Our Manor 19-23 October 2020

Message from the Principal

Welcome to this week’s edition of ‘Our Manor’. As you will be aware over the course of the last 8 weeks, within this global pandemic that is affecting us all in so many ways, we have managed to restrict the impact on the school to one positive case that impacted on 35 students in total.

We were incredibly pleased that despite the notification coming on a Sunday morning, we were able to swiftly put in place our critical incident plan and communicate to all parents by mid-afternoon on Sunday. We have reviewed our plan this week, making some minor adjustments to the process, however I thought it may be useful to outline the broad framework here so parents/carers can see the process we go through.

  • Notification of a positive test.
  • Contact with the Department for Education and Public Health England. Here we are asked a series of detailed questions about our internal track and trace system and student contacts so we can be advised and make decisions about who may need to self-isolate.
  • Two pre-prepared letters are distributed. Firstly, to all parents/carers of students who will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days. The second letter is to all parents of students in the school to inform you that we have had a positive test case.

We are very pleased that, in this week’s case, the discussions were very positive as the systems we have in place clearly have a significant impact in minimising the impact across the school. As you are aware from the risk assessment that we published in September and review each week, we have separate pods for each year group and the students do not mix between year groups on the school site. Each pod has its own classroom space, outside space and indoor space in case of inclement weather. Indeed, at KS3 students are taught in tutor groups for the vast majority of lessons, reducing the ‘pods’ still further. This is more problematic at KS4 and 5 where option subjects mean that teaching groups cannot be rationalised in the same way.

We have enhanced cleaning procedures throughout the day, with deeper cleaning in the evenings and a full deep clean every Friday night. We have also invested significantly in additional sinks, toilets and covered areas to further ensure our processes are robust. The combination of these and many other aspects that are covered in our risk assessment enable us to minimise the risks on a daily basis but also minimise the impacts if we do get a positive case.

The truth is that with the current situation across the country it is highly likely that despite all of the above, we may get future cases. We will continue to apply the same rigorous protocols in any situation to minimise the impact but it may well be worth thinking about and pre-planning any contingency arrangements you may need to put into place; for example childcare if this does occur and your child is required to self-isolate.

With the national picture in mind, it is worth sharing that we have received updated guidance from the Department for Education this week and will be updating our risk assessment to reflect this. One new aspect of this guidance is the link between the in-school response to external local restrictions. For example, if our area of East Northants moves into a Tier 2 or Tier 3 scenario then within school we will have to move to a situation where facemasks are compulsory for all students and staff in communal areas. If this does become the case, we will, of course, write to you separately to inform you of this alongside the procedures and expectations of the safe use and storage of facemasks.

I hope you have a wonderful half term and thank you for your continued support in these extraordinary times.

Jay Davenport, Principal

An introduction to 'Wellness'

For the purpose of our curriculum we define wellness as an active process of becoming aware of and making positive choices towards a healthy, happy and fulfilling life. Wellness is more than being free from illness; it is a dynamic process of change and growth which is linked to the World Health Organisation definition of health.

Physical wellbeing is crucial to enabling our students to be active, contributing citizens both during and beyond their schooling. Mental wellbeing and health provision are also an explicit, positive and proactive focus of our work as part of our Wellness curriculum. We use the Wise Up to Wellbeing in Schools (a campaign developed by the young mental health charity YoungMinds) as a framework for our work in order to ensure we are providing the best possible provision.

We ensure that we cover all statutory requirement during the students’ seven-year journey at Manor. This includes Relationships and Sex Education, as well as Health Education which covers basic first aid, healthy eating, internet safety and harm, drugs, alcohol and tobacco. We look at how as individuals we consider our responsibilities and how we prepare for life beyond school. We aim to develop strategies to deal with difficult situations.

Some of the big questions we cover include ‘Am I making the right lifestyle choices?’ and ‘Are my actions my responsibility?’. Throughout their seven-year journey, students hear the expertise of guest speakers and specialist staff who provide opportunities to gain new knowledge and skills in order to deal with an ever-changing world.

Glenn Martin, Vice Principal and Lead for 'Wellness'

English department

One of the many things which bind us as humans is our ability to communicate. The languages that we share and our ability to converse, debate, discuss and create through language set us apart from all other living things on the planet. This fascination and wonder of the English language is something that we in the English department have at our core, and we relish the opportunity to share our passion with students in the hope that they will see the variety and unending potential it provides in every walk of life.

L-R: Mr Austen, Mr Carter, Miss Dicker, Mrs Ellesmore, Mrs Hanrahan, Ms Holtman, Mrs Moreton, Mrs Porter, Ms Williams

Being new to the Manor family this year, I was excited to see how the love of English was alive in lessons throughout all year groups. There is no denying this has been an unusual year for all our students, and the challenges we face are new to all of us. I have been inspired this term by the dedication and commitment of the English team, providing excellent teaching in the classroom and ensuring that learning continues seamlessly from last year without the need for catch-up or backfilling of knowledge. Most of all though I have been hugely impressed by the commitment and motivation shown by so many of the students in all year groups.

Year 7 students have moved effortlessly into their secondary school adventure despite missing out on the benefits of transition and the chance to establish and learn their new responsibilities as learners at the start of a new journey. Year 8 and 9 students have returned to school as though they have never been away and have shown maturity and responsibility toward their learning. Year 10 have begun their GCSE studies in earnest and are adapting well to the rigour required for success in 2022. Our Year 11 cohort have returned determined to ensure they are not disadvantaged by their time out of school. They have adapted to the changes in the GCSE curriculum and are using their lesson time wisely to practise and enhance their skills. At A-Level our Year 12 cohorts in English Literature, English Language and Media Studies are tackling the challenges of making the transition to advanced study and doing this with growing maturity. Finally, our Year 13 students are developing rapidly into the adults and scholars who have everything they need to be successful next summer and beyond. As a department we could not be prouder of the commitment our students are showing and the passion they are developing for English in so many ways.

The opportunities provided through the study of English in its many forms are innumerable. A passion for English literature and the ability to manipulate the English language are skills which will open many doors to students throughout their lives and this is a belief held by every member of the Manor English team. English is challenging, but that is what makes it rewarding and so applicable to every area of life. We do not expect our students to get everything right all the time. That is the beauty of learning; we make mistakes and we learn from them, we improve and we progress. That is part of being human and being a true, life-long learner, something we encourage all of our young people to be.

Above all, we encourage students to enjoy their learning, enjoy their English lessons, and share with us their passion for our subject. You will find in every member of the team a kindred spirit ready to explore the wonders of English right alongside them.

Richard Austen, Director of Learning (English)

Letter from the CEO

Chris Hill, CEO of the Nene Education Trust, has written a letter to parents/carers to mark the end of this half term. You can download the letter via the button below.

Curriculum Day

This Tuesday saw students coming off their usual timetable for Curriculum Day, with each year group having a different theme for the day.

Year 7 students developed an understanding of wellness and shared insightful ideas/initiatives to have a positive impact on the school and community. Year 8 also looked at wellness, but this time using creativity to enhance workplace wellness. The wonderful Prison Me No Way team delivered a number of sessions to Year 9, helping the students to understand the consequences of risky behaviour, make better choices and stay safe.

Year 10 students learnt about values and faiths, with representatives from 8 faiths, world-views and religions helping them to understand the diversity found in our communities. Year 11 students completed Elevate Education's 'Ace Your Exams' programme, looking at effective revision techniques and stress management. In the Sixth Form, Year 13 were running organisations linked to their career aspirations with Year 12 applying for the vacant 'jobs'.

House competition results

The results for this term's House competitions are in!

Academic: Lockdown

Students were tasked with recording a video that showcased a new skill that they learnt during the March-July school closure. The winners are as follows:

  • Joshua R-S in Year 9
  • Amelia M in Year 9
  • Most entries - Johnson

Sport: Challenge

Students were challenged to complete as many 2 metre shuttle runs as they could in ten minutes. The winners are as follows:

  • Kian S in Year 12
  • Most entries - Redgrave

Theatre: Lip Sync

Students were tasked with recording a video of them lip-syncing to a song of their choice. The winners are as follows:

  • Brooke C in Year 7
  • Most entries - Redgrave and Holmes

Congratulations to all the winners. Each individual winner has been awarded 500 House Points, with an additional 500 House Points going to the House(s) with the most entries.

Term 2 competitions will be introduced in an assembly on the first Wednesday back after the half term break.

Principal's Commendation

Every half term the Principal awards two students the Principal's Commendation. This accolade is awarded to students that are seen going above and beyond both academically and within the local community.

There were many students worthy of this award this term, however the successful students were the two Year 9 students seen here. Congratulations to them both.

Breakfast Club

We currently run a breakfast club from 8am until 8:30am each morning. This is run by a member of staff, and gives students the opportunity to settle into learning before school and seek any help they may need with homework. There are a limited number of spaces available, and therefore registration of interest is required. Please fill in the short form via the link below and await a confirmation email.

Letter from the Director of Public Health Northamptonshire

Lucy Wightman, the Director of Public Health Northamptonshire, has written a letter to parents/carers which contains an important request regarding the half term break. You can download the letter via the button below.

Halloween and Bonfire Night advice

Halloween 2020 will be different to previous years as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and so to help families stay safe, both Northamptonshire Police and Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service have produced documents summarising best practice for this year. Please click the buttons below to download their advice and guidance.

Sixth form digital week

The week after half term will be a ‘digital week’ for all sixth form students. This means that all sixth form lessons - including supervised study - will be conducted with the students accessing lessons online from home. Students have been informed of this in tutor time and via the sixth form bulletin.

From Tuesday 3 November to Friday 6 November, students in Year 12 and Year 13 will not be allowed on site and are expected to work from home. However, there are three exceptions to this:

  • Students entered for external level two examinations in English and maths should come to school to sit the examinations
  • Students entered for external university entrance examinations should come to school to sit the examination
  • Students following the Year 13 BTEC IT course should attend school on Thursday 5 November from 8:35am to 10:45am. This is due to them needing software which is only available on school computers.

If students cannot return home after their examination or IT lesson due to a transport issue, they can remain in the sixth form centre and access their lessons remotely using personal devices or school computers.

We have decided to do this to give students and staff a ‘planned practice’ should there be a requirement for home learning this year. We feel it provides a valuable opportunity for students to raise their confidence using online platforms in a more controlled environment.

The digital week will also provide an opportunity for student voice and feedback on the process, enable us to refine our practice, and be part of ensuring high quality blended learning provision.

Through a student voice survey, we think we are confident that all students now have access to a laptop or PC at home during digital week. If this is not the case, please contact me and I will investigate support we can offer.

Students will be following their normal timetable. To access lessons, students should log on to their Microsoft TEAMS accounts and click on the calendared lessons. They should turn their cameras and microphones off. If they have questions, they can ask in the chat function. For supervised study lessons, students should join the lesson and complete independent work while remaining on the call. Miss O’Brien will be on hand to answer any questions they might have.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Darren Carter, Assistant Principal

Parents' evenings

Our first parents' evenings take place after half term for Year 12, 13 and 11 students and their parents/carers. Under the current guidance we are minimising the number of people on the school site and so our normal evening will not be able to operate as we would like. We have spent time this term setting up the systems for booking and joining live Microsoft Teams meetings with teachers.

  • Year 12 and 13 parents' evening - Thursday 5 November
  • Year 11 parents' evening - Thursday 12 November

All of the full details of the parents' evening process will be sent to parents and carers on Tuesday 3 November, along with some short video clips explaining how to use the system and answering some of the more frequently answered questions that parents may have.

One of the biggest impacts of moving to an online system will be the pressure on the length of the meeting. We appreciate that 5 minute appointments in person can sometimes feel tight and this will be exacerbated by an online format. To counteract this pressure, all appointments will follow the same structure of a quick introduction followed by sharing two or three key areas of strength and two or three targets or areas of focus. The more generic information that is sometimes shared at parents' evenings will be pre-recorded videos and sent out in advance of the evening, all followed up by a parent/carer survey which will provide the opportunity for further discussion if necessary.

Chris Bateman, Assistant Principal

Catering provision for Term 2

After half term, each year group from Year 7 to Year 11 will have the option to purchase hot food and snacks at break and lunch time on one specified day of the week.

The table below sets out the day of the week each year group will be offered this option.

For those families who have been ordering grab bags, this provision will continue. Please continue to order the grab bag for your child in the normal way using this link: Lunch Order Form Term 2. Your child will collect their food in the normal way from within their pod. Sandwiches will also be offered alongside the hot food options but will not be made to order on that day. Therefore, there will be no conflict with your order, using this form, and what your child collects on the specified hot food day.

Year 12 and 13 will have the option to order food in advance and it will be delivered to the Sixth Form Study Centre. More information for these two years groups will be shared with directly with the students.

Please ensure your child’s Wisepay account has sufficient funds on it.

We will review the success of this offer after the first two weeks and if we can increase the provision for hot food and snacks in a safe manner in line with the school’s risk assessment, we will.

Alan Sewell, Catering Manager

Tassomai revision app

We are really excited to announce the launch of Tassomai for use by our Year 11 students on their way to their examinations in 2021. Tassomai is an online learning and revision platform that uses quizzing to test and teach.

Researchers into revision and learning techniques found the best way to study and get knowledge to stick is to work for concentrated short bursts, regularly test yourself, and to frequently switch between topics. The Tassomai app does by using an algorithm to decide out which quizzes should be taken as part of the Daily Goal for each subject and a ‘Combined Daily Goal’, which shows the total number of questions a student needs to answer correctly across all subjects. The Daily Goal could be anywhere between 15 and 40 questions per subject and all correct answers gain points. If a student is struggling with a specific topic, the algorithm will bring up more questions from that topic until their points improve. There is also a YouTube channel that features summary videos of science topics to support further.

The Manor School teaching team can use data collected by the app to get a better idea of how to target revision on the lead up to the examinations and improve the chances of our students getting the grade they deserve.

Signing up to the app is really easy and we ask that all of our Year 11 students do this before returning on Tuesday 3 November.

  1. Visit app.tassomai.com/signup
  2. Enter the school’s unique code - this will be included in the latest Year 11 monthly update letter to parents/carers
  3. Enter their details
  4. Choose correct classes from the drop-down menu. They can find their class codes on their timetable.

And that’s it! Once set up, students can download the app from Google Play Store or Apple App Store if they prefer to use a phone or tablet. You will hear more about Tassomai once everyone has started using it, including the opportunity to win prizes!

If you need more information about Tassomai or have problems getting set up, please email science@manor.school.

Glenn Turner, Director of Learning (Science)

Student safety and dark nights

This Saturday night we will be setting the clocks back an hour and summer time ends. Road traffic collisions increase by 20% in the fortnight after the time change. Sadly, some of those collisions will involve child pedestrians and cyclists. Children under 16 are one of the most vulnerable groups of road users.

The latest available government statistics (2015) show that 58% of children who die or are seriously injured in a road collision are involved in incidents between 3 and 7pm. From this Sunday, much of those will happen in darkness.

Whilst younger children are at risk, the data shows that 11-15 year-olds are actually at more at risk from accidents that kill or result in serious injury.

The resources below will help remind children, especially teenagers, about road safety and safe cycling.