Rossett News - 3 April 2020
Dear Parents and Carers.
I write today from the end of a week that should simply be the welcome beginning to our annual Easter break. It seems strange not to write of revision hints, extra classes and chocolate, but instead to ask you to continue to work with us to provide the structure and calm that will be necessary for our children to take the challenge of the days to come in their stride. When news bulletins on every phone and television warn of the worst that is to come, I am mindful of the important part that we play in each and every Rossett home - switching off the media, limiting screen time and talking with optimism about the future. I do not mean to trivialise what is a sombre reality for some families as they deal with illness and worse, but I know from my own experience with my son that the best way through this is going to be a day at a time, with an eye on the horizon. As I said last week, as a school we are here to support you in whatever way that we can; email us if you think that we can help.
A reminder: Please take the time to look at the available support services and direct links listed below and remember that the Student Support Officers for each year group can be e-mailed directly with any questions or requests for support. We are operating a skeleton staff at the school and emails, not ‘phone calls, are the quickest way to get a response.
This week we have still been offering a limited delivery service for students on free meals. Latterly this week the Government sent out the details of the national, supermarket voucher scheme. Mr Saunders and Mr Royles have worked hard during the last two days, following the issue of the offer on Thursday, to link all families in need to a secondary provider called Edenred, to allow you, our nominated parents and carers, to get access to supermarket vouchers that are issued in multiples of £15, dependent on the number of children in your family. Although we have done all of the paperwork and are in contact with our families, we know that not everyone has been able to activate their codes. We are in touch with the DfE about this issue and they report to us that there are some delays in getting the system up and running. Individual families will receive support from the school, via Mr Saunders.
This afternoon we were in receipt of a number of Ofqual, JCQ and various examination board letters, statements and algorithms that will inform the basis for the calculation of the summer grades for our Key Stage 4 and 5 classes. The information has arrived in school today AND has been simultaneously put out for the public to read in the popular press. This has left very little time for Mr Stone and his data team to read and digest any detail before the Easter holidays. We have passed on the links to these key documents to you (see below) – and you can be assured that our teachers and examinations team will be preparing answers to your questions over the Easter break.
We are reminded in these press releases that no student will be disadvantaged by the awards’ process this year and Universities – whilst possibly being subject to some capping of course numbers – seem minded to honour their offers.
Thank you for the positive feedback that I and the staff have received from so many of you over the last two weeks. We really appreciate hearing what we do well and where we can improve our remote service. We are all working hard to ensure that Rossett is here as a community for all our students and parents through this challenging time.
My very best wishes to you and your families over the next two weeks of Easter.
This week teachers have continued to set work remotely for our students. We have been setting work, as far as possible, within the timings of a ‘normal school day. A couple of reminders below about the logistics of remote learning:
For each period of the school day teachers will:
- supply instructions of work to be completed;
- supply learning resources for students to use;
- provide feedback where possible and appropriate.
We are using the ‘Assignment’ function of Microsoft Office 365 Teams as our remote learning interface between teachers and students. The ‘Student - Guide to Assignments on Teams’ found here gives step-by-step instructions on how to access this facility.
Additionally, all students will be able to contact teachers for teaching and learning advice and guidance throughout the period of school closure. We would like students to use the ‘chat’ function of Microsoft Office 365 Teams to do this. The ‘Student – Guide to Asking Your Teacher for Help’ found here explains how to do this.
Finally, should any students have technical difficulties during a period of remote learning, we would ask them to e-mail our specialist IT Support Team (studentIThelp@rossettschool.co.uk). One of our IT Technicians will then respond with the necessary support.
Remote Learning: School Work in the Easter Holidays
Please note, during the Easter holidays, teachers will set some Easter work for their classes. This work will appear in Microsoft Teams during the morning of 6 April. This work is to be completed at the students' own pace during the holiday period. There will not be any lesson-by-lesson work set during the Easter holidays.
Student Examination Results
This afternoon - late in the day - Ofqual has set out details for schools, students, parents and carers on how GCSEs and A levels will be awarded following the cancellation of this year's exams. They have also written to students who were due to sit an exam this summer. The letter can be found here:
and further information can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/877842/Summer_2020_grades_for_GCSE_AS_A_level_EPQ_AEA_in_maths_-_guidance_for_teachers_students_parents.pdf.
Our staff have been proactively gathering data from all past performances and forecast grades and are ready to begin the process of submitting any necessary information to the boards.
However, the implications of the possible additional autumn examinations, and the full details of how they may run have not yet been sent to schools.
Although we realise that you, like us, want definitive answers straight away, the Senior Leaders and Directors of Study will take time over the Easter holidays to read through the multiplicity of emails from individual examination boards, in addition to the Ofqual communications, and we will be in touch with parents after the Easter holidays to outline what this will mean for our students.
Mrs Huett, our Learning Resource Manager, has been working hard this week in putting all of our reading resources in one easily accessible area. Follow the link to 'Padlet' here for lots of links, reviews and recommendations. Remember to keep checking in on 'Padlet' as news and links will be updated regularly.
Rossett students help bring cheer to Harrogate street
Those students here at school got creative this week and helped residents of Franklin Road bring a smile to children's faces at a time when they are, for the most part, spending time inside and away from their friends. The students rose to the challenge set by Mrs Normand and created a fabulous 'Nessie' which is now proudly displayed in a series of windows on the street. Particular thanks go to Natalie Gaffney in Year 10 and Adam Boulton in Year 7 for their contribution. Read the full story featured in the Harrogate Advertiser here.
Our Year 9 and Year 10 students continue to access GCSE Pod to enhance their home learning. This week's top GCSE Podders are:
Leila Buono (for the second week running), Louis Falkner, Jacob Munton in Year 9 and Tilly Sewell, Bobby Battensby (for the second week running) and Ethan Berry - well done!
There have been 1469 pods watched by Year 10 in the two weeks since the school closed, which translates to approximately 100 hours of GCSEPods across the year.
If you would like to know more about GCSEPod and how your child can use it to develop their knowledge and understanding, then please see below or visit their website https://www.gcsepod.com. To sign up, students only need to enter their name and date of birth.
Tips for home learning
- Where possible have a quiet space away from distractions;
- Be organised - have a routine based around the school day including break and lunchtime;
- Leave your mobile phone in another room and turn off notifications while you are home learning;
- Stay safe on-line - only use trusted websites.
- Remember you can contact your teachers with any queries via Teams and the Network Team with any IT queries. at: studentIThelp@rossettschool.co.uk
As you are aware Rossett has remained open for the children of Key Workers and those categorised as vulnerable. The school day has been significantly different with some time devoted to completing the Remote Learning work and some time given to more practical and creative activities. Thanks go to those staff who have provided care for these students at such a difficult time. Care has been taken to ensure that we are keeping all in school safe with clear protocols around social distancing and the safe use of facilities and resources.
Every effort has been made to ensure that all students are able to access the Remote Learning activities that are being diligently set by our teaching staff. At present we have only a small number of students for whom access is still an issue. These problems are being addressed and will be monitored throughout the duration of the school closure. Please remember that the IT Team are available to address any issues regarding access to Teams and can be contacted at studentIThelp@rossettschool.co.uk.
The Pastoral Team are in regular contact with students who have been identified as requiring additional care and support. Telephone calls are being made and emails sent to ensure that we continue to maintain contact and address any needs that occur.
Free School Meals Vouchers
We have received the details from the Department of Education regarding the National Voucher Scheme for Free School Meals this week. This consists of vouchers redeemable at some of the major supermarkets and all eligible families have been contacted and every effort is being made that this much needed support is maintained during the period of school closure.
We would respectfully ask any parents who have had a change in personal circumstances over the past few weeks to consider whether they may now be entitled to Free School Meals. Please click the link for further details:
Mental Health and Wellbeing
We would like to remind you of the support groups, websites and text-based helplines that exist to help students combat feelings of anxiety that may result from worrying about examinations or the current national coverage of the pandemic.
- Kooth – a free, online counselling service available at kooth.com
- Buzz Us – run by Compass Buzz and specific to young people from North Yorkshire; this is a text messaging service that connects students to a ‘well-being’ advisor on 07520631168 https://www.compass-uk.org/buzz-us/
- Young Minds - https://youngminds.org.uk/
- NHS Every Mind Matters - https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/
- Give us a Shout - https://www.giveusashout.org/
- The Mix - https://www.themix.org.uk/
- Nightline - https://www.nightline.ac.uk/