Our Manor 11-15 January 2021

Message from the Principal

Thank you

Last week I took the opportunity to outline all that we have done to support remote learning. This week I want to extend my gratitude to students and to all of you who are their advocates and have helped to support your children’s remote learning at home.

We absolutely recognise the tough times that many families are facing at the moment and that with many of our students being out of school, this is increasing the pressures on families still further. I, along with all of my staff, are grateful to you for the support and positive communications that you are having with us as we all strive together to reach the same goal – maintaining a high-quality provision to enable our young people to continue to enjoy learning, make progress and achieve.

The last two weeks have been a steep learning curve for us all. From our perspective, teachers are learning new skills and embracing new technology (that is evolving all the time) to enhance the learning experience of students. Meanwhile, I also know that it has been a steep learning curve in your homes too.

Having two secondary-aged children myself I know first-hand the pressures that are created around parental work commitments, potential childcare issues and working from home whilst children (and pets!) are there too. We are aware these are things that you as families may have had to set up and adjust to before we even get to supporting home learning! However, this is an area where many of you are doing a great job too – helping your children with the instructions on how to use the technology or helping to support their learning. I have loved receiving the feedback, whether positive or otherwise, so we can adjust our practice to streamline and improve our provision further.

Further issues may exist around the access to and quality of the broadband, internet and devices available. Even if you do have multiple devices, with many people working from home the strain on the available bandwidth could potentially compromise the quality of the offer.

On this note I am proud to say that during this pandemic we have been able to distribute 40 devices or internet dongles to families in our Manor School community without access already, and have another 10 ready to go. We are now moving onto families who are having to share devices.

To be fair to the Department of Education, the laptops that were promised to support schools this term arrived promptly and when they were scheduled. When this is combined with the #TechTogether initiative that has been driven by Matt Coleman at Nene Education Trust, it has been a great combined effort between schools and the local business community to support local families. You can read more about #TechTogether later in this newsletter and if you are able to contribute we would really appreciate your support.

The feedback that we are getting from our staff and our data is excellent, with 95%+ engagement which is a similar level to where attendance would be if we were all in school. Thank you for your support in this. It is really positive to see in some of this feedback as well as feedback which we have received from parents that our REACH values are rubbing off on families too, with parents/carers and family members showing resilience and on occasions making up for in enthusiasm what they may lack in expertise!

The final ‘thank you’ here is for our key workers. Whether working directly in the NHS, services that support the NHS, or any other roles that are key to keeping the country going during this time, Manor School recognise and are grateful for your work and we are glad that we can provide an in-school service to ensure that your children are safe and able to progress with their learning. We are proud of all the students who are currently working with us in school, who approach each day with a positive attitude and demonstrate the values we hold up as so important. Thank you.

On other matters, this week saw letters from the Secretary of State for Education and OFQUAL outlining the next steps in the process of summer examinations 2021. I am sure you have seen some speculation in the press around this, but at this stage what we know is that OFQUAL are consulting with a variety of stakeholders, including schools, about the details of this. I am reluctant to provide any further fuel to the speculation by commenting at this early stage in the process as history has taught me that things change rapidly and often. With my son in an examination year himself, I know that this is an anxious time for our students and their families, therefore, as soon as I have any concrete information I will communicate this with you.

I hope you enjoy the rest of our newsletter where further information and support can be found on a range of areas. Please do keep feeding back to us and let us know if there is anything we can do to support you further.

Stay safe.

Jay Davenport, Principal

School transport

With the small number of students using transport during the current school closures we have worked with Carters Travel to condense our bus routes. Parents/carers of students still attending school have been contacted with updated routes and times that will commence from Monday 18 January. Bus stops have been chosen based on the students currently attending the provision in school. Please contact our Operations Administrator, Mrs Bannard (nbannard@manor.school), if you have any questions.

Route 1

  • The Cross, Irthlingborough - 7:35am
  • Boundary Avenue bus stop, Rushden - 7:50am
  • Barrington Road, Rushden - 8:00am
  • The Crescent, Caldecott - 8:10am

Route 2

  • Higham Road, St Peter's Church - 7:53am
  • Cemetry Lane, Higham Ferrers - 7:55am

We have suspended transport payments for term 3 for students who are not in school. If you have already paid the instalment for term 3 transport, this will be allocated to cover the payment for term 4. If you have paid for the entire year upfront, we will begin processing refunds for this term's instalments in February.

Year 9 teenage booster vaccinations

We have received a communication from the School Aged Immunisations Team to say that the programme of teenage booster vaccinations that was due to take place for Year 9 in March has been paused due to the COVID-19 restrictions. Please await further details on how this will take place once it is safe to do so.

Year 9 into 10 subject preferences

Next week we will be beginning the process whereby Year 9 students express a preference for the non-core subjects that they study as part of their Key Stage 4 programme of study. This is an important choice for students and their parents/carers to make so students will be receiving individual advice and guidance during their Work World Wellness lessons over the next four weeks. You will also be invited to our virtual information evening on 2 March where you will be able to view video introductions to the different subjects and ask any questions you may have concerning student preferences.

Attendance update

We recently received the most recent data concerning school attendance. The figures published (up to 17 December when we broke up for Christmas) showed national attendance at 79.2%. We continue to work with students and their families in promoting outstanding attendance and so are extremely proud that we finished the calendar year with an attendance of 94%, well above the national average!

Thank you for your continued support.

Lockdown League

Manor School has entered NSport's Lockdown League, a physical activity challenge designed to help encourage and motivate students to be as active as possible over the next 5 weeks of lockdown.

The Lockdown League is a 5 week challenge between secondary schools across Northamptonshire, where they compete against each other to see which has the most active students as judged by the number of active minutes logged during week-long fixtures.

Any students from Year 7 to Year 13 can get involved, and logging active minutes is really simple. Just visit www.northamptonshiresport.org/lockdown-league and log any physical activity undertaken outside of school hours – walking, running, cycling, online fitness sessions and more! Students can log all of their active minutes individually or in one go.

The challenge began on Monday 11 January, with Manor taking on Wollaston School to see who can log the most minutes by the end of this Sunday. There will then be two further weeks in the group stage, followed by a Semi-Finals and Finals Week the week before half term (here's hoping we make it to the final!). Results will be shared every Monday after 12pm via the Lockdown League website, as well as via the school's Twitter account.

Laptop provision

It has been well documented that nationally too many children are not able to learn from home as they do not have a device, and Northamptonshire is no different.

All Things Business want to make a difference and so this week they launched #TechTogether which encourages people and businesses to donate old devices (iPads, tablets and/or laptops) which will be wiped down by the engineers at ACS, based on Brackmills, before being distributed to Northamptonshire schools.

Can you help by donating an old device? If so, please email louise@allthingsmanagement.co.uk who will provide further details on how to donate.

Parent webinar

We work with Elevate Education as part of our Nothing by Accident programme to support students during their KS4 courses. They are running a parent webinar on Tuesday 19 January at 6:00pm, focusing on motivation and giving parents ways to help keep students motivated at home during current school closures.

The webinar is free for parents. While it is aimed at KS4 and KS5 students it will benefit all families. There are 3 further sessions planned for February and March:

  • Tuesday 9 February: Stress & Wellbeing
  • Tuesday 2 March: Preparing for Assessments
  • Tuesday 23 March: Managing Technology and Distractions

Parents can register and will receive the live link plus an on-demand link the day after if you are unable to attend. Details of how to access the session are as follows:

Manor Maths Challenges

This week's blog features puzzles from the famous mathematics writer Martin Gardner. See if you can solve all four puzzles, then submit your answers to Mrs Radd.

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