Blog #22 – w/c 15/03/21
Well, this week we seem to have settled back into something that resembles the usual routine of a day a Blacon High School. This is testament to the resilience of students, staff, parents and carers. Yes, the school day has been interrupted by the lateral flow testing schedule, but for the most part, it feels great to be back. Whilst we acknowledge that Google Classroom offers a reasonable substitute, you can’t beat the real thing and teachers are delighted to be teaching face to face again.
We have now finished the third round of lateral flow testing in school. Thanks go to all of the staff who volunteered to support this initiative, and to the students who have been an absolute model of good behaviour and maturity. The process was very well organised and managed so that, by the second round of testing, everyone knew where to go, when and what to do once they got there.
Now it’s over to you. All students have been issued with home testing kits. The recommendation is that these tests are completed on Monday and Thursday mornings before school. In terms of getting organised, do the test as soon as you’re up and then you can be getting ready while you’re waiting for the result. Remember, it is really important that you report your result on the NHS website.
As all of the parents and carers of Year 11 students know, there are no GCSE exams this year in the normal sense; there are no summative exams. This sounds like it should be good news. Teachers will be predicting grades based on their knowledge of students’ ability, the work they have managed to complete during the year and any assessments that they may have done. The difficulty is that teachers need to be able to justify the grades they predict so it is vital that there is a bank of moderated evidence, at the correct level, that can be used when grades are checked and agreed by examination boards. Therefore, in the last few weeks before we have to submit grades, I can’t stress enough how important it is for our Year 11 students to remain motivated, focus on 100% attendance and maintain a really positive attitude to learning, as we pull together portfolios of evidence in each subject area. The Department for Education has not been ‘specific’ about exactly what they want to see, or the quantity they will expect, so we can only work with the information that is available. However, they are aware that, in some subject areas, students will not have been able to cover all of the content in the GCSE specification and there is no requirement to try to cover this at this late stage. Rest assured that we are putting every piece of support in place to underpin the fantastic outcomes that our students deserve after what has been a most unsettling and challenging twelve months.
Who needs Eurovision?
Like so many other events that were affected by Covid 19, the 2020 Eurovision Song contest did not take place and while this year’s event will go ahead, it will be in a very different format to ensure the health and safety of all participants. But who needs Eurovision anyway?
Our very own Data Manager, Mark Maher, won a recent ‘Circl8 Radio’ song writing contest with his original composition: ‘Born Again’. The song looks forward to the rebirth of friendships and gigs in the near future as restrictions associated with Covid 19 begin to be relaxed. Since winning the competition, Mark’s song has enjoyed a number of plays on Circl8 Radio.
This may not be the last we hear from Mark as the competition prize was a two-day recording session at 1619 Studios in North Wales. Well done Mark.
You can listen to the song by following the link below.
In any academic calendar, the last few weeks of Year 11 is a tense time as the exam season approaches. Even with examinations not forming part of the assessment process in May and June this year, some subjects have already had elements of their study examined, and so it feels great to get something in the bag in terms of attainment and outcomes.
In Music, the BTEC Course has four units, one of which is a written exam about the music industry. Pupils would usually take the exam during the summer term, but due to restrictions with practical lessons and playing instruments in music lessons during the autumn term, the KS4 BTEC classes focused on the written exam. Both Year 11 and Year 10 BTEC Music classes were entered and they all took their exam in January, coming into school at the start of term under very unusual circumstances: we were in lockdown!
Results were released on Thursday of this week and Miss McHale is so proud of outcomes. All of our students passed the exam with a Level 2 qualification, and we had 16 pupils who gained a Distinction, which is the highest grade possible.
Well done Year 10 and Year 11; you deserve these wonderful results.
There aren’t too many obvious, observable changes to the exterior of the building any more so I’ve tried to give you an idea of the progress with the build by looking from different angles. I WILL get in there soon. As you can see, the building is watertight, windows are in and the lights are on. This really is an exciting addition to the portfolio of resources we have in our school and it will help us to expand the range of support we offer to all students.
I Can’t Stand the Rain…..
It seems ironic that it’s a sunny day but our colourful new shelters are now complete. The design and the colours were selected initially by the Student Leadership Team. There are now four, additional, outdoor, covered areas that offer additional seating and somewhere else to eat lunch or chat to friends; they also afford some protection from the wind, the rain, and, on those brighter days, they even offer some shade from the sun. They are set at different angles in the hope that they will offer some protection, regardless of the direction of the wind and they are already proving popular with students.
We’ve got the first two weeks under our belts already, and there are only two more until school closes for the Easter break. Whilst for some this might seem like it is coming too quickly, for others, it can’t come soon enough. I am so proud of the way our students have returned to school and the positive attitude they have displayed.
We are being very positive about the way we are responding to the impact of Covid 19. We are not focusing on ‘catching up’ or ‘lost learning’ because there is a huge chunk of the academic year that we can’t get back. So instead, we are concentrated on using the time we have effectively to support student progress.
Blacon High School is a very special community and if you have anything that you want to discuss, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we will do our best to support you and resolve any concerns.