Principal's message: "BIGGER & BETTER than before...."
Our plans for the term ahead
A week feels like a lifetime in the world of education these days and a lot has changed since our newsletter eight days ago.
The Prime Minister indicated on Monday that schools would not operate as normal for all pupils until after February half term. Yesterday, he said that schools would be the first thing to be fully reopened as soon as the virus allows.
I would like to use this week’s newsletter to set out our provision for the term ahead which ends on Friday 12th February 2021. If the Government change plans before then, I will update you. Otherwise, take the following as our provision.
1. NORMAL TIMETABLE
Live online face-to-face lessons via MS TEAMS are already underway. In ensuring that all pupils have access, we have distributed 93 CHROMEBOOKS thus far.
2. HOW TO CONTACT US AT SCHOOL
If you need to contact us for any reason including IT access issues, needing a resource, informing us that your daughter will not be in lessons, please use this email address: email@example.com.
3. WELL-BEING DAYS
We all learned during lockdown #1 how draining six hours per day of online lessons can be for pupils and staff. Therefore, I am happy to inform you that we will be designating well-being days again this time. I can confirm that those dates are:
- Monday 11th January 2021
- Wednesday 20th January 2021
- Tuesday 26th January 2021
- Thursday 4th February 20201
- Friday 12th February 2021
These days are intended to give everybody a break away from the intensity of work. During the last lockdown many girls used them to complete their PLEDGE activities by helping at home and some girls completed our well-being booklet activities. Here is a link to our ‘Stay Positive Challenge’ activities guide.
4. WEEKLY YEAR GROUP ASSEMBLIES
You can access the assembly schedule for the term here.
5. YEAR 9 PARENT’S EVENING – Tuesday 12th January 2021
Our Year 9 parent’s evening will be held online on 12th January 2021 from 2.30pm. We have sent parents a letter to book appointments.
6. PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT DAY – Thursday 28th January 2021
You will be aware that we deliver our aged-related PSHE programme through partnership with external organisations. This will go ahead this term via MS TEAMS and girls will also meet with their Personal Tutor. Here is the list of which external providers will be delivering sessions for your daughter’s year group.
7. DAILY ONLINE BREAKFAST CLUB
Our online breakfast club will be open daily from 8.00-8.25am starting Tuesday 12th January 2021. All girls can login to ‘BREAKFAST CLUB’ on MS TEAMS to have breakfast with their friends and staff before the school day begins. Each club will have a focus. Here are next weeks…
- Tuesday – Morning exercise
- Wednesday - Healthy eating
- Thursday – Yoga (led by Katie Afonso of Year 9)
- Friday – Mindfulness
8. DAILY ONLINE LUNCHTIME CLUB
Similarly, the girls can join our lunchtime club on MS TEAMS by logging into ‘PASTORAL OFFICE’.
9. WEEKLY YEAR GROUP CHALLENGE
Our community spirit and dynamics is one of the things that makes our school very special. We don’t want another lockdown to disrupt that. To that end, we intend to hold weekly challenges that keeps everyone connected. You will remember during lockdown #1 that we held ‘Rainbow dress day’, ‘RGS talent show’ and ‘end of year assembly’.
GCSE 2021 EXAMS UPDATE
Yesterday’s announcement from the Secretary for Education on the cancellation of this year’s GCSE exams series was news that I’m sure all pupils, teachers and parents was hoping they wouldn’t hear. The lack of detailed plans for an alternative method of allocating grades and the feeling of being left waiting, adds to the frustration.
From experience, until we know more, the best action for us to take is to continue Year 11 lessons as normal. We are only in January and I’m certain that lesson over the coming months and indeed our second mock examinations series will have a part to play in final outcomes.
Lots will change between now and then and we will be holding weekly assemblies with Year 11 starting on Friday to ensure that they are kept up to date.
Jon Gargan, Principal
For the STEM day this week, the Year 8s were looking at animal conservation.
They started the day doing an animal survey of their own homes and seeing what wildlife they could see around their own homes, in their gardens and from their windows, including birds and spiders. They then considered how they could encourage wildlife by feeding birds or providing bat boxes or hedgehog houses.
In the afternoon, they heard from Dr Glyn Barrett of the University of Reading who gave a virtual talk. Glyn has worked in microbiology and is now a marine conservationist. He showed the girls videos and pictures of his work as this included spending several months on a desert island working with turtles - they girls were fascinated! There were many excellent questions and Glyn enjoyed talking with the girls about his work. Hopefully they will be able to encourage wildlife in their gardens and there may be some future zoologists among them!