Our Manor 18-22 January 2021

Message from the Principal

This week I have once again received many positive emails feeding back parental thanks for the work we are doing either through providing remote learning or through the in-school provision. I would like to reassure parents that I pass all of these on to staff through our weekly bulletin: The Chalk. We love receiving this feedback and so if you or your children have found elements of our provision or staff who have been particularly helpful then please do let us know via principal@manor.school.

Return to full school opening

With the COVID-19 data where it is, the government are not yet comfortable in committing to a date when schools will reopen fully. I’m sure that this is sensible and they have learned the lessons of the past where subsequent U-turns have caused problems. However, they have committed to giving schools and parents 2 weeks’ notice prior to the return date. Assuming that the Secretary of State means ‘working weeks’, if we are to return after half term, as per the initial review announced at the start of January, we would be notified next Friday.

As I highlighted in Our Manor last week, we know that it is currently hard for many families and we appreciate your support in these circumstances. We feel it too! Virtually, all teachers are currently working outside of their comfort zone, delivering lessons in a method in which they were not originally trained and have upskilled themselves quickly. We are all learning all of the time and want our provision to be the best it can possibly be. If you have any issues or concerns about the remote learning provision please email homelearning@manor.school which is being monitored by senior staff.

Mental and physical wellbeing

At this stage, my view is that due to the data, it is unlikely that we will return straight after half term and so we may be working in these remote conditions for some time to come. Over an extended period of time the novelty of remote learning may well begin to wear off, and we need to be mindful of this in terms of mental and physical wellbeing.

We are actively encouraging teaching staff to build in screen breaks and deliberate practice tasks that are ‘off-screen’ into their lessons and we would encourage all students (and parents and carers) to utilise their full allocation of daily activity time to get outside and contribute the Lockdown League challenge by recording the minutes of activity completed.

The week beginning 1 February is our Wellness Week as well as our remote learning focus week. More information will be in next week’s newsletter, where we will be asking for your feedback and sharing ways in which we will try and support mental and physical health and wellbeing across the course of Wellness Week.

Exams/assessments update

Earlier this week I wrote to all students in Year 11 and 13 and their parents and carers to update them on the current situation on the proposals for the replacement for the summer examination series and how we as a school are supporting this. We are very aware that the unknowns about assessments and qualifications in the summer may be causing some anxiety and raising many questions. Whilst I am unable to provide all of the answers at this stage, I thought that this may be of interest to others beyond the examination year groups and so aim to summarise the current position here.

Last year, timescales were much shorter for decision making as schools were not impacted by the pandemic until March. This meant that consultation was difficult and no one had any experience of an exam season being cancelled or what the contingency may be. This year, we are hoping that the DfE and the departments and organisations that support them will be better prepared as the timescales are longer and they have the experience and can learn the lessons from last year. This is not to say that the situation is easy; examination course students have either missed out on or accessed learning in unconventional ways for much of their 2-year courses as we pick our way through this health crisis.

In ‘normal’ times the playing field is not level as schools differ in so many ways: some are selective, curriculums are different, socio-economic contexts are different and that is before we get to the difference in outcomes between cohorts. These factors are likely to be exacerbated and it is probably impossible to find a solution that considers all the mitigating factors and ensures an equitable, consistent approach for everyone. However, there seems to be a determination to try and find the best possible acceptable solution to ensure that students are not disadvantaged. The first step in this is consultations for GCSE/A levels and vocational courses which is now out and can be found via the links below.

Consultation is only the first step, and these are not yet confirmed plans and some details are still to be published. As a school we are in the process of responding to each of the 100+ questions in the consultations in detail, considering our context and the knowledge of our students to propose the best way forward. Responses are sent direct to the DfE via a link in the document and the closing date for responses is 29 January.

Further speculation at this point is not helpful to the young people who will eventually be assessed. What we do know is that for all students, attending all sessions, completing all work set to the best of your ability, asking questions and responding to feedback about how to improve and revising thoroughly for all assessments is the best way to ensure that you are maintaining progress and putting yourself in the best possible position for a full return to school.

Lateral flow testing

For the last two weeks staff who are in school have been tested once a week with a lateral flow test. From Monday 25 January this will increase to twice a week. All students who are on site and have given consent have been tested or will be tested at the beginning of next week if they are new to the provision.

In the middle of this week we learned that the government have paused the daily testing process if there is an outbreak in school while they conduct more research in pilot schools as to the effectiveness of this. Therefore, we will return to our original protocol that means that students who are in school and have come into close contact of a positive case will be asked to self-isolate at home for 10 days.

We will wait and see how the landscape changes over the coming weeks with regards to mass testing of all students on their return and if the pause on daily testing for close contacts is lifted.

There are many other aspects of our work that we continue to promote and make progress on and we have tried to cover lots of these in the rest of this edition of Our Manor. Enjoy, follow the guidelines, and stay safe.

Jay Davenport, Principal

Remote learning

We continue to be really pleased with the response of students, parents and carers to the provisions in place for remote learning. As previously communicated, we are continuing to review our processes and guidance regularly as we continue to learn from experiences from all perspectives. This week we have met with all Curriculum Leaders to gather feedback and based on this we have started to make some small adjustments to the processes in response to this, and the feedback we have received from students, parents and carers.

We are going to be more persistent with screen breaks. This is already encouraged but we are now insisting that all lessons feature one of the following:

  • A 10-15 minute deliberate screen break. At this point the live lesson may be ended and it will restart at the appropriate time.
  • 10-15 minutes are added to an extended piece of deliberate practice during which students can take the screen break. For example, a task that would take 30 minutes might become 45 minutes with the time for students to manage their own break.

During screen breaks we recommend that students (and teachers) move away from the screen and take a break. There are further off-screen tips later on in this newsletter.

Teachers are going to be encouraging students to spend more time writing responses, particularly to extended pieces of work. Students will then submit work via their Teams assignment as directed by teachers. This will involve them either taking photos on a smartphone or using OfficeLens. For a reminder of how this can be done, please see the 4-8 January edition of Our Manor.

We really appreciate feedback from students, parents and carers to help us continue improving our provisions.

Free School Meals - national voucher scheme

For those families in receipt of Free School Meals, we have purchased vouchers through the national voucher scheme for the next two weeks, beginning Monday 25 January 2021 until week beginning Monday 8 February 2021. Families will receive a voucher worth £15 per child per week. Those families with more than one child at Manor School will receive a combined total in one communication rather than separate ones for each child. You should receive your communication via email on or around Monday 25 January.

Families are eligible for Free School Meals if they receive any of the following:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guaranteed element of Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)
  • Working Tax Credit run-on - paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit - if you apply on or after 1 April 2018 your household income must be less than £7,400 a year (after tax and not including any benefits you get)

You can apply via the following link - https://www.gov.uk/apply-free-school-meals

If you have any queries relating to Free School Meals, please contact nbannard@manor.school.

Parents' evenings

Following the success of our Years 11, 12 and 13 evenings during November, we are continuing to run parent consultation evenings during this period. These events will run using live Microsoft Teams meetings between parents and teachers. The next two evenings are:

  • Year 10: Thursday 28 January
  • Year 9: Thursday 11 February

All of the full details of the parents' evening process will be sent to parents and carers, 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 is the pressure on the length of the meeting. We appreciate that 5 minute appointments in person can sometimes feel tight and this will be exasperated by an online format. To counteract this, 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 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.

Year 11 into 12 transition

The deadline for sixth form applications is 6pm on Wednesday 27 January. If we have capacity, we will consider applications after this time, however, changes will be made to the blocking and subjects, so we strongly recommend students meet the deadline. Full details, subject information videos and the online application for can be found here. If students are yet to apply, here are some frequently asked questions.

How many subjects should I select? Most students should select three subjects. Students expecting to achieve grade 7+ in five or more subjects can select four subjects.

I want to pick more than one subject in a block. If there is a subject clash, students should tell us on the application form (question 9). We will try our best to accommodate all subject choices.

I want to know more about a subject. Make sure you have watched the subject videos on the website. If you still have a question, email Mr Carter (dcarter@manor.school).

If students are applying for college and need to provide 'working at' grades, they should use the teacher assessment data from the reports sent out last week. If students need any support in their applications, please email Mr Hill (shill@manor.school).

Year 9 into 10 preferences update

This Wednesday students in Year 9 were introduced to the process that will allow them to express a preference for the non-core subjects that they study as part of their Key Stage 4 programme of study.

Over the next three weeks they will be receiving individual advice and guidance during their Work World Wellness lessons to help them make their choices. Parents/carers and students will also be invited to our virtual information evening on 2 March 2021 where you will be able to view video introductions to the different subjects and ask any questions you may have concerning student preferences.

Teenage booster vaccinations update

Following last week’s message concerning Teenage Booster Vaccinations, we have a further message from the NHS School Aged Immunisation Team:

Due to COVID-19 and schools being closed, the Year 9 Teenage Booster vaccinations for your child are now going to be delivered by the Immunisation team in clinic settings across the county. The Immunisation team will be ringing you to arrange a convenient date and time that you can take along your son or daughter to one of these clinics. If you wish to contact the local NHS Immunisation team to book into one of our clinics you may do so on one of the below numbers.
  • 07712 545012
  • 07895 209059
  • 07710 386859
  • 07717 009991

We have also been asked to pass on these links where you can find information on the immunisations being offered, and that HPV vaccinations will be offered between April and July.

Tassomai learning app

We are delighted that so many students are using the Tassomai learning app to support their learning whilst at home. Over 12,000 questions have been answered correctly during the past seven days.

Tassomai is an online learning and revision platform that uses quizzing to test and teach. Students received information on how to download and sign into the app last term. If you need more information about Tassomai, or have problems getting set up, please email science@manor.school.

Online gaming safety information

There are a number of online games and mobile applications that are currently popular with young people that parents/carers may not be fully aware of. National Online Safety have therefore produced the following information guides that highlight potential areas of concern.

Wellbeing and screen time tips

We all know that students love to have downtime relaxing with their phones, games consoles, TVs and computers. Added to that we now have online lessons, making their screen time a lot longer. Here a few tips to help students (and parents/carers) to minimise the effect that all this extra screen time is having:

  • Teachers are being encouraged to plan for screen breaks – make sure your child is taking advantage of this. Screen breaks should mean no phones or TVs etc. Go and grab a drink or snack, talk to a parent or sibling about what they are learning.
  • Try to avoid screens at least 1 hour before bed.
  • If your child should wear glasses, make sure they do. If they are complaining about their eyesight, headaches or blurriness then book an eye appointment. Opticians are still open and they are COVID safe.
  • Try to get some fresh air every day. Participating in the Lockdown League is a great way to do this.
  • Make sure the lighting is good in the area where students are working (curtains are open etc.)
  • Don’t allow your child to work in their bed. It may seem comfy but it’s going to have an affect on their posture and lead to potential back problems.

House Competition

The next House Competition is under way, and this time students have been challenged to see how many keepie uppies they can complete without dropping the ball.

Students should video their entry and send it to House@manor.school by Wednesday 27 January, remembering to give their name and House.

Lockdown League update

Manor School took on Wollaston School in the first week of NSport's Lockdown League, and unfortunately we didn't quite manage to accumulate enough active minutes to win.

This week we're facing Wootton Park School and there's still time for students to log the number of minutes that they have been active this week (the event finishes on Sunday). All they have to do is visit NSport's website and fill in the form. Any form of activity counts - it may be walking the dog, going for a run with a parent or sibling, or it could be following a 10-minute online fitness video.

Manor Maths Challenges

Mrs Radd has a slightly different edition of her maths challenges blog this week, inspired by a talk by Tim Harford on BBC Radio 4 about 'landmark numbers'.

Teacher training events

SAF ITT will be hosting virtual Train to Teach information events for primary and secondary teacher training courses, which may be of interest to any parents/carers considering a career in teaching. Download the following posters for full details.

The Key Stage 3 Award is presented to...

Tiffany M and Hannah P

Tiffany and Hannah have both worked incredibly hard this year in dance. They have demonstrated great work ethic and teamwork together and have really excelled in the music video creation topic. It has been lovely to watch them develop and gain a real passion for the subject. I am now looking forward to seeing what they can both achieve in the musical theatre topic.

Awarded by Mrs Howes

The Key Stage 4 Award is presented to...

Lottie K

Lottie is honestly one of the most passionate and enthusiastic students I have had the pleasure of meeting. She had what can only be described as having an incredible year last year, winning awards and nationwide dance competitions and acing her first GCSE year in Dance. This year has been no exception! The class had worked so brilliantly together, choreographing a dance around climate change and the four elements. Lottie has also begun her own choreographic task for her exam; her idea is innovative and exemplar, and I cannot wait to see the end result!

Awarded by Mrs Howes

The Key Stage 5 Award is presented to...

Shayna D

After an excellent end to her GCSE in Dance, Shayna has had a brilliant start to the year. She is really challenging herself in a new style of Contemporary dance and has made a brilliant start to her coursework. Shayna is a dedicated, passionate and talented student and I cannot wait to see what the year has in store for her.

Awarded by Mrs Howes

The Key Stage 3 Award is presented to...

Luke F

Luke has just been fantastic from day one! He tries his absolute best in every single lesson, and has a positive influence on those around him. He has a desire to do well and this is an admirable quality. I hope Luke continues to enjoy PE, and continues to strive for excellence in everything he does.

Awarded by Miss Hustwait

The Key Stage 4 Award is presented to...

Kayleigh A

Kayleigh has gone above and beyond this term in her Cambridge National coursework by completing work to the best of her ability and making sure she hits every single mark. She also did exceptionally well in her mock assessment too, by putting lots of work into her revision.

Awarded by Miss Pell

The Key Stage 5 Award is presented to...

Lewis W

Lewis' performance across all 3 papers in the trial examinations was just phenomenal! The time he is dedicating to revising and the strategies he is applying to the questions is clearly paying off!

Awarded by Miss Hustwait

The Key Stage 3 Award is presented to...

Ruby L

Ruby has shown excellent effort in science, no matter how challenging the task. She has demonstrated excellent resilience in science and this has meant she has achieved some fantastic results in end of unit assessments so far.

Awarded by Mr Bhangal

The Key Stage 4 Award is presented to...

Gracie R

Gracie has demonstrated an astonishing turn around in attitude and approach to revision, including an amazing 2200+ questions attempted on Tassomai in a 4-week period.

Awarded by Mr Turner and Mrs Mitchell-Bunce

The Key Stage 5 Award is presented to...

Alex R

Alex shows an exemplary attitude to private study, both in and out of school. She has regular dialogue with her teachers about how to improve, and also supports the other students in her class in a thoughtful and considerate way.

Awarded by Mr Hurren and Mr Turner

Weekly REACH Champions