Rossett News Update - 4 December 2020
In what has been a busy week for the school, our Year 11, 12 and 13 students have been particularly resilient. We have just completed a week’s worth of mock examinations with these groups and they have been fantastic. Following government guidance meant that doors and windows were open to ventilate our larger heated spaces, so it was a little more draughty than usual in the examinations’ hall. Students have now experienced the reality of examination practice outside the classroom in preparation for the summer assessment period.
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 wanted to share a summary of these changes with you as soon as we had this information. Changes for this year’s public examinations 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.
I’m sure you’ll want to know more specific details relating to the measures announced yesterday; we will forward any updates in the new year, or before if we receive them.
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.
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 changes.
Having spent some time with our Year 7 and 8 classes this week, I was cheered by their resilience to the restrictions that they have had at school and at home in this last period of lockdown. The older students are looking forward to the resumption of community sport outside school, some are helping us look at how we can start their favourite lunchtime clubs soon, and many are telling me how important school is to them right now. In their lessons, they are working hard. I think, however, that the combination of the Headteacher teaching portraiture and Pop Art to students in Years 7 and 8 respectively, at one point in a laboratory, may be a once in a lifetime experience! (Year 7 have produced some fabulous self-portraits, and the Pop Art techniques of Peter Blake and Roy Lichtenstein have informed the 3D ‘snack’ packaging designs of Year 8).
As we move towards Christmas, we are acutely aware that many of you are having to make difficult decisions about how you will celebrate the festive season, following the government guidance about limiting family contacts. I know that our staff are also having to make these decisions too. As a school we have worked hard since September to keep the school open and the full curriculum available to all students, either physically on-site, or remotely. We have done well in fulfilling our aim so far.
I would ask that you, as part of the Rossett family, help us to ensure that we can open the school safely in January by following the national guidance for everyone in a Tier 2 and 3 area. Your help, combined with our planning and preparation, will ensure that the school starts again promptly after Christmas for all students.
Thank you, in anticipation of your continued support,
Virtual Sixth Form Information Evening
We were delighted to launch our Sixth Form Information Evening yesterday which, for the first time, was held online. The virtual event featured a welcome from the Head of Sixth Form, Dr Reed, followed by presentations from other members of the Sixth Form Leadership Team and the Student Leadership Team.
Topics include life in the Sixth Form, pastoral and welfare support, progression and post-18 support, and the provision on offer for students who are academically more able or aiming to join other Rossett alumni at Oxbridge. The Information will remain on our website over the coming weeks if you haven't already had a chance to view it. Our Sixth Form Team are also on hand to answer any questions you may have.
Christmas Colours/Non-Uniform Day - Make the World Better with a Sweater!
We are, once again, joining Save the Children in their fundraising by taking part in their Christmas Jumper Campaign. All students and staff are invited to wear a Christmas jumper or to wear bright colours on Friday 11 December. We know that this is a difficult time financially for some of us but we wanted to do 'our bit' for this fantastic charity and allow all of our students the chance to experience some Christmas cheer. This year, Save the Children, are focussing on supporting children and their families, impacted by Coronavirus, and we would ask families to donate what they can at this time. (We usually ask for a £2 donation at this time of year).
In the UK and around the world, they make sure children stay safe, healthy and keep learning, putting education at the hear of their work:
Here's some amazing examples of what Save the Children do:
- £2 can pay for hand sanitiser to help fight coronavirus in one of Save the Children’s medical clinics;
- £6 can buy a face shield for a superhero health worker in the Yemen;
- £10 can buy antibiotics to help five children beat malnutrition;
- £20 can buy a back-to-school kit for a child in Indonesia;
- £60 can buy toys and books to support children from struggling families in the UK;
- £100 can buy a first aid kit for a health worker in Somalia.
You will be able to donate on-line this year, using your child's Scopay account and we know the charity will be very grateful for any donations, large or small.
Remote Learning Provision
Live lessons (Year 10-13)
As you are aware, we have recently added to our remote learning offer to extend live lesson provision to Year 10-11 students who are self-isolating. Year 12-13 have had this provision for some time but we are now in the position to roll this out to additional year groups.
To reflect the importance of ‘live’ lessons during self isolation we have made some changes to the protocols that have previously been sent. These changes are around attendance and also how rewards and sanctions will be issued via ClassCharts.
Please find here the updated protocols for live lessons.
Parents and students of Year 10-11 students will have also received an email to communicate these changes. Students in Year 10-13 will have these changes communicated via form messages.
Assignment work (All Year Groups)
Students who are well enough and are self-isolating will be expected to complete assignment work that has been set by their teacher in line with their normal timetable. This is to ensure that they do not fall behind whilst they are absent from school. Completed work should be uploaded to Microsoft Teams.
In line with our behaviour policy, high quality work will be acknowledged and rewarded by the teacher via ClassCharts. Where work has not been completed or completed to a poor standard this will also be acknowledged and where applicable an appropriate negative point may be given via ClassCharts e.g. inadequate work in a lesson. Please could we ask that you encourage your child to complete the assignment work set. If this is not possible for a valid reason such as illness please could you inform the school, in the usual way.
Spotlight on SEND
Each week we will focus on one area of the school to offer you an insight into how our students are supported in school. This week we are delighted to feature our SEND Department, lead by our SENDCo, Mrs Fazakerley.
- Since September Teaching Assistants have been working in classrooms to support students - their primary role at the school. As with many areas of school life during the pandemic, this is looking slightly different as the TAs maintain social distance whilst supporting individuals. However, careful adjustment of seating plans, face masks and visors has meant that TAs are able to support students both in and out of the classroom. Portable Perspex screens allowing for individual work to take place are also being introduced.
- The transition for Year 7s this year has been quite different and the team has spent this term getting to know the new students and supporting those with additional needs. As the students are within their own 'geographical bubbles' in school many of our students have welcomed the chance to be together in a mini school site. The SEND team has been active in helping all of our new students settle in.
- As well as working in classrooms, and with individual students, the SEND team have a role in helping students to get the best from our new school systems from September including: updated ClassCharts; remote learning 'live streaming' and the completion of assignments on Teams; and our new Accessit click-and-collect library book service.
- This week we have been key in supporting our older students in Years 10,11,12 and 13 who have been taking their mock examinations. We make sure students with SEND can access their mocks according to their needs and to offer the wider community of students (some of whom are feeling understandably anxious about these exams), plenty of support as they sit their mocks.
- North Yorkshire County Council has re-organised its local SEND provision into new SEND Hubs from 1st September. Rossett is part of the Harrogate and Knaresborough Hub and the SEND team has been active in engaging with North Yorkshire services regarding additional support for students who sometimes need input from a wider team.
We have a fantastic SEND team here at Rossett! If you have any questions or queries about the work we do, please contact Ms Fazakerley at email@example.com.
Isaac Physics competition
GCSE and A Level Physics students began their participation in the annual Isaac Physics Competition today. Students are tasked with completing twelve Isaac Physics' tasks over twelve days for a chance to win prizes. ' Isaac Physics' is a site designed to offer support and activities for Physics problem-solving to teachers and students transitioning from GCSE (Year 11), through to Sixth Form (Year 12 and 13), and then on to university - combining an online study tool with face-to-face events. Good luck to all of our students who are taking part - our winners will be announced during PSHE on 12th and 16th December this year.
Reminder about Year 7 Immunisations
We would like to remind our Parents/Carers of Year 7 who have given consent to the NHS, that their child will receive the NHS nasal influenza vaccination, within the Year 7 bubble, at school on Monday 7 December 2020.
Here is a fantastic picture of this week's full moon taken through the telescope of Year 9 student Ryan Horner. Ryan is a keen astronomer and has an interest in photography - combining these interests to produce an amazing picture. Well done Ryan!
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 few of our 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 11s will be issued on Wednesday 6th January
Wishing you all a restful weekend.