Dear Parents, Carers, Students and Friends,
A belated Happy New Year to you all from all the staff at Ibstock Community College.
It has been an interesting couple of weeks for everyone and no more so than for our staff and students.
I would like to thank you all for the support you have given to our staff and the appreciation you have showed for their continued commitment to your children’s education. I also understand the challenging situation that many of you find yourselves in, juggling working from home with supporting your child’s remote learning. Again, thank you for the encouragement you continue to offer to enable your children to access the lessons and other resources we are providing.
Please continue to remind your children to access their school emails regularly so as not to miss the live tutorials and other drop in sessions which will continue to take place as well as lessons with live content as described by Mr Mason in this newsletter. Please note that your child's subject teacher is available for online support during the timetabled lesson, any emails sent outside of the timetabled lesson may not be responded to immediately.
Year 7 reports will be available via Parent Lite before the end of January 2021. We will send a text to let you know when you are able to access them.
Please follow this link to a brief survey to allow me to capture your feelings regarding our remote learning provision since the 14 January 2021. I value your opinions. https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=VPmWoUyaJUWlwBmAnSHcl3sKrG2rPsZAn1ExyT_6jydUM1VQNkxQSFgxUVBNM1lLR1pJOFE1NzBXUS4u
We now have lateral flow testing set up in the community centre which is open daily for staff to take a weekly test and we hope to start testing the students who are in school; the children of key workers and those in the vulnerable category, early next week. Hopefully this will help to reassure and limit the spread within our community.
Head of school
Teaching and Learning
Our staff have been working incredibly hard now, since the start of the academic year, on our remote learning provision. It has been pleasing to see excellent levels of engagement from so many of our students, as we all work together to provide the very best education during this period of lockdown and working from home.
In formulating our remote learning policy and informing what learning opportunities our teachers will be providing over this period of time working from home, we have engaged in the most recent research into effective home learning. Primarily, Doug Lemov’s book Teaching in the Online Classroom and the EEF report into remote learning approaches. What is clear is that a variety of learning opportunities, including live content, pre-recorded content, online portals and independent tasks all contribute to a child’s education when working from home. To keep up to date with the array of lessons that are taking place during lockdown, parents and students should be checking your college email account each day for any live lessons, or live drop ins that their teacher has organised. Other work will be saved, for students to access, in FoldR, which you can access via the remote learning section on the College website and all lessons will follow your child’s normal timetable. Following the normal timetable will be important, as teachers will be available during those times to help with the work set.
I would like to take this opportunity for all the help and support you are providing at home, to support your child’s learning. We all hope that it won’t be too long until we can all safely return to College and get back into the classroom once again.
To ensure all students are fully engaged with their learning, we are asking all teachers to complete monitoring feedback every Friday by 12pm. This is to ensure that every child is getting regular contact from both pastoral and academic support. Any child that isn’t responding to subject work submission deadlines OR Form Tutor communication, will be followed up to ensure they have the support needed to keep up with their learning.
Following requests from parents we will be notifying parents every Friday afternoon if their child has been struggling to engage. We ask for your support in responding to any request for contact so we can work together to help every child balance their workload and academic standards.
We will also be building in weekly whole school reward systems to ensure our fantastic students are getting the recognition they deserve. As a starting point, any child that is engaging with 7+ subjects/week will qualify for ICC’s Superstar award with the subsequent achievement points. We believe that any child that is consistently coping and engaging with 7+ subjects is well deserving of recognition-especially when there are so many other factors to take into consideration. We have seen so many outstanding responses to tasks already and look forward to celebrating many more.
We have increasing numbers of children of Key Workers and Vulnerable students in school each day. We have to manage a safe balance of numbers and where possible, will put other forms of support in place to help children with remote learning. We know how difficult it is for everyone working from home and we’re very appreciative of all the positive support there has been to start off this period of lockdown. Should you have any queries or feel your child is in need of support, please email your child’s form tutor as a first point of contact. We are here to help and very keen to ensure our students remain confident and consistent in their learning throughout these times.
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.
In addition, any staff member or student who has come into contact with positive cases in our school can be tested daily for seven days to allow them to remain in school.
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 take a further ‘PCR test’ to confirm the result. This should be on the same day or as soon as possible afterwards. School will be able to provide these PCR test kits to perform at home.
During the time while waiting for the PCR result (via text/email) they will need to self-isolate.
If the PCR test returns a positive result they will have to continue 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. If close contacts agree to be tested each day for a maximum period of 7 days, and they test negative every day, they will be allowed to remain in school. There may be instances where close contacts are also contacted by NHS Test and Trace. In this instance they should notify NHS Test and Trace that they are a close contact through school and are participating in daily contact testing.
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 email@example.com
Shared Reading Tips
While in lockdown we are reminding students how vital it is to continue reading twenty minutes a day. Developing regular reading habits will support their academic success.
Shared reading is an important strategy from a very early age and continues to be so as children develop their independent reading skills. The parent-child interactions that take place during shared reading are thought to be a key ingredient to their success. Below are some tips to inform these interactions:
Tip 1: Ask questions about the book
• Parents can support their child by asking a range of questions about the book their child is reading.
• The ‘five Ws’ – who, what, where, when and why – can provide useful questions for parents.
• Parents can use a mixture of closed questions (which can be answered in a single word) and open questions (which require a fuller response) to help their child develop a more detailed reply.
• Parents could ask their child to summarise what has happened in the book or story so far, and to predict what will happen next.
Tip 2: Link reading to the real world
• By talking about links between the book and real life, parents can make the story more interesting and help children develop their understanding of ideas in the book. For example, while reading about Cinderella going to the ball, a parent might discuss the similarities between a ball and a birthday party.
Parent / Carer Feedback
We have received a great amount of positive feedback from parents / carers regarding home learning and support given to students during lockdown. It is great to know that everybody's hard work is appreciated. Here are just a handful of the wonderful messages that we have received.
I have been really impressed with the quality of the work that has been set, as well as the support that Miss Clarke and the other subject teachers have provided to the girls. Please pass on my thanks to your colleagues.
Firstly I just wanted to say how well I think the school are dealing with the changes to home schooling. It’s a really difficult time for you and the staff to adjust too and whilst it isn’t perfect its working and getting easier each day.
Please thank her teachers for making sure she has some daily work to do and Mr Le Plays for keeping regular touch.
It's lovely to hear your feedback on how Charlotte is doing. We also appreciate all your and your colleagues' efforts during this difficult time.
Can I just say how impressed I am at the home learning arrangements that have been set out for students. Grace knows what’s expected of her and is really motivated (Mrs Williams message definitely helped on Monday) so thank you for the effort that’s gone in to it!
The current situation is a challenge for all, but the work provided has been challenging, accessible, plentiful and teachers have been very quick to reply, offer teams meetings and provide support.
Just a little message to thank all of the staff at Ibstock for all of the online lessons and remote learning that is keeping my boys going with their education. It's great that their tutors are touching base with them at least twice a week and keeping them motivated. It's really challenging for everyone in education at the moment, especially teacher being glued to screens for most of the day. For all that you are doing - thank you!
I just want to say what a great job you're all doing at your end I'm very impressed and very pleased.
During the pandemic and current lockdown, more and more people are feeling that their mental health and well-being is being impacted.
The attached resource file gives a range of activities for parents to use to help support their child's mental health and wellbeing.
The summary of CFF support gives a range of FREE programmes and workshops for parents and young people to take part in. One that may be of particular help is the 90 minute free zoom workshop 'Helping My Anxious Child'. Details of how to book a place on the workshop are included in the summary document.
The full guide and a summary of support available are both available on our website: https://www.ibstockcollege.co.uk/user_uploads/files/CFF_Parent_Carer_Resource_FINAL.pdf / https://www.ibstockcollege.co.uk/user_uploads/files/Summary_of_CFF_Support_updated_21-12-20.pdf
Games Console Guide for Remote Learning
Using a games console is not a perfect solution to remote learning needs but they can be helpful in giving families an extra device to access as much remote learning as possible. To use your console in this way you will need;
• A Games Console - the following consoles will work; XBOX One, XBOX One S, XBOX One X, XBOX Series S/X, Playstation 4, Playstation 4 Pro, Playstation 5, Playstation 5 (Digital Edition)
• A Keyboard & Mouse (These are not essential but do make prolonged use easier.)
What can you do on these?
We have seen reports that Smart TVs which have a Web Browser built in will also work, but we are not able to verify which makes/models of Smart TV are supported.
Free School Meals
We will continue to use the Edenred scheme for the next set of supermarket vouchers. These will be processed next week, we will keep parents / carers informed. If you have made any changes to your email address please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the changes as soon as possible.
For more information please visit our website: https://www.ibstockcollege.co.uk/free-school-meals-
Thank you for all of your generous donations to our 2020 Foodbank Appeal. We were able to deliver a large amount of food to our local Foodbank, which was greatly received.
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 email@example.com
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