COVID 19 – Update 18

Welcome back!

We hope your Easter break was as relaxing and as enjoyable as it could be in the circumstances.

We received really lovely, positive comments last term with regard to what we have been trying to achieve in terms of home learning for our students.  Some of these comments are attached below and we’d like to thank those who take the trouble to do this as it really does lift teachers’ spirits to know what they are doing is appreciated, in these very challenging circumstances.

Read Compliments

A ‘thank you’ also, to those of you who have sent in such wonderful photographs and videos of the great “Easterachievements” your children have accomplished.  We invited these as part of a positive approach to Easter but we are happy to continue to receive them and post them on our Facebook and Twitter platforms.  If we do receive them we will assume that we have both your permission and your child’s permission to do so. We will only use their first names.  This is really important but it is a lovely way of giving students some public recognition of their amazing resilience and creativity. We also hope that we can share some good ideas about keeping young people healthy – both physically and mentally and keeping their brains active and challenged. Above all, they have made many people smile!

There is still no clarity about when we might return to ‘normal’. We know that some families for a whole host of reasons find “studying from home’ more challenging than others. As we start afresh with another term of ‘studying from home’, here are some tips that  Ms. Jones, Our KS3 Co-ordinator for English, has put together. It is addressed to students and it may help parents to print it off for them.

Top Tips for Home Study

is important, if you can, to clear a workspace that is dedicated to work. This ideally should be separate from the space you relax in. Ideally, it should be a table and chair but if that’s not available then work with what you’ve got.
It reate a quiet environment, free from distractions – again if this is possible. Perhaps request that siblings (if you have any) don’t interrupt you. Music can be a distraction as well as a study aid. It can help to block out any other sounds in the house but choose your music carefully or it will distract you. Music without words can be best for focusing.

Try to keep a routine Monday to Friday so that it feels a little more structured like a school day usually would. If you can begin work at 9am and finish latest 3:30pm, it might bring some normality back. Schedule in your usual breaks at 11am and a lunch break. Do two hours, break, two hours, lunch and one more hour after if you can manage it.

In your lunch break, try to get some fresh air if you can, do some physical exercise, read something for pleasure or engage in a hobby.  You could also keep a diary of how this very significant event in world history is affecting you.

Pack away your workspace at 3:30pm knowing you’ve worked hard in the time allocated; know this is your time to relax and focus on other tasks you enjoy. Have a reward to look forward to at this time – like sitting down to your favourite series or whatever you prefer.

You should avoid answering messages on your phone when you should be working.

Set yourself tasks to do in those two hour blocks. Perhaps parents/carers can help you come up with a schedule each day to help you organise the work you have set from SMHW.

Finally, go easy on yourself. Work well for the time allocated, try as hard as you can and whatever you produce is better than doing nothing.

Work/Life balance

This is something that challenges us all which is why we have issued well being guidance https://www.aesessex.co.uk/news/well-being-guidance/ as well as ‘studying from home guidance’ https://www.aesessex.co.uk/studying-from-home-guidance/ .  One phrase we have taken as our own in recent weeks is “Stay home, stay safe, stay happy”.  We know it’s important for young people to stay connected. If you have any concerns about a young person’s health and well-being, please contact the school on enquiries@aesessex.co.uk and a member of the Achievement Team will be in contact with you.

Year 11 and Upper Sixth examinations

We are in the process of collating data to be sent to the examination boards. We can base our judgments on previous achievements including mock results, coursework and previous data input on our students. We are awaiting further information on exactly what could be considered. We will ‘calculate’ a grade which is the best we can justify in each subject for each student. These grades will then be submitted and moderated by OfQual. Until we have clarity on the detail of the data they require and the appeals process, please retain all evidence of your progress and achievement – exercise books, assignment, project work, coursework, evidence of wider reading.  Once they have been published there may be cases where students do not feel their grade is fair.  It is at that point that you may choose to appeal and when you may need to produce as much evidence as you can to support your appeal. Please remember that staff are not at liberty to discuss these grades with students, disclose the final grade submitted and will not be open to debate on their decisions.

Show My Homework

This continues to be the means by which we set work.  There are still some students who have not accessed SMH. If you are having trouble logging on please email feedback@aesessex.co.uk.  It is really important you respond to the work set by your teachers because when school does start again it will be less of a struggle getting up to speed in each subject. Our Leadership Team and Subject Leaders are monitoring student engagement with work. If students are not in touch with their teachers or not submitting work regularly, a member of staff will be in touch with you to ensure that the student is well, able to access resources and is coping with the work set.

BBC

The BBC have announced their plans to support parents with home learning.  Information about the arrangements, due to start today, 20 April,  can be found here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-52149409 The lessons will happen on a daily basis via BBCBitesize which many of you will be familiar with. Our staff will be looking at these next week and sign-posting areas of interest for their groups.

Free School Meals

If you qualify for Free School Meals and have registered with us, we will have made contact with you to ensure you benefit from the new government scheme.  In some cases, we have not heard back from you, despite e-mailing and telephoning using the contacts we have.  Please contact us via feedback@aesessex.co.ukif you have not been contacted, and wish to claim the free school meals vouchers to which you are entitled.

The Essex School Nursing Team

The School Nursing team have set up a phone line called ‘Chat Health’ 07520 615733. Young people can phone up themselves if they have low level health related questions or want to discuss any worries. Parents can also phone up if they want advice e.g. how to manage children at home with ADHD.

Communication with school

As a general rule, we will use these Parent Updates to respond to questions or ideas you put to us in emails.  Where the situation is personal or more serious, we will respond individually or ask the most relevant person to do so.