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Reading Girls' School newsletter - 4 DECEMBER 2020

Principal's message: Countdown to Christmas...

Where has the time gone?

Over the course of next week, we will be very busy organising an action-packed final week of term for the girls to thank them for how they have responded to what we have asked them to do since September. As always, they have been exceptional, a credit to the school and an even bigger credit to you as Parents and Families.

Here is advance notice for you of some of the headline events for the last week of term…

  • YEAR 8 VIRTUAL PANTO – Monday 14th December 2020: The Pastoral Team will be presenting a Panto experience at school for Year 8 during periods 5 & 6. We normally attend the annual panto at The Hexagon but the pandemic has seen to that this year.
  • YEAR 7 VIRTUAL PANTO – Tuesday 15th December 2020: "Oh no it isn’t… oh yes it is!" The Year 7 Panto will also take place during period 5 & 6.
  • CHRISTMAS CONCERT – Tuesday 15th December 2020: Mr Jones and Miss Gabriel had countless entries and have been busy working with the girls to put together and film a wonderful array of music and dance. The show will be available on TEAMS at 7pm for students and their families to watch.
  • ‘DRESS FOR DINNER DAY’ – Thursday 17th December 2020: Last year’s inaugural ‘Dress for dinner day’ was a huge hit. Albeit this year we have to hold the dinner in year group areas and not as one school in the sportshall, it will still be a special day. We will still connect the whole school via Microsoft TEAMS. The girls are invited to make an effort and dress up for a Roast Turkey dinner along with entertainment and presentations on the screens in their year group bubbles. A reminder that “dressing up” means no blue jeans, trainers or hoodies. The deadline to order dinner is 9th December 2020.
  • ‘CHRISTMAS JUMPER DAY’ – Friday 18th December 2020: In return for a donation of £1 students are able to wear a Christmas Jumper or Festive Themed Top over their usual school uniform. All proceeds will go towards the 2020 Save the Children Christmas Jumper Campaign.
  • LAST DAY OF TERM TIMINGS – Friday 18th December 2020: We will finish after period 3.
Iris Collin and Antonei Venter (both Year 9 SSLT) enjoyed decorating the Christmas tree

Jon Gargan, Principal

Art Competition

Entry forms and letters can be collected from Ms de Witt in the Art room.

STEM - Year 7

Sadly our virtual visitors couldn't attend this week's STEM so it was 'in house'. The girls were developing their teamwork, communication, creating thinking and problem solving skills through building bridge and paper aeroplanes. The following article about the day is by Eshaal Kamran.

You may be wondering why on earth the girls at RGS were building and learning about bridges. Well, we were learning about forces and bridges fit perfectly in that category. We learnt about the different types of bridges, how they were made and the different forces used – tension and compression. We had to make a bridge that was stable enough to hold at least 0.5kg but at the same time it had to be 1 metre long.

By the end of the day we were learning about the different forces used in aero dynamics, these are lift, drag, thrust and weight. We learnt that by having long wings it would mean that you would have less drag and less lift but fly faster; by having short wings you would have more drag and more lift but a longer, slower flight. We had to use different ways to make our paper aeroplanes and, in the end, we had a contest a contest to see whose would travel the furthest and whose would go the highest. Here is a video on the paper aeroplanes being thrown at Mr Routledge.

Self-Isolating

A number of our Year 9 girls are having to self-isolate until Monday 7th December due to a positive case of COVID in their year group. In order to lift their spirits while isolated at home, the Reading Girls’ community clubbed together and made some thoughtful gift bags for the girls which we hope will remind them that we are thinking of them and look forward to having them back soon. A huge special thanks to our lovely bus driver Simon Hargrave who delivered the treats.

Noor Ul Emaan received her gift while isolating at home

50 Happy Books to Read: Feel Good Fiction and more...

Need some positive thinking? How about some books that make you happy? While the idea of a book ‘making you happy’ is obviously a stretch, peace of mind is often a product of a simple cognitive pattern: you see what you think about, and you think about what you see. Happy in, happy out.

https://www.teachthought.com/literacy/positive-thinking-50-happy-books/

UK Food Science Christmas Family Webinar: Mince Pies Unwrapped

FREE Online Webinar on Tuesday 15th December 4:30pm-5:15pm – open to KS3 students and their families.

Mince pies have hit the shelves again as they do every Christmas in the UK. Food Scientists help make this happen by making sure you have good quality, safe and delicious mince pies every year. If mince pies are not your cup of tea, Food Scientists are developing tasty alternatives, as well as tinkering with the recipe to appeal to gluten free, dairy free and vegan diets.

This short webinar features Food Science professionals (including Andrew Holt, Product Quality Assurance manager from Waitrose) as well as a recent Nutrition and Food Science graduate and a current Food Science student. We want to introduce you and your family to the world of Food Science focusing on the humble Mince pie.

To register for this webinar please fill in your details by following the link below:

Our Christmas tree has now been decorated and on display in school. Many thanks to Caversham Bridge Garden Centre who donated this to us.

Information from Reading Families’ Forum this week

The Local Offer team send a big thank you for all those families that took part in their survey. Their SEND Local Offer newsletters (one for under 16s and one for 16 – 25) can be found on the Local Offer: SEND Local Offer - Newsletter

Activities over the Christmas holidays:

  • Reading Rep is delivering FREE special Christmas themed drama workshops for neurodiverse children and young people on 21st December for 10-13 year olds 10:00am - 2:00pm and 22nd December for 14 - 19 year olds 10:00am - 2:00pm at Reading Studio, in the grounds of Reading College, Kings Road, Reading, RG1 4HJ. Due to national guidelines there will be a maximum of 15 places in each group. To book your place please contact christie@readingrep.com PLEASE NOTE – They are unable to offer 1:1 support or changing facilities due to coronavirus restrictions. Staffing ratio is 4 adults to 15 children/young people.
  • The Reading Football Community Trust will be holding multi-sports sessions for children and young people with additional needs from 21st – 23rd December. To find out more or to book please contact Daniel Rook at drook@readingfc.co.uk. He works part-time so may not be able to respond immediately.
  • The Reading Twilight Trail in Forbury Gardens is having an accessible evening on 21st December. To book go to Reading Twilight Trail | What's On Reading
  • Blenheim Palace has two quieter access sessions for their illuminated trail. These sessions are for adults and young people who would love to experience the Christmas at Blenheim illuminated trail without the usual high volumes of people. The sessions will begin before the trail opens to the public, making the transition into the dark much easier. These sessions will be held on Tuesday 15th December and Monday 28th December. The capacity of these sessions will be limited to ensure that the trail remains less crowded and more relaxed. (It should be noted that on many of our trails the path network is not tarmac, and although there are stewards along the route to assist you, the trail will follow the natural contours of the landscape and paths can be steep at times. To book go to: Christmas At Blenheim: Quiet Access Tickets and Dates (seetickets.com)

Support and Advice

Alafia support black and ethnic minority families with children who have disabilities or additional needs. They have started virtual parent support groups and will be getting speakers in to talk about various subjects relevant to local families. To find out more call 0118 951 0279 or email info@acre-reading.org

Contact has introduced two new workshops to help make sure that parents get the right support for their child in school, including what educational support is available for your child, what an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) is, how it can help and how to apply for one. The workshops will also look at the best way to challenge decisions about your child's education support and how to engage effectively with the professionals who support your child. All the workshops are free and currently take place online. Concerned about getting the right support for your child in school? Take a look at our brand new parent workshops! | Contact

The national consultancy firm Mott MacDonald is hosting a webinar for parent carers about the SEND Tribunal National Trial which has been running since April 2018. The charity KIDS will be taking part in this event. The webinar will include bitesize sessions on key areas of the SEND National Trial that are of particular interest to parent carers all delivered by an informed panel of speakers from stakeholder organisations. When: Thursday 10th December, 11:00 – 12:30. Where: The event will take place on Teams Live. To register for the event SEND National Trial Webinar for Parent Carers Tickets, Thu, Dec 10, 2020 at 11:00 AM | Eventbrite. Please note: Bookings for this event will close at 12pm on the 3rd December.

The National Network of Parent Carer Forums that Reading Families’ Forum is a member of has asked us to remind you that the schools are only allowed to exclude for 45 days a year and they encourage families to get advice prior to signing part-time timetables from school, including sending home at lunchtimes. For more information: School exclusion (childlawadvice.org.uk)

The National Careers Service 'Get Youth Employed' can help young people with their career, learning and training choices. Delivered by qualified careers advisers, the service is free to anyone living in England. To make an appointment please email the customer's name and telephone number to ncsberkshire@adviza.org.uk and we will contact the customer to book them in.

Our next coffee morning will be on Wednesday, 16th December 10:30 – 11:45 with KIDS Mediation about what to do if you have disagreements about the support your child is receiving, such as if you disagree about whether your child should be issued with an Education, Health and Care Plan. To book email fran.morgan.rff@gmail.com

Wishing you all the best this week - Reading Families Forum

Queuing safely to buy food - We have made a further amendment to the break and lunch timings to avoid year groups overlapping.

Has your lesson been REAL (Relevant, Engaging, Active Learning)?

Using REAL tokens students have the opportunity to give instant feedback to staff about their experiences within the lesson.

Students are provided with a token and at the end of the lesson, are asked if their lesson has been R.E.A.L. (Relevant, Engaging, Active Learning). Students theen place their token into the 'Yes' or 'No' box, which is in every teaching classroom. Staff then uses this information to make any modification to their delivery of their lesson. These tokens are then collected in at the end of every week and counted.

Results for this week: Monday 30 November to Friday 4 December 2020

YES - 1514 tokens

No - 198 tokens

Increasing Student Participation

"Talking Tokens"

Talking Tokens are issued by the classroom teacher and/or teaching assistant to pupils who participate to questions and/or ask questions during lessons. Pupils are encouraged to write their name and year group on the back of the 'Talking Token' and place them into the relevant 'Talking Token' collection box for their year group. At the end of each term, all 'Talking Tokens' are placed together and a pupil is selected at random. The more 'Talking Tokens' a pupil collects for contributing answers to questions in class, the more chances they have to win a prize.

At the end of this week the following number of 'Talking Tokens' collected by each year group were:

  • Year 7 - 560
  • Year 8 - 386
  • Year 9 - 21
  • Year 10 - 25
  • Year 11 - 30
  • Total number of 'Talking Tokens' collected this year across the whole school are 12915.

All meals are provided by Chartwells - a school meal consists of a main meal and a dessert for £2.40 a variety of snacks and drinks are also available.

Chartwells operate a cashless till system, operated by cards. The cards are topped up online using a secure website called ParentPay, if your daughter is eligible for free meals, £2.40 is credited to her card each day. Your daughter will be provided with her card and ParentPay login details on her first day at Reading Girls' School. You can find more information about ParentPay on their website http://www.parentpay.com. The school office is also happy to help with any enquiries.

Follow the link for details of the school menu.