Dear Parents, Carers, Students and Friends,
Welcome to your February newsletter. You will see that as always we have been working hard both in school and at home – staff, students and you their families. I would like to send my thanks to you all for continuing to support and encourage your children with their remote learning and I am under no illusion that this has been challenging for so many of you. I would also like to express my gratitude for the supportive and constructive feedback we have received from many of you. This is valuable as we continue to strive to provide the very best academic and pastoral care for all students. Thank you to all of you who completed the parent survey released in January. I was touched equally by both the positive responses around the quality and quantity of the work being set and by the issues around the need for support for students and families. We acted on this and have increased the help around supporting your children through lockdown and having time away from the screen. Please visit our website for help and advice. A team of staff are dedicating time to promote student and staff wellbeing as this is of paramount importance to us.
Some of you may recall in my first speech as Head of School on Open Evening, when I talked about all families being part of the team at Ibstock. Now, more than ever this sentiment is at the core of what Ibstock is about– the clue is in the title! Working together as a community, we can achieve great things and I do believe that we have during this lockdown. We continue to develop and improve the live content and number of live lessons on offer to all students. The engagement in learning is improving all the time and continues to be monitored rigorously and support given on a personalised basis when it is required. Please be reassured that we will never be complacent and will continue to push ourselves to improve every aspect of the college.
I am extremely proud of the team who have achieved so much this half term, despite the uncertainty, the concerns and the challenges that being in lockdown brings to us all. I am immensely proud of the team of staff here, a resilient force whether supporting key worker and vulnerable students in person or teaching virtually they are passionate, committed and determined to do everything they can to support our students.
Equally I am astounded by the amazing work that I am seeing, that proud tutors and teachers share with me every day and for the huge number of achievement points being awarded to so many students who are not only engaging but are producing high quality work. I hope that they are as proud of themselves as I am.
I am incredibly excited that we have been given the go-head to move from 11- 16 in August 2022. Although it has taken a while to arrive at this point, this is merely the beginning of the exciting journey to GCSE. This has been our focus for the past two years and as the momentum builds we are under no illusion that there is work to be done. We are prepared to do everything it takes. I will be communicating further information over the coming weeks and months.
It is so important for all of us to make sure that we have a proper rest, away from lessons and screens next week. We need the time to rest and recharge, ready for the next half term. I hope that we will be welcoming students back at some point during this time and I hope that we receive some positive news when we come back on the 22 February.
Take care and enjoy the break.
Head of school
Teaching and Learning
As we reach the end of a half term of remote learning, I would like to say a big thank you to the parents, carers and students, who have been working so diligently from home. It has been said many times, how challenging it is for everyone at the moment, and that is certainly true. What we have not lost sight of however, is that even with all the challenges we face during this and previous lockdowns, the education of students is still our number one priority. This priority has shaped what our amazing team of teachers and support staff have provided for our students, both those working at home and those working with us in school. After half term, and until the Government give us the green light to welcome back all of our students, we will continue to provide a variety of high quality learning opportunities for our students. This includes live lessons, live drop ins, live tutorial sessions, Oak Academy lessons, pre-recorded, narrated PowerPoints and independent learning tasks. You can keep up to date with the live content on offer each week that is published on the College website.
The prospect of a well-deserved week at home, without the need to engage in remote learning, will be a welcome break for many families. Certainly, time away from a screen will be incredibly beneficial for our wellbeing. As well as getting outside for Covid safe walks, runs or bike rides. I want all families to encourage our students to read. This could be an age appropriate book of interest, or perhaps a magazine that your child may be interested in. The act of reading is one of the most crucial things we can encourage and ensure young people do. It has significant mental health benefits, spending time away from a games console, or mobile phone, but also as a tool for vocabulary development and developing a knowledge of the world.
I would like to wish you all a safe and happy half term.
This half term has been another one for the record books in terms of challenge and the need for endless resilience! At ICC, we have seen weekly progress in terms of our students engaging with their learning. We are so proud of all those that have overcome personal challenges to continue to strive to try their best with their learning. We are very glad to have been able to help so many students with technology loans, tech support and training in programmes such as Microsoft Teams. The past six weeks has seen significant uptake in students taking part in live lessons or Q+A sessions across their curriculum and it has been so lovely to have that contact with our students to boost their motivations and learning.
What has also stood out as a major success this term is the fantastic support from our parents. Whilst we all tried to find out feet in that initial first week of lock down and remote learning, having the positive communication between our form tutors or Pastoral staff and home to ensure our children were well and able to settle into remote learning, made such a good impact. We are working hard each week to ensure that we keep a balance between lesson content and well-being. Our recent student well-being questionnaire has been very useful in informing us that as a whole, our students are very positive in knowing where to turn to for support or help. It also has allowed us to know what other kinds of support we can put in place for students post half term. Good communication is always the basis of success and as such, we want to continue to have frequent and open dialogue between home and school.
To further encourage positive mental health and well-being, all students have been emailed to encourage a complete switch off over half term. Various links to advice, support and non-screen based activities have been shared and we encourage parents to also have a look through these links to inspire activities for the whole family across half term (see the Well Being section below)
We wish everyone a safe, healthy and restful half term.
NHS Test and Trace: Asymptomatic COVID-19 testing for Students
You may have heard that testing for those without coronavirus symptoms is beginning across the country using new, quicker COVID 19 tests known as ‘lateral flow devices’. For full information please visit our website: https://www.ibstockcollege.co.uk/letters/covid-19-testing-for-students
Up to one third of people who have coronavirus are asymptomatic. By testing we will help to reduce the spread in school and college settings through asymptomatic transmission. We are therefore strongly encouraging those attending school to be tested.
Plan for testing
The plan had been to test all staff and secondary school and college age students as they return after the Christmas break. Due to the current lockdown these plans have been altered, however we are still able to test those students who are coming into school during the current lockdown. This will involve two tests at least three days apart.
How the tests work
Those taking the test will be supervised by trained staff and volunteers. The lateral flow tests are quick and easy to undertake, using a swab of the nose and throat. Results (which take around half an hour from testing) will be shared directly with the individual participant. The school will inform the student of a positive test result. Where participants are under 16, parents or legal guardians will also be informed. The student will also receive a (text/email) notification of a positive or negative result from the online NHS system. Tests are free of charge and I enclose a leaflet with further information.
What if my child tests positive?
If a student tests positive on a lateral flow device, they will be informed immediately by school and will need to self-isolate and follow the guidance from NHS Test and Trace.
Notification from NHS Test and Trace can occur very quickly, if you receive notification of a positive result before the school has contacted you please be assured we are aware and will be in contact with your shortly.
What happens if the test is negative?
While a small number of students may need to repeat the test if the first test was invalid or void for some reason, students who test negative will be able to stay in school and resume their activities as normal. Students will be informed of negative test results via text/email. Where participants are under 16, parents or legal guardians will also be informed.
What if staff or students have been in close contact with someone in school who tests positive?
The staff member or student will be notified that they are a close contact by the school and informed to self-isolate and follow the guidance from NHS Test and Trace .
What if my child develops symptoms?
This testing programme at school is for people with no symptoms. If your child develops symptoms at any time (including a high temperature; a new, continuous cough; or a loss or change to their sense of smell or taste) they must immediately self-isolate, and book a test by calling 119 or visiting https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test.
For a copy of the consent form and further information please visit our website: https://www.ibstockcollege.co.uk/letters/covid-19-testing-for-students
We will support our staff and students throughout, but please contact us if you have any questions. You can contact the school at firstname.lastname@example.org
Reporting a positive Covid case during half term.
Please be aware that Ibstock Community College leaders will continue contact tracing in the event of positive Covid cases during the February half term.
If your child has attended school this week and they receive a positive Covid result during the half term please contact email@example.com as soon as possible.
Please include the following details in your email:
- Childs names and year group
- Your telephone number
- The date that your child was last in school
- The date that your child started with COVID symptoms
- Social contacts: Please inform NHS Track and Trace with the following information for social contacts 48 hours prior to the onset of symptoms. https://contact-tracing.phe.gov.uk/
- Details of any students that your child is particularly friendly with/close contacts
- Details of the school bus contacts that your child takes to and from school (if applicable)
When you contact us, a member of the school leadership team will be in touch ASAP to complete the remaining in school track and trace. In the meantime, we would strongly discourage test results (regardless of the outcome) being published on personal social media.
Children & Family Services - Letter to Parents / Carers
The Humanities Faculty will be continuing their celebration of LGBT+ History Month throughout February by dedicating the first five minutes of every lesson, both live sessions and pre-recorded, to learning about a successful person who belongs to the LGBT+ community. People we have learnt about so far include Ian McKellan, Laverne Cox and Leonardo da Vinci, and there are more to come after half term! If you would like to learn more about this then the link below may be useful: https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/articles/zhbbvk7
In Humanities we have also used Children’s Mental Health Week to launch a weekly screen free lesson. This is to allow students to spend some time learning away from a computer and maybe doing something more creative. We have loved seeing the brilliant ideas you have sent in, so please keep them coming!
The road to Tokyo Challenge is set up to see if staff and students of Ibstock Community College can travel the distance to Tokyo for the Olympic Games starting on the 23rd July 2021.
The Road to Tokyo challenge is all about getting young people active together with their families. The challenge from Team GB, ParalympicsGB and Sport England uses the inspiration of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games to get young people and their families moving, aiming to build lasting active habits.
Students and staff can either walk cycle, scoot or run the 5826 miles from Ibstock to Tokyo.
After 2 weeks of the challenge we have completed just under 2000 miles. Remember you can still send us your miles over half term and look at our twitter page @Ibstock_PE for updates on how far we have travelled! https://twitter.com/Ibstock_PE
Amongst his many lockdown accolades, Marcus Rashford is definitely a hero for those of us who are working to engage our students to develop their reading. He says:
“I only started reading at 17, and it completely changed my outlook and mentality. I just wish I was offered the opportunity to really engage with reading more as a child, but books were never a thing we could budget for as a family when we needed to put food on the table.
“There were times where the escapism of reading could have really helped me. I want this escapism for all children. Not just those that can afford it. We know there are over 380,000 children across the UK today that have never owned a book, children that are in vulnerable environments. That has to change.
"My books are, and always will be, for every child, even if I have to deliver them myself. We will reach them."
We are really proud that our participation in BookBuzz for the last two years means our students aren’t amongst that number who have never owned a book, although a visit from Mr Rashford would be amazing! We are looking forward to Marcus’ book being published in May - ‘You Are A Champion: Unlock Your Potential, Find Your Voice and Be The BEST You Can Be.’
World Book Day – 4th March
We are looking forward to celebrating World Book Day 2021 with a fun\ virtual quiz which will be launched on the day. Prizes for the top three highest scorers!
Year 7 Bookbuzz Book review competition
We have an extra competition for our Year 7 students. We would love to hear your reviews of the Bookbuzz books you received just before Christmas. You will hopefully soon be able to read any of the Bookbuzz selection when you are able to borrow from the library. Details will be emailed to Year 7 students in World Book Day week. Don’t forget to email any of the Bookbuzz challenges you have completed to Mrs Barber!
Struggling to find material for your 20 minutes of reading in lockdown?
We are uploading suggestions of where to find free online books as well as interesting articles. Have a look on Foldr – Home Learning Resources – Reading Resources – Reading 20 mins (2021)
We’ve just learnt of this is new and exciting opportunity from Oxford University for our keen readers:
The Oxplore Book Club
Are you aged 11-14? Do you dig dystopian drama, spine-tingling short stories, and classic Young Adult fiction? Join our Oxplore Book Club - it’s been created especially for you!
The Club runs between March and July 2021, launching on March 4th for World Book Day.
Each month we’ll provide you with a brand-new text recommendation, some of which will be freely available to access online. At the same time, we’ll publish new resources to enhance your reading experience including articles, quizzes and videos on the writers, wider contexts and themes.
The purpose of Oxplore Book Club is to introduce you to stories and poems that you might not have come across in school and encourage critical thinking and debate around each text. We hope that each of the titles we’ve selected will move you to leave a comment or review. Whether you loved or loathed the text, we’d love to hear your thoughts!
We’ll also be running live Book Club discussions each month led by Oxplore students where you’ll gain another opportunity to have your say. For further details and how to sign up: https://oxplore.org/book-club
Mrs Hayles & Mrs Barber
A useful well-being resource for parents / carers during lockdown has been added to our website:
Free School Meal Vouchers
All FSM vouchers for the half term have been processed via Edenred. From Tuesday 23rd February we are able to place an order for vouchers to cover the period between Monday 22nd February - Friday 5th March. Vouchers will be delivered to you around that date.
Please ensure you have activated your Parent Lite account and keep your child's information upto date. If you have not received an activation email please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Please take time to look through each tab and update information as required. It is especially important to ensure contact details are up to date, consent information is correct and any medical details or dietary needs are recorded accurately.
Contacting the college
Half Term - Monday 15th February - Friday 19th February 2021