Rossett News Update - 11 December 2020
Confirmation: School open, as usual, on Friday 18th December. Reminder all students – early finish at 2.00pm.
In what has been a busy two weeks for the school, our Year 10 and Year 11 students have been particularly resilient. They have just completed their mock examinations and were incredibly mature in their approach to the changed circumstances this year. Year 11 students have now experienced the reality of sustained examination practice for the first time in preparation for the summer assessment period, after a ‘Year 10’ that was cut short last spring. After Christmas it is the turn of our Year 12 and 13 students who will practise their skills in the mock examinations.
Following the government guidance for schools, we have to leave doors and windows open to ventilate our larger heated spaces, so it is a little more draughty than usual in some areas of the school. Our students have been respectful and understand why we have to work in different conditions this year.
By now you will have seen the government’s announcement about the package of measures to address the loss of learning and teaching this year, and the contingency plans for GCSE, A Level and other associated summer 2021 examinations.
I shared a summary of these changes with our parents in Year 10-13 as soon as we had this information. For all other years, changes for this year’s public examinations (Years 10/11/12 and 13) include:
- a promise of more generous grading than usual;
- students receiving advance notice of some topic areas covered in GCSE, AS and A Levels, to help them focus their revision;
- exam aids – like formula sheets – provided in some examinations to give students more confidence and reduce the amount of information they need to memorise;
- contingency exams – held shortly after the main exam series – so students can sit a paper if they miss all their assessments in a subject because of illness or self-isolation.
The new measures complement the existing information that we already had for next summer which included:
- a reduced content in many subjects;
- a delay to the start of the formal examination season and changes to the timetable.
There will also be adaptations to vocational and technical qualifications to make sure there is parity with other general qualifications.
The government has also announced that test and exam results nationally won’t be included in school performance tables this year. These results will be replaced by attendance information, student destinations and the subjects that students have taken at key stages 4 and 5.
Everyone involved in education acknowledges that it very difficult for assessments to take account of how COVID has affected individuals and groups of students in different ways, so we were pleased to hear that the government has announced the creation of an expert group to look at this, and to monitor the variation in the impact of the pandemic on students across the country. We await further details of how this group’s findings may influence national policy.
Contingency plans for any student who is unable to take the summer season examinations are in place.
Thank you again for your support of the school in the face of this rapidly-changing examinations’ landscape. We continue to work hard to respond to each new directive and update as they arrive in school, and will keep you informed of any further details or changes to the planned summer season.
Reduction in the self-isolation period
Following a government announcement today and confirmation from PHE (Public Health England), we have been asked to inform you that the national period of self-isolation has been changed from 14 days to 10 days. In real terms, what this means is that any student who is self-isolating in Year 10 currently, can and should return to school on Monday 14th December 2020.
Students who were due back to school on Monday 14th, Tuesday 15th or Wednesday 16th December - should all now be in school on Monday 14th December.
Live Lessons and Remote Attendance: a change to our protocols
ClassCharts is used to communicate any issues in remote learning as well as letting parents know how their child is doing in school. As our use of the App changes, we would like to inform you - as parents- that we have a fail-safe way of indicating whether your child is taking part in the online remote learning, when, and if, they need to self-isolate.
If your child is unwell whilst self-isolating and cannot take part in lessons - please ring the school in the usual way. Students who do not attend the online learning will receive a 'Missed Live Lesson' mark on ClassCharts.
Free School Meals' Vouchers: Christmas Break
If your child usually receives free school meals, the Finance Team will be in touch with you early next week, to inform you how to access and download supermarket vouchers for Christmas.
Christmas Jumper Day
We have seen some fantastic Christmas jumpers today and have asked for donations, via Scopay, for Save the Children. Their fund-raising this year giving hope for a brighter Covid-free future to children affected by the pandemic, in the UK and around the world. Thank you to everyone who joined in and donated.
Year 10 students are pictured with a selection of the fantastic jumpers on display in school today.
On Wednesday 16th December our talented Executive Chef and his team will be presenting our Christmas menu. Christmas lunch will be served by our suitably risk-assessed Senior Leadership Team and the catering staff.
Mock Examinations for Year 12 and Year 13 Students - Monday 25th -Wednesday 27th January 2021
Year 12 and Year 13 mock examinations will take place between Monday 25th and Wednesday 27th January 2021. Students will have mock examinations for all subjects. BTEC students will have planned 'official' external examinations in January and so these BTEC subjects will not be examined until this time. Timetables for the examinations will be provided to students following the Christmas break. Our letter, sent to parents with further information, can be accessed here.
Teams Chat Function
We have made the decision to turn the 'Chat' function of Teams off for all students (Years 7-13). This function was useful during the period of lockdown, where we were all working remotely and needed to communicate differently. However, now most students are back in school, this function is no longer necessary. Students have been informed of this change by their Form Tutors today. Students should now e-mail their teachers if they need to contact them, if they are completing a period of self-isolation.
- Please note, the chat function in our live lessons will be unaffected by this change.
Arrival of Book Buzz Books
Our Year 7 students were delighted to hear that their books had arrived from the Booktrust scheme ‘BookBuzz’ . The lovely new books were handed out in English lessons this week. Students had made their choice from the Bookbuzz list earlier in the term and the books are for the students to keep and enjoy; an early Christmas present from Rossett to encourage and promote reading.
Miss Tolliday, (Key Stage 3 English Coordinator) said: “We are extremely happy to have been able to participate in such a brilliant scheme once more at Rossett. Bookbuzz inspires young people to read, and offers a range of genre to appeal to every reader. Judging by the excited gasps and smiling faces, my Year 7 students cannot wait to get stuck into their new books!”
Sixth Form ‘Christmas Dinner for Everyone’
Organised by Emily Farquhar in Year 13, Sixth Form students are being encouraged to donate items for the Harrogate Food Bank next week. This is in support of the ‘Christmas Dinner for Everyone’ initiative. Christmas is supposed to be a time for joy and celebration but for many people it's their first visit to a food bank during the festive period.
If your child is in Year 12 or Year 13 and you are able help with the collection of food, the Harrogate Foodbank has suggested the following items:
- Tinned Products
- Long life fruit juice
- Long life milk
- Shower gel
- Shaving cream
- Pasta sauce
- Sponge puddings
- Washing up liquid
Donation points will be available in the Sixth Form Centre and the Sealby Block.
Year 10 Catch-up Immunisations
Parents/Carers of students in Year 10 please note that catch-up immunisations will take place on Wednesday the 16th December. If your child has not yet had their immunisation it is important that they attend school on this day unless they have been asked to self-isolate or are unwell.
Holiday Covid Reporting Arrangements (December 19th-23rd 2020)
In line with the information contained within the Department for Education bulletin to all schools, the Headteacher and Deputies will be checking any student positive cases reported to school via our remote service, during the Christmas holidays. Please let school know of any positive results by emailing https://rossett.school/positive. We will then follow our risk assessment process and inform any close or proximity contacts by telephone, email or text. We realise that this process may seem intrusive, but we will be working with Public Health England to ensure that vital health information gets to our students and families as quickly possible.
Thank you for your understanding and assistance with the reporting of Covid-19 cases within family groups over recent weeks.
If your child has any of the symptoms described in the attached parental letter from Public Health England here, they must stay at home and arrangements need to be made to have a test. You must call the school absence line (01423 564 444) and leave a voicemail informing us about the situation and the reason your child is not in school.
We would remind you that you should only book a test if your child has any of these three coronavirus symptoms:
- A high temperature: any new high temperature where your child feels hot to touch on their chest or back (you do not need to measure the temperature);
- A new continuous cough: coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours;
- A loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste: a noticeable loss of smell or taste or things smell and taste different to normal.
If your child has been off school for a reason related to Covid-19, it is vital that you contact us before they return and give us the reason they are returning e.g. a negative test result.
- Public Health England has asked us to emphasise with our parents/carers that the NHS Track and Trace App is not applicable to students under the age of 16, and therefore should not be installed on the phones of students who are under 16. If any parent has to inform the school regarding a positive Covid case please email https://rossett.school/positive and complete the form.
Mental Health and Well-being
To further support our students' mental health and well-being, we are planning a reduced but festive menu of Christmas events to celebrate the end of the year. Each of these events has been carefully risk-assessed and most are 'remote' or 'on-line' this year.
Our pastoral teams continue to provide a high level of daily support, enhanced by the updated additional staff training they receive. The following links may be helpful in signposting your child to further support should they need it outside of school hours.
The Go-To – www.thegoto.org.uk – is a portal or ‘single point of information’ for the wide range of mental health support services available to help children and young people in the county address their social and emotional health needs.
Important Diary Dates
FRIDAY 18TH DECEMBER - SCHOOL CLOSES EARLY AT 2PM FOR THE CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS.
MONDAY 4TH JANUARY 2020 - SCHOOL RE-OPENS FOR ALL STUDENTS.
MOCK RESULTS FOR YEAR 11 STUDENTS WILL BE ISSUED ON WEDNESDAY 6TH JANUARY
Wishing you all a restful weekend.