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Reading Girls' School newsletter - 12 FEBRUARY 2021

Principal's message: "WE HOPE YOU ENJOYED THE TERM…"

#livelessons #starstudent #goodybags #doorstepdeliveries #morningfitnessclub #monsterhunt #praisecards #PDday #weeklychallenge #wellbeingdays #mindfulnesscolouring #assemblies #pledgeactivities #STEMdays

With a successful first lockdown provision last spring under our belt, the aim for this term was BIGGER & BETTER. Whilst there will always be manageable Wi-Fi issues, we had moved beyond the national media debate about online learning and wanted this lockdown to be about engagement in lessons and wider school activities.

We hope the girls enjoyed it, that it gave structure to their day and equally it played some part in supporting our parents manage all the work-life challenges that have become characteristic of this pandemic.

We held a series of end of term assemblies yesterday to take a moment to look back on the term, award prizes and celebrate what is a very special school community at RGS. You can access the assembly at the link including some style advice that I asked of the girls plus plans for the first two weeks of next term.

THE 25th ANNUAL LEARNING AWARDS 2021

If you have nowhere to go next Thursday evening, don’t forget to register to watch the Learning Awards ceremony at 7pm. You can access it via the link.

Jon Gargan, Principal

Personal Development Day Wednesday 3rd March 2021

After a successful PD day back in January we are pleased to announce that the next one will carry on in the same vein. Students will have three hours of Virtual PD sessions and their 1-2-1 tutor slot once again. Students in Year 11 will be invited to see their tutors during the week as per their timetable. Below you will see the plan for the day, families are more than welcome to listen in and hear from our wonderful external providers.

STAR STUDENTS

  • 905-star student goodie bags have been delivered between 12 Jan - 11 Feb 2021
  • 371 students (66%) have received 1 or more star student reward

Star of the week: Maryam Ali

Maryam completed ten mindfulness colouring sheets

If you receive a star student nomination during your lesson, you will receive a goody bag. In the goody bag will be one items from each of the following four categories:

STEM

The STEM day this week was full of interesting activities On the Personal Development Days, Barclays Life Skills run workshops for the Year 7 students. As an activity between those sessions the students considered the skills used in a variety of work situations and how they can be of use in general life. They also thought about how they are already learning those skills in school, at home, and in their hobbies, and how they can develop them further.

Over several recent STEM days, the Year 7s have learnt about the work of the NHS, including having guest speakers about prosthetics and medical physics. The students had time to continue the research and design for their entries to the Step Into the NHS competition which involves designing an advert for a specific job in the NHS.

Thames Water – Water Pollution

One of the themes the Year 7s are learning about at the moment is water pollution. Representatives of Thames Water joined us to talk about the work the company does in dealing with the water supply to houses and taking about waste.

They explained the problems that were caused by the wrong things being emptied into drains leading to water pollution and blockages. They demonstrated with an experiment showing that toilet paper will dissolve, but other paper and wet wipes don’t. The only things that should be flushed are “pee, poo and paper”. The girls were fascinated to hear about ‘fatbergs’ which can block sewers and how they are dealt with and had a lot of questions for the speakers.

Water usage is a problem in the south east, which has less rainfall than a lot of the UK, and the highest population. There were some very interesting questions from the students about how this could affect life and what can be done about it. https://watersavingdevices.thameswater.co.uk/

The girls found the talk very interesting and enjoyed learning about fatbergs, and what can be done to help the environment

For the last part of the day, Thames Valley Police talked about how they use STEM. They gave a scenario and showed the type of evidence they could look for, including how footprints can show someone’s height. The students had a go at taking their own fingerprints which they found interesting. They enjoyed figuring out ‘who dunnit’ and had lots of comments and questions!

Next Wellbeing Day: Wednesday 24th February 2021

During this term SSLT have sent five weekly leaflets with tips and challenges to help you maintain positive wellbeing. In the recent survey, lots of girls said they have not yet completed one of these activities.

For the first week of the new term, we encourage everyone to look at these five leaflets and complete at least one activity. You have until Friday 26th February to send your images to Mr Dinnegan to be in with a chance of winning a voucher.

World Book Day - 4th March 2021

World Book Day changes lives through a love of books and shared reading. Our mission is to promote reading for pleasure, offering every child and young person the opportunity to have a book of their own. Reading for pleasure is the single biggest indicator of a child’s future success – more than their family circumstances, their parents’ educational background or their income. We want to see more children, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, with a life-long habit of reading for pleasure and the improved life chances this brings them. Designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, World Book Day is marked in over 100 countries around the globe.

World Book Day will continue to work with schools and nurseries to distribute the £1 book tokens. This year, due to lockdown, a new digital version of the £1 book token will be available.

International Book Giving Day 14th February 2021

18 books have been distributed to the girls who requested them for International Book Giving Day.

Katrina Fong, Yr9
Amy Ogbonna, Yr8
Weronika Warzecha, Yr8
Cristiana Nenciu, Yr7
Manjot Kaur, Yr9
Charlotte Clack, Yr7
Maryam Ali, Yr8

KATH KIRKLAND – VIRTUAL AUTHOR VISIT

"On Friday 5th February we had the amazing opportunity to have a virtual conversation with the author Kath Kirkland. She started off by telling us about herself and her love of reading and writing. We all had the chance to tell Kath about our favourite books and authors. Kath talked about books and reasons about why we enjoy them. For example, books can be mysterious or funny.

She then gave us an insight on how to construct an irresistible story. At first, we talked about different types of plots like adventure or mistake. Next, we learned about what to choose as a basis to start our story and after that, Kath told us how to structure a story starting with the random words we have. Later on, we learned how to elaborate our paragraph and lots of tips and tricks on how to form the beginning of our story. Finally, Kath asked us if we had any ideas on what type of story we’d like to write. There were many contrasting ideas. For example, some people wanted to write comedy stories, while others chose horror or murder mystery.

The talk ended with giving us a stunning opportunity to write a story, so that it can be published by Amazon!!!! In the end, everyone was excited about writing and asked lots of questions. This was an amazing virtual experience and I hope to do it again." Written by: Manasvi Makkar Yr8

Tips from Kath Kirkland by Maryam Ali Yr8

  • Try using random word generators as a stimulus for your ideas. Once you get your key words, try to include them in your writing to gradually become a story!
  • When thinking of ideas, try to include things from your own life such as someone you know or something that you may have read about on the news or in biographies.
  • Try to create the right environment for writing- for Kath Kirkland it was writing in the morning!
  • Finally, authors do not always get ideas on the spot, so always try to search for inspiration wherever you can because you never know where the perfect story idea could strike you!

More PLEDGE8 Activities carried out by our girls this week!

Inara Acabarali, Yr7, spent her wellbeing day making cupcakes which she then designed with Potter designs...
Shruti and her mum planted garlic cloves using egg trays and the actually grew!!
Hiba's spotless cleaning
Abbie made brownies for all!
Inara took out the rubbish!
Qamar made snacks for all the family
Lexi helping at home again this week

At Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity, we have been granted a sum of money by National Lottery Awards for All so that we can offer free places on our HELP Parents Course to lower-income families. The courses help parents of children with dyslexia to support them at home with reading, spelling, maths and study skills. There are six online 1.5-hour sessions with support slides and recordings available if the parent cannot attend live. This is especially helpful while lots of children are doing their lessons at home. One of the courses starts on 22 February and there is another course scheduled for May.

If you would like a free place on this course, the details are: https://www.helenarkell.org.uk/news/new-dates-help-course-for-parents-online.php

During this lockdown we are also running a range of online services including consultations and tuition as well as courses for education professionals. You can find out more here: https://www.helenarkell.org.uk/

There are some virtual tours you can take to help keep children and young people entertained.

There are a number of activities on the Place2Be website to enhance mental wellbeing.

Reading Mencap are hosting a free event on Zoom Wills Trusts and Powers of Attorney on 23rd Feb 2- 3:30 To register call 0118 966 2518 or email communications@readingmencap.org.uk

The Local Offer team knows that, for many families, 2020 has been challenging and finding and accessing support has been a high priority for many parent carers, therefore they have worked hard to update and maintain the information on the SEND Local Offer – Special Needs Support. They want to continue improving the information in the support section, and would really value your input and feedback. Special Needs Support/Reading Services Guide

They would really appreciate it if you could take a few minutes to complete the feedback and review form. This will help them further improve the information and content for families.

Our next coffee morning is on Wednesday, 24th Feb at 10.30 am - 11.45 am with the new SEN Team Manager Nikki Stevens. To book please email: fran.morgan.rff@gmail.com

Our next Special United is Thursday, 25th February 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm on Zoom with Mark Hobson, short breaks co-ordinator. Open for all young people aged 8 – 25 with additional needs and/or their siblings. Join us and tell Mark what short breaks and activities you want to see in Reading. £10 Amazon voucher for all young people that take part. To book email: lisaharry14@aol.com