I hope everyone has had a restful weekend. As I sat down to reflect on the first week of term there is much to be pleased about, especially given the pace of change and uncertainty that we were all managing last week.
Online learning – As ever we appreciate the support from families and are thankful for all the feedback we received last week. I never thought that as a Headteacher I would be pleased to be reported to Ofsted but this has happened a number of times last week, fortunately in response to what the Education Secretary said in Parliament, to commend us on the standard of our online learning!
I think three key points have emerged over the last week:
1. Families have been pleased with the speed and quality of what we have provided during this first week. We will continue to review, adapt and develop this in the coming week – more details below.
2. Families appear to like the routine and structure we have put in place. Knowing that children have to follow a specific timetable of lessons is proving helpful in terms of managing busy houses where parents are also working.
3. The fact that teachers are ‘live’ either teaching lessons or providing support and answers to questions across all year groups is supporting learning. Linked to this the fact that pastoral staff are contacting families of anyone who doesn’t register between 8.30 and 8.45 is providing support to get the day off to a productive start, especially when they can honestly say ‘your teacher is waiting to help you’.
Whilst we realise that we have made a good start with excellent levels of student engagement, we will continue to carefully reflect and develop our online offer further to all year groups in the weeks ahead. I was very aware that whatever we launched on Tuesday should be effective and as such did not want to over promise. Miss McDermott is currently working closely with individual Departments to consider the possibility of a blended learning approach for Y7 to 9 which may from week 3 involve elements of live teaching in certain subjects. I think this is the correct approach as I remain unconvinced that 5 hours of live lessons for younger students is in the best interests of either students and staff, and that the variety of a blended approach for these students will prove more effective in terms of both their learning well-being. With this in mind a reminder that form tutors will be contacting everyone in their form groups for a well-being check in and also to ensure that everything is working effectively from a technological point of view. Once this significant task has been completed we will look at other ways that form tutors can potentially interact with their forms. We are also looking next week at the possibility of trying to put in place some form of online extra-curricular timetable for students to take advantage of later in the half term.
Whilst we really appreciate all the individual emails and texts (please continue to send these) we will also be sending out a google survey at the end of next week to gather further feedback about online learning and would be grateful if you would fill this in. Thank you.
Form time resources – As families are aware we have afternoon form tutor resources available for students to access. This will include as usual from this week the ‘News’ resources I produce each week which I know lots of students enjoy discussing. Keep a look out for these on Tuesday…
AHS COVID 19 Rapid Test Site – I am pleased to inform families that following a visit on Friday our onsite testing arrangements were approved and signed off by Public Health, making us one of the first schools in the city to have these in place. Public Health were very complimentary of our preparations which now mean that staff in school can be regularly tested and as and when we need to test young people who are contacts of a positive case we are ready to do so. These additional safety measures build on all the strong systems and structures we already had in place prior to Christmas.
To support our new Rapid Test Site we need to recruit an additional school cleaner as soon as possible. Details for anyone interested are included below:
VACANCY – Archbishop Holgate’s School
School Cleaner – COVID 19 Rapid Test Site
Required as soon as possible
£9.30 per hour
Fixed Term (contract expected to last until 26 March 2021)
Part Time (10 hpw) 7.15-9.15am Monday-Friday, Term Time Only
For more information visit: www.archbishopholgates.academy/staff/vacancies/
Critical Workers – A reminder that if you are a Critical Worker (CLICK HERE for who qualifies) and you need your child to attend school during Lockdown, we are asking that you inform us about when you need your child to be in school.
It would be very much appreciated if you can tell us:
- What you need until February half term as soon as you can
- If you need to change your requests at all
To inform us of what you require, please:
- Email- email@example.com
- Telephone: 01904 411341 (and ask to speak to Miss Ashcroft)
Pathfinder Newsletter – A copy of this week’s Pathfinder newsletter is attached and is also available on the MAT website: https://pathfinder.academy/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Pathfinder-Weekly-Newsletter-08.01.21.pdf
Word of the week – Each week Mrs Short will share our ‘word of the week’. Something to try to drop into conversation at home?
RECIPROCATE – respond to a gesture or action by making a corresponding one, “the favour was reciprocated”
Health and well-being from PE – One thing we learnt from previous lockdowns is the importance of looking after our health, specifically our physical and mental well-being. Each week the P.E. Department will upload materials to google classroom for students to access that promotes physical activity and the importance of looking after our mental well-being. Look out for the Healthy Me Booklet on Monday as well as the many other home learning activities available on the Core P.E. Classroom.
Student Wellbeing – Have you heard of the HappySelf Daily Journal? They are journals which promote happiness, develop positive habits and nurture enquiring minds. Check out the information below which has been taken from the website – https://happyselfjournal.com/products/happyself-journal
Based on the science of happiness and wellbeing: Our daily journals for children and young adults use scientifically proven methods to promote happiness, develop healthy habits for life and nurture curiosity. Beautifully illustrated and easy to use, with just a few minutes focus each day children benefit by being encouraged to express gratitude, reflect on their emotions and think about their actions. The results are positive and plentiful: thousands of parents have told us about better sleep, reduced anxiety, improved connection and communication, increased kindness and more positive mindsets in their children.
“A nourishing resource based on research”
As a psychologist and a mother, I highly recommend The HappySelf range of journals. They are a nourishing resource based on research into the building blocks to wellbeing and expertly guide children through their emotions and the challenges that naturally arise in their day. While they help children develop the core skills of mindfulness, gratitude and growth mindset, they don’t feel like work – they feel light-hearted, visually appealing, engaging and genuinely joyful. – Suzy Reading, Chartered Psychologist and Coach and mother of two
Head of Year Updates – It’s Year 7 and Post 16 today…
Miss Kincell and the Year 7 team…
Welcome to my weekly parent bulletin, here I will outline key messages for Year 7, include as many positive resources as possible and hopefully include lots of lovely work and activities you are taking part in.
Please send me any work you are proud of, extra-curricular activity or basically anything that has made your lockdown life brighter. Last year I saw and enjoyed, portraits, tributes to the NHS and Black Lives Matter campaign, videos, original compositions. I would love to see what this cohort of Year 7 get up to in their spare time, I will either tweet these or add to the bulletin- when you send them in please indicate whether you are happy for me to do so! Each week I will also share with you our top quizzers for the week so make sure you are reading and quizzing! Reading is one of the most powerful things you can do during this time.
I would love to continue our gold awards, so please send me what you are doing and you may receive something special in the post!
- Remember to sign the Register each morning before you start your work.
- Follow your timetable, the structure will help you!
- Remember your teacher is ‘live’ during your hours so follow your timetable. E.G If you have English P1 Monday, your teacher will be sat on your classroom waiting for your comments/emails so do message them for support if you need it.
- Use our Twitter- I’ll be posting resources, reminders and Google Classroom Top Tips- Please Follow: @AHS_Year7Kl
- We are not closed! We are here for whatever you need, please email myself or Miss Greenhalgh our Pastoral Support Worker whenever you need to anything and we will do whatever we can to support you.
I thought I would start our lockdown bulletin by sharing my key messages from our virtual assembly. It’s about Resolutions and I based it upon what we learned worked well for students in the last lock down. Whilst it’s not quite the new year we were hoping for, it doesn’t mean we can’t try to put in place the usual resolutions. But… why not make it easier and try some lock down resolutions?
Make a Routine and STICK to it
Routines are incredibly important.
Routines help young people feel safe and secure in their environment.
Young children gain an understanding of everyday events and procedures and learn what is expected of them as routines make their environment more predictable. This is especially important- as life isn’t very predictable at all at the moment!
Each day Monday-Friday:
- Get up at the same time
- Brush your teeth and get dressed
- Have a working space
- Follow your time table and use your break and lunch to go outside or at least walk around your house.
- At the end of the school day, contact a friend or family member, ideally on the phone or facetime.
- Exercise, or at very least go for a walk
- Have a bath or shower
- Watch your favourite program
Exercise Every day
As well as of course the usual fitness advantages, exercise is particularly important in lockdown because:
- Control: control is an important resilience technique.
- Resilience: exercise can be using as a coping strategy
- ‘Feel good’ Chemicals: exercise releases endorphins
- Reduces ‘Stress’ Chemicals: cortisol is released in response to stress
- Reduces mental fatigue
- Improves sleep: better sleep means better mental health
- Exercise is part of the evidenced based treatment for depression and anxiety.
Speak to a friend or family member Every Day
Why it is important to stay connected:
Not being able to see family and friends during lockdown can certainly take its toll on all of us, some more than others.
So it is vitally important for our mental health to stay connected, especially during times of crisis where we can support each other throughout and share in positive moments.
Get outside Every Day – Why Go outside?
Relieve Stress & Calm the Mind
Sitting outside can reduce blood pressure, lower heart rate, and decrease cortisol levels. When we are outside our body slows down, helping us feel peaceful and calm. Our minds work in a similar way. Spending time outside improves mood and reduces feelings of anxiety. We can focus better in nature, and our improved concentration can help us address feelings of stress and anxiety. The results suggest regular trips outdoors are a reliable way to manage stress. Pro tip: Nature can help create more job satisfaction- sit near a window!
The Immune System works best when challenged regularly. That doesn’t happen when we spend time indoors. Healthy doses of nature will help prepare your body fight. Here’s how it works. The boost in immunity from a trip into nature can help keep you feeling healthy. Strengthening your body’s natural germ-fighting power with a regular trip into the wild.
Sharpen Your Focus
In the general population, studies have shown that attention is almost uniformly enhanced by exposure to natural environments.. Spending twenty minutes walking in a nearby park was sufficient enough to elevate attention performance in children with ADHD.
Better Your Short-Term Memory
There is growing evidence that both short-term and working memory can be improved by time spent outside. Natural scenery and garden views calm our minds and help us focus. Urban settings are full of traffic, street noise, lights, and lots of people. These things pull our attention in several directions. This makes it hard to sharpen our focus and recall things we just learned. Pondering new information in a peaceful, natural setting may help enhance you short-term memory.
Always have a Weekend Break – Why is this important?
When you push yourself to work too many days in a row, your thoughts will get cloudy, and your creativity can decrease. Meaning after a couple of days off you’ll be fresh and ready to go again on Monday.
When we start to feel tired, even simply tasks become challenging and we lose some of our drive. Take off the weekend and you’ll come back feeling refreshed and ready to take on new challenges.
It’s hard to maintain a positive work-life balance in even the best of circumstances. When you’re chronically overworked, you can start to lose your sense of self. Your hobbies and interests fall to the wayside as you focus all of your energy on your career. Taking time away from work gives you a chance to rekindle your joy and remember what life was like before you became relentlessly busy.
No matter how much you love your job, doing the same thing day in and day out can wear on you. Taking time away gives you the chance to refocus on your goals and look at things from a fresh perspective. You’ll be surprised how many great ideas come up when you step away from the monotony for a day or two.
While it’s important to focus on your career, you also need to work on your relationships. If you’re constantly logging in long hours at the office or checking your phone and email all evening, the important people in your life will start feeling neglected. Even a short vacation allows you to unplug from your job and spend quality time with your loved ones.
Mr Williams and the Sixth Form team…
Despite the challenges faced in a difficult week, there is still much to celebrate. As ever, I have been extremely impressed by the resilience and positive attitude shown by both Year 12 and 13. The Sixth Form team have experienced and shared the many mixed emotions felt by our students; nobody expected to be in this situation, so quickly, when we left for the Christmas holidays. Yet the response from both Sixth Form students, staff and parents has been excellent. I am extremely grateful to all our excellent teachers, support team and students who have worked collectively to ensure that the Sixth Form can work effectively, despite the circumstances. Thank you.
I will be using the Friday bulletin each week to update parents and students. However, daily updates are also posted on the students’ year group classrooms.
Year 13 Exams
The Department of Education has stated that all summer exams for Year 13 have been cancelled. This clearly has a substantial impact on Year 13 students. However, we are confident that this will not have a detrimental impact on students’ results and future progression. It is natural that students and parents will have lots of questions in relation to this. We are still awaiting further guidance from the Department of Education but I am happy to talk to parents or students about any concerns you might have. During this uncertainty, it is essential that students engage fully with live lessons, the completion of homework, assignments and remaining coursework over the coming months. Students have every opportunity to show their potential and provide supporting evidence for teachers to give the best possible grade when centre assessed grades are submitted. Year 13 have made an excellent start to live lessons this week and it is important this positive attitude is maintained.
Thank you for your support and patience during a difficult week. We know how hard both Year 12 and Year 13 students had worked for these exams. However, after careful consideration of all the guidance, it was the correct decision to cancel the remaining BTEC exams. It is important to reiterate again that the exam board has stated no student will be disadvantaged due to the current circumstances. Further details regarding the BTEC exams was outlined in the letter sent to all BTEC students and we are happy to discuss concerns you may have around these exams further. It is vital all students continue to attend all their lessons as further work still needs to be completed.
Live lessons for all students
We are extremely pleased with how the live lessons in Year 12 and 13 have gone so far. If you have any feedback or suggestions, we would be keen to hear from you.
Please support students to access their full timetable by discussing the following with your child:
- Students must have cameras on at all times. This is important for effective teaching, learning and safeguarding.
- Students must register at the start of the day.
- Students should follow their timetable. This means attending both scheduled live lessons and using non-contact time to complete independent work, assignments and coursework.
- Where possible, students should have a dedicated work space which is quiet and free of distractions.
- Students should actively engage with lessons and teachers, seeking out support when needed.
We fully appreciate how challenging live lessons can be. However, we believe the structure of a timetable and daily live contact will be excellent to support both students’ mental health and future progress. If you need any support establishing these routines, please get in touch. We are able to provide physical copies of students timetables, offer support with using google classrooms, cameras and microphones or even lend a device where necessary.
Sixth form tutor groups are an integral part of Sixth Form life. Myself and the rest of the Sixth Form team are already missing the daily contact with students. Form tutors will be phoning all their tutees every fortnight to ensure students have regular contact and the form tutor programme has move online for students to access. I hope their will continue to be a lively uptake of Friday’s university challenge!
Well-being and enrichment resources
We are providing well-being resources for students each week. These are carefully thought-out resources to ensure students stay well during these challenging times. These are accessed through the year group classrooms. This week’s resource has been about the importance of sleep. Next week’s resource provides “Positive Psychology Exercises”. These are well worth a look and should provide students with key information when needed.
We are also trying to keep our Enrichment programme going. We are going to post a range opportunities each week. These are completely optional for students but will provide opportunities to widen their experiences. This week we are highlighting the excellent Speakers for Schools programme. Links are here and in the google classroom:
Speakers For Schools Thurs 14th January 5-6pm – Shai Weiss, CEO, Virgin Atlantic Airways for Key Stage 5.
Join to hear Shai Weiss share insights into his own career journey and discuss how he became CEO of Virgin Atlantic. Shai will focus on the importance teamwork, resilience and maintaining mental clarity during difficult times. https://www.speakersforschools.org/inspiration/vtalks/upcoming-vtalks/
Also, lots of staff and students have already enjoyed this website. You might be stuck in this weekend, why not explore one of these locations? https://pigletish.com/100-places-to-go-when-you-cant-leave-the-house/
UCAS have extended their application deadline by two weeks. It is now 18:00 on 29th January. If students still need to submit a UCAS application, it is vital they are in contact with Mr Charlton early next week. We can provide full support remotely but must be made aware of any late decisions to submit. This ensure the best possible references can be provided and individual statements are thoroughly checked.
Please be assured we have not forgotten about the student leader and school captain applications. These were planned to take place these week. However, the best laid plans are always thwarted. As things settle into a routine further, we will arrange for these short interviews to take place remotely as we believe it’s this commitment is recognised and there is still plenty student leaders can do for the school. Watch this space.
Please remember that we can offer lots of support in different ways. If your son or daughter is struggling, either with their wellbeing, work or motivation, please get in contact. We are available throughout the week and someone will be in contact as soon as possible to help solve the problem.
Since we are now in the first full week of the Spring term our Form Tutor Collective Worship is entitle a Fresh Start. A new term and a new year bring with them new opportunities and the chance for a ‘fresh start’. The old term and the old year are behind us, so it is time to move on into the future.
Monday – No, I am still not all I should be, but I am bringing all my energies to bear on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. (Philippians 3.13).