Category: Thistley Hough Academy

Information to Parents For September

Dear Parents/Carers

RE: Plan for September 1st 2020, Local Authority Letter to Parents, Aspens Catering Letter
As promised, I am able to update you today further to the Government’s announcement about partial reopening of secondary schools.
The Prime Minister has now confirmed that we are able to invite Year 10 students into school from the 15th June. On any day, only 25% of the year group are permitted to attend (along with key worker children). On the days when your child is invited to come into school we will arrange a mix of academic and pastoral activities to support their progress, but the main thrust of our teaching will continue to be online as it is for students in other year groups. To encourage some feeling of normality, we request that all students be in academy uniform on the days when they are in school. Given the current warm weather, jumpers are not essential.
The Academy remains open for vulnerable children, and children of key workers.
We have been working hard for several weeks to make sure that the school premises are safe for children and staff to return. By the 8th June at the latest, I will be in touch with full details of the education plans and the health and safety measures in place for your child.
Staff will also continue to post work for all students on Microsoft Teams and we urge you to encourage your child to keep up the good work in accessing and completing this. Students will continue to be rewarded via Class Charts.
Can I take this opportunity to thank you for the support you have given your child to keep on top of their home learning – it is very much appreciated. I hope that you have all enjoyed a proper break from schoolwork during the half term period.
Yours sincerely

Jayne Schofield

Principal

Year 7 to 9 Closure Update

Dear Parents/Carers

RE: Year 7 to 9 Closure Update June 1st 2020

As promised, I am able to update you today further to the Government’s announcement about partial reopening of secondary schools.

 

The Prime Minister confirmed that schools are able to invite Year 10 and 12 students back into school from the 15th June. I hope that you will not be too disappointed that there are no immediate plans for us to be able to offer some face-to-face teaching for your child at the present time. However, please be assured that we will continue to work hard to provide high quality remote learning opportunities.

 

The Academy remains open for vulnerable children, and children of key workers.

 

We have been working hard for several weeks to make sure that the school premises are safe for children and staff to return. By the 8th June at the latest, I will be in touch with full details of the education plans and the health and safety measures in place for your child.

 

Staff will also continue to post work for all students on Microsoft Teams and we urge you to encourage your child to keep up the good work in accessing and completing this. Students will continue to be rewarded via Class Charts.

 

Can I take this opportunity to thank you for the support you have given your child to keep on top of their home learning – it is very much appreciated.  I hope that you have all enjoyed a proper break from schoolwork during the half term period.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Jayne Schofield

Principal

Distance Learning Newsletter

Dear Parent/Guardian

Distance Learning Newsletter

We hope you are keeping safe and well in these challenging times.

We are writing to explain our refined approach to Distance Learning for the remainder of the summer term.

At Thistley Hough Academy, we are committed to ensuring that every student makes excellent progress, develops outstanding character and is successful in life, education and employment. Whilst our school building is closed, our commitment to achieving this mission is as strong as ever. We would like to thank you for your hard work so far in encouraging students to engage with schoolwork at home.

It is crucial that students continue to study at home in a structured and rigorous way so that they do not fall behind in their learning, and are ready to hit the ground running when they return to school. We have decided to refine our approach to Distance Learning to make it simpler for students and parents/carers to understand the school’s expectations and easier for students to access work.

Students have been provided with the following:

  • Distance Learning virtual classrooms – these classrooms, set up for each subject, outline what students are expected to complete in each subject each week.
  • Subject resources – these resources will support students to complete the tasks in the Distance Learning Booklets if they do not have access to the internet.

 

What are our expectations of students?

 

Learn:

For every subject, teachers will direct students to do one (or more) of the following activities:

  • Watch a YouTube lesson uploaded by their teacher, taking notes and completing any short tasks set on paper
  • Engage with an online platform, completing the activities they’re instructed to (e.g. Oak National Academy, BBC Bitesize, Educake)
  • Read through a specific knowledge organizer, or other work packs that have been sent home and repeatedly self-quiz until they get no questions wrong.

 

To support students with this work, you will find a simple guide to accessing the virtual classrooms, and a suggested timetable enclosed.

 

Submit:

  • It is essential for students to submit their work each week so that their teacher can see how much they have engaged with the activities and how much they have learnt. Students should submit in the one of the following ways:
    • Completing work online where requested through the virtual classroom
    • Taking a photo of any work completed in a book and uploading this to your virtual classroom
    • Dropping completed work into the Thistley Hough post-box in reception

 

Heads of Year, classroom teachers and Form Tutors will all be monitoring the level of student engagement with the Distance Learning work to ensure that all work is being accessed and completed.

 

We will also be uploading the timetable onto the school website for you to access. However, if you need any additional support interpreting the work or have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with your child’s classroom teacher, Form Tutor or Head of Year.

 

We would like to re-iterate our appreciation for your hard work in supporting your child’s learning at home so far. Please continue to hold them to account for completing their work at home and do let the school know if we can be of any assistance in supporting you to do so.

 

Yours sincerely,

Alexander Laney

Vice Principal

 

 Accessing the virtual classroom

 

The virtual classrooms that have been set up for each student has been set up using the Microsoft Teams platform. Students already have access to Microsoft Teams via their school Microsoft email account.

 

Students can access their school email, alongside a number of other Microsoft tools, such as Microsoft Teams via the link below:

 

https://cet.magellanportal.co.uk

 

From 8th June 2020, classroom teachers will be using Microsoft Teams to outline the work expected to be completed by students each week. The virtual classrooms can be used exactly like an ordinary classroom. Students can ask questions of their teacher, hand in work and receive feedback on their work through the Teams platform. The link below gives guidance on how to use teams:

 

https://help.cetcloud.org.uk/help-centre/microsoft-teams-students-quick-start-guide/

 

Distance Learning timetable

The timetables below should be followed by students to ensure they maintain a structured approach to their study.

 

Year 7

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
English Mathematics Science Science Geography
D&T PE ICT MFL History
CPA Art RE English Mathematics

 

 

Year 8

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Geography Science Science English Mathematics
MFL ICT History D&T PE
English RE Mathematics CPA Art

 

 

Year 9*

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Science Geography English Mathematics Science
History MFL D&T PE ICT
Mathematics English CPA Art RE

 

*If you do not study History, Geography or MFL please take this time to complete your Travel & Tourism work.  Travel and Tourism work will be set for all Year 9 students to complete alongside the timetable outlined above.

Closure Update and Letter Home

The Department for Education has confirmed the phased re-opening of schools in England, starting on 1 June 2020 at the earliest. The actual re-opening date is yet to be confirmed.

 

We expect to be able to clarify by Friday 29 May which year groups are expected to return to school in the first wave. Secondary school remains open for vulnerable children and children and wards of key workers. All other pupils will continue remote learning from home until the next phase in the lifting of restrictions.

 

We will notify parents and carers as soon as the DfE instructions become clear. In the meantime we are keen to reassure families of the diligence with which Thistley Hough Academy is implementing the detailed guidance provided by the Department on social distancing, safeguarding and the continuance of educational provision under these challenging conditions.

 

When school does re-open, please anticipate that arrangements will be different from those that the children experienced prior to the current closure period.

 

Closure Update Letter

Academy Closure Update

Dear Parents/Carers and Students

 

Academy Closure Update

Monday 27th April 2020

 

I hope this letter finds you, your families and friends safe and well, and that the Easter period provided some enjoyment where possible. It certainly was not the Easter break and celebration that we would have hoped for.

 

It did not come as a shock to learn last week that the lockdown period was to be extended for a further 3 weeks, which means that the learning for the majority of our students will continue to take place at home until further guidance and notice is given. The Academy will continue to open to provide provision to students of listed Key Workers. If your circumstances regarding this have changed, I would encourage you to email the Academy at enquires@thistleyhoughacademy.org.uk. A member of staff will then be in touch and further arrangements will be made.

 

Home Learning

We wish to advise you that all learning platforms will continue to be updated and monitored, and students work will marked and feedback will be given. Contact will continue to take place via phone calls or emails to parents/carers, and students are able to contact teaching staff via their CET Portal Login and Outlook email.

 

Paper copies of classwork will continue to be provided to those students without internet access, and we strongly encourage reading every day for all students from any home resources available.

 

As in my last letter, I wish to express my thanks for the commitment to home learning by the vast majority of students, parents and carers. We know that this is not an easy task, and that motivation can be challenging for us all during this time. My message to all students is to stay strong, stay committed and do your best! You can do this!

 

Free School Meal provision

In line with government systems, the distribution of Free School Meal Vouchers is now underway. All families who are entitled to free school meals should now be in receipt of regular and ongoing updated vouchers. We would like to thank you for

your patience with this process, as delays with the Academy receiving the vouchers, unfortunately caused an impact on families. We are hopeful for no further delays.

 

 

 

 

Year 11 Qualifications

As you are already are the Department for Education took the decision to close schools on 20th March 2020 and cancel GCSE examinations, to provide yourselves, your children and us with certainty.  The latest guidance from the Department for Education states “Students who were due to sit A-level, AS level or GCSE exams this summer will receive a calculated grade. The calculated grade process will take into account a range of evidence including, for example, non-exam assessment and mock results, and the approach will be standardised between schools and colleges by Ofqual, on behalf of the Department for Education”.  The issuing of GCSE calculated grades will be on 20th August 2020, the same date as planned for release of results and we will provide further information about the process of informing students of their results when we have clarity.  I recognise how frustrating this must be and I am sorry that I cannot provide any further information.  I will of course keep you updated as any new advice or guidance is issued.  Year 11, I cannot stress how important it is for you to continue to engage with the online learning that we have provided and over the coming days and weeks, we will endeavour to support you further in your transition to the next phase of your learning journey.  Also, remember that Team Thistley Hough are always here for you, all you need to do is get in touch.

 

As a school community, we are embracing virtual learning and are grappling with everything this throws at us in our endeavour to ensure that our students still receive not only learning opportunities but also the support, care and guidance that they deserve.  I wish to thank you all for your ongoing support with the new way of working; we sincerely appreciate your commitment with this.

 

I am hopeful that if we continue to work together we will all emerge from this time, with an improved understanding of what is important, not just in the educational context but also in life in general.  March 2020 should mark a time in history when many aspects of life changed for the better.  School certainly is not closed at Thistley Hough Academy, it is just operating under a different guise.

 

Please stay safe and take good care of yourselves and each other.

 

With very best wishes

 

Jayne Schofield

Principal

Latest information from OFQUAL

 

 

 

GCSE, AS and A level students in England

3 April 2020

 

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 andcolleges

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 head teacher 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,

Sally Collier

Chief Regulator, Ofqual

Earlsdon Park, 53-55 Butts Road, Coventry, CV1 3BH www.gov.uk/ofqual  0300 303 3344                                      public.enquiries@ofqual.gov.uk

Academy Closure Update

Dear Parents/Carers

 

Academy Closure Update

 

I hope this letter finds you and your families safe and well during this unsettling time, and I hope that you are adjusting to the measures that the government has put into place regarding the closure of schools, and of course, all of the other changes that we are experiencing. It truly is a very surreal time.

 

When Thistley Hough closed to the vast majority of students on Friday 20th March, all staff at the Academy were keen to ensure that the education for all students would continue as best as possible. Staff are still very much working to ensure that this continues, and will carry on supporting your child online, as well as updating all necessary learning platforms, for as long as is needed. Staff will also be making telephone calls home over the coming weeks, to address any issues your child may be experiencing, to encourage continued engagement in learning, or to simply to catch up.

 

 

Home Learning

Daily routine for students is crucial and we are keen to ensure that they do no fall behind their peers during this time. Since the closure we have been incredibly proud of the engagement and outstanding work that is being produced online.  I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your commitment to this as I realise that this may not be easy whilst working from home, supporting extended family members and adjusting to these unprecedented changes; thank you all!

 

As you know, there are a number of platforms for students to access provision for home learning, and all login and password details were sent home with your child. If you or your child has any problems accessing these, we have a number of guides to support you with

this on our website at www.thistleyhoughacademy.org.uk. If your child needs any further support, the Microsoft Teams system allows students to message staff, or alternatively they can email their Head of Year.

 

If you do not have internet access, we will continue to provide paper copies of classwork throughout the Academy closure. Can I also point out the importance of reading at this time and encourage parents/carers to make sure children are reading every day. If they have finished their reading books please encourage them to read from other sources, including online and other books they may have at home.

 

Our records show that a small number of students and parents/carers have not logged on to any of the learning platforms yet. We would urge you to ensure that your child is logging on to complete the work set, and encourage that you are checking this regularly. We suggest a routine similar to the school day where possible, spending the approximate time suggested for each subject. We know that our students can be incredibly self-sufficient and will do their utmost to succeed. By working together to support them as best we can, we know they will continue to do well in their education.

 

 

Easter Provision

It is not our intention to set daily tasks for students over the Easter period; this applies to term time only. However, the Academy will continue to be open, and provision provided, for children of Key Workers from 8:15am – 3:15pm, Monday to Friday throughout the Easter fortnight.

 

Year 11 Qualifications

We were hoping that the Government and Ofqual (exams regulator) were going to announce some news last week regarding their plans for the grading of GCSEs this summer. We look forward to hearing more information over the coming weeks. I know how frustrating this is and we will keep you informed with developments as they happen.

 

Free School Meal provision

Staff here at Thistley Hough spent much of last week ensuring that vouchers, equivalent to the Free School Meal entitlement, were emailed or delivered to our parents/carers across the city. The Government has now produced a national voucher for students on Free School Meals. This should be live soon. If your child is entitled to FSM, we will be in touch with further information as soon as we have access to this.

 
I would just like to close by saying that all staff here at the Academy really do appreciate the support of all parents, carers, students, staff and our community in these difficult and unpredictable times. This is not something that we could have ever prepared for, but together we will do our very best to ensure that your child’s education and well-being remains the priority that it always has been.

 

Please remind your children that the staff of Thistley Hough are still here, we still care about them and we will get through this together. We very much look forward to welcoming them back into their academy as soon as it is safe to do so.

 

Please stay safe, and take good care of yourselves and each other.

 

With very best wishes.

 

Jayne Schofield

Principal

What should I be doing now?

So, you’re doing lessons from home, you’re stuck inside for hours on end and you’re watching the same old stuff on the TV. Talk about boring. But don’t worry, we’ve got plenty of tips and advice to keep you going until you’re back in school.

As you work from home and the school closes, we urge you to follow Government advice to protect yourself and those around you from Coronavirus (COVID-19). This means that, if possible, you should not go out even to buy food or other essentials. You should only leave the house for exercise, and even then, you should keep a safe distance from others. The Government recommend maintaining a space of around two metres between yourself and others as you head outside for your exercise.

If you leave the house it is important that you remember to wash your hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before you leave and as you come back inside. If you have a cough, you should use a tissue to cough into and then bin the tissue, after this wash your hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds.

These measures are in place to protect you and others, especially those most vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19. Please remember to think of others and follow the Governement’s advice.

These can be extreme measures which could result in schoolwork getting boring and you feeling lonely. You may have no one who really knows how to help with your work or someone in your house to keep you entertained. We know this can be hard and so we’ve put together some tips to stay motivated and progressing with your schoolwork while you work from home:

  • Set goals, if you don’t have a target to work towards it’s very hard to get started. Set some short, easy goals to start yourself off and add more as time goes on to keep on track.
  • Timetables, map out slots for when you’re going to do your revision. You don’t need to do a full day of revision or cover every subject in a day. Space out your work slots, just like lessons, and make sure you give yourself plenty of breaks in between topics to really digest the information.
  • Practice papers and questions, these can help you to understand your subjects better by giving you scenarios to use your new knowledge. Questions and example scenarios can also help you to see where you’re struggling on a subject so you can ask for further help for that topic.
  • Study groups, even if you are in isolation, video calling or phoning your friends who are in the same class as you can be a great help. Get advice and help your friends when you’re stuck on something or can’t remember how to get the right answer. You may be able to help each other out and fill in bits of knowledge between you, plus you’ll get to interact with your friends!
  • Mix it up, if you’re finding that schoolwork is getting boring and hard to focus on add a bit of variety to how you go through your notes and resources. Colours are a great way to make boring words stand out and look appealing, putting key points of information onto posters, post-it notes or even create a podcast to help make home learning a fun and motivating experience.

Don’t forget you should be using all our handy distance learning tools to support your education while you’re not able to come into school. These include Microsoft Teams, GCSEPod, Hegarty Maths and Educake. Need help getting access to these tools? We have some handy guides for you to use here.

You can also use this link to find a range of helpful links for exercise advice and videos, helping to keep you active while you’re social distancing and in self-isolation.

Changes are happening, but we’ve got you covered

As the current climate across the UK, and worldwide, continues to change at a daily rate, we have ensured that we are prepared for the situation we now find ourselves in. Now the schools have closed, rest assured we have put processes in place to ensure you, our students, continue to be supported through your education via online and home learning.

While these are not ideal circumstances, it is our responsibility to continue to provide you with an education. This is our main focus and we will continue to determine the best practices for you, as our students to keep learning while remaining at home.

Our precautionary measures are already in place and ready for you to start the experience of remote learning. We have set up a variety of programs for you to use, these are:

Microsoft Teams

To use this software, the Microsoft Teams app will need to be downloaded and can work on Windows, Mac, iOS or android devices. To sign in you will be asked for your full school email address, you will then be redirected to the CET login page to enter your normal school login details. Under the ‘Teams’ tab, you will be able to access a section for each of your classes, in these class sections you can send messages, access resources provided by your teacher in the file section and complete assignments set by your teacher by a set time. This will mean that your lessons can continue from home.

Read our guide on accessing Microsoft Teams here.

Hegarty Maths

Go to the student login section under ‘Existing User’. Here you can login with your school name and then input your details to be able to create a login password, remember to keep this safe as you’ll need it to log in again, your Maths planner may be the best place. Once logged in you will be able to see if your teacher has set you any homework under ‘My Tasks’. You can also choose lessons and learn new maths skills. If you have no tasks, you can always request more from your teacher. Hegarty Maths is best suited to a PC, Mac or even a tablet. Hegarty Maths cannot be used with Firefox.

Read our guide on accessing Hegarty Maths here.

Educake

You can access this portal through a browser such as Chrome or Safari. All you need to do is enter the username and password your teacher gave you, it’s best to keep this information in a safe place so you don’t lose it. Educake is there to provide tests which are made up from short questions. The questions are designed to improve your knowledge and understanding. Homework can also be set up through Educake and you can also set yourself revision tests to improve your knowledge.

Read our guide on using Educake here.

GCSEPod

Getting access to GCSEPod is easy, simply head to their website and follow the instructions under ‘New here? Get started’, make sure you select ‘Student’. This is a great education tool that offers expert knowledge, offering short bursts of information to help reinforce and consolidate key GSCE topics covered in lessons. You can watch online or offline, go through ‘favourite’ topics, create a personalised playlist and complete quizzes, so you know you’ve retained the information you just learned.

Read our guide on using GCSEPod here.

While you will be undergoing lessons from home, your teachers and support staff will still be there for you in this difficult and confusing time. Through these portals, especially Microsoft Teams, you will still be able to communicate with your teachers and classmates to reduce the feelings of isolation as you reduce your contact with the outside world.

Please remember that current government advice does recommend exercise outside, however, you should maintain a distance of two metres from anyone else around. Make sure you continue to wash your hands, particularly as you leave and enter your home for this short period of exercise.

If you need more guidance and support, the full range of guides for these learning tools can be found on our website here.