Month: March 2021

Dear Parent/Carer

RE: Easter Break / Important Information

Easter Break/ Important Information
I write to remind you that the Easter break will commence on Friday 2nd April 2021. The Academy will reopen to students on Monday 19th April. The staggered start and finish times will remain in place for individual year groups. You will find a reminder of these times attached for your convenience.

Attendance
In line with government expectations, attendance and punctuality remain a priority as always, and we would urge you to remind your child of the importance of good attendance and arriving to school on time. Having missed so much time together as a school community, following the Easter break we will be relaunching our attendance focus. We will be closely monitoring all students to ensure full attendance throughout the Summer Term, and rewards will be on offer for 100% attendance and punctuality.

Uniform
As ever uniform remains an ongoing focus, and the vast majority of our students attend in full school uniform every day. Following the Easter break, and hopefully the start of fairer weather, it will not be essential that students wear their school jumpers.
However, blazers and the remainder of the Academy uniform will remain compulsory. Please be reminded that trainers of any type or design, and extreme hair colours, are not permitted.

Student Exits
From Monday 19th April, students who walk home will leave the Academy site via our summer gate, onto The Croft walkway. Students who are collected by car will continue to use the Newcastle Lane car park. Please be advised that students will not exit the building directly onto Thistley Hough at the front of the Academy.
Lateral Flow Testing and Positive Cases
Please could we request that your child continues with Lateral Flow Testing on Mondays and Thursdays throughout the Easter break. Results should be logged in the usual way. In the event that your child tests positive for Covid-19, please could I request that you contact the Academy on 07817 840444. This is a dedicated line for reporting any confirmed cases and will ensure that we can continue to act quickly and follow guidance from Public Health England. Should your child develop symptoms during the holiday break or come into close contact with anyone who has tested positive with Covid-19, please be reminded to follow the appropriate guidance regarding self-isolation. Your child should not return to school if they have symptoms (until tested negative), OR if they have had close contact with anyone who has tested positive with Covid-19.

Year 11

I would like to take this opportunity to give a special mention to our Year 11 students as they enter into the final term of their journey at Thistley Hough Academy. With the end of their secondary education in sight, I want to thank them for their incredible resilience and outstanding effort throughout the last 12 months, and to wish them success in the upcoming weeks. They have relentlessly demonstrated Pride, Respect and Commitment and can confidently look back upon this time with the knowledge that they were absolutely amazing! Keep going Year 11 – with good attendance and commitment to your studies, you will succeed.
With Ramadan commencing on 12th April and Easter weekend upon us, I hope you are all able to have a restful break. I wish to thank all students, parents/carers and staff for their commitment over what can only be described as an extraordinary year.
Yours sincerely

 

Jayne Schofield

Principal

Four for Four Recipe Book

Creative Education Trust is proud to partner with chef Alex Bond to create four simple recipes for the family to enjoy: classic lasagne; spaghetti Bolognese, home baked pizza; and a roast chicken dinner.

Four for Four Recipe Book
Each recipe provides four servings, and the shopping list for ingredients for all four of these recipes will cost around £15 in most major UK supermarkets. Fantastic value for a set of sit-down family meals.
We would love to see what you make. Please share your photos and comments with us on Twitter: @CreativeEdTrust

Express yourself with creative writing

With World Poetry Day on 21 March, we wanted to share the great benefits that can be achieved by expressing yourself through creative writing and poetry.

Whether you choose to share your words with others or not, putting pen to paper and releasing your thoughts and feelings can help to improve your wellbeing and knowledge.

While it may seem a simple step, the advantages can’t be denied. Expressing yourself through written words can help you to:

Improve brain power

While expressing your emotions and feelings throughout creative writing, you can also improve your cognitive learning in a variety of ways. For example, looking for alternative phrases which have the same meaning will help you to expand on your knowledge of the English language. Or when you use certain sentence structures, you may need to reach a specific number of words, syllables or lines which will incorporate an element of maths into your writing.

Achieve self-awareness

Writing out your thoughts and feelings can help you identify the things in your life that are important to you which ultimately make you happy. When you combine your emotions with creative writing you reflect on who you are as a person. This reflection can help you to create goals and improve your self-confidence while understanding who you are as an individual.

Build communication skills

When you write creatively you have the option to build your own universe complete with imaginary characters and settings. Creativity like this can help you to feel empathy and understanding for other people’s situations, allowing you to better communicate with them. Creative writing can also increase your use of words which will help you to better communicate your thoughts and ideas.

Improve your wellbeing

Several research studies have found that creative writing can offer improved mental, emotional, and physical health benefits. It has also been found to reduce stress levels, and alleviate tension, even if you don’t share your creative work with other people. Reduced stress and tension can help you to sleep better, control your weight, reduce illness and recover faster if you are ill, improve both mood and relationships with family and friends.

If you want a way to express your emotions in an anonymous way, you can send your submissions to our WorryBox, where our staff are on hand to support you.

Share your emotions with our WorryBox by emailing – worrybox@thistleyhoughacademy.org.uk

Refresh and refocus your 2021 goals

Now that we have a road map for moving out of lockdown and we’re all heading back to school, it’s the perfect time to brush off any negative vibes and focus on achieving new goals.  

As we look towards the future lifting of restrictions, you should think about setting new goals. As simple as they seem, goals can help keep you focused while achieving them can help you to feel accomplished and happy. 

Keep your ambitions and passions alive by challenging yourself to try something new in your spare timeWe’ve put together some new and exciting missions that you can focus on to add variety and fun to 2021 

Knowledge 

It’s said that knowledge is power and so if you want to master a new subject or battle your frenemies by testing their topical knowledge, there are plenty of topics to choose from 

With more and more learning material being made available online, it’s not hard to learn about a subject from the safety of home. Even better, many online courses are free, helping people to easily grow their knowledge. Why not pick a useful skill such as a new language or find a taster course to suit your future career aspirations and see if you enjoy it.  

Fitness 

Though the gyms are closed and the weatherstill a bit cold, that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of ways to improve your fitness. If the idea of a 5k run makes you want to hide under blankets, you should know that hardcore cardio isn’t the only way to improve your fitness.  

There are a range of fitness workouts available on YouTube, from PE with Joe Wicks to Yoga with Adrienne. Make sure to start your fitness journey slow and steady with simple goals that grow in intensity. You might end up injuring yourself if you decide one day to simply up and run a marathon. It takes a lot of time and dedication to build endurance, set yourself small targets to work up to each month and by the end of the year you’ll be the fitness superstar of your dreams. 

Skill 

While knowledge and fitness are the more typical type of goals people set to better themselves, adding a new hobby of any kind to your repertoire is equally impressive. Many skills can take years to master and a lot of patience. Whether you’re considering cooking, knitting or even something as quirky as pyrography you’ll definitely stand out from the crowd when you share your handiwork. There are many courses and online academies that host beginner courses for topics such as floristry and cake decorating. However, you’ll also find a range of handy guides on Amazon that will soon have you perfecting your newly chosen craft. 

Remember, you don’t have to choose a fancy new skill or spend hours learning something unique to make 2021 a success. If your focus this year is to excel at learning in the classroom (or remotelythen that’s perfectly fine too. We’re always here to guide our students in their love of learning and our staff are here to help you every step of the way. If at any point you feel you need extra support, please don’t hesitate to ask. 

Phased Return to the Academy / Important Information

Dear Parent/Carer
Phased Return to the Academy / Important Information
I hope that you are all safe and well, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all parents and carers for their patience and support during this latest lockdown. Student engagement in online learning has been outstanding and this is in no small part down to the encouragement and support provided at home. I write to set out the arrangements for welcoming every child back to the Academy from Monday 8th March 2021 on a phased return.
Phased Return and Lateral Flow Device (LFD) Testing Schedule
As you are already aware, when returning to school students will be offered three Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests spaced three to five working days apart (minimum three days and this does not include weekends). Following the three initial tests, students will collect their ‘test at home’ kits and start testing at home on a regular basis.

The government has given schools the flexibility to decide how best to deliver testing on a phased return basis, from Monday 8th March 2021, depending on their circumstances. Therefore, our time frame for testing and return to face to face learning is as follows: Date Testing/ Time Home (Online) Learning Return to/in school (face to face learning) Friday 05 March

All parents/carers that have given consent for their child/children to undertake lateral flow testing will receive an appointment via the email provided on the consent form.
Face Coverings
All protective measures set out in September 2020 will continue to apply. In addition, the government are now also recommending that face coverings should be worn in classrooms unless social distancing can be maintained. This does not apply in situations where wearing a face covering would impact on the ability to take part in exercise or strenuous activity, for example in PE lessons. As you can well appreciate social distancing is not possible within our building and therefore we are asking for all students to wear marks both in communal areas and in classrooms in the hope that we can protect each other and help keep community transmission to a minimum. We fully understand that some students and also staff may find this difficult, so please contact me personally on 01782 833500 or at so that we can discuss the best option.
Attendance to School after Monday 8th March 2021
Whilst we understand this may cause some of you anxiety, the government has made school attendance mandatory for all students from Monday 8th March 2021 (depending on their first day as outlined above). The usual rules on school attendance will apply and we look forward to welcoming all students back to school and would strongly encourage you to get in touch with us as soon as possible to discuss any specific concerns that you may have. We will endeavor to put bespoke arrangements into place to meet your family’s needs and will work with you to find a positive solution. For any questions or concerns about attendance please contact jo.huxley@thistleyhoughacademy.org.uk
The advice for students who have been confirmed as clinically extremely vulnerable (having received a shielding letter) is to shield and stay at home as much as possible. If your child falls into this group, please can you contact the Academy to enable us to plan accordingly until their return to face to face education.
The school understands that many students may have experienced adversity during this most recent lockdown, and as a result we will continue to offer a wide range of support. Tutorial procedures and the wider subject curriculum have been planned to help students to rebuild friendships and social engagement to equip them to respond to issues linked to Covid-19 and to improve their physical and mental well-being. If you are concerned about your child/children’s well-being please contact their form-tutor or Head of Year in the first instance.
Timings and Organisation of the Day (reminder)
Monday/Tuesday/Thursday/Friday

Zone/Floor Year Group Start/End Times Entrance
Floor 1 Year 11 09:30 – 15:20 Student Entrance – off Newcastle Lane
Floor 2 Year 8 and Year 9 09:00 – 14:50 Door A – off the main yard
Floor 3 Year 7 and Year 10 08:30 – 14:20 Main Entrance – off Thistley Hough

Wednesday Zone/Floor Year Group Start/End Times Entrance

Zone/Floor Year Group Start/End Times Entrance
Floor 1 Year 11 09:30 – 15:10 Student Entrance – off Newcastle Lane
Floor 2 Year 8 and Year 9 09:00 – 14:40 Door A – off the main yard
Floor 3 Year 7 and Year 10 08:30 – 14:10 Main Entrance – off Thistley Hough

As since September 2020, on each floor the students will be ‘bubbled’ into year groups with separate classrooms, breakout spaces and toilets. Staff will operate across the two year groups but will maintain social distancing as advised. Student movement will be kept to a minimum as staff will move between the classes, thus limiting use of corridors and wherever possible students must arrive at school just prior to the allocated start times.
Break and lunch times will continue to be staggered, allowing students to remain within their particular year group bubble. Please remind students that drinks they purchase to bring to school must be in plastic bottles and these should not be ‘energy’ or ‘fizzy’ drinks. To avoid the risk of infection, we are asking students to continue to bring their own water bottle filled each day.

 

Health and Safety
In line with public health advice to minimise Covid-19 risks, the school has reviewed its health and safety risk assessments and updated plans for the full March 2021 reopening using the system of controls set out below:
• a requirement that people who are ill stay at home.
• robust hand and respiratory hygiene.
• enhanced cleaning arrangements, including extra cleaning staff on site each day.
• active engagement with NHS Test and Trace.
• a formal consideration of how to reduce contacts and maximise distancing between those in school wherever possible and to minimise potential for contamination so far as is reasonably practicable.
In line with the guidance, I would like to reiterate that students must not enter the school site if they are displaying any of the symptoms of Coronavirus (following the COVID-19 guidance for households with possible Coronavirus infection which can be accessed at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance

Expectations
Our expectations of the students remain exactly the same as they did prior to lockdown. All students need to attend school every day, arrive on time wearing the correct uniform, carrying the appropriate equipment, ready to learn.

As throughout the Autumn Term students are expected to follow the school’s Behaviour for Learning Policy and to uphold the control measures in place to keep everyone safe. Sanctions, including detention, internal and external exclusion remain in place. The school will remind all students of the expectations and the consequences for poor behaviour (including failure to uphold the control measures) immediately on their return to school. The school will work with identified students who may struggle to re-engage in learning, providing support for overcoming any barriers to behaviour so that all students can reintegrate back into school life quickly. Please contact the following members of staff to discuss any concerns that you may have about your child and their return to school:
• Year 7: jill.brown@thistleyhoughacademy.org.uk
• Years 8 and 9: chris.budrys@thistleyhoughacademy.org.uk
• Years 10 and 11: simon.harrison@thistleyhoughacademy.org.uk
I would like to thank you sincerely for your continued support throughout what can only be described as one of the most challenging times for the Academy, but more so, for students and parents/carers. Your child/children have been nothing short of amazing and your support has been invaluable in enabling them and us, navigate our way through this last 12 months. Thank you!

Yours sincerely

Jayne Schofield
Principal

Frequently Asked Questions – Lateral Flow Device (LTD) Testing
1. Do all students have to test?
Testing is voluntary and individuals will be allowed to attend school even if they decide not to take part in testing. However, we would like to encourage everyone to join in the asymptomatic testing programme to help break transmission links by identifying those that may be carrying the virus unknowingly. Anyone with symptoms, whether they are involved in this programme or not, should book a free NHS test and follow government self-isolation guidance until the results of their test are known.

2. Why can’t students start testing at home immediately?
It is important that initially students are supervised whilst swabbing to make sure they are doing it correctly. This is why testing will initially take place on-site.

3. Can students swab themselves?
Yes, in an Asymptomatic Testing Site all students can swab themselves if they are able to. When testing at home, children should self-test and report with adult supervision. The adult may conduct the test if necessary.

4. What happens if a student struggles to perform the test?
If a student administers the test and finds it difficult then there are Testing Assistants on hand to provide support. They are well-trained and will administer the test for the student if they request it. If a student feels as though they cannot complete the test after the support of a Testing Assistant, there will be no requirement for them to complete it and their parent/ carer will be contacted.

5. What happens if a student tests positive following the asymptomatic test?
If a student tests positive for Covid-19, they must self-isolate for 10 days from the day after they tested positive and we must be informed immediately

6. What happens if a student is unable to test themselves at home but have opted in for testing?
We will retain a “small” testing site for those unable to test at home. Please inform the school if you are unable to administer the home test.