Well, that’s another week of lockdown done and, with any luck, we’re another week closer to welcoming everyone back into school. As you will be aware, earlier this week the government announced that schools would not re-open until 8th March at the earliest; this of course is a little later than anticipated and is also dependent on the infection rate reducing and progress with the vaccination programme. However, it is the latest information available so we should all plan for this date until we hear otherwise.
Once again, thanks must go to those of you who continue to complete all of your work online. This commitment will be reflected in the progress that you make and, ultimately, in your GCSE outcomes. Additionally, and it goes without saying that, a huge ‘thank you’ is also due to the massive numbers of parents and carers at home who support online learning every day in very challenging circumstances.
It is really not too late to engage with learning, even if you have been a bit reluctant to join your lessons on Google Classroom so far. Remember, lessons will have a mixture of approaches. Sometimes, lessons will simply be a range of relevant resources that your teacher has uploaded to enable you to work independently; they may include a task for you to complete and return. Lessons may also be recorded. In this instance you will hear your teacher delivering the content to you, but this will not be interactive and you won’t be able to ask questions in real time. Lastly, there will be a significant number of live lessons, which will reflect what usually happens in the classroom as closely as it is possible to achieve. These lessons will encourage real-time interaction with your teacher and your peers.
Staff at school are making every effort to contact the parents and carers of those students who are struggling to engage with online learning in an effort to offer support and encouragement. Work is uploaded onto Google Classroom for every student, for every subject, for every lesson and students should be accessing their learning by following their normal school timetable,
If, for any reason, you still have a problem with either the practical or technical use of Google Classroom, in the first instance, please look at the resources under the ‘Home Learning’ tab on the school website. However, if you still have unanswered questions, please contact the school directly and we will do our best to resolve any issues you may have.
As you can see, this week, the brick work on our new building has gained height significantly. Additionally, there are many more of the door and window frames in place around the entire building. The building is virtually enclosed fully now and work on the first fit on the interior will be underway in the very near future: watch this space for an early sneak preview!
We are very conscious that Covid 19, not just in terms of the latest lockdown and school closure, is having a massive impact on student mental health and well-being. A lot of students are suffering from lack of motivation, boredom, and many of them are late to bed and late to get up because they are out of the routine of the normal school day. Perhaps more importantly, it is the opportunity for face to face contact and social interaction, a need to be with their friends, that the school environment provides in addition to the learning experience that they are lacking. Additionally, for some students, a dangerous lack of extended physical activity is contributing to a negative mind-set and even depression; we all need to remain active to keep our brains stimulated.
Please follow the link below to an assembly to promote Children's Mental Health Week; it will be available to watch from 9.00am on Monday 1st February.
This week, Mrs Hassall - the Head of Modern Foreign Languages, has sent home over sixty e-certificates to the parents and carers of students from Year 7 to Year 11. The certificates were awarded in recognition of brilliant engagement with their learning on Google Classroom. It feels really wonderful to celebrate something and to reinforce our pride in these students. It is also great to focus on something very positive for a change. Congratulations to all of you.
If I knew you were coming I’d have baked a cake…
Mrs Hayden was delighted to be back doing the thing she loves best: baking with the students. They made a traditional Victoria Sandwich cake to take home for their parents and carers to enjoy with a hard-earned cuppa. Looks lovely guys. Save me a bit next time please!
Huge ‘Thank You’
As always, the people in the community of Blacon pull together when things are tough. We can’t say a ‘thank you’ big enough to the Blacon Boxing Club for their fantastic donation this week. As a result of their generosity, the school will be able to purchase a further four laptops that will be distributed to students who are struggling to gain access to an appropriate device to support home learning. Amazing!
A number of students and staff were recently involved in a wellbeing consultation run by ‘Young Minds’. As a result of working with them and ‘Nature Friendly Schools’, we have secured funding of almost £2000. The grant will be used to create a vegetable garden and an outdoor classroom, which will enhance the curriculum and support elements of learning in science, Food Technology and the work with students who access the Sanctuary. However, the resource will be available for the delivery of lessons in any subject area, or simply for a change of environment. Additionally, it will be a peaceful place where staff might find a quiet corner and some fresh air at lunch time or do some marking. Finally, it will be a key space for the school’s gardening club and gardening ASDAN course. ‘Groundworks’ will be preparing the space in the next few weeks.
Winter Mini Reading Challenge
We all get fed up of doing the same old thing so why not exit that Xbox, put down your PlayStation and relegate that remote so you can take part in the ‘coolest’ activity ever? Join the Winter Mini Reading Challenge in connection with ‘Arts Council England’!
This event is running until the 19th of February and there is a certificate for those who read three books before then. For more details, see the Virtual Libraries across the English Department or follow the link below.
As always, our aim is to continue to offer the best educational offer to our students. Please look out on the school website and on social media for the latest updates and announcements, especially with regard to changes of procedure or key information relating to our response to Covid 19. Also, dates for our virtual Progress Evenings are soon to be published.
Have a great week and ‘Stay Safe’