Our Manor 1-5 February 2021

Message from the Principal

This week we have really been focused on consciously acknowledging our ‘Wellness’ as part of our Wellness Week planned to coincide with National Children’s Mental Health Week.

This has allowed us to take the time to reflect on the many ways in which we can improve on our own wellbeing and hopefully provide the time for our whole Manor School community to recognise those parts of our lives that are healthy, and strengthen those, as well as reducing the impacts of some of our less healthy habits and choices.

Whether our focus is on improving our physical or mental health, it has been cathartic to take a holistic look at what we do and look to make positive changes.

What I have discovered is just how many ways we can promote positivity: whether it is the invigoration you get from participating in physical activity; making healthier food choices and seeing cooking as an activity rather than a chore; reducing the amount of screen time; focusing on ensuring healthy sleep routines or spreading joy through articulating gratitude. This week I have done all of these things and have been surprised at how the tiniest changes can make such a big difference to how you feel and think.

Time is often the challenge – in our busy lives we often feel rushed and believe that we just haven’t got time to think about our wellness. This week I was reminded of the following quote:

“If you don’t make time for your wellness, you are more likely to have to make time for your illness”

Therefore, I hope that you - whether students, staff, parents or members of our wider community - have also been able to join us in some of the activities that have been on offer. The challenge now is to capture that feeling and ensure that we can maintain at least some elements of the positive steps we have taken in our daily lives moving forward.

The joy of this week has been seeing the impact of focusing on wellness, not only on yourself, but on how others receive the gift of time or gratitude, which, in turn, makes you feel like a better person. The All Blacks (the hugely successful New Zealand rugby team) say ‘Better people make better All Blacks” – what is also true is that better people make…

  • better students
  • better teachers
  • better leaders
  • better parents
  • better communities

Look after yourselves and each other. Stay safe, and thank you for your continued support.

Jay Davenport, Principal

Remote Education

Thank you to all the students, parents and carers for filling out our remote education feedback forms. This week, as part of our 'Remote Education Focus Week', our Curriculum and Senior Leaders have been visiting lessons and we've evaluated feedback from the whole community.

90% of students and 94% of parents/carers shared that the provision during this current lockdown is better than what was available during March - July. We are really pleased with this as it reflects the hard work and preparation that has taken place behind the scenes by EasiPC, our IT Support providers and our departments for their planning.

80% of students and 95% of parents/carers felt that the amount of live input from teachers recently has been where they would want it or even perfect. We have worked hard to balance the amount of live teaching against pre-recorded content and in reality, it will be impossible to get this balance right for every student, family and teacher but our evidence suggests that there is almost a perfect divide between the preferred style across the school.

Elements that are working well:

  • Retaining a sense of structure to the days and delivering our full curriculum
  • Providing a balance of live teaching versus opportunities for extended deliberate practice
  • Availability of teaching staff during lessons to help and support as quickly as possible
  • Changes felt in recent weeks of increased screen breaks to break up the lessons

Elements that we are continuing to develop and work on:

  • Increasing confidence for students to communicate during lessons on the microphone at appropriate times so that further discussion can take place
  • Increasing the opportunities for writing on paper and submitting via photographs or using OfficeLens

Technology for families

We have now been able to support over 60 families in our community to improve access to reliable devices for remote education. Our efforts are now turning to supporting families where devices may be shared in the home.

This week we were very grateful to receive a donation of devices from the congregation of Central Vineyard Church. Richard and Sandra visited the school on Wednesday to hand the brand-new devices over to Mr Bateman.

We are also continuing to work with #TechTogether who are seeking donations of devices to be wiped down by the engineers at ACS for donation to us and other local schools in need. If you or your business have any old device/s which could be used by students, please contact louise@allthingsmanagement.co.uk who will provide details on how you can donate.

Parents' Evening

Thursday 11 February is our Year 9 Parents' Evening, followed swiftly by our Year 11 and 13 evening when we return to school on Thursday 25 February.

For parents/carers of Year 9, a final letter will be sent to you on Thursday morning with reminders about how to access the event, pre-empt some common questions and provide a feedback form.

Parents/carers of Year 11 and 13 students will receive a letter over the next week with details of how to book appointments for Thursday 25 February. At this stage, we are still awaiting details from the outcome of the consultation regarding how qualifications will be awarded this summer. As a result, we are very keen that we want the Parents' Evening to be focused on the knowledge, understanding and progress of students in Years 11 and 13. We will write separately to parents to communicate how we can provide opportunities for more general queries in our 'Exams surgeries' taking place after half term.

Safer Internet Day

Safer Internet Day 2021 is being celebrated around the world on Tuesday 9 February. Coordinated in the UK by the UK Safer Internet Center, the event sees thousands of organisations promoting the safe, responsible and positive use of digital technology for young people.

We'll be sharing a variety of resources via our Twitter account on the day itself, but to help get you and your child(ren) thinking about how you use the internet, here are some top tips:

Lockdown League update

Unfortunately we lost to Huxlow Science College in the last of the group rounds of the NSport Lockdown League. However, we have another chance to beat them in the semi final of the Plate Competition.

Students have until Sunday to log their active minutes - this should include their efforts for our Wellness Week challenges, as well as any other physical activity they completed.

National Apprenticeship Week

The 14th annual National Apprenticeship Week will take place from 8–14 February. This event aims to provide information to future apprentices and link them to employers, giving the insights they need to make well-informed decisions. During the week there will be a variety of activities for students to get involved in and resources to access – all of which are designed to offer information and support to anyone interested in an apprenticeship.

To help students make the most of the week, we've collated a list of organisations which are all participating in the event. We recommend that students have a look at their websites before Monday to see which sessions they're interested in, making sure to register in advance for any events which require it.

  • Nationalapprenticeshipweek.co.uk - this website has been created by CareerMap, who will be hosting many live events throughout the week.
  • ASK - ASK is the Apprenticeship Support and Knowledge programme for schools and colleges that is funded by the National Apprenticeship Service and the Department for Education. They'll be running sessions for both students and parents/carers.
  • Young Professionals - this two-hour webinar provides the opportunity to find out about apprenticeships from 12 of the world's biggest brands, including BP, Vodafone and Marks & Spencer.
  • Amazing Apprenticeships - this organisation has put together a fantastic document that lists event details for a wide variety of webinars. They also have some excellent downloadable resources.

Be sure to check out the #NAW2021 hashtag on Twitter for lots more events and information.

Careers evenings for parents

InvestIN have announced two "Success Beyond School" events for this term: free-of-charge interactive 'Live Online' seminars designed to help parents supercharge their children's career potential.

  • Wednesday 24th February: The Skills Surgery How to break into careers in medicine, dentistry and veterinary science
  • Wednesday 3rd March: The Power of Networks How your child can build a powerful professional network

For full details, please download the following flyer.

LEAP Youth Ensemble

Back in November we shared the news that Year 13 student Henry G had gained a place in the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire's LEAP Youth Ensemble. We are delighted to share a video of their first performance - all put together over Zoom - of David Bowie's modern classic Space Oddity, where Henry can be seen playing the viola.

Running for charity

Year 9 student Oakley T ran 100 miles in January raising money for local children's charity Chelsea's Angels. At the time of publication, he had raised over £1200 for the charity. Well done Oakley for your incredible achievement.

Camps Foundation donation

With our Camps International expedition to Borneo no longer able to take place this year, we were delighted to hear that Year 10 student Ethan W still donated the £1360 he had raised to fund the trip to the charity. The charity wrote to him thanking him for his generosity, and we would also like to praise him on this act of kindness.

House Competition

It's time to guess the teacher in the latest House Competition. Twenty teachers have submitted photos of themselves as children, but who's who? Click on the button below to view the quiz:

The student who gets the most correct answers will earn 500 House points, and the House with the most entries will also win 500 points. The competition closes next Tuesday at 3:30pm.

Manor Maths Challenges

Instead of looking at number puzzles, this week Mrs Radd brings us the work of M. C. Escher, an artist who based some of his works on tessellating geometric shapes. Why not have a go at creating your own piece of geometric art?

Weekly REACH Champions