoyable festive period.

I am writing this on the evening of 1st January 2021, when again the government has announced a change to their plans (announced on 30th December 2020) on students’ return to school in January.

I therefore ask our families to bear with us, the situation is very fluid and we are dealing with new information and guidance on a frequent basis. Nonetheless, with just a few days to go until the planned reopening of school, I know that our students and their parents/carers need to know what is likely to happen so they can plan accordingly. 

I have shared some details below, but be reassured that I will continue to communicate more details in the week ahead, ahead of students’ full return to school.

Whilst not much feels certain, one thing which is certain is the rise in Covid19 cases and the ‘mutation’ of the virus which is worrying for us all. Stockport has had low rates of Covid in recent months, but the MEN reports that the borough saw a 35% rise in rates the week after Christmas. Ahead of any students returning to school in the new year, I urge all parents to ensure their children are following the tier 4 restrictions whilst not in school and continue to impress upon them the need for HANDS, FACE, SPACE - regularly washing hands, wearing of face covering and maintaining social distancing.

Please find below our current plans for the return of students to school - whenever your child returns, please equip them with a face covering and hand sanitizer as a routine part of their school equipment. Likewise school uniform expectations remain unchanged.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
w/c 4.1.21 Staff INSET day - no students in school Foxland Campus is open for children of critical workers (using booking form*) and vulnerable children (as contacted by school pastoral staff).

Broadway Campus is open for our resourced students only.

All other students will receive remote education which will follow their normal school timetable and should log into their form period using Google Meet at 8:30am each day.

Year 11 virtual parents’ evening will go ahead as planned on Thursday 7.1.21

During this week training will begin for staff to prepare for rapid testing in schools.

w/c 11.1.21 School is open for children of critical workers (using booking form*), vulnerable children (as contacted by school pastoral staff) and resourced students plus students in Year 11 who will follow their normal timetable on Broadway.

All other students will receive remote education which will follow their normal school timetable and should log into their form period using Google Meet at 8:30am each day.

Testing of staff and students in school will begin.

w/c 18.1.21 School is open for all students who should report to their form at 8:30am.

Testing of staff and students will continue to be rolled out.

Leaders will consider if student timetables can return to pre-covid model so that all students can access specialist facilities and staff can teach from designated classroom bases. More information to follow at a later date.

*Booking form for Children of critical workers for w/c 5.1.21 is on our website and will remain open until noon on 4.1.21. The form will re-open for w/c 11.1.21 next week. If you have any questions about the provision for the first week of term (including support with free school meals or digital devices) please email firstweek@kingsway.stockport.sch.uk.

Testing

I am pleased that Kingsway is playing its part in keeping the spread of the virus under control by offering LFD (Lateral Flow Device) testing to all staff and students. Whilst I would encourage everyone to take advantage of this opportunity, testing is by consent. A consent form will be sent out in the next few days.

The test requires students to self-swab, under supervision, their throat and nose. Results will be available within 30 minutes. There will be more information about testing and response to positive cases in the coming week.

I hope that this communication provides enough information for the start of term and will continue to add further detail in the coming days and weeks.

Thank you to all our families for having an appreciation of the changeable situation school leaders are finding themselves in. I am hopeful that alongside the much anticipated vaccine, these measures will help to keep our school community safe and well so we can continue to do the job we love - educating and caring for your children.

Mrs Lowe
Headteacher

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End of Term Message to Parents – 18th December 2020

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all our families.

I am writing to you as we are grappling with the latest DfE news story that schools will become testing centres for their staff and children and that we need to plan a staggered return to school in the new year!

This is a lot to comprehend and plan for in a few hours before we break up for a much deserved rest this Christmas. At the time of writing this message, we are still unclear about the details for January but wanted to share with you our current thinking, however, please check our website throughout the Christmas season, particularly from 1st January 2021.

Start of term

As you will be aware, we have a pre-planned staff INSET day on Monday 4th January 2021. This time has already been allocated to staff development and the recent government guidance says schools can use an additional INSET day to plan for the new testing regime. We will put a message on our website on 1st January 2021 if we are having an additional INSET day on Tuesday 5th January 2021.

Currently all students are expected to return to school for face to face lessons from Tuesday 5th January 2021. However, the latest government guidance is that schools should plan for a staggered return with only Year 11 students, plus students who are vulnerable, or children of critical workers in school, until Friday 8th January 2021. All other students are to stay at home to receive full time remote learning and return to school for face to face lessons on Monday 11th January 2021.

Again, we will clarify this with parents on 1st January 2021.

Vulnerable and key worker provision

We have already identified our vulnerable students and are asking for parents who are critical workers to complete the below form no later than Tuesday 29th December 2020.

Any students who are working remotely and are eligible for free school meals will be provided with a voucher for the first week of term. If you have any queries regarding FSM vouchers or your child’s access to a digital device for remote learning, please contact firstweek@kingsway.stocport.sch.uk 

Rapid testing

We are currently awaiting clarity on the government’s expectations of schools to conduct rapid COVID testing for staff and students. As previously mentioned, we will update our website in the new year with any details we have received. Please continue to inform the school of the outcomes of any COVID tests using our dedicated website covid@kingsway.stockport.sch.uk.

Finally, whilst this won’t be my last communication of 2020, I would like to pass on my thanks and festive wishes to all our parent community who have been immensely supportive during a uniquely tough term.

Mrs Lowe
Headteacher

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Headteacher’s Blog – Week 14

We wish you a merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all our families.

As we reach the end of a very long, extraordinary and demanding term, I would like to thank my amazing staff at The Kingsway School who have been incredible over the past 15 weeks.

Children only get one shot at their secondary education and team Kingsway have made sure that in spite of the challenges faced by COVID, we have provided both learning and care either remotely or face to face (at a safe distance of course!).

End and start of term arrangements

There has been more media coverage of schools in the past few days, particularly with respect to the arrangements for the end of term. Until we receive guidance to the contrary, we are keeping to our original plan - school will close at noon on Friday 18th December 2020. Full school uniform is expected throughout the final week of term. Students are to return at 8:30am on Tuesday 5th January 2020.

COVID update

I am delighted to report that in the last few weeks, we have seen a dramatic fall in the number of positive cases of COVID-19 in our community, and with it less disruption to learning in school. Hopefully this trend will continue, although we are anticipating a spike in cases following the Christmas period and do not want to be complacent. Our intention is for next term to retain the Year Bubbles and Year group zones to reduce the risk of transmission in school. However, we will be reviewing our COVID model in light of the changing environment to see when we can return to a more traditional organisation in school. Where we have noticed some benefits of the current arrangements we will endeavour to retain these in any timetable changes in February.

Contact Tracing Over Christmas

We will be maintaining our close contact tracing systems until the 23rd December. Please report any positive tests ofCOVID-19 to our dedicated email address covid@kingsway.stockport.sch.uk  and provide details of:

  • Student name
  • Year group
  • Test result – please send a picture of the NHS test result
  • Date when symptoms first appeared
  • Date when student was last in school
  • Friends/social group that are close contacts

From Saturday 19th to Wednesday 23rd December, we will be monitoring the dedicated COVID email (covid@kingsway.stockport.sch.uk) by 3pm each day. Families will be contacted later that afternoon, by email, if they have been identified as a close contact of a positive case. If you have changed your contact details, (including email and mobile phone) please make sure you have informed the school.

Face coverings

There are no changes to the guidance on wearing a face covering in schools. Staff and students must wear face covering in communal areas and may choose to wear one in the classroom. Students are checked on their way into school each morning, and we have seen a rise in the number of students who are forgetting to bring in a mask. Please make sure your child has a reusable mask in the new year and a spare - put it on their list to Santa!

Christmas Charity

Scrooge is certainly not a word you can associate with the staff and students at The Kingsway School. On Friday both students and staff celebrated Christmas Jumper Day, and whilst the final total is still being counted, at the time of writing the blog we have raised an amazing £749.04 for Save the Children.

But our Christmas spirit has not stopped there and we have been amazed with the generosity and wonderful donations that have been made to local food banks. These are just a couple of snaps of the food boxes as each form brought them to the collection point.

Year 10 donations
Year 7 donations
7K showing the K stands for kindness

Year 11 Parents’ Evening

Our virtual Year 11 Parents’ Evening is on Thursday 7th January, between 5pm and 8pm. The current COVID pandemic means that face to face appointments will not be possible. Therefore, we have introduced a new intuitive and easy to use online Parents’ Evening system. This allows parents to select their own appointment times with teachers. In addition, the system allows parents to attend Parents’ Evening appointments via video call. 

Dates for your diary

Date Event
Monday 14th December Year 11 return to normal timetable following PPEs
Wednesday 16th December Christmas meal
Friday 18th December School breaks up for students at noon
Monday 4th January INSET Day
Tuesday 5th January Students return to school at 8:30am

Have a good week, and stay safe and well.


Mrs J. Lowe
Headteacher

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Headteacher’s Blog – Week 13

The lights of Broadway

Today I had the pleasure of seeing our Year 11 and Year 8 students ‘shine’ on Broadway.

In Science, students were learning about the law of reflection, looking at different sound waves. Here is Mille D showing her beautiful work on superposition.

In Drama, groups of students created a short scene which shows how bullying can start using body language, space, facial expression and volume as demonstrated here by some girls from Miss McQuiston’s 8I class.

In English, 8S (below) were skim-reading Hunger Games to recap their knowledge of verbs, adjectives, pronouns and adverbs.

In PE, the Year 8's have been utilising the skills they have learned through Year 7 and Year 8 to perform in a doubles table tennis match. The beginning of the lesson was used to refine their skills in the basic table tennis shots and incorporated one of our PE core values of "persist" as students needed to identify basic shots they struggle with and practice them in partners. The main body of the lesson was then used to learn and enforce the differing rules between singles table tennis and doubles table tennis. Students then used our PE core values of "lead" "challenge" and "respect" to participate and umpire in The Kingsway Doubles Table Tennis Championship. Well done to Oscar M, Jamil K, Max B and Finn R who all ended up at the top table at the end of the tournament.

In our Resource Centre, Year 9 students Millie, Jack and Gabriella were having an English lesson with Mrs Archer, studying Romeo & Juliet. There were very animated discussions around Elizabethan attitudes to women and arranged marriages. The students’ summary today was, "This passionate, powerful play is about love at first sight and it shows us that in this world love can conquer all"

Elsewhere, the Year 7 & 8 resourced students were doing a maths assessment (what a way to start their week!).

...Key Stage 4 resourced students were getting to grips with ‘A Christmas Carol’

Mrs Burgess and her team certainly had all our resourced students working hard and setting the pace for the rest of their week. The resourced centre team are also collecting for Chelwood Foodbank - Mrs Burgess said that the resourced parents have been really generous.

My last visit of the morning on Broadway was to the Year 11 Chemistry exam. Miss Linnecor and Mr Weil have been really impressed with the year group, who have been brilliant during their PPE exams last week. Despite having a challenging start to the academic year, the year group have shown great resilience and maturity preparing for and sitting these exams. I’m sure Christmas can’t come soon enough for them. Well done Year 11 and keep up the good work!

BBC

We’ve always known our students are stars in the making and this week we had the opportunity to share this beyond our local community.

In October, we were approached by the BBC as a location for an episode in a CBBC production called ‘Sparks’. The series was created to focus on a range of issues that young people today may face.

As part of this, a number of our students were asked to be back-ground extras. Our Year 9 students relished this opportunity and we are delighted to share with you the final programme.

The students were incredibly professional and patient and were described by the crew as “fantastic.” Many of them said that it has sparked their wider interests in TV and film and made them aware of other roles including acting and technical support.

Why not take a look at our future stars.

Christmas Jumper Day

On Friday we are looking forward to being able to celebrate the festive season whilst donating to a worthy cause.  Every year, the staff take part in Christmas Jumper Day.

This annual event has previously been organised by Mrs Halfpenny, one of our RSIAs in the Resource Base. As you may be aware, we were all devastated this year by her sudden passing.  We made the decision to continue this tradition, as we are sure that this is something that she would approve of, but to extend the opportunity wider to include our students, many of whom knew Mrs Halfpenny.

As such on Friday 11th December, students will be able to wear one item of festive clothing. This could be a jumper, hat, socks etc.,  This item should be worn alongside the usual school uniform and in return we would ask students to make a small donation to the Save the Children charity.

We hope that each form will contribute to their House fundraising competition and that overall we will be able to make a significant donation to vulnerable children.

Year 11 Virtual Parents Evening

Last week we sent a message to Year 11 parents about the new system we are introducing in January to conduct our Parents Evenings virtually. Please ensure that you have read the instructions about making appointments and joining on the evening.

Dates For Your Diary

Date Event
Monday 14th December Year 11 return to normal timetable following PPEs
Wednesday 16th December Christmas meal
Friday 18th December School breaks up for students at noon
Monday 4th January INSET Day
Tuesday 5th January Students return to school at 8:30am

Have a good week, and stay safe and well.


Mrs J. Lowe
Headteacher

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