I would like to start this bulletin by drawing families attention to the important notice below from Network rail.

Network rail
All schools in York have been contacted over the dangerous behaviour of a very small number of students around train tracks, who’s actions are putting their own lives and those of others at serious risk.  They have asked that we highlight the dangers of electricity and fast, quiet electric trains which reach speeds of 125mph and take about a mile to stop following application of an emergency brake. The have asked us to share their awareness campaign ‘You Vs Train’, which features real-life stories of teenagers that have received life-changing injuries after coming into contact with the railway illegally.

Remote Learning Provision for after half term (families should also receive letters in the post)
I would like to pass on my thanks, on behalf of the school, for the support of parents and the incredibly positive feedback we have received about our remote learning provision.  We are continually trying to reflect and improve on what we offer to students and it has been great to note how positive students in year 10, 11, 12 and 13 view their experience so far, based on the responses from our recent Online Learning survey.

As we approach the end of the half term I would like to flag up to parents a summary of what provision will look like after half term, for each year group in the school. I hope this clarity will be helpful.

Year Group Live Teaching Narrated lessons Optional Activities
7 & 8One lesson per week in English, Maths, Science, MFL, RE, History, GeographyArt, Textiles, DT, Food Tech, Music Core ITCore PE

Guidance and PSHCE

9Live lessons in English, Maths, Science, MFL, Geography, History, RE and all GCSE/BTEC Options subjectsArts Award, Core ITCore PE


10 & 11Live lessons in English, Maths, Science, MFL, Geography, History, RE and all GCSE/BTEC Options subjectsNone currently, although some departments use narrated resources for DIRT/assessment feedback – this is likely to be no more than once a half term.Core PE

It also worth flagging up that the subjects listed in the ‘optional activities’ do provide students with a chance to move away from their screens and take a break, or complete their well-being booklets or PE activities.  In Year 9, we are really proud with the quality of narrated resources in Core IT and Arts Award and encourage students to complete these wherever possible, however, these sessions also give students and parents a little flexibility, should they decide to use the hour for something different and catch up on the work at a later point.   We know how hard all our students and parents are working to manage the challenges of learning from home – please do contact your child’s Head of Year to talk through ways we can support them if they are struggling.

Finally, I thought it might be helpful to include some frequently asked questions – please see below:

Frequently asked questions

Will live lessons always last for the full hour?

The Google Meet will stay ‘live’ for the full hour, with the teacher on the call. However, teacher input might just be for the first 15- 20 minutes to set a task, with students then working independently being able to ask for help if they need it.

Does my child have to participate in the live lessons?

We strongly encourage attendance and think the blend we have for each year group is right – we have been delighted with student engagement so far and are confident we are supporting students the best we can.  However, all resources are posted for each lesson, so if a child cannot attend a live session, they will still be able to complete the work at a later time.

My child does not want to show their face. Do they have to have their cameras on?

We encourage all students to use their cameras where possible and practical and staff will very strongly encourage students joining the lessons with their cameras on.  However, we do not have ‘camera on’ as a requirement for attending a live lesson, your child is free to choose.

My child does not want to verbally contribute.  Do they have to use their mic?

No, students can use the chat box to contribute if they are uncomfortable or do not have a working microphone.  Our recent survey flagged up that whilst all students are confident using the chat box to contribute, some feel less confident making verbal contributions.   Over the coming weeks we are trialling a number of techniques to help offer alternative ways to contribute – including smaller ‘break out’ rooms, jam boards and the ‘ask a question’ function. 

My child needs some more flexibility to work at a time that suit them, how can you support this?

We feel that the continuation of the school timetable supports the majority of students with the maintenance of good routines and study habits – 98% of students who completed the online learning survey agreed that this was the case.  We are, however, aware that flexibility may be needed.  The table above outlines narrated lessons that could be completed at a different time and also highlights optional activities that students could choose not to complete in favour of exercise/hobbies/projects.

Why are live lesson recorded?  What happens to these recordings?

Live lessons are recorded for safeguarding purposes.  They are stored for 30 days and then deleted automatically.  Our GDPR impact assessment has been updated to cover the use and storage of live recordings.  Please note, live recordings of lessons will not be posted to Google Classroom and are only available for the teacher or senior school staff to view.

Mrs Halifax Artist of the week….
Fran Knight (Y11) has produced this fantastic coloured pencil study working from her own photos taken whist exploring the theme ‘Fragments’.  Fran’s colour blending is outstanding and, along with her meticulous attention to detail makes this a visually stunning observation.

Student Wellbeing – Wonderful Wednesday

Head of Year updates – Mr Avery and Year 9…
As this is the last bulletin of the half term, I want to start by congratulating the students of Year 9. I have been really impressed with how resilient the students have been in the face of such turmoil, and have displayed such a hardworking and positive attitude toward their studies. Their commitment to their live lessons has been very pleasing, with over 93% of students taking part every day last week. This will mean that when the time comes to return to school, the students will be in a very strong position to continue their transition to becoming excellent GCSE students. I am also very proud of the way they have supported each other, which has been visible both in and out of school. This display of compassion and trust toward each other has been inspiring, and testament to the wonderful students we have in the year group. I would also like to thank parents for all the support they have given their children in home schooling, which is certainly not easy while trying to work from home yourself! Despite the difficult circumstances, I have rarely been unable to reach parents, and the home/school partnership that has been established has been a strong cause of the success toward remote learning. When the prime minister updates us after half term, I sincerely hope we have a short wait before we return to school. However I know that should we have to stay at home a little longer, the students will continue to take their live lessons very seriously.

Over half term I am really encouraging students to have some time away from their studies, in order to have a good rest. With this in mind I would like to point parents to the reading tasks we have set for students of Year 9, as something to pass the time and hopefully broaden their horizons. To compliment this, school will be producing an activity table for students to use, that will suggest a range of tasks and activities students can have a go at over half term. We have designed the tasks so students can spend some time away from their computers, which I am sure will be a welcome change for them! These tasks and activities are not compulsory, but may act as a way to keep the students entertained while they are away from school. The activity table can be found in their year group classroom, and more details will follow in the Mr Daly’s bulletins.  

Student Wellbeing
I hope the students are finding time to enjoy themselves, even in this challenging time. Exercise, short walks, cooking and time away from a screen seems to be the most popular ways students are ‘switching off’ and looking after their wellbeing. The picture below of Y9 student Will Vincent baking macaroons at home, as a way to counter the boredom of lockdown and increase his skillset! The end product looked amazing, and a challenge has very much been set to see if Mr Martin ( Our Head of Food Tech and former professional Chef) can match the quality of Will’s baking! Who knows, in a few years’ time Will could become a great British Bake Off Champion!

Staff Recognition
I have been inundated once again with praise for Year 9 in their live lessons this week. To put them all in unfortunately takes up too much room, however here are some highlights:

  • Amazing work by 9d1 Science, with perfect attendance nearly every lesson, engaging throughout and everyone handing in exceptional work even with some technical difficulties from my side. – Mr Dervenkar
  • Well done to Ruby Holland for extra effort in lessons this week and to all of my lovely Year 9 Science group who are doing their best in challenging circumstances and especially when my computer froze on Tuesday morning leaving everyone wondering where I had gone in the Google Meet. Mr Williams
  • Year 9 Science – Persevering with some tricky Physics stuff on half-life and radiation.  Well done to all.  Mr Lever
  • 9A/Gg1 – Dr Paul. Really excellent work across both lessons this week – well done, you are working so hard and I can see real improvements to your work over these live lessons. Great job, and thank you for your compassionate additions in the lessons today (Weds)
  • 9B/Gg2 – Dr Paul. You all absolutely sped through the work day, and shared some really detailed and considerate answers. Great job 9B. I am proud of your application today.
  • Really impressed with my Year 9  GCSE Computer Science class – I have had 100% attendance in all live lessons and most people are putting tonnes of effort into their assessed project. Special mentions to Ben B and Logan for perseverance and resilience towards their learning. Mrs Parkinson 😊

Year 8 Options Evening
As I said yesterday we are looking forward to hosting our next virtual Parents Evening for Year 8 families this evening. If you haven’t had a chance to look at these they are available via the link below:

For us Year 9 is an important part of the AHS Journey, this transition year before GCSE studies begin an opportunity to both try new subjects as appropriate but also through the Arts Award continue to experience a full range of creative subjects. This breadth of experience is really important and during Year 9 students will have the opportunities to change their chosen subjects if they feel the need to do so.  Students will continue to engage in the creative practical based subjects through studying the Arts Award which includes – Art, Design and Technology, Music and Food.

Personal development is rooted in the Year 9 curriculum through character and culture lessons, curriculum enrichment opportunities, enrichment days, ICT, PSHCE, Young leaders, creative arts and STEM enrichment trips to external organisations or providers across the country. The Year 9 transition year enables us to offer a varied programme of enrichment that aids students’ personal development, as well as significantly underpinning their understanding of our school values, British Values and cultures other than their own.

The transition year (Year 9) which is central to the development and mastery of key skills that underpin higher order concepts within future KS4 teaching. The transition year builds on the strong academic core of subjects studied, which for the vast majority of students includes – Maths, English Language, English Literature, Science, RE, Geography/History and a Modern Foreign Language. Alongside this and the opportunity to start new subjects, there are lessons to aid character development and opportunity for curriculum enrichment provide students with an exceptionally rich, varied and dynamic curriculum offer.

Collective Worship
Over the next 6 weeks our Collective Worship is based on material from the Archbishop of York Youth Trust. Called Pilgrim Pathways it will take pupils on a pilgrimage journey through Lent, looking at items that are important on a walking pilgrimage. Each item symbolises ideas that can help them when facing challenges in their personal life journey. The first item is a lamp.

Wednesday – “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.