Our Manor 22-26 February 2021

Message from the Principal

Welcome to the first newsletter of this half term. I hope that your children (and perhaps you) managed to have a bit of quality time together without the screens that have become such an integral part of our lives in the last few weeks.

This week we received two significant pieces of news that we have been eagerly waiting for. Firstly, the timing of the full reopening and the return of students to school, and secondly, further information of how student grades will be determined for 2021 exam cohorts. You will find information about both of these later in this newsletter, however it is true to say that we are grateful to have some clarity even if we do not yet have all the details.

Full reopening of school

We are particularly looking forward to being able to welcome all of our students back. Although we have been hugely impressed by both staff and students regarding their ability to adapt to and the quality of the remote learning experience, we know that face to face learning in the classroom gives the best opportunities for our young people to make progress. As a result, we have worked particularly hard to try and set up a system for testing that invites all students in over the coming week, prior to Monday 8 March, to remove any staggered start and minimise further disruption.

Some disruption will be inevitable as we need to test all students with consent 3 times over the next couple of weeks before sending them home with 2 home testing kits. We will issue full instructions about these kits closer to the time.

Although we would not wish to repeat the last 12 months, we need to acknowledge that during this time we have learnt so much about what we can all achieve. Students have demonstrated resilience and independence whilst getting to grips with a range of new technology tools to support their learning. We want to ensure that we capture this when students return.

Routines and expectations

Each year in September we ‘reset’ our expectations, re-establish the boundaries and reinforce the routines following the summer break. At this time, we recognise that it has been 9 weeks since we broke up for the Christmas break and so, even though we are technically in mid-year, we will take the opportunity to follow a similar induction process as we would do at the start of a year. We are unapologetically setting the bar high and have every confidence that our students will meet and exceed the standards we set.

All the COVID-secure processes and procedures will remain in place, with the separate entrances, pods and outside space. We will continue to insist on regular handwashing and distancing wherever possible and the 10-day isolation period remains in place for students who test positive or are identified as a ‘close contact’ of someone who tests positive. An additional part of the guidance is that students will be expected to wear face coverings in lessons as well as in communal spaces in the first instance. If you have any concerns or queries about this, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s Progress Leader.

I know that this may seem like a lot of things to remember, however, for the students and those of us working in schools this has become the ‘new normal’ since September and we are well versed in the expectations.

Summer grading processes

Yesterday the guidance about the summer grading process was released by OFQUAL and we wrote to the parents and carers of students in Years 11 & 13 and shared our initial thoughts. A version of these details can be found later in this newsletter.

We are very much aware that the preference is to sit examinations to enable students across the country the same opportunity and provide data that is consistent and can be compared and moderated between schools and against previous cohorts. Once it was announced in January that this would not be occurring, it was always a case of trying to find the best alternative.

The reassurance I can give here is that we will apply a robust system of assessment and quality assurance to reflect what students know as best we can. We will do this with integrity and reflect the evidence that we have to support the grades awarded. We will clearly communicate our methodology and which pieces of evidence will be used to support the process.

We cannot wait to welcome our young people back. Schools are so much more than a set of buildings; they are about people, community, curriculum, and connection. It has been a long road to get to this point and we must be vigilant in ensuring that we see it all the way through to the end. To celebrate and mark our return we are also looking forward to sharing some exciting news in next week’s edition of Our Manor.

Thank you for your support as always.

Jay Davenport, Principal

Testing for students from Monday 1 March

Students and staff are required to complete three lateral flow tests in school, with no more than 3-5 days between each test. In the table below, you will see our timetable for testing students, which begins next week on Monday 1 March. Most students in Years 7 to 11 will have their first two tests completed over the course of next week. Subsequent tests will be completed during school hours within the 3-5-day period.

Students who travel to school via bus will receive further communication on collection times for testing. Families with children who usually travel on the bus are welcome to bring their child in to test alongside their tutor group.

In order for students to be tested we must have consent. Thank you to those that have already completed the form as previously requested. If you have not yet done so, please do so before the end of this week. To complete the form please click here.

You will need to register your details with the NHS to allow you to receive the results. You can do this on the day of each test or you can register for an NHS account which means you do not need to keep submitting this data before each test. To do this, please visit the link below.

Please can we ask you to share the instructions below with your child before arriving for a test.

  1. Students must wear a face mask at all times on the school site
  2. All students arrive at the Park Street entrance (service gate) for their test – it will be the only gate open
  3. Students will be directed to leave via the technology gate near the car park once their test has been completed
  4. Students will be asked to respect the socially distanced markings on entry to the school site
  5. Queuing will predominately be outdoors to help prevent the spread of potential cross contamination – please wear appropriate clothing

Any questions or enquiries relating to testing should be directed to nbannard@manor.school

Home Learning: Monday 1 to Friday 5 March

As students will be coming onto the school site for testing at different times, and to enable staff to complete their testing, there will be no live lessons for Years 7-11 from Monday 1 March. Teachers will post tasks on Microsoft Teams for students to complete that will be a combination of deliberate practice consolidation, retrieval, or research tasks to prepare for future learning. Sixth Form live lessons will continue as planned.

We hope that this break in live learning also provides a chance to increase time away from the screen before students return on Monday 8 January.

Any questions or enquiries relating to home learning should be directed to homelearning@manor.school

Summer grading process

The Department for Education have released information regarding the awarding of grades for Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications in the summer of 2021. There is still more guidance to come, but we now have a little more clarity on how grades will be awarded. We know that:

  • There will be no externally set exams for GCSE and A level qualifications
  • The grades will be based on teachers’ assessment of the standards that students are working at
  • We will be able to use a range of evidence to inform the assessments so that grades will not be based on a single result from a trial examination or assessment

We already have evidence of the standards students are working at from class assessments and the first round of trial examinations. We have a second round of trial examinations scheduled for late March and by Easter the examination boards will be providing schools with additional assessment materials that they can use if they wish. We may decide to use these if we require further evidence as it is our aim to demonstrate that every student has the opportunity to demonstrate what they can do.

The school will run an internal moderation and standardisation process to ensure that the submitted grades are fair, and grades will be submitted to the examination boards by 18 June (students and parents/carers cannot be told these grades at this stage). Examination boards will look at the evidence and procedures that have been used to ensure that grades have been awarded fairly. At the moment we do not know the finishing date for Year 11 and Year 13 students in the summer term and will communicate this in due course.

Exam results will be published and available for collection from school on:

  • Tuesday 10 August (A level and other Level 3 qualifications)
  • Thursday 12 August (GCSE and other Level 2 qualifications)

There will be an appeals system for any student who believes that their grade has not been fairly awarded, and the early release of results will provide the time for any appeals to be resolved before students move on to the next stage in their education or employment.

More details will emerge in the coming days but this will mostly relate to internal school procedures and administration. We understand that this is an anxious time for students, parents and carers, and that you will have many questions, but we would like to reassure you that we will address these concerns as soon as we are able to do so.

Our very strong advice to students at this point is to continue to be actively engaged in their learning, do their best to prepare for internal trial examinations and assessments, and be reassured that the results they receive will be a fair reflection of their performance.

Any questions or enquiries relating to the summer grading process should be directed to summer2021@manor.school

Catering provision for Term 4

Upon our return on Monday 8 March, each Key Stage 3 and 4 year group will have the option to purchase hot food and snacks at break and lunch time on one specified day of the week.

The table below sets out the day of the week each year group will offered this option.

For those families who have been ordering grab bags, this provision will continue. Please continue to order the grab bag for your child in the normal way using the following link:

Your child will collect their food in the normal way from within their pod. Sandwiches will also be offered alongside the hot food options but will not be made to order on that day. Therefore there will be no conflict with your order (using the above form) and what your child collects on the specified hot food day.

Years 12 and 13 will have the option to order food in advance and it will be delivered to the Sixth Form Study Centre. More information for these two years groups will be shared directly with the students.

Please ensure your child’s Wisepay account has sufficient funds on it.

Any queries should be directed to asewell@manor.school

Wellness survey

Just as we did after the first lockdown, it is important to gather the views of both parents/carers and students on their current wellbeing and for us to respond to that appropriately.

Please complete the following link to help us restart and help our students' wellbeing.

Parents' Evening

Thank you to our Year 11 & 13 students and their parents/carers for their impressive turnout at the Virtual Parents' Evening last night. The feedback received so far has been positive and we look forward to continuing to work on the processes around these as the system use is increased.

We are really keen to understand what is working well with these events and what could be further improved. Please fill out the feedback form to share your views.

School uniform

Please complete the following form if you are considering purchasing any branded items from our school uniform suppliers.

National Careers Week

At Manor we are always striving to provide quality information, advice and guidance by linking our curriculum to the workplace. This involves providing opportunities for virtual guest speakers and engagement with employers from a wide range of careers throughout the academic year.

National Careers Week 2021 is from 1-6 March, and as part of our 'Work' curriculum we will be taking the opportunity to further equip our students with the employability skills they need to be ready for the future.

During National Careers week, all students will be exploring these themes in their dedicated WWW lesson on Wednesday 3 March. Key Stage 3 students will be self-evaluating their skills, talents and qualities as well as exploring their personal career aspirations and ambitions. Key Stage 4 lessons will focus on ‘Wellness’ and explore strategies to deal with stress and decision making, as well as the employability skills needed in the current and future work environment. Key Stage 5 will also be discussing 'The Future of Work' and looking at the wide range of opportunities that university, apprenticeships and employment can offer.

In addition, KS4 and 5 students will be encouraged by their tutors to access a range of virtual events such as presentations on International Women's Day as well as the NCW Virtual Careers Fair on Wednesday 1 March.

If students in Year 11 and 13 need any further information, advice and guidance regarding sixth form, college, university or apprenticeship applications, please email Mr Hill (shill@manor.school). Resources are also available on the careers pages of the school website.

World Book Day 2021

World Book Day is on 4 March this year. Book tokens will be given out to students the week commencing 8 March and are valid in participating booksellers until 28 March. Booksellers will honour the tokens beyond this date while stocks last.

Please see the World Book Day website for details.

House competition results

The results for Term 3's House competitions are in!

Academic: STEM

Students were tasked with designing a bed that someone could live in for a month. The winners are as follows:

  • Kenai L in Year 8
  • Most entries - MacArthur and Redgrave

Sport: Keepie Uppies

Students were challenged to complete as many keepie uppies as possible without dropping the ball. The winners are as follows:

  • Sam F in Year 7
  • Most entries - MacArthur

Theatre: Guess Who

Students had to identify the teachers from their baby photos. The winners are as follows:

  • Gracie M-M in Year 7
  • Hollie-Maye W in Year 7
  • Most entries - Holmes

Congratulations to all the winners. Each individual winner has been awarded 500 House Points, with an additional 500 House Points going to the House(s) with the most entries.

First House competition of Term 4

The first competition of this term is sport based with the speed bounce challenge.

Students need to lay a sock on the floor (making sure the area is clear) and jump over it from side to side as many times as possible in 20 seconds. Students should keep their feet together. Can they beat Miss Newman's score of 30?

The following video shows how to do the challenge:

Students should video record their entry and email it to house@manor.school, making sure to include their name, House and number of jumps they complete.

The competition closes on Wednesday 3 March.

Lockdown League final results

We are delighted to announce that Manor School finished top in the final week of the Lockdown League fixtures. This means that overall we came 13th out of 28 schools from across Northamptonshire. Well done to everyone who participated.

Online safety

To help keep your children safe online, here are some further apps which can be used.

The BBC has a website and app called ‘Own it’. This website helps children navigate their online lives, and the free smartphone app comes with a special keyboard which can intervene with help and support in the moments that children need it the most. It can be downloaded for free in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

SafeToNet’ is an app for parents to help them protect their children from online risks like cyberbullying and sexting, while respecting their child’s rights to privacy. The SafeToNet Foundation is providing UK families with free-for-life access to SafeToNet during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Manor Maths Challenges

Mrs Radd poses three puzzles that deal with the properties of numbers and connections between different areas of maths in her blog this week.

Junior Bake Off applications

We have been contacted by the production team of Channel 4's Junior Bake Off to share the news that applications for the seventh series are now open.

They are looking for budding bakers aged between 9 and 15 years old to impress the judges in the famous white tent. Filming would take place from July 2021, but applications close on Sunday 28 March 2021.

Interested bakers can apply online via the following link.

Weekly REACH Champions