Dear Parents, Carers, Students and Friends,
A time of change
What a lot of change we have all had to deal with over the last couple of weeks! We hope that you are all well and have managed to enjoy some of your time spent in different ways. Remember it is important to try to have a balance of work, rest and some time to yourselves for self-care. We are writing to thank you for your support during these challenging times, particularly for how quickly you have adapted to our new ways of working from home. Do not doubt that whatever you are doing with your child adds value and we fully appreciate how tricky it is to wrestle with your own work commitments and family responsibilities. As we move through our second week of closure for the vast majority of students, this is a good time to share some updates with you.
Farewells to staff leaving us at Easter
We say farewell to Mr Norman, History Teacher. Mr Norman joined Ibstock 12 years ago this coming August, the same day as me (Mrs Williams), and I knew immediately that I liked him. Mr Norman has made such a positive impact at Ibstock. Our students love to listen to him talk passionately about all things history, he has incited that very passion into so many students over the years, not just at Ibstock but at the other schools he has taught at over his lengthy teaching career (including Australia). Likewise, Mr Norman is such a popular member of staff, regaling his travel tales and hosting his annual BBQ. Personally, I particularly enjoyed his company on the numerous trips to Normandy when he would waken the boys with his dulcet tones.
During his time at Ibstock Mr Norman has lead many trips, been a form tutor, a mentor to trainee teachers and a source of humour, wisdom and knowledge to colleagues of the college, both past and present. He has stepped in and led the Humanities faculty, worked closely with partner schools to improve the educational opportunities for the young people of NW Leicestershire.
Thank you Mr Norman for all that you have given to the college, we will miss your wonderful collection of colourful shirts, your wit and your wisdom. We wish you a wonderful time as you head off to start your next adventure. Please keep in touch and take care.
Also, very best wishes to Mrs Merry, Assistant Principal, who leaves us to take up a new post at another school in Leicestershire. We thank her for her contribution at ICC over the last year and wish her every success in her new role.
Essential/key worker children
At the start of last week, Ibstock Community College had in place emergency supervised childcare provision for a small number of students whose parents were mainly NHS workers or food supply workers (supermarkets and delivery staff) who had no other form of childcare. Since last Wednesday all parents and carers have been able to keep their children at home or have made other arrangements and so we have been closed.
We would like to thank all of you who are key workers who have found other ways of looking after your children. It is important that in school and at home we can ensure social distancing is in place at all times, which would have been challenging with large numbers in school. Your support is greatly appreciated.
At Ibstock Community College we remain committed to providing provision for essential workers if this situation changes, including over the Easter break, and will work together with you and other schools in the area to ensure that childcare places are available if required.
Please continue to use the firstname.lastname@example.org email address to inform us if you have no other possible childcare option and we will work with you to arrange provision.
Free School Meal students
We have explored a number of ways to offer support and have provided vouchers or interim payments to FSM families to cover the period up to Easter. The plans we initially implemented are likely to change due to changing directives from the government. The government has just launched a national voucher scheme and we will work to implement this for our families as soon as possible.
Cancellations and refunds
We have obviously had to cancel any planed trips and visits and our finance team will be processing any refunds due to parents over the next few weeks. Once this is done we will process refunds of monies on ParentPay for school lunches – for Year 9 where the balance is over £5, and for Year 7 and 8 where the balance is over £20. Please contact us on email@example.com if you have any specific queries or are facing particular hardship due to awaiting any payments.
Home Learning Moving Forward
Our teaching staff have been delighted with how well students have been engaged with completing work from home so well done to all! Learning entirely at distance is new to all of us. Home learning cannot replace being at school, though we are trying to guide students towards useful sources to support them. This will be a real test of their resilience and self-managements skills.
We will be continuously adding to the resources on Foldr and organising so that your child can find the work that is provided for them. Not all the work set relies on a computer but instructions for the weeks’ work are there.
Subject Areas will set work on Foldr roughly proportionate to what your child would experience in a week in school. For example, Maths, English and Science at 3 lessons per week will be setting more than Music at just 1 lesson per week. However, we are aware that circumstances are different for every student and that these are not ‘normal’ times! It may be that your child could try working in 30-minute slots rather than in hour slots with short breaks in between.
The current Home Learning resources we have provided should last until Friday 3rd April and resources will be updated after Easter, from Monday 20th April onwards. We expect you and your child to take an Easter Break as you would normally. Please do not feel under pressure.
If possible, try to establish a routine – there is more information about this on Foldr. We understand that this will be more difficult if you have several children all trying to get on to one computer or have your own work to complete but might help students to fit in more productive slots when they are able. Make sure that you have a cut-off point each day. It may be necessary to incentivise the work with your child as we would in school e.g stickers, rewards points, time earned on games/social media. Be wary of your child telling you they have ‘done everything on Foldr’! Doing things once does not lead to mastering new learning. Ask your child about knowledge organisers, retrieval practise and using examples to improve long term memory.
Please don’t stress about completing all the work set on Foldr. We are all doing the best we can under these circumstances! Please be assured that Age Expectations for every year group across the nation will be adjusted in light of these unprecedented times so you should not be concerned about your child ‘falling behind’, especially if they are doing a good mix of work we set for them and other activities.
Feedback on Work Completed
Much of the work we have set for Home Learning provides immediate feedback e.g My Maths, Active Learn and Seneca. Students can also retry the work until they get 100% which further supports master learning and long term memory retention.
Feedback will also be provided by teachers uploading ‘answers’ to certain tasks, allowing students to self-assess or parents/siblings to peer-assess. This type of feedback to students should act as further motivation to move onto the next activity. With many of our teaching staff self-isolating, unwell, home schooling their own children, and caring for vulnerable relatives, we are not placing any expectations on our staff to provide individualised, written feedback or traditional ‘marking’ at this stage.
Safeguarding Concerns during School Closure
We seek to do everything we reasonably can to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our students. I am sure you will appreciate that there are limits to this during these unprecedented times.
We would therefore recommend that you:
- Monitor closely your child’s activity on social media. Most of the problems we have to deal with at the start of each term relate to antisocial behaviour that has taken place online while not at school. This may be exacerbated during this time of prolonged closure. And follow this link for further guidance on how to support your child. https://www.ibstockcollege.co.uk/pastoral-team
- If your child is being seriously abused online, contact the police https://www.ceop.police.uk/ceop-reporting/.
- Let us know if there have been any issues that we need to be aware of as soon as possible so we can respond promptly and appropriately when school reopens. We cannot guarantee that we will be able to respond to emails out of school hours. However, we will be monitoring the firstname.lastname@example.org during this period of school closure.
- Contact Social Services if you feel they should be aware of an issue. You can call the Social Services Central Duty Team on 0116 305 0005 or make an online referral via the following link: https://www.leicestershire.gov.uk/leisure-and-community/community-safety/reportabuse-or-neglect-of-a-child
- Contact the police straight away if you believe a child is in immediate danger.
And finally, do regularly look at our website for further updates during these ever-changing times. We plan to keep you all up to date (but hopefully not overwhelmed) with regular messages and newsletters. Our community has rallied brilliantly so far - thank you for all your support and kind words. We wish you and your family well until our next update.
Stay at home. Protect the NHS. Save lives.
Anne-Marie Blewitt, Executive Headteacher
Sophie Williams, Head of School
Home Learning Resources
Hopefully by now your child has been accessing the Home Learning Resources on Foldr. We will be updating the learning resources continuously so that there is plenty of work available for children learning at home, so please encourage your child to keep logging on and doing their best. As parents and carers, you may of course have lots of ideas about how to add to and enrich this provision and we encourage you to do this.
Primarily, your child will need their Foldr Login – it is their usual school computer login and they use it regularly. Go to the Home Learning Resources folder. A link to Foldr can be found on the College website: https://www.ibstockcollege.co.uk/homework
Your child will then see each subject area with a series of learning activities which may require further log ins:
MyMaths login – these should be in your child’s planner but please check. Your child can ask their Maths teacher if they are not sure.
The generic login is: Ibstock
The generic password is: cuboid
English – Read Theory – Students have an individual log in. This is in their planners as they use in lessons from time to time.
French – Active Learn –
Username: ibs[first initial] [surname] i.e. ibsjmason
Password Y7: Ibstock19
Password Y8&9: Ibstock18
Audible have given free access to stories for children whilst schools are closed. All stories are free to stream on your desktop, laptop, phone or tablet. https://stories.audible.com/start-listen
You will also find daily challenges on our Twitter page @IbstockCollege - follow us and see if you can solve the puzzles!
If you need to contact the college about any aspect of this work please email email@example.com Please be aware this inbox may not be regularly monitored.
You should be able to access the work on a PC, via a tablet or phone. The majority of resources will be in PDF format which is compatible with all phones and tablets. If your child does not have access to a computer or a phone, then we will have paper copies of a range of resources for you to collect.
Many of the activities require children to self-test and to use paper, pen or coloured pencils. We suggest that your child follows the structure of a school day in order to organise their school work. Use your child's current timetable as a guide.
There are various celebrities offering free help with education while children are not at school;
PE with Joe Wicks - 9am Monday - Friday https://youtu.be/Rz0go1pTda8
Music with Myleene Klass 10am Monday and Friday https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQh2wgJ5tOrixYBn6jFXsXQ
David Walliams daily audio book at 11am https://www.worldofdavidwalliams.com/elevenses/
Healthy recipes to get children cooking at home, by Jamie Oliver https://www.jamieoliver.com/features/category/get-kids-cooking/
Join a member of the DDMIX for a 10 minute shake up at 1.30pm everyday, live via diversedancemix Facebook page.
Daily science with Maddie Moate, weekdays 11am https://www.youtube.com/maddiemoate
Brian Cox will be joined by comedian Robin Ince to front The Stay at Home Show on YouTube for a special science-based Q&A. /https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6JQx_K7LKktuQXruCwgbFg
Strictly Come Dancing champion Oti Mabuse is providing dance classes at 11.30 each day. https://www.youtube.com/user/mosetsanagape
Wellbeing during isolation
The government is telling us to stay at home and only go outside for food, health reasons or essential work, to stay two metres (six feet) away from other people and wash our hands as soon as we get home.
This will mean that more of us will be spending a lot of time at home and many of our regular social activities will no longer be available to us.
It will help to try and see it as a different period of time in your life, and not necessarily a bad one, even if you didn’t choose it.
It will mean a different rhythm of life, a chance to be in touch with others in different ways than usual. Be in touch with other people regularly on social media, e-mail or on the phone, as they are still good ways of being close to the people who matter to you.
We have put together this list of external websites that can help you and your child with advice, or for your child to access for support and information.
These are trusted and informative websites with advice that we also follow in College.
Please visit: https://www.ibstockcollege.co.uk/pastoral-team
Leicestershire Educational Psychology Service
Information for parents and carers about the Educational Psychology Phone Helpline and Educational Psychology Assessments and Statutory Advice
Leicestershire Educational Psychology Service Helpline
You can call the helpline if you want to speak to an Educational Psychologist. Telephone 0116 305 5100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday to Friday, between 9am and 11:30am including school holidays.
The Educational Psychology Helpline is available daily for parents and carers during the current coronavirus pandemic.
- The Helpline is a free telephone helpline, available for all education providers, professionals and parents/carers in Leicestershire. Usual call charges apply.
- The purpose of the Helpline is to support the caller to develop their understanding and confidence in dealing with a concern or problem they are facing.
- This Educational Psychologist will ask questions, provide information and advice and support with finding solutions together.
- The Educational Psychologist may signpost when it is thought that another service is better placed to help.
- It is discrete, anonymous involvement that does not lead to further, direct work. It is not a referral route into the service.
Here is a list of examples of possible topics parents and carers may wish to discuss:
- Supporting children and young people to maintain positive mental well-being
- Talking to your child about the Covid 19 pandemic (what and how to share information)
- Developing healthy routines whilst schools/educational settings are closed
- On-going concerns regarding your child’s development
Educational Psychologist Assessments and Statutory Advice as part of Statutory Education, Health and Care Needs Assessments and Tribunals
Educational Psychologists will continue to complete Education Health and Care Needs Assessment reports as part of the Statutory Procedures.
Following Government Guidelines in response to the Covid 19 pandemic, the Educational Psychology Service is no longer making visits to schools, settings or homes when undertaking Assessments.
However Educational Psychologists are continuing to gather information by phone from schools, settings and families where possible.
Educational Psychologists will highlight any potential limitations of their assessment, within their report, due to the current situation.
The manner in which information is gathered will continue to be reviewed and adjusted in accordance with further guidance from the Government.
On Tuesday 10th March we are fortunate to have a visit from Olympic hurdler Dai Greene as part of Sports Relief. Dai held a whole assembly followed by some hurdle workshops with our gifted and talented students.
On Friday 13th March staff and students walked along to Sence Valley. The aim: to get active and to raise money for sport Relief 2020.
We were blessed with a dry and relatively bright afternoon, so fuelled by an early lunch, the whole school started off on the circuit, taking us around the lake. Together, staff and students; rambled, jogged and even sprinted. Everyone had fun, raising a total of £1160.26 - double the amount raised two years ago! Wow!
Cal Brain Yr 7 was the lead runner – a potential olympian? Both Thomas Hudson Yr 9 and Jess McCardle Yr 7 were joint top fundraisers, bring in £85 each! Great work!
A special thanks to Miss Rhodes for organising the event and to the team at Sence Valley who helped make it happen. We are so lucky to have such a wonderful outdoor space right on our doorstep.
Thank you to everyone who supported the event.
Active Boys & Girls
Following their completion of the Active boys and girls programme the students enjoyed a reward trip to Rebound Ashby where they could try out some of the parkour moves they had learnt earlier in the programme. I think you can see they all had a great time!
The beginning of March was National Careers Week, and across the country, schools, colleges and universities worked with their students to raise the profile of careers education and to provide opportunities for students to delve into a range of careers that could be of interest. This included possible pay, specific aspects of the job and most importantly the qualifications needed in order to enter that career.
At Ibstock Community College, we held a number of events to mark National Careers Week. Students received specific lessons within their subjects on careers in that area, an assembly that discussed why careers education is important, GCSE, post-16, university and apprenticeships, whilst Year 8 and Year 9 spent time, during tutorial, looking at the National Careers Service website – a link to this can be found via the careers section on our college website. Year 7 will also get this opportunity over the coming weeks.
Finally, we hope that the conversation around careers can continue at home as well as we all work together to help our students make the right choices, working towards an exciting and rewarding career in the future.
Well done to all staff and students who took part in the Fairtrade tutorial lessons. Through your hard work the school successfully completed the FairAware Award and we are now a Fairtrade school!
Keep an eye on Foldr – exciting resources are being added regularly for you. All of the year 9 resources link directly to the GCSE courses and we’ve even added some Psychology for you to have a go at.
As you may be aware, Mr Norman is retiring after 12 years of teaching at Ibstock Community College. He will be greatly missed by both students and staff and we all wish him well for his retirement. He would like to send you the following message:
"Unfortunately, due to the present circumstances, I probably won't be able to see students again and say "goodbye" properly. I've been at Ibstock for 11 years now and have got to know many students and their families really well. I've always appreciated the straight-forwardness of our students and their willingness to say what they think - although that has caused the occasional "issue" over the years! I wish you all the best for the future in whatever the rest of the academic year will bring and in your new schools. I thank you for all the wonderfully daft comments I've written down over the years (no names of course!) and I beg forgiveness from all the Ravenstone students to whom I've given such a hard-time. You will know what I mean!"
Culture and Creativity
There are enough music resources in foldr, plus the knowledge organisers and supplementary sheets to keep students busy with their music learning until Easter. Foldr will be added to in due course to continue to provide students work to complete during their weekly hour of timetabled music.
Private Music Lessons
Our instrumental and vocal staff are continuing with their private tuition thanks to the wonders of technology which is allowing our tutors to deliver online learning.
Warren (drums) has been undertaking work from home via the online facilities. If any more of our students who have drum lessons and the necessary technology available he still has slots available between midday and 1 o’clock and also on a Saturday morning. Please contact Warren directly. To date, his drum lessons have been very successful and thanks to students and parents.
Alice would like to extend her gratitude to all the Ibstock parents who have been able to continue with her lessons and she has had many lovely comments about hearing the children sing at home and how important it is to keep routine as much as we are able to.
Sarah (Woodwind) and Danny (Guitar) have also had a number of Ibstock students sign up for online lessons and the response and support for this has been fantastic and both teachers send their thanks.
Rob and Julie through Music Academy for schools have now sent parents details as to how online lessons can be accessed so please check your inboxes. There are instructions in the email how to sign up.
All of our tutors are very grateful for the support and are pleased to keep the routine of lessons. If this is something you have yet to sign up to and would like to, please contact your teacher directly.
There are plenty of resources and active learn activities up until Easter. Staff are busy preparing the next set of resources for after Easter so keep a look out for new activities coming soon!
Design Technology & Art.
We hope you have been looking at the activities we have put in the Home Learning Folder and you are having a go at learning some new skills. There is no excuse to be bored!
From Monday 30th March there will be some new activities for you to try from Design & Art.
- Easter bake off challenge for students, staff and their families plus some Easter foody activities.
- Lots of Textiles mini tasks and a competition.
- Drawing tutorials and materials studies from PD
- Cardboard tube task and video links from Art
- Origami planes & manufacturing videos with question sheets from RM
Come on you creative people! We would love to hear how you are getting on – email your pictures or save in the Student area/art & design technology homeworking. We will feedback to you and tweet through ibstock_design (follow us!) Alternatively, you can email any of the design teachers. Happy Easter & keep washing your hands!
The Ibstock College Easter Bake Off Challenge
The Ibstock Easter Bake Off Challenge is open to the students and staff at the college and their families.
You are to bake an Easter themed cake or set of cupcakes. Obviously they should feature as many of the following - rabbits, chicks, eggs, chocolate, flowers, nests, lambs - anything with an Easter theme.
This is a true challenge as some standard ingredients are not easy to find at the moment. So some things you can change;
- Plain flour + baking powder = self raising flour.
- Bananas are a good substitute for eggs.
- Ground almonds, coconut flour etc can be used with baking powder too.
Check the internet for further substitutes.
The closing date for entries is Friday 10 April. All entries must be photographed with your name/ family name and saved in Foldr / student area / Art Design Homeworking folder / Easter bake off.
I will share the pictures via ibstock_design twitter account. So come on you bakers, get creative and show these amazing skills. Have fun!
Happy Easter, Mrs Higginson
Created with images by Eric Heininger - "untitled image" • Melissa Walker Horn - "Easter Cook-Off - Rainbow Cheesecakes" • Jennifer Burk - "untitled image" • freestocks - "untitled image" • JESHOOTS.COM - "Female hands made some wooden easter ornaments. Happy Easter!" • Sebastian Staines - "Cute Easter Toys"