In my virtual assembly to all students last week, I reflected on a question I’d also posed to staff on the INSET day at the beginning of term: why is school so important? Countless column inches have been dedicated over recent months to discussions about getting children back into school. Education, and the right of all children to access it, has been a rightful priority as we strive to find a way of living with the challenge of Covid-19. All the modern technology that allows for remote and home working is currently transforming attitudes to work; the roads remain less busy as many companies embrace this new way of things. And yet, there is something vitally important about children being in school. Physically present. Part of their school community. I cannot overstate the joy that it has been to welcome back our students over the past fortnight. It is a joy shared by all of the staff here and derived from our shared belief: school is important because it provides a space for each child to learn and grow as a valued part of something bigger than themselves. In school, they are part of a community; our Frogmore family has finally been reunited!
It goes without saying that, for many students (and probably their parents/carers too), the past fortnight has probably been quite overwhelming. For many, including staff, life between March and September involved very limited social interaction. Suddenly, being back amongst a large group (larger than ever for us, with 739 students on roll) and having to adjust to new routines and routes will have made this an exhausting couple of weeks. Your children have been an absolute credit to you throughout this. They have re-inhabited the school with positivity and a genuine enthusiasm about being back.
Of course, there have been some challenges and there may be more to come. The return to school nationally has coincided with an increase in transmission of the coronavirus. It has also meant that students have caught colds and other viruses. We have been incredibly grateful to our families for the sensible and measured approach to decisions around whether to keep children off school and self-isolate. It is clear that there is considerable demand on the testing system nationally and this has led to delays for some people seeking tests. However, we would far prefer this cautious approach, even though we know it can be tough for families, as it is the single best way of keeping everyone safe. The main symptoms linked to Covid-19 are: a new, persistent cough, a raised temperature, and/or a changed or reduced sense of taste or smell. If your child has any of these symptoms, you must keep them off school, self-isolate as a family, and seek a test. A runny or blocked nose or sore throat are not symptoms; if your child has these symptoms and is well enough to attend school, they should.
To help us to continue to minimise risk of transmission in school, please could I ask you to take a moment to give the following reminders to your child? Firstly, for them to remember the importance of good respiratory hygiene – the catch it, bin it, kill it mantra is important for when students do sneeze or cough. If they don’t have a tissue, then the advice is to sneeze into one’s elbow. Secondly, please remind your child of the importance of using hand sanitiser before entering every classroom and before eating. We are supervising this on most occasions, but we need students to adopt this as part of their normal routines.
School did not stand still whilst the lockdown was in place. Hopefully, your child has reported on the new toilets in the main block. These new, smart facilities have come at a perfect time, providing a far more pleasant and hygienic environment for students. You may also have heard that we have had two of our science labs completely refurbished. This work was undertaken by Hampshire and they have done a fantastic job in creating a really modern learning environment. Please see the picture gallery below for a sense of these new spaces.
Please can you make sure your child brings in a water bottle to refill in school. We are unable to provide cups due to Covid-19 restrictions. Many thanks for your support.
Items to be delivered to students
Please can we ask all parents and carers that, should there be a need to drop off items to students during the school day, that they are put in a clearly named bag or container and placed on the blue trolley outside of reception. We will then arrange for the item to be delivered to the student.
Many thanks for your cooperation.
Click and Collect Service
Times may have changed the library, albeit temporarily, but we still want all students to be able to access the fantastic selection of books and resources the library has to offer. To that end, we are introducing our “Click and Collect” service. Just follow these steps, and we will deliver books to students for them to read and enjoy.
Step 1 – Go to www.readingcloud.net this is our library management system
Step 2 – Type in your user name, password, and school (N.B. All students have accounts for Reading Cloud. If they don’t know their details please email email@example.com )
Step 3 – Enter the title of the book or author name in to the search bar
Step 4 – Find the book you are looking for from the list and click on it
Step 5 – Click on Reserve → Reserve at School
The book(s) selected will then be checked out to you and delivered after the required 72 hours quarantine.
When you have finished with the book, or when the four week loan period is up, simply pop the book(s) into the book returns box, located just inside the library.
If you need longer than four weeks for your borrowed item(s), just log in to your Reading Cloud account, click on the “Account” tab on the homepage, and renew the required items in the Current Loans list.
You can also access Reading Cloud via their app, called iMLS. It is free to download from the App Store, Google Play and Windows Store.
The school has a fantastic eBook platform, and every student has their own account, that they can log in to and read, or listen to, the brilliant range of books available.
If you’d like your login details, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and they will be emailed to you. The log in details for both the eBooks and Reading Cloud are the same.
Here is the link to the website for you to have a browse:
We have a number of books that are still on loan from before lockdown. If you have any library books at home that are no longer being read, please drop them in to the Book Returns box just inside the library, or alternatively, log in to your Reading Cloud account and renew the item(s) so you have a little longer to read them.
After the fantastic success of last year, we are once again running the Booktrust Bookbuzz scheme and have this year expanded so every student in year 7 and year 8 will receive a Book Buzz book. Bookbuzz is a reading programme from BookTrust that aims to help schools inspire a love of reading in 11 to 13-year-olds.
All year 7s and 8s will have the chance to choose a book from the selection during one of their English lessons. The books will then be delivered before the end of the autumn term and will be theirs to keep.
This year’s fantastic selection are:
A Darkness of Dragons: S.A. Patrick
With a classic adventure feel, this is a great book for anyone who loves epic quests and magical worlds to get lost in. There are dragon secrets, powerful sorcerers, magical stones, tricksy prophecies and an outlawed song that holds terrible power. A true roller-coaster ride of a book.
And Then I Turned Into a Mermaid: Laura Kirkpatrick
A brilliantly insightful and super fun story about growing up, navigating friendships and first crushes, and figuring out how you fit in. Tail or no tail, Molly is undoubtedly a character that every teen girl (and anyone who once was a teen girl) can immediately relate to. From an embarrassing parent, confusing sisters and family drama to friendships on the brink and boy-related confusions, this book covers all the emotions but with a great sense of humour.
Animals Up Close: DK
Animals Up Close showcases over thirty creatures with close-up photographic images and simple facts about how they live and the special adaptations they have that help them survive. From the tree-climbing Racer Snake and fruit-eating Fire-Tufted Barbet to the tiny, super-cute Harvest Mouse, a selection of animals from land, sea and air are all included
Check Mates: Stewart Foster
A well-constructed and thought-provoking real-life drama. Stewart Foster draws a clever link between the strategies required for gaming and for chess as Felix is drawn from one to the other, while grandad’s cold war storyline brings in an additional element of interest and intrigue as Felix tries to untangle and understand his granddad’s past.
Little Badman and the Invasion of the Killer Aunties: Humza Arshad and Henry White
Fast-paced and funny, readers are immediately swept into Humza’s world and really feel for him and his various troubles, like his super-strict dad and adults not listening properly. Full of action and humour, but perhaps, best of all, is how Humza grows and changes through the story, and gets his dad to too.
Little Bird Flies: Karen McCombie
Little Bird Flies is a beautiful story of changing times and the upheaval of a small rural community, seen through the eyes of one young person. Set in the 1860s, the story chronicles rural life, family and friendship. It’s wonderfully told, with a hopeful and outward-looking perspective. Bridie is caring and compassionate, tied to her past, but filled with dreams of a different future.
Max Kowalski Didn’t Mean it: Susie Day
A remarkable book about families, being a boy and coping with loss. The characters are supremely well written, the author sensitively exploring how there are different ways to be a man and how boys are shaped into men. An emotional read about real-life challenges and figuring out where you belong.
Real-Life Mysteries: Susan Martineau
A great book for anyone who likes fun facts and to dip into books and pore over details and think about things a little differently. Engaging and entertaining, it also subtly helps readers learn how to discriminate and assess real facts from false or misleading ones, a useful skill for anyone to learn, especially in the age of ‘fake news.’
Some Places More Than Others: Renee Watson
Renee Watson is an outstanding storyteller and Amara’s voice is clear and compelling. Concepts of family history are neatly tied together with the extensive roots of black American history that are revealed to Amara, giving her a true sense of empowerment and identity. A textured, warm and positive story, beautifully written and with a poetic feel.
Super Sidekicks, No Adults Allowed: Gavin Aung Than
An excellent, super-fun mini graphic novel (in black and white) that perfectly captures the superhero genre whilst also speaking to any reader who’s ever felt unfairly undervalued just because they’re a child. The adults are, of course, also completely blinkered when it comes to Goo, and it takes the kids to help them open their eyes. A clever story of empowerment told in a fresh new voice and wrapped up in a superhero comic package.
Talking to Alaska: Anna Woltz
Told in alternating chapters between the two characters, this is a heartfelt story about understanding others. It’s a relatively short read, but Anna Woltz packs a lot in, including themes of bullying, trauma, and coping with life-altering situations, while the characters make unexpected discoveries about friendship – and a special discovery about Alaska too.
The Haven: Simon Lelic
A well-layered action thriller, this is perfect for readers who enjoy a tense story packed with life-threatening danger. A number of different threads run through it that the author very cleverly pulls together in the dramatic finale.
Icarus Was Ridiculous: Pamela Butchart
A truly original take on some famous classical tales – though perhaps better appreciated if you know the originals. The way in which Izzy characterises the stars of each story through their behaviour is especially enjoyable, and Thomas Flintham’s illustrations add that extra level of fun.
City of Ghosts: Victoria Schwab
Hooking you from the very first page, it has just the right amount of spookiness, mystery and action, keeping you on the edge of your seat without getting gory. Victoria Schwab is a superb storyteller, blending well-crafted characters with a perfectly paced plot. A ridiculously fun, spine-tingling read.
Crater Lake: Jennifer Killick
Crater Lake is a fast-paced, high action read full of suspense, scares, twists and turns. Alongside the action, there’s witty dialogue and a strong message about staying loyal to your friends and how to stand up for yourself against bullies, whether they’re mean kids, monstrous teachers – or even body-snatching aliens. Immensely enjoyable; light and dark perfectly balanced.
Home Ground: Alan Gibbons
Printed in a dyslexia-friendly font, this novella brilliantly shows how sport can bring people together and forge new connections, while short factual sections at the end of each chapter provide valuable context for the refugee storyline.
Perfectly pitched by author Alan Gibbons, it’s a great read both for anyone who likes books football and sports, or anyone looking for a shorter read with real-life concerns.
The Switch-Up: Katy Cannon
The perfect teen coming-of-age movie all wrapped up in a book. Each girl has a personal reason behind this dramatic decision and as we follow each of their stories, their different summers help them come to terms with the changes in their lives. It’s lighthearted and fun whilst touching on themes of parental separation, grief, foster care and growing up. A highly relatable feel-good read about discovering the true meaning of family and friendship.
We are regularly adding to our stock with fantastic new books, here is a small selection of the ones we’ve added since the start of term.