Principal’s Letter 21st April 2020.
Dear parents, carers and students
As we start the most unusual summer term of my thirty years as a teacher, I hope you are all coping as well as possible in these strange times.
It does not look like we will be allowed to open school for you all in the near future, so I wanted to make sure you have all the help you need to keep learning during the lockdown.
Where you have access to the internet, students should be accessing learning via SAM Learning and/or GCSE Pod. Go to our website www.shirebrookacademy.org and click on ‘work for closure’ to access work set by our teachers. The web site is also the place to go for updates and news as well as our twitter feed @shireacademy
In addition, teachers are sending work and messages via the school email and students are able to email their teachers directly on that address. Please use the school email rather than private ones to keep the communication secure. If you have any problems accessing your school email or SAM Learning / GCSE Pod please call school reception, email your form teacher or email NMehrotraHughes@shirebrookacademy.org for help.
This week the DfE have set up a new platform for lessons, Oak National Academy – you can follow this link to access lessons – 180 new lessons are uploaded each week. https://www.thenational.academy/
There are also lots of great ideas for activities being produced by the BBC and various other organisations.
If you do not have access to the internet we can provide printed materials for you to work from, just let us know by calling reception or by emailing your form tutor. The government have just announced a scheme to provide laptops and routers to a limited number of students in Y10 if you do not have access already and are eligible for Pupil Premium, plus any children who are supported by local authority social care. If you are eligible for this scheme we will be in touch with details of how it will work once we have further guidance from government.
The most important thing is to make sure you have a routine and follow it as much as you possibly can. It is easy to find the day drifting by without getting much done and for each day to seem much like another.
My advice would be to draw a timetable that:
- runs Monday to Friday
- includes at least four hours of school work each day
- include at least one physical activity during the day
- includes some time reading for pleasure each day
- if working on a computer remember to take regular breaks away from the screen
- keep regular bed time, getting up time and meal times as you would if still at school
In addition, this is a great time to learn new skills or perfect an old one and to try something creative. You could try playing a musical instrument, drawing, painting or photography, dancing, creative writing, cooking, making something – wherever your imagination takes you really.
Above all, stay safe, be kind to each other and get in touch if you have any concerns.
I hope to see you all soon,
Principal, Shirebrook Academy
A message for all GCSE, AS and A level students this summer…
I understand how unsettling the past weeks have been for you, since the announcement that exams have been cancelled this summer, and that you are urgently waiting for news. I wanted to let you know what we are doing to provide you with grades. Our over-riding aim in this is to be fair to students this summer and to make sure you are not disadvantaged in your progress to sixth form, college, university, apprenticeships, training or work because of these unprecedented conditions.
How will grades be calculated?
Your school or college will be asked to send exam boards two pieces of information for each of your subjects, based on what they know about your work and achievements:
- the grade they believe you were most likely to get if teaching, learning and exams had happened as planned
- within each subject, the order of students at your school or college, by performance, for each grade. This information will be used to standardise judgements – allowing fine-tuning of the standard applied across schools and colleges
Your school or college will consider a range of things like your classwork and homework; your results in assignments and any mock exams; any non-exam assessment or coursework you might have done; and your general progress during your course.
This information will allow us, with exam boards, to standardise grades across schools and colleges, to make sure that, as far as possible, results are fair and that students are not advantaged or disadvantaged because their schools or colleges are more generous or harsh than others when making those judgements. That means the final grade you get could be different from the one your school or college sends to the exam board.
Do I need to complete any new work for my school/college to submit a grade?
Your school or college is not required to set additional mock exams or homework for your centre assessment grade, and you won’t be disadvantaged if you were not set, or were unable to complete, any work given out after schools were closed.
Can I see the grades my school/college submits for me?
No, this information will be confidential. Please don’t ask your teachers, or anyone else at your school or college, to tell you the grades they will be sending to the exam boards or where they have placed you in the order of students; they will not be allowed to share this with you.
I am a private candidate – what does this mean for me?
If you are a private candidate (for example, home-schooled, following distance-learning programmes or studying independently) the centre you are entering with should include you where the headteacher or principal is confident that they and their staff have seen sufficient evidence of your achievement to make an objective judgement. We are urgently exploring whether there are alternative options for those students who do not have an existing relationship with a centre and who need results this summer to progress. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to be possible for all private candidates, some of whom may instead need to take exams in the autumn to get their grades. We appreciate that this is a matter of real concern to private candidates and will provide an update as soon as possible.
We have asked organisations that represent universities and FE colleges to consider the steps that providers could take when making admissions decisions this summer for any private candidates who do not receive a grade. They have told us that they believe that institutions will consider a range of other evidence and information for these students to allow them to progress wherever possible.
When will I get my results?
We’re working hard to get results out as soon as is possible – results won’t be delayed after the dates they were expected in August, and ideally, they will be issued a little earlier, so you can have the certainty you need.
Can I take my exams another time?
We are working with exam boards to offer additional exams in the autumn term as soon as it is possible to do so. We’ll let you know about these in the coming weeks. The information we have published covers GCSEs, AS and A levels, plus Extended Project Qualifications and Additional Extension Awards in maths. You can find out more about which qualifications and students are included, and the current arrangements for those which are not, in our detailed guidance; along with answers to other questions that you and your parents or carers might have. We will keep updating our guidance as new information becomes available, including to share details about vocational and technical qualifications as soon as we can, so please keep an eye on our website.
Please be reassured that the grades you get this summer will look exactly the same as in previous years, and they will have equal status with universities, colleges and employers, to help you move forward in your lives as planned.
With every best wish,
20th March 2020
Good morning, Parents and Carers,
Gov.Uk have now published the list of key workers for whom care provision should be available in academies and schools. Many parents working in these sectors may be able to ensure their child is kept at home and the guidance states that every child who can be safely cared for at home should be. Therefore, if it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.
The guidance can be found via this link. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision
If your work is included in the list of key workers and you would like your child to attend our academy from next week onwards, please contact us immediately via email address email@example.com
Health and Social Care
This includes but is not limited to doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector; those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributers of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment.
Education and Childcare
This includes nursery and teaching staff, social workers and those specialist education professionals who must remain active during the COVID-19 response to deliver this approach.
Key Public Services
This includes those essential to the running of the justice system, religious staff, charities and workers delivering key frontline services, those responsible for the management of the deceased, and journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting.
Local and National Government
This only includes those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the COVID-19 response or delivering essential public services such as the payment of benefits, including in government agencies and arms length bodies.
Food and other Necessary Goods
This includes those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines).
Public Safety and National Security
This includes police and support staff, Ministry of Defence civilians, contractor and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs and essential to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic), fire and rescue service employees (including support staff), National Crime Agency staff, those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff and other national security roles, including those overseas.
This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass.
Utilities, Communication and Financial Services
This includes staff needed for essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure), the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage), information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the COVID-19 response, as well as key staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 critical services), postal services and delivery, payments providers and waste disposal sectors.
Re: Announcement of school closures as of 3.10pm on Friday 20th March
Further to this announcement, I can confirm that Shirebrook Academy will close at 3.10pm on 20th March to all students except those who are the children of ‘key workers’ (definition to be confirmed by the government), those children who have an allocated social worker and those identified as being our most vulnerable.
Students who attend school will have a planned day of activities, delivered by staff from the academy. The academy building will be open between 8.30am and 3.30pm with normal school day lessons and break times. Please note only the front entrance will be open for students. Johnsons have informed us that buses 524 Langwith & 135 New Houghton. Pleasley and Glapwell will continue to run as normal, however, if this changes we will let you know. There will be a limited school meal offer or students may bring their own packed lunch as normal. Students entitled to a free school meal will have a meal provided.
All other students should follow their normal timetable at home as far as possible, accessing work set by their teachers on SAM Learning, GCSE Pod, the school website ‘work for closure’ section or via printed materials that have been sent home with students. If you do not have access to the internet and need more printed resources, please call the school and we will send resources home. The Government has announced that they will organise a voucher scheme for students entitled to Free School Meals who are at home, we will let you know as soon as we receive details of this scheme. The announcement stated that schools would continue to operate this approach until further notice.
With regards to students in Y11, the announcement also clarified that students in these year groups would not take their examinations this May and June and that their future pathway at Post 16 would not be impeded because of this decision. I am sure that further clarity about what that actually means in practice for students will be released over the next few days. We appreciate that this may well have left our students bewildered and uncertain. They have worked so hard and all deserve to gain good results this summer. The Government is committed to ensuring that students will not be disadvantaged by this decision.
I will, of course, continue to communicate with you on a regular basis, giving you the latest updates and the implications for our young people.
Could I please ask, if you have not done so already, that you email Belinda Norman firstname.lastname@example.org if you believe you meet the ‘keyworker’ criteria and you wish for your child(ren) to continue to attend school.
If you have any further questions about these arrangements, then please do not hesitate to contact us.
Coronavirus Update Friday 13 March 2020
The current government guidance is for schools to remain open and there are no plans to close any schools in the near future. If this advice changes we have contingency plans to provide work for students to do at home via packs of work, SAM Learning and the curriculum areas of the website. The government plan is for GCSE exams to proceed as normal.
If any students or staff test positive for Coronavirus we will take advice from Public Health England and keep you informed.
Please continue to send your child to school and remind them to maintain good hygiene by regularly washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds.
If your child develops symptoms of Coronavirus, a persistent cough and high temperature, they should stay at home for a week and consult your doctor or call the NHS helpline 111. If this happens, please make sure you inform us that the reason for absence is due to symptoms of Coronavirus and you must inform us if you or your child test positive for the virus.
On government advice the scheduled trips to Berlin, Barcelona and Toulon have been cancelled. We are in contact with the travel companies and our insurers and hope to be able to recover costs but cannot guarantee this at this stage. We will confirm details by letter as soon as possible, if you have any queries please contact our finance office.