Our Manor 7-11 December 2020

Message from the Principal

This has been a remarkably interesting week for me personally as no amount of training or experience quite prepares one for running a school remotely in the midst of a global pandemic! The leadership, teaching and associate staff teams in school continue to step up - as they have done for the last nine months - to ensure that we try to provide the right balance between education and health. I would particularly like to thank my Vice Principals, Mr Lee Towers and Mr Glenn Martin for taking on the role of running the operations of the school in my (physical) absence.

Next week and the end of term arrangements

You will have received a letter from Chris Hill, CEO of Nene Education Trust, earlier this week, which can be found here.

As you will be aware from this letter, we will now close to students at the end of Thursday 17th December for the Christmas holiday.

I would also like to assure parents/carers that although we will have our normal end-of-term prizes and celebration assemblies to recognise the hard work of our students, we will maintain the integrity and quality of our lessons and planned curriculum through to the end of the afternoon on Thursday 17th December.

Prevention is better than isolation

As we are all aware, any COVID case that is identified in school next week may have implications for families over the Christmas period.

Since the beginning of September when schools fully re-opened, we have employed multiple systems in school to reduce the risks for our students and staff. We will continue to make our best efforts to protect all students and staff, and have asked our whole school community to be responsible, vigilant, and insistent on handwashing, sanitising, and protecting the pods.

To support this, I would also ask parents/carers to continue to reinforce the handwashing, face covering and social distancing messages whenever possible. Please also be very mindful and cautious when deciding if it is suitable to send your child to school if they display any of the COVID symptoms whatsoever. In this instance, please err on the side of caution and self-isolate and book a test. As a reminder, the three core symptoms are a high temperature (meaning feeling hot or hot to the touch), a new continuous cough, or a loss of taste and/or smell.

Reporting COVID cases over the Christmas holidays

The dates and timings around what needs to happen are complicated, so we have aimed to simplify matters by introducing a one-stop shop form. Therefore, if you or a family/household member tests positive or displays symptoms over the Christmas break, please see the following guidance. We will then be able to use this information to take the necessary next steps.

Over the Christmas break, there will be a Microsoft form on the front page of the school website that will ask you to complete the following information:

For students who develop symptoms/test positive

  • Date last in school
  • Date of first symptoms
  • Date of test
  • Date received positive case
  • Expected return date following isolation (assuming symptoms have ended)
  • Please provide as many details as possible about members of the school community (students/staff) who you have been in close contact with for 2 days before the date of your first symptoms. Our track and trace procedures will look at potential close contacts in lessons. In the information you provide, please detail unstructured times (breaks, lunches, outside of school hours, students near you on school transport etc.)

For students who come into close contact with a family member or person who has tested positive (track and trace)

  • Date of notification
  • End of self-isolation (assuming no symptoms have begun during this period)

Please complete this form at as soon as possible (especially in first 48 hours from Thursday) following a positive test or a track and trace notification.

School Track and Trace – 18-23 December

Schools are the unofficial track and trace providers for young people under the age of 18. This week the DFE announced that schools will continue to be responsible for this for six days beyond the end of term.

I hope that by working together to ensure that we continue to apply the above measures stringently we will minimise disruption to any families over the Christmas period. However, we cannot eradicate the risks completely.

Therefore, we will collect information from the completed form on the website each day between the 18th and 23rd of December. We will continue to monitor the forms beyond the 23rd so we are aware if students will not be returning on 4th January, however we will not be contacting any families beyond 23rd December.

Receiving a notification of a positive case may require us to contact families to notify you that your child will need to self-isolate due to close contact with a COVID- positive student in the last couple of days of term. This communication will be in the form of a letter delivered via schoolcomms in the usual way and will explain what you need to do.

I recognise that receiving a notification such as this may be devastating for many of you who have significant plans in place and may have arrangements to visit loved ones for the first time in months. If this happens to you, we apologise for this disruption in advance but need to reinforce the message that it is important and necessary to follow the self-isolation procedures to prevent further spread of the virus.

Positive messages

Despite the pressure of COVID fatigue that we are all experiencing, we remain positive and proud of our school community. Students continue to thrive and demonstrate all the characteristics that we would wish to see at any time of any year. Therefore, their resilience and positivity in this particular year is remarkable.

We are really looking forward to celebrating these great achievements of many of our students this term over the next week.

Jay Davenport, Principal

Science department

The sciences (biology, chemistry and physics) have a unique place in the national curriculum. On the one hand, it is compulsory for all students to study the sciences to GCSE level and is therefore considered a core subject, along with mathematics and English. Yet unlike maths and English, a student does not need to re-sit the GCSE if they don’t achieve a grade 4. This oddity often leads to difficult conversations with students which boil down to two main arguments against them trying their hardest; ‘mum/dad didn’t do well in science’, and ‘when will I ever need to know about science?’. As is often the case, the Manor School curriculum has the answers.

Work: Science teaches collaboration, fine motor skills, problem solving and data analysis, which are all important in a range of jobs. We also study risk assessment and chemical hazards, which is a key concern in many workplaces under the COSHH regulations.

World: Science develops an understanding of worldwide phenomena such as climate change, tectonic activity, and diseases. Scientists across the planet follow the same basic processes and discuss their findings in the same language because science is a global endeavour.

Wellness: In science, we teach greater understanding of how the body works and how it can be kept healthy. Students learn vital information, like how and why periods occur, how the digestive system works, and the effects of drugs. We also teach students how vaccines are developed and how they work.

These are just some of the ways that a good science education helps get our students ready for life in the real world. In the current climate, where we are threatened in the short-term by COVID-19 and in the long-term by climate change, it is especially important that our population has the tools to recognise valid evidence from misinformation. Science supports this by teaching our students how the process of science works and how to interpret evidence, as well as studying and understanding the published work of scientists.

This year has created some challenges for the science department. We are used to using practical work as a means to develop concepts and deepen understanding. In all but a handful of classes, this has not been possible because of the challenges of making the equipment and laboratories COVID-19 secure. The science team has had to re-think how the curriculum is applied, reorganise the order in which topics are taught, as well as be creative in our approaches to teaching and learning. This has created exciting opportunities too and so now our IT skills have increased, we have found new ways of demonstrating and modelling, and some of us have become ‘science communicators’ through the production of videos for use in class.

L-R: Mr Bhangal, Mrs Eales, Mr Hurren, Mr Irving, Mr Kelsall, Mr Martin, Mrs Mitchell-Bunce, Mrs Towers, Mr Turner

This year has also given us the opportunity to make improvements and invest in science and so I am pleased to say that we have:

  • expanded our team to include a second physics specialist from September 2021
  • invested in one of our labs, with a full strip down and redecoration
  • secured a funding grant to purchase ten new microscopes
  • fitted new large screen televisions in four labs to replace projectors
  • collaborated with other departments to launch a STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) club
  • developed links with scientists, who will be able to give talks to the students and participate in Q&A sessions
  • purchased the Tassomai revision app for use by all Key Stage 3 and 4 groups

I hope to secure more funding in the near future to make improvements to our electrical equipment stock.

We are currently participating in a national research program, where we are working with the Behavioural Insights Team and Institute of Physics to develop the teaching of electricity in Key Stage 3, and are relishing the opportunity to become more evidence-informed as well as improving science teaching across the UK. I look forward to sharing with you the outcomes of this program.

Glenn Turner, Director of Learning (Science)

Christmas Concert

This year our Christmas Concert is going virtual, and will be taking place on Thursday 17 December at 6pm. The Manor music department have put together a pre-recorded concert that showcases the musical talents of our students. Tickets are £2, with all donations going to Action For Children.

For further information and to book tickets, please click the following link.

Year 7 flu vaccination

The School Aged Immunisation Service visited the school recently to offer the nasal flu vaccination. If your child is in Year 7 and missed this opportunity to be vaccinated and you would like your child to receive the vaccine, please contact them to book an appointment at one of their community catch up clinics.

If your child is in a clinical risk group or shielded group, you can also access the vaccine via your GP surgery.

To book an appointment please contact their 0-19 Admin hub on 0800 170 7055 (option 4).

Please visit the website below for further advice about the vaccination programme and details about the small number of children for whom the nasal vaccine is not appropriate.

Free School Meals over the festive break

We are delighted to share with you that Northamptonshire County Council will be providing vouchers for families who are entitled to Free School Meals across the county.

Manor School will receive a link from the council before the end of term, which we will then forward on to those families in receipt of Free School Meals. This will arrive via schoolcomms.

Athletics clubs

Rugby and Northampton Athletic Club have announced two new athletics courses for young runners. Starting in the new year, the six-week courses take place on weekends and gives young people the opportunity to try out track & field events and learn new skills from experienced coaches.

For details, please see the flyers below.

TikTok parental controls

TikTok is used by many teenagers and sometimes children younger than that 13 despite its terms and conditions. Using the new Family Pairing feature can allow parents to guide their child’s TikTok experience in a safer way. Features include:

  • Search: Decide what can be searched for. This includes content, users, hashtags, or sounds
  • Screen Time Management: Sets how long your teen can spend on TikTok each day
  • Discoverability: Decide on the account being private (you decide who can see their content) or public (anyone can search and view content)

To find out more information about TikTok's Family Pairing feature and to download a helpful poster, click the following link:

Christmas dinner provided for families in need

We are delighted to say we have been working with Raunds Food Bank to identify over 15 families who would benefit the most this Christmas. These families will be receiving all the necessary ingredients and food items for a Christmas dinner. Thank you to Raunds Food Bank for making contact with us.

Manor Maths Challenges

It's week two of the festive season and week two of the advent challenges. Be sure to also take part in Mrs Radd's maths songs competition (I believe there's a Christmas song regarding a pear tree that includes a number in the title...).

Christmas Jumper Day

The festive feel to the school was amped up today as staff and students donned their finest seasonal sweaters for Christmas Jumper Day. All money donated to the cause will be going to Save the Children. Thank you to everyone who donated.

Christmas Hamper Appeal 2020

This year, the Year 11 COPE group are organising a Christmas hamper collection for Raunds Food Bank to help those less fortunate in our local community.

We are asking for donations such as the following:

  • Tinned food e.g. tuna, baked beans, soup, fruit
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Biscuits
  • Toiletries
  • Household goods e.g. laundry powder
  • Sweets/chocolate
  • Christmas puddings/other Christmas items
  • Coffee/tea/hot chocolate
  • Hand sanitiser/face coverings

Please note that fresh food/perishables, alcohol and cash/coins cannot be accepted.

During Work. World. Wellness. lessons on Wednesday 16 December, tutor groups will decorate and fill their hamper box with as many donated items as possible. KS5 students may choose to create a hamper in their tutor group or donate to a central hamper box in the LRC. The hampers will then be collected on Thursday 17 December by Raunds Food Bank.

There is also a House Competition that ties in with the appeal. Each tutor will nominate two students who have gone above and beyond with helping to prepare the hamper. This could be their creativity when decorating the box, organising the hamper to ensure that the group collects a wide range of items, or bringing in a really thoughtful donation. The House with the most student nominations will win 500 points.

Empathy and humanity are two very important aspects of Manor School's REACH values, especially during these recent times. Let’s all do something for our community and bring some Christmas joy to Raunds… we thank you all in advance.

Year 11 COPE group

The Key Stage 3 Award is presented to...

Emily D

Emily produced an outstanding range of creative hand-illustrated stories over the course of lockdown. Impressive!

Awarded by Mrs Williams

The Key Stage 4 Award is presented to...

Kirsty S

Kirsty always stays at the end of the lesson to thank the teacher and to say "have a nice day". They are a kind and caring student who shows humanity every day.

Awarded by Mrs Williams

The Key Stage 5 Award is presented to...

Lucy K

Lucy has not been afraid to volunteer ideas in class and participate actively in discussions, showing fantastic effort and commitment to learning. Her maturity and balanced approach to a range of opinions, topics and subjects has been excellent.

Awarded by Mr Austin

Weekly REACH Champions