Our Manor 25-29 January 2021

Message from the Principal

I always seem to start these introductions with a ‘what a week’ statement but… what a week!

We started with snow lying heavy on the ground and travelling conditions treacherous, meaning that we had to close completely on Monday. In some ways it is sad to think that due to the advances in remote learning the traditional ‘snow days’ are a thing of the past, however the benefits of being able to continue providing students with learning opportunities - whatever the conditions - cannot be underestimated. As ever, balance is important and we will always look to support both the academic progress and the wellbeing of our students.

We have also managed to remotely complete our Local Advisory Board meeting, another Parents’ Evening, and several exciting meetings with Nene Educational Trust about how we can further develop both the educational and operational aspects of our school. Despite looking through a screen, it is nice to be able to complete some of the regular calendared events as well as forward-thinking planning to provide a sense of hope and normality!

Half term and return to full school opening

The Prime Minister has updated the latest government thinking in terms of a return to school. Whilst still non-committal on an actual date, Mr Johnson did say that he is ‘hopeful’ that schools could ‘start’ to return from 8 March. Any government decisions will still depend on the data and the science as we progress. Following this timescale, with the previous commitment to giving schools and parents 2 weeks’ notice prior to the return date, we are likely to find out more detail about next steps on Monday 22 February, which is the Monday after half term.

The Department for Education has also provided more information regarding February half term which confirms that schools will be fully closed, including for key worker and vulnerable students over the half term break (15–19 February 2021).

Wellness & Focus Week

As promised last week, I’d like to provide some more information of our Wellness Week beginning 1 February as well as our review of and focus on the quality of remote learning.

During this week we are going a step further in our desire to focus on mental and physical wellbeing by adapting our timetable to incorporate more time for off-screen time, welfare check ins and physical activity. More details can be found later in the newsletter, but in essence next week students will receive: a daily tutorial check in with their tutor, a daily wellbeing assembly with their Progress Leader and afternoon sessions (session 3) following the tutorial will be collapsed and replaced with a daily physical/mental challenge.

As part of our desire to find and celebrate the great practice of teachers and students in our new remote learning environment and continue to identify issues to resolve, we are having a Remote Learning Focus Week next week. More information and feedback forms for parents and students can be found later in this edition of Our Manor. We would really encourage you to share your views as we hope to capture the overview of our provision from different lenses, thus enabling us to improve further.

Similarly, if you have any technical issues or concerns (i.e. forgotten password or reset) about learning from home remotely then please email homelearning@manor.school which is being monitored by senior staff.

Exams/assessments update

Today we have returned our whole school response to the OFQUAL consultation on examinations and assessments in Summer 2021. As soon as we receive any next steps as a result of the consultation we will communicate this with you.

Thank you

We have been thoroughly impressed by the way the vast majority of students have committed and engaged with their learning, whether they have been in school or at home. Please continue to support, encourage and celebrate with them as they work in ways that are so out of kilter with all that they have come to know about schools and learning.

Also, thank you so much for all your kind and supportive messages. We continue to share these with all staff through our weekly bulletin: The Chalk. As I have outlined earlier, next week for Manor is Wellness Week. Teaching is different and sometimes when you are spending a number of hours a day talking into a screen of initials because the students, as per policy, have their cameras off, the positive feedback really does help to improve the wellbeing of staff as it demonstrates how much they are appreciated. Why not check out the secret support link later in the newsletter to contribute to our Wellness Week and ‘Thank a Teacher’, or of course you can let us know your feedback via principal@manor.school.

Have a wonderful week and I hope you enjoy this bumper edition of Our Manor. If you are able, why not join us in engaging in the afternoon wellbeing activities across the week! Right now we could probably all feel the benefits of focusing on the wellbeing of ourselves and those we love! Stay safe.

Jay Davenport, Principal

Remote education

We are continuing to review and refine our practices around remote education to ensure that we can have the biggest impact on student learning. While this week there are no significant changes, we hope you have started to see the effect of increased emphasis on screen breaks during lessons.

This week we have published our remote education strategy on the school website. This document pulls together all of the principles behind our strategy and links to lots of the guidance and information already published. There isn’t anything new in this document beyond what has already been shared but it may be an interesting read for parents/carers who are hoping to understand the rationale behind our protocols in more detail. The link to this can be found here.

In normal circumstances, next week would have been one of our ‘focus weeks’ where we look closer at the student experience in a particular area of the school. Next week’s focus week has now been redesignated to be a ‘remote education’ focus week where we intend to share and celebrate the best practices in lessons and gather feedback from all members of our community so that we can refine our processes and protocols further over the coming weeks. We encourage parents/carers and students to fill out the feedback forms which can be found below.

Sixth form tutorial and pastoral support

Following feedback from the sixth form student executive, we have moved from a weekly group tutorial session to one-to-one sessions every Wednesday. Students in Years 12 and 13 will have two further opportunities to book in to see their tutor on 3 and 10 February. If students are yet to book, they can do so by following the link emailed to them this week.

Congratulations to all students in Year 13 who have submitted their UCAS applications. Even before the deadline closed at 6pm on Friday 29 January, we had a total of 108 offers across Year 13, including offers from 16 Russell Group Universities, including Oxford – a massive achievement.

To ensure students are supported in their next steps after the sixth form, we have produced a series of videos, tutorials, and workshops. All these can be found by following this link.

We also communicate with the sixth form via a weekly bulletin which is emailed out every Friday. Notices, opportunities, and support strategies are featured every week. You can access copies of the bulletin on the school website.

Parents' Evening

Thank you to our Year 10 students and their parents/carers for their impressive turnout at the Year 10 Virtual Parents' Evening last night. The feedback received so far has been positive and we look forward to continue working on the processes around these as the system use is increased.

We have had reports from parents/carers and some staff regarding intermittent power cuts in some areas of Northamptonshire from about 6:00pm last night which we are aware impacted some appointments. If you had an appointment that was affected or missed for any reason, please complete the feedback form linked below and teachers will contact you over the coming weeks.

The next virtual Parents' Evening takes place on Thursday 11 February for Year 9. A letter with full booking details will be sent via SchoolComms shortly.

Wellness Week

One new aspect that we are introducing in Wellness Week next week is session 3 on the timetable being a wellbeing session where students can move away from their screens and do some activity to focus on their wellbeing. Instead of the normal session 3, tutors will invite students to a short tutor time session from 1.55pm, which will include sharing an assembly. The assemblies will be listed on the school website on the remote learning page.

We are encouraging all students and staff to participate in the daily physical challenges. The poster contains further details on the organisation and detail of the programme for next week.

Please encourage your children to download the score sheet from the school website prior to their tutor time slots next week. They will then be able to track their scores and send them back to their tutor. We would love to see some score sheets coming in from parents and staff as well so please feel free to share them with us!

Staff thank you messages

In a normal school year we’d aim to complete our secret supporter cards at various moments. In the absence of our physical presence in school we are running these cards virtually. If you or your child(ren) would like to send a Thank You message to a member of school staff who has either gone above and beyond, or just done the little things every lesson to support, please consider filling out one of our virtual cards here. We will share these cards virtually with staff over the coming week and they are very much appreciated.

Mental health resources

The following support services are available to young people who may be suffering with mental health issues at this time:

  • ChatHealth - 07507329600. This is a text messaging service where you can text a school nurse for confidential advice and support for any health related issue. This number is manned throughout the week/holidays (apart from weekends/bank holidays but any messages will be picked up the next working day).
  • CAMHs live - online chat with CAMHs practitioners 9am-7pm Mon-Fri
  • CAMHs consultation line - 0800 170 7055. The CAMHs crisis team can also be accessed through this number and is open 24/7 if you need help out of hours.
  • NHFT - 0800 448 0828. 24hr helpline, 7 days a week with NHFT mental health practitioners.
  • Give Us a Shout - text the word 'SHOUT' to 85258 at any time day or night. This is a free, anonymous service with trained volunteers available to help 24/7.
  • Childline - 1-2-1 counsellors available to chat via phone, email or online
  • Samaritans - phone 116 123
  • Ask Normen - mental health support in Northamptonshire
  • YoungMinds - there is a messenger function to seek support and speak to somebody alongside resources to read through
  • Headspace - a useful website to look through and includes a free trial for some mindfulness
  • Mind

Lockdown League update

Manor School took on Wootton Park School in the second week of NSport's Lockdown League, and we're happy to report that we accumulated the most amount of physical activity. Not only that, we also picked up bonus points for over 50% student participation.

This week we're up against Huxlow Science College in the last round of the group stage. If we beat them then there's a good chance that we'll make it through to the semi-finals, so there's never been a more crucial time to participate.

There's still time for students to log the number of minutes that they have been active this week (the event finishes on Sunday). All they have to do is visit NSport's website and fill in the form. Any form of activity counts - it may be walking the dog, going for a run with a parent or sibling, or it could be following a 10-minute online fitness video.

Christmas Concert donations

The £274.97 raised from our Christmas Music concert was donated to Action For Children. This has now been received by the charity and they wanted to pass on their sincerest thank you for the donation. They are so pleased that this money will be able to support so many families in Northamptonshire. Therefore, thank you to all of the students who performed in our concert and to those who kindly donated.

Manor Maths Challenges

It's all about logic puzzles this week in Mrs Radd's maths blog. There's five puzzles to get you thinking - be sure to email her with your solutions.

The Key Stage 3 Award is presented to...

Mark H

For the second year running, Mark achieved an outstanding score in the Bebras computational thinking challenge. Mark works hard both in and out of lessons and always displays a positive attitude to learning.

Awarded by Mr Rohit

The Key Stage 4 Award is presented to...

Veronika A

Veronika goes above and beyond in her Computer Science lessons and is constantly demonstrating her knowledge and understanding of computing topics. Veronika's positive attitude to learning enables her to be prepared to attempt independent challenges and she always gives 100%.

Awarded by Mr Rohit

The Key Stage 5 Award is presented to...

Tanni G

Tanni has made an impressive start to the Year 12 course, including excellent research and report writing for social media use in small businesses. He has been focused in class and proactive in asking for next steps when work is completed.

Awarded by Mrs Wilford and Mrs Reece

Weekly REACH Champions