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Reading Girls' School newsletter - 13 NOVEMBER 2020

Principal's message: Thank you to Reading MP, Councillors and the Media for your support of our school....

I would like to use this week’s newsletter to publicly thank Reading East Labour MP Matt Rodda, Reading Lead Councillor for Education, Ashley Pearce and his colleagues along with the local media for their continued support and use of social media to spread news of the good things that pupils, parents and staff at the school have been doing for some time now. We are very grateful for the recognition that our school continues to receive.

Their latest efforts have been in support of our ‘Covid Champion’ nomination. You can read the full article from the link below. We will be making our presentation to ‘The Learning Awards Judging Panel’ on 25th November 2020 and I will share it with you in the Friday 27th November edition of our newsletter.

https://twitter.com/mattrodda/status/1326823088483414016?s=12

HYBRID CLASSROOMS – pupil survey responses…

As you will be aware, girls who are self-isolating access their lessons live from home. On their final day of isolation, they complete a survey asking them about the quality of their online lessons. Here are the latest responses:

  • 100% of pupils were able to access their live online lessons
  • 100% were able to hear and see their teachers and classmates
  • 100% were able to access all of the resources used in the lesson
  • 100% took part in group activities with their classmates
  • 95% rated the quality of their online learning as satisfactory or better
  • 89% found it easy to engage with online learning

HYBRID CLASSROOMS – for teachers too…

Here’s Mr Lalor teaching his Year 7 Maths class about perpendicular lines this week, from the other side of Reading.

https://twitter.com/readinggirlssch/status/1326897200874594307?s=12

THANK YOU - for supporting our ‘household’ policy

I would like thank our parents and external STEM curriculum partners for supporting our ‘household’ policy during this lockdown period and not coming onto the school site. A special thanks to parents who use the car park at drop-off/pick-up times in particular.

Jon Gargan, Principal

Student Senior Leadership Team

Congratulations to the new members of the SSLT. After a week of high quality interviews, the final selection has been made. All the girls showed a passion for RGS and a commitment to continuing the excellent work that the previous SSLT started. Their passion for the school, staff and students shone through during the interview process. The girls look forward to 'getting to work' and are excited about their new roles. Thank you to all the students who applied and interviewed, you were all fantastic. We look forward to hearing from the girls themselves in the coming weeks as they take on their new roles.

Mr Dinnegan.

STEM

"In our most recent stem day, we learnt about earthquakes and some of the other tragedies that went along with it; we watched videos about the topic and after we attempted to make earthquake proof towers with paper straws, paper and tape - this had to support a 100g weight.

While supporting the weight it also had to go through the shake test which was, putting the tower on the table and pushing the table back and forth to see whose fall last. We also had to keep track of the amount of equipment we were using because the tie breaker was down to who used the least equipment.

This taught us that it is hard to build an earthquake proof tower especially without the tools or money to do it." By: Keeley Evans

As part of the day looking at Earthquakes, students also attended a virtual workshop with UCL's Geobus. They explained how earthquakes happen and provided 3D glasses for the students to look at pictures of earthquake regions. In the workshop, the students made 3D models to show how fault lines can affect an area disrupting rivers, road, houses and farmland.

For the next year 8 STEM day, UCL's Geobus will be running virtual workshops about fossils.

CHEMISTRY

Currently our Year 8 girls are learning about Chemical Reactions and Physical Changes with Mr Marsh in their chemistry lessons. Chemical changes happen when chemical reactions occur. They involve the formation of new chemical elements or compounds. Physical changes do not lead to new chemical substances forming. In a physical change, a substance simply changes physical state, e.g. from a solid to a liquid.

Space Weather Competition

As part of a recent STEM day, the Year 8 students heard from the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory about satellites and the communication and information they bring. They were also invited to take part in a competition.

The students had to research the different types of space weather and the effects it can have on Earth. Then it was time to get creative for their competition entries. The students could either make a poster, drawing, painting, sculpture, cartoon strip or other artwork or craftwork or write a poem, short story, newspaper article, or script for a space weather forecast on TV.

We were delighted to hear this week that Shane Serika's excellent piece won the age 11-15 'Write' category and Malaika Khan's entry was Highly Commended in the 'Make' category. Both girls will be getting certificates and prizes, including a tour of the lab in due course.

Congratulations Shane
Congratulations Malaika
Has your lesson been REAL (Relevant, Engaging, Active Learning)?

Using REAL tokens students have the opportunity to give instant feedback to staff about their experiences within the lesson.

Students are provided with a token and at the end of the lesson, are asked if their lesson has been R.E.A.L. (Relevant, Engaging, Active Learning). Students theen place their token into the 'Yes' or 'No' box, which is in every teaching classroom. Staff then uses this information to make any modification to their delivery of their lesson. These tokens are then collected in at the end of every week and counted.

Results for this week: Monday 9 to Friday 13 November 2020

YES - 1884 tokens

No - 68 tokens

Increasing Student Participation

"Talking Tokens"

Talking Tokens are issued by the classroom teacher and/or teaching assistant to pupils who participate to questions and/or ask questions during lessons. Pupils are encouraged to write their name and year group on the back of the 'Talking Token' and place them into the relevant 'Talking Token' collection box for their year group. At the end of each term, all 'Talking Tokens' are placed together and a pupil is selected at random. The more 'Talking Tokens' a pupil collects for contributing answers to questions in class, the more chances they have to win a prize.

At the end of this week the following number of 'Talking Tokens' collected by each year group were:

  • Year 7 - 494
  • Year 8 - 138
  • Year 9 - 101
  • Year 10 - 275
  • Year 11 - 147
  • Total number of 'Talking Tokens' collected this year across the whole school are 9849.

All meals are provided by Chartwells - a school meal consists of a main meal and a dessert for £2.40 a variety of snacks and drinks are also available.

Chartwells operate a cashless till system, operated by cards. The cards are topped up online using a secure website called ParentPay, if your daughter is eligible for free meals, £2.40 is credited to her card each day. Your daughter will be provided with her card and ParentPay login details on her first day at Reading Girls' School. You can find more information about ParentPay on their website http://www.parentpay.com. The school office is also happy to help with any enquiries.

Follow the link for details of the school menu.

Here is the information that Reading Families’ Forum has promoted this week:

Brighter Futures want to know what you think of your child’s Education, Health and Care Plan and how it is working. Follow this link for the quick survey.

Remember that Reading Information Advice and Support Service for SEND (known as Reading IASS) is there to help you if you are having difficulties with getting the right support for your child’s special educational needs and/or disability. This includes helping getting support with education and social care. They also provide an advocacy service if you need help to get your views across. Service Helpline 0118 937 3421 (Mon, Wed and Fri 9.30am-2.30pm)

SEND Local Offer needs your feedback….this will help them improve the information, accessibility, usage and will assist them in developing and improving Reading’s SEND Local Offer. Please spare a few minutes to complete this short survey. Survey ends on Monday 16th November 2020.

Young Carers at Brighter Futures are not running at the moment. They are trying to find a venue to do some face to face sessions, but they are happy to offer some individual online sessions to support siblings. If you would like your child to have some online support as a young carer to their sibling with additional needs, you can contact Gina Carpenter who is the service manager for Early Help at Brighter Futures on 0118 937 6568 (76568) or via email: gina.carpenter@brighterfuturesforchildren.org

If you need a helping hand to get through the Covid crisis, the One Reading Community Hub is here. You can contact the Hub for help with urgent food and prescription needs, getting a priority supermarket delivery slot, or other issues such as debt, loneliness, stress and anxiety. You can contact the Hub by calling 0808 189 4325, via Reading Deaf Centre on SMS 07704 687298 or fax 0118 950 0507 (The Hub is a partnership between Reading Borough Council, Reading Voluntary Action and voluntary and community partners in the town.)

Singing Hands have some lovely online sessions coming up to keep children entertained.

The updated guidance on school transport can be found here.

The Fledglings Shop is part of the Contact charity for disabled children family and has lots of clothing and sensory toys.

Yvonne Newbold has put on a webinar on how to address controlling behaviour in SEND children LINK. They also have a number of useful resources online.

The Challenging Behaviour Foundation also has resources and opportunities to link with other families in a similar position online.

Remember that the Local Offer has lots of information about local services for families of children with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). They have a friendly team who can answer all your questions about local support. 0118 9373777 (Option 2) (73777).

Wishing you all the best this week from Reading Families Forum.