Month: January 2021

Organisation: how to stay on track with schoolwork

With all the constant changes and the return of learning from home, we thought we’d share some advice to make sure you don’t feel overwhelmed with managing your schoolwork and notes.
Organising your time and lessons at home is important to help you remember what you’ve learnt – it also makes future revision so much easier.
Take the time every day while you’re learning from home to sort through and organise the key knowledge and notes you’ve gained.

Here’s our top tips on making notes and staying organised with your schoolwork:

Create a timetable or planner
When it’s time to sit down and do your work, you can become easily distracted or want to go off and do something else. But setting up a timetable or planner will help you stay on track with the work you need to do while we learn from home.
Blocking out a small window of time each day will help you to easily organise your workload and make helpful notes. Plan your schoolwork for the same times you would be in school and that will help you to stay in a routine and keep time free for winding down and relaxing.

Mix it up
Sitting down for long periods of time to do the same subject isn’t good for concentration or remembering what you’ve learned. Split your time into smaller sections and mix up your schedule so your brain stays active and doesn’t work on autopilot.
When you sit down to work, break your time up into 30-minute chunks. Write notes and focus on one topic for 20-25 minutes, then have a 5-10 minute break before moving onto something else. In that break you could fetch a drink or grab a different book for your next topic. Moving away from your work for a few minutes helps your mind to concentrate and retain information.

Be visual
When you’re trying to revise or remember information, it’s best to use easy to read layouts such as mind maps or posters. Revision notes that are simple and clear can help build your subject memory.
Colours are also helpful, for example if you highlight the key information in your notes these will stand out and you’ll find it’s easier to remember them. Make sure to create revision aids you can put around the house so that you’re constantly reminded of important information – Post-It notes are best for this.

Year 11 – Examination Guidance Information

Dear Student, Parents/Carers
Year 11 – Examination Guidance Information
The Prime Minister announced on Monday evening that GCSE examinations would not take place in the normal way and today it has been outlined by the Secretary of State for Education that GCSE examinations are cancelled. In the coming days I am hopeful that we will get specific detailed information regarding what will replace the examinations, but it seems reasonable for us to assume that students will receive grades based on a similar teacher assessment system to the summer series 2020. This system involved teachers assessing performance using classwork and homework, coursework, mock examination results and other evidence.

I am aware of the shock and disappointment this decision may have caused particularly as over recent months the government have consistently told you, your parents and/or carers, and your teachers that examinations would happen this year and you have all been working towards that.

However, having had time to reflect I would ask you all to consider the following four points as they should provide some reassurance:
1. Hard work will still be recognised. The work you are being asked to do now from home will be used to support decisions regarding your final grade. The quality of your work and your attitude to learning will all be taken into account, if we have to rank you as per the system last year.
2. Effort will still be recognised. None of the effort you have shown so far, and will continue to show in the coming months, will be wasted; the new system will make sure that this is fully reflected in the final grade you achieve in every subject. Your outstanding commitment to your studies will reap rewards and secure you the grades you are capable of and deserve. Please also remember that for any subject you are planning to go on to study Post 16, you will need the knowledge that the online learning is offering.
3. Eventual results will be indistinguishable from real exams. In the long run, it will not matter that your grades may have come via this system. You will still be able to progress to college, apprenticeships and university in the normal way. The value of your GCSE qualifications is not being altered, only the way they are administered. None of your ambitions for the future will be affected by this decision.
4. The new system will be fair and balanced. Grades will be awarded based on objective evidence. Any grades that your teachers set will be moderated carefully, to ensure they are consistent within and between schools. If any parent or student were to be disappointed with their eventual grade, we expect there to be a mechanism to appeal and take a follow-up exam in the autumn, just as there was for the 2020 series.

I know I am probably asking a lot of you all, on top of everything you have been through already, but you must take these points on board and keep going. As you read this you may still be anxious, shocked and/or disappointed which is perfectly understandable under the circumstances. However, in the coming days you will process the news, and in the long run you will be absolutely fine. I want you all to remember that your teachers and I were aware of the possibility of changes to or cancellation of your examinations and will guide and support you through the coming months.
For now, all you need to do is trust your teachers, turn up for all your Teams lessons, keep working as hard as you can, and remember that every piece of work you complete will still make difference.
Year 11, I told you in an email yesterday that we have got you and you can do this; I mean it and more importantly believe it.
Yours sincerely
Jayne Schofield
Principal

Important information following Government Announcement 04.01.21

Dear Parent / Carer

 

Important information following Government Announcement 04.01.21

 

Following the Government announcement late yesterday, I again write to inform you of the changes that will now come into place regarding the notice of school closures.

 

First and foremost, the Academy will remain open to children of key workers and vulnerable students, with full time remote learning in place through Microsoft Teams for all remaining students. This means that all lessons will continue as per your child’s normal timetable. We respectfully request that key workers please complete the registration form via this link electronically to let us know if we are to expect your child in school following this latest announcement. Alternatively, you can email the school at the address at the top of this letter.

 

At present, we are still awaiting guidance regarding the process for students in receipt of Free School Meals. We will of course share this information with all eligible parents/carers as soon as we receive it.

 

I wish to clarify that no changes to start/end times, or to ‘bubbles’ will be made for the children of keyworkers and vulnerable students. These students will continue to attend school at the times listed overleaf, and on the same floor that they have been using since September. All students will be expected to attend in full Academy uniform. Should your circumstances change at any point, please could you inform the Academy on the email above or by calling the Academy on 01782 883500 at the earliest opportunity so that we can ensure that any child who should/should not be attending is expected in school and/or accounted for at all times.

 

Following my letter of 31st December, I have been overwhelmed with the offer of assistance with the Rapid Testing Programme. We are still in the process of ensuring that this is set up with the utmost health and safety measures in place, and I will be in touch with all parents/ carers, and volunteers, with full details once confirmed.

 

Once again, I apologise for the inconvenience the announcement may cause. I am hugely saddened to operating a ‘virtual school’ for the majority of our students.  However, I would like to take this opportunity to commend and thank all students for the excellent manner in which they have embraced this ‘new normal’ way of learning, and for continuing to commit to their education.

As ever I thank you for your continued patience, support and understanding.

Yours sincerely

 

 

 

 

Jayne Schofield

Principal

 

 

Reminder for Children of Key Workers and Vulnerable Students

Times of the day

Important information following Government Announcement 30.12.2020

 Dear Parent / Carer 

Important information following Government Announcement 30.12.2020

As you may have seen in the news, the Government announced late yesterday that the staggered return to school for all secondary school students has been amended. 

The statement says “that the decision to alter the start dates was made in light of case rates rising across the country and the need to begin applying the contingency framework for education”. This therefore means the following for our students: 

• Week beginning Monday 4th January 2021 – school will be open for face to face learning for vulnerable children (those with an EHCP and/or social worker) and the children of key workers. Remote learning will take place following the normal timetable via Microsoft TEAMS for all remaining students in Years 7-11. 

• Week beginning Monday 11th January 2021 – we expect all Year 11 students along with all children of key workers and all vulnerable students to return to lessons as normal in the Academy, as advised by the Government. Remote learning, via TEAMs will be provided for all remaining students in Years 7-10. 

• Week beginning Monday 18th January 2021 – all students will return to school unless they are self-isolating. 

For students without access to the internet, a work pack will be delivered to your child, if it was not already provided before the Christmas break. Year 10 and Year 11 should all be equipped to access remote learning via Microsoft TEAMS. 

All Year 11 vocational examinations timetabled for the beginning of January will take place as planned. We will contact Year 11 students involved early next week to confirm arrangements. 

As you would have seen in the press yesterday, the Department for Education is intending to roll out a programme of on-site asymptomatic coronavirus testing for secondary schools in January 2021 and they hope to continue with primary schools in February. I believe that in the long run this will help us to minimise Covid cases in schools and minimise the disruption caused by staff and students needing to self-isolate. Early identification of asymptomatic cases will reduce the need to self-isolate because of track and trace. 

I hope that you will give your permission for your child to be tested when it is deemed necessary and as part of the arrangements that we are endeavouring to set up. So there is no concern or confusion, we will not have our testing centre facility open that quickly, as staffing for testing is not yet in place given the timing of the announcement. I will set up our testing centre as soon as I know that I can do so safely and effectively, and will work to do this as quickly as possible. 

If anyone would like to volunteer to support the testing programme at the academy please contact me via email at jayne.schofield@thistleyhoughacademy.org.uk or via 07817840444. 

Once again apologies for the any inconvenience the announcement may cause. I will be in touch again with further information relating to testing in due course. 

As ever I thank you for your continued patience, support and understanding. Wishing you all a Happy New Year. 

Yours sincerely 

Jayne Schofield 

Principal