Daily Update during School Closure - Monday 1st June 2020

Monday 1st June

Dear Parent/Carer

Welcome back to a summer term like no other. I hope you and your family managed to enjoy some quality time together last week – in the sun!

As you will now be aware, the government have said that secondary schools can welcome back Year 12 and Year 10 students from the Monday 15th June for some face to face support; we are very much planning for this date. I appreciate all of you who took the time to complete our Parents/Carers survey just before half term. This information will be integral in helping us plan our approach from the 15th. I was in a lengthy meeting this morning with senior colleagues and staff representatives talking through our risk assessment document and presenting our plans for reopening: first to staff, then students. You will appreciate much of the discussion and robust challenge was around how we can reasonably assure the health and safety of our staff and students. Following this meeting we will now move forward on more detailed plans around staff training and organising for students being back in the building. As I have stated previously, this ‘face to face support’ must offer a meaningful opportunity for students to re-engage with teachers and support staff in person.

Understandably, you will want reassurances on how we will manage the safety of your child whist attending the academy. Therefore, we are producing an ‘Information Booklet for Parents and Students’ which sets outs the different areas for consideration and how we intend to deal with them for example, procedures for accessing and exiting the building, how to maintain the 2m social distancing rule, movement around the academy, classroom protocols, arrangements for breaks and lunch, what happens if a child exhibits Covid 19 symptoms, behaviour expectations and more. When the booklet is ready we will get it to you.

As soon as I can provide more details of exact times and what the Year 12 and Year 10 students will be doing in school I’ll be in touch.

Do visit us on Facebook to see some of the excellent work our fantastically gifted and creative students produced during our Wellbeing and Challenge Week before half term.

Whilst we begin to enjoy some of the lockdown easing measures do please continue to stay safe.

Best wishes

Kevin Reynolds, Executive Principal


Friday 22nd May 2020

Dear Parent/Carer

This week has probably one of the busiest and most challenging in my own and my senior leaders’ careers; collating risk assessments, planning the site for social distancing (including catering and cleaning strategy), liaising with teaching unions, working with the local authority (transport), reading the continuous and changing guidance from the government, keeping our staff informed and attending virtual meetings! (More about this below).

Wellbeing and challenge week

However……the one thing that has kept me sane and positive is the fantastically creative, imaginative and skilful work your sons and daughters have been producing this week. The student’s engagement this week is extremely high – as we hoped. But the main aim is to get them off and away from their electronic devices. I hope they are getting out into the sun and getting plenty of vitamin D! We will be showcasing a selection of students’ work over the next few weeks.

Half term

We have asked all our parents who normally access our child care facility in school whether they will be sending their son/daughter in over the May half term (25 – 29 May). At this moment in time no parent/carer requires this facility, therefore we plan to close the Academy for the full week of half term.

After half term

We will be open from the 1 June for vulnerable children and children of key workers. At this moment in time we will not be able to welcome back any other children in Year 12 and Year 10 week commencing 1 June. I hasten to add, along with my senior leaders and the Trust, we have not taken this decision lightly. I am sure I speak on behalf of everyone who works in education when I say we all want to return to our schools and get our students actively learning again with each other. We all know why this ambition is so important on a number of different levels. However, we must plan this carefully and diligently taking account and mitigating potential risks as we have highlighted in our Risk Assessment document. Our core consideration is the safety and wellbeing of colleagues, students and visitors.

Along with me, if your child is in Year 12 and Year10, I am sure you are disappointed that your they cannot return to school sooner but taking into account the guidance from the government for schools (due 28 May) to offer some ‘face to face’ learning for Year 12 and Year 10 students we are working hard to find a solution that provides effective and valuable ‘face to face’ learning but at the same time minimising physical movement particularly in large groups, both in the academy and outside, ie. year groups travelling to and from school at the same time.

To help us in our planning we will be sending a link for an online survey to our Year 12 & 10 parents.  We would be grateful if this could be completed and submitted no later than noon Tuesday 26th May.

Please be assured, as soon as we can safely welcome back you child we will.

In the meantime, I hope you and your family manage to get some time to relax next week.

Keep yourselves safe.

Best wishes

Kevin Reynolds - Executive Principal


Friday 15th May 2020

Dear Parent/Carer

“May you live in interesting times”. There is much debate and speculation over exactly where this saying comes from. What we do know is that ‘we’ are indeed living in interesting and very challenging times. Indeed, currently, things are changing daily.

I know you will all want more information around whether our students in Year 12 and Year 10 are able to come back to school from 1 June. Unfortunately, at this time, we just can’t say. As well as waiting for further guidance form the government (the first of which is due early next week), we are in the process of completing the first draft of a Risk Assessment. Until we can satisfy ourselves that we can safely open to our Year 12 and Year 10 students – keeping them and our staff safe - we won’t be in a position to provide the reassurance you need.

You know I have written on several occasions about how impressed I’ve been with how students have engaged with their work. Now, several months on, I’m very conscious that some students are beginning to struggle with the solitude and monotony of home learning. I know only too well from my own children. Therefore, next week we are taking a break from our usual ‘timetabled’ lesson format and having a ‘Wellbeing and Challenge Week’. From Monday 18 May to Friday 22 May departments will be setting activities and projects in three groups: Year 7 & 8, Year 9 & 10 and Year 12. Students will be able to choose an activity or project from several for each department. Students will be able to access the work through the VLE in the usual way. We would like to promote challenge, creativity, time for reflection and a chance to learn in a different way. During the week your child’s Progress Tutor will contact your son/daughter to see how they are getting on. If you have any questions around this please get in touch in the usual way. Mr Ward has made a virtual assembly to introduce the week – this will be available from Monday morning. A ‘trailer’ will be available to view later this afternoon.

We are already thinking about how things will look after half term and want to offer more personalised lessons with your child’s teacher. There is a training implication but we will endeavour to give this new approach a go in June.

You may be wondering what teachers get up to during the working day whilst schools are closed? Here is the account of one teacher at the Academy:

A Day in the Life of a teacher during Lockdown

“It’s often challenging trying to balance the needs of my own child with the needs of the children that would ordinarily be in my care; children that I genuinely want the best for.

A significant proportion of my time during working hours is spent communicating with students via email; enquiring about their wellbeing, particularly if I can see that they have been unable to access their learning via the VLE. I appreciate that each student’s set of circumstances is different and I am mindful of this when contacting them.

As a teacher of a core subject, I am responsible for the learning of in excess a 150 children, so monitoring their progress remotely can be challenging at times. I have been humbled by the volume of emails that I’ve received from students, expressing their gratitude for the support being offered to them; I do monitor my emails throughout the day to ensure that I’m on hand to answer any queries and offer assistance as and when my students require it.

When my own child has gone to bed I prepare materials for my classes and provide some form of feedback to students that have submitted work to me over the course of the day. I tend to upload the following day’s lessons to the VLE the night before to enable students to access their learning at their earliest convenience.

At least once a week we have a virtual team meeting where we get a chance to catch up and swop ideas. Already we are beginning to look at our curriculum and schemes of work for next half term and September 2020. So, some of my time is spent on medium term plans.

I love my job and look forward to the day when it is safe to return to work, to see my students in the classroom once again.”

As always, if you need us for any reason please just get in touch.

Keep yourselves safe.

Best wishes

Kevin Reynolds - Executive Principal


 

Tuesday 12th May 2020

Dear Parent/Carer

As expected we now have further guidance from the government. This includes details of the nationwide plans to reopen schools.

Currently, we remain closed to all students except the most vulnerable and the children of key workers. In terms of a return to school, we are working on plans and will be ready to accept students when directed but I would like to reiterate the safety of all our students and staff is paramount and forms the central part of our planning. The early indications are that Year 10 and Year 12 will be the first to return in some form in June. This is entirely open to change at this stage and is wholly dependent on the government being confident they are satisfying their 5 key objectives. We will share more details as the picture becomes clearer.

I would encourage you to read the following document:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers/reopening-schools-and-other-educational-settings-from-1-june

Best wishes

Kevin Reynolds - Executive Principal


Monday 11th May 2020

Dear Parent/Carer

I am sure you will have heard the Prime Minister’s announcement yesterday evening about schools. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say I was hoping for some more clarity around the specifics of school’s reopening; the DfE have indicated that details may follow later today. However, we do know that primary schools in England may be ready to reopen ‘in stages’ – but not until 1 June at the earliest. This could begin with Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils going back. The Prime Minister also said it’s the government’s ‘ambition’ to give secondary school pupils taking examinations next year ‘at least some time with their teachers’ before the summer holidays. (When this happens, we will ensure we’ll be ready to welcome our students back). Childcare settings will also be asked to prepare to open to more children from 1 June. When I receive any updates, I’ll get in touch.

Can I respectfully remind you that, at the time of writing this, the existing message prevails, schools are closed and are only open to our most vulnerable students and the children of key workers for child care.

With further weeks of virtual school ahead of us we feel it is appropriate to spend a week focussing on our young people’s wellbeing and step away from the ‘timetabled’ lesson format. From Monday 18 May to Friday 22 May departments will be setting activities and projects in three groups: Year 7 & 8, Year 9 & 10 and Year 12. Students will be able to choose an activity or project from several for each department. Student will be able to access the work through the VLE in the usual way. We would like to promote challenge, creativity, time for reflection and a chance to learn in a different way. We are also planning a virtual assembly to introduce the week.

Lately the weather has be a little more unsettled with short, sharp showers having the potential to keep us inside or get us very wet! However, in between the showers, I would encourage your sons and daughters to get outside and do some exercise (perhaps try a keep fit session in groups via Facetime, Zoom, Skype or any other ‘platform’ that they have). As we know, exercise is really important not just in terms of our physical health but for our mental wellbeing too.

Get in touch if you need us. We may be closed due to the pandemic, but Virtual Consett is open and we continue to care for all our young people.

Best wishes for the week ahead

Kevin Reynolds - Executive Principal


Wednesday 6th May 2020

Dear Parent/Carer

I’ve just started reading the book, ‘A Curriculum of Hope’ by Debra Kidd. It presents ideas around a new approach to curriculum design, one which empowers schools to build bridges between students learning and the world around them.

The book begins with:

“Hope is the thing with feathers –

That perches in the soul –

And sings the tune without words –

And never stops – at all –“

By Emily Dickinson

Given the current situation I found the words quite poignant.

I am sure I speak for all of us when I say we are eagerly awaiting Boris Johnson’s statement due on Sunday where he is expected to set out a detailed road map for the lifting of restrictions.  Whatever the nature of the statement is, I can tell you that my senior teams and I have already started having wide ranging conversations and making plans around how we might re-open the Academy in the future to certain year groups. Please be reassured when we are told we can re-open (whenever that is) we will be ready to go!

In the meantime, I would encourage you to share this flier with your son/daughter – it pretty much speaks for itself. There is lots to write about at the moment!

The government have recently published a Department for Education coronavirus helpline:

The Department for Education coronavirus helpline is available to answer questions about COVID-19 relating to education and children’s social care. Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline as follows:

Phone: 0800 046 8687

Opening hours: 8am to 6pm – Monday to Friday & 10am to 4pm – Saturday and Sunday

As always, if you need us for any reason please just get in touch.

Keep yourselves safe.

Best wishes

Kevin Reynolds - Executive Principal


Friday 1st May 2020

Dear Parent/Carer

The poet TS Eliot once wrote that “April is the cruellest month”. I suspect it has also been the strangest and most challenging one any of us has experienced. However, let’s hope, as the Prime Minister suggested yesterday, that next week brings some positive messages around how we are all going to start to emerge from the lockdown and begin the next chapter in the CoVID 19 crisis.

I have read a lot recently in newspapers and journals around how disruptive to our children’s education this period of school closure is to their progress. As we know, it doesn’t matter how good the online resources are or how motivated our students are, there is absolutely no substitute for social contact: teacher and child, child and child. We all learn from one another.

Although I have frequently reported how impressed I have been with how our young people have engaged with their learning, there is starting to emerge a difference in the way students are completing the work. I know for some of our young people times are hard for all sorts of reasons but there are some who are choosing to do very little. To this end could I ask you as parents/carers to spend a few minutes each day asking them about their work: what subjects have they had, what have they found hard/easy, what activities do they enjoy most? Do they need help on anything? Please do encourage them to contact their teacher if they need help. Also, please do encourage your son/daughter to read ‘something’ each day, if only for 10 minutes. This adult contact around their work will help. Could I also remind you that all parents/carers have log ins to access the VLE to see what your child(ren) are doing/done. If you have forgotten your log in details please do get in touch via Studenthelpdesk@consettacademy.org.uk.

At the end of next week, we have our next Bank Holiday – Friday 8 May to celebrate VE Day. We have asked all our parents who normally access our child care facility in school whether they will be sending their son/daughter in on the 8 May. At this moment in time no parent/carer requires this facility, therefore we plan to close next Friday but will be open again from Monday 11 May.

I wish you a safe weekend – fingers crossed for the weather!


Wednesday 29th April 2020

Dear Parent/Carers

As I sit and write this message the first rain shower in weeks falls on my garden (no, I won’t say it!). In these strange times at least some things don’t change as we begin to welcome in the month of May.

Each day I receive updates on the number of students who have logged in to the VLE. Now, in our fourth week of working remotely, not counting the two week Easter break, I’m delighted to report that almost 8 out of 10 students regularly access work. And of course this doesn’t include a number of students who are completing work as hard copies. This is hugely encouraging, given the circumstances, that many of our young people are showing great commitment, courage and maturity. I’d also like to thank you, their parents and carers for all you are doing to support your children in these challenging times and, of course, our fantastic staff. Parents and carers wishing to request hard copies of work should email their child’s Year Manager and we endeavour to post these out as quickly as possible.

Many of our students are submitting some fantastic work during the current lockdown and many examples are shared as Golden Moments on our Facebook page and website twice daily. It would be great if you could encourage your child to continue submitting photographs of their work to staff and hopefully they may also be awarded a Golden Moment nomination.

We’re also trying to introduce some more ‘fun’ activities along the line too. Mr Boarder has kindly offered to organise ‘The Great Consett Academy Bake Off’. In the current climate, we’ve noticed the massive increase in people giving baking a go – whether they are experienced or completely new! So, with this in mind, we thought we could have some fun between staff and students with The Great Consett Academy Bake Off! All you need to do is to bake anything you want. It doesn’t have to be fancy and can simply be cornflake cakes if you want to use your leftover Easter Eggs. Once your bake is completed email a photo with a description of what you’ve made to jboarder@consettacademy.org.uk You have until the 4th of May for your creations! We will share all entries on Facebook and see is we have a future Paul Hollywood or Prue Leith within our community. Best of luck. Ready, Set, BAKE!

Unfortunately, I have no further updates on when, or if, schools will open after the current 3-week lockdown block. I can assure you we will continue to set work, give as much feedback as possible, keep in touch with our young people and keep the school building open for the children of key workers who are critical to our country and community.

Year 13 and Year 11 teachers and their respective Heads of Department are continuing to work through the compilation of Centre Assessment Grades (CAGs) for students. We are using evidence from a number of sources to ensure a fair and accurate representation. These grades are subject to a number of internal quality assurance checks so you and your son/daughter can be assured that the grade they are given is as fair and accurate as possible. To understand the CAGs please follow this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXuDOrtJY1Q&feature=youtu.be

We expect results’ days to be as follows (more details will follow):

13th August 2020             AS/A Level results day

20th August 2020             GCSE results day

Finally, remember to keep yourself and your son/daughter safe – I have attached a link to a document sent out today from Durham Educational Psychology Service on ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing’; it’s a useful read.

If you have any questions or concerns just get in touch.

Take care.

Best wishes

Kevin Reynolds, Executive Principal


 

Wednesday 23rd April 2020

Dear Parents/Carers

As we all come to terms with another 3 weeks in lockdown, I can tell you that many teacher unions and respected education leaders are lobbying government ministers to provide more detail on when schools might potentially re-open, even if to a limited few. This may provide reassurance and lessen anxiety among parents and our young people. It will also help us to plan a coherent and less stressful start to school life again.

In the meantime some key pieces of information:

Risk of fraud

We have been informed from the Education and Skills Funding Agency of increased risk of fraud during the coronavirus pandemic.  Fraudsters are currently actively exploiting these difficult times and are targeting companies and members of the public for financial gain.  The ESFA have been informed that some learners and parents have received a fraudulent letter which appears to be from the Education and Skills Funding Agency asking for personal learner bank details in relation to the 16 to 19 Bursary Fund.  The Education and Skills Funding Agency have confirmed that they will never ask for personal bank account details.   My finance team may call very occasionally to confirm bank details should a refund be due.  However this call should be planned and they will only confirm bank account details but never request them.   The overriding message is please can I remind you to be extra vigilant. 

Online support

To support student learning across all year groups we issued a large number of IT devices to households that did not have access before the school shutdown to enable access to our VLE. Unfortunately, we were unable to support households that did not have access to the internet. Recently the government has announced a scheme to support disadvantaged Year 10 students with devices and internet access. We are currently reviewing our audit of student access to see if we meet the criteria to apply for some of our students. If you feel as though you would qualify then please contact us on enquiries@consettacademy.org.uk.

Year 11 students

In order to aid Year 11 students’ transition into the next stage of their education, staff have created activities and collated resources to use over the upcoming months. This includes resources for A’ level study and also vocational subjects. These can be found on the top of the VLE homepage, labelled 'Post 16 bridging'. We encourage students to have a go at the activities and access the resources of their chosen subjects. If they experience any problems they should contact Miss Jobling.

Please note that we are still accepting additional applications to Consett Academy Sixth Form.

Mental health and wellbeing

I realise that this current situation is very different to the school day that your child(ren) are used to. However, for their mental health and wellbeing, it is a good idea to create their own routine for the new school days. As I have mentioned before the Easter holiday, they need to make sure they have a balance of tasks, school work and other activities, with time away from screens and in the fresh air. Mrs Moncur has shared the following schedule with her Year 8s who have been finding it useful to bring structure to their days.

COVID-19 Daily Schedule

Top Tips:

  • Have a routine to your school days.
  • Plan in time to get some fresh air.
  • Plan time to read for pleasure.
  • Have a regular time for meals.
  • Plan free-time towards the end of the day to do something you enjoy.
  • Plan time to do something to help in the house.
  • Don’t spend all day in front of a screen.

Keep safe and well.

Best wishes

Kevin Reynolds, Executive Principal


 

Monday 20th April 2020

Dear Parents/Carers

Welcome to our very first remote summer term!

I hope you all had a restful and safe Easter break. Whilst we still find ourselves navigating a very different way of life, being able to enjoy fine, sunny weather helps.

We’ve all had to adapt to new ways of working, so I wanted to take the chance to say what an amazing job you’re doing supporting your child’s wellbeing and learning during this time.

It’s definitely been a strange and challenging time, so it’s understandable if you and your child feel anxious and frustrated at the moment. We’re here for you every step of the way as we figure this all out together.

Remember, if you have any concerns about helping your child learn or you need any other support from the school, please let us know. If your child has any issues at all, they should contact their Year Manager so we can help.

We miss having the students in school, but we must continue to follow the government’s guidance to keep everyone in our community safe. So, we remain closed to all students apart from children of key workers who are critical to keeping our community and country safe and working.

Our teachers will be setting plenty of tasks for students to get stuck into over the summer term. Do remind your child to take breaks away from screens as well, and also make time for having fun and connecting with friends and family.

While we can’t say yet when we’ll be able to open the school fully, rest assured that we’ll continue doing our utmost to keep students learning and the school connected.

Following the Gavin Williamson’s Downing Street briefing at the weekend, there is speculation around Year 10 and Year 12 being allowed back to school next month. I have not received any further information but if I have any subsequent updates I will share them with you.

Best wishes

Kevin Reynolds - Executive Principal 


Wednesday 8th April 2020

Dear Parents/Carers

I hope this message finds you and your family in good health. We are certainly being blessed with some sunny (and warm!) weather during our staycation!

I wrote last week saying that we would stay open every day over the two-week Easter break. So far this week, we have not had any students attend the academy for child care. So, in order to maximise the government’s advice of ‘stay at home unless you have to go out’ we have made the decision to shut the Academy on Good Friday (10 April) and Bank Holiday Monday (13 April). At this time we plan to remain open for the children of key workers and for vulnerable students Thursday 9 April and Tuesday (14 April) to Friday (17 April).

Fingers crossed that schools can open quickly after the Easter break and we can work to get back to normal routines.

Best wishes

Kevin Reynolds - Executive Principal


Friday 3rd April 2020

A look into the future for this Spring bunny!

east bunny

We hope you have an enjoyable break even though this will be an Easter with a difference! This is an opportunity to move away from the ‘learning from home’ routine and do something different.  Be inventive, creative, be active and be sociable in the ways we have learned how to be! School will be open for children of key workers, but there will be no catering facilities.  If you intend on using this facility, please inform the relevant Year Manager so we can accommodate and staff a rota.

Teachers have designed some holiday challenges with a difference which can be accessed via the following link.  https://consettacademy.org.uk/easterchallenges

We would like students to choose a challenge which interests them the most, have a go and submit it to the relevant teacher.  Prizes for the top 3 challenges in each subject will receive a prize after the Easter break.  Following the break, teachers will return to setting daily work and the expectation is for students to do the same.

A look back at the past for our Year 11 and Year 13 students.

look back in the past

 We will get there with you in the near future!

in the near future

We will update Year 11 and Year 13 students in more detail after the break with guidance on results and then look forward to celebrating their achievements in the coming months.

I leave you with a quote from A.A Milne Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.” – Winnie-the-Pooh

Kate Jackson - Assistant Director


 

Thursday 2nd April 2020

Dear Parents/Carers

This beautiful weather is making it a surreal time – knowing that there’s a major health crisis intensifying around us, and yet the air never having felt fresher, nor the streets quieter. Yesterday saw the first significant dip in the numbers of our students logging on to the VLE. I appreciate it has been hard going over the last couple of weeks with our young people having to work in a very mature way. I think as adults it hasn’t been at all easy, so we must spare a thought for and support our children. That said, only one day left to go before the ‘official’ end of the Spring Term!

This brings me nicely onto the Easter Holiday. First and foremost, students should take the opportunity to relax and get away from school work. I would also add away from electronic devices and computer screens too! They should give their eyes and brains a rest. We are planning to put together some ‘holiday activities’ should your son / daughter want to access them – fun stuff! I hasten to add these activities are purely optional. You can access them here from next week: https://consettacademy.org.uk/easterchallenges

After some thought and discussion, we have decided to open every day of the Easter fortnight (including Good Friday and Bank Holiday Monday) to offer child care for key workers who are critical to the national effort during the COVID 19 crisis. Please note that there will be no catering facilities on site so children will have to bring a packed lunch with a water bottle (which can be filled at our water dispensers as usual). We will not be able to provide any additional activities during the day only those as indicated above.

I will write again, if there are any significant updates. Mrs Jackson will be writing tomorrow’s message – if there are any updates affecting Yr13 and Yr11, she’ll let you know.

In some ways it doesn’t seem appropriate to wish you all a Happy Easter, as I would normally do, but I hope you manage to get some rest with your families and enjoy the weather.

As always, stay safe and look after each other.

Kevin Reynolds

Executive Principal


 

Wednesday 1st April

Dear Parents/Carers

As we are half way through our second week working from home, I continue to amazed by the resilience of our young people and those they live with.  Together we are working to make sure that we keep our communities safe as well as studying a variety of subjects through the access to the online resources.  In an age where children have grown up being used to technology and its uses, can I remind all parents and carers to keep your children safe online and ensure that you are checking the sites they are accessing?  I have included a couple of useful sites below which offers help to parents and carers.

We continue to try to keep you as informed as possible regarding any updates from the government.  Therefore with effect from Monday 20th April 2020 families of students eligible for benefit related free school meals will access that national voucher scheme.  More information will be sent to those whom this applies.

As we move towards the Spring break we are working to continue in school to be able to provide support to our Key Workers children by enabling them to attend the Academy.  For all other students, we are hoping to offer some project based opportunities for them to help to occupy their time over the two weeks.  This will be voluntary and accessed via our VLE.  It is another way that our staff are working to support everyone in these unprecedented times.  What we would urge is that the students take time away from their studies and try something new or learn a new skill.  More information will be sent out about these opportunities later in the week. 

For now, I hope that you all remain safe and well and as always, please get in touch if there is anything we can do to help.

Rachel Somerville

Director of School & Curriculum

https://parentinfo.org/

https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/

https://www.internetmatters.org/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIktuA5LWK2wIVRYXVCh2afg2aEAAYASAAEgIJ5vD_BwE

  • Thinkyouknow (advice from the National Crime Agency to stay safe online)
  • Internet matters (support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online)
  • Parent info (support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online)

 


Tuesday 31st March 2020

Dear Parents/Carers
 
I’m delighted to report that the vast majority of students are either still logging in and working on line or working through workbooks. Lots of ingenious methods are being used by our students to complete their work and by teachers giving feedback. If you haven’t had a look please go to our website image gallery bit.ly/2QL63tF or www.facebook.com/ConsettAcademy/. Keep it, folks!
 
Today the government launched the national voucher scheme for children eligible for free school meals. We are working through the practicalities of delivering this to those of you who are eligible and will provide information shortly.
 
I wrote yesterday that we are expecting a steer from the government this week on how grades for Yr13 and Yr11 will be awarded this year. Some concern has been expressed at the possible impact on student progression to higher level courses. Although the national response to this is still awaited, the Academy Trust has confirmed that students wishing to progress to the Sixth Form at Consett Academy will be able to do so if they have the support of their teachers that it is the right destination for them and that their predicted grades confirm they would have met the entry conditions. New College Durham has confirmed that the same approach will be applied to students wishing to attend the College. We will encourage other institutions to which our students plan to progress to adopt the same approach. Our intention is to ensure that no student is disadvantaged by the current situation.
 
 
Best wishes.
 
Kevin Reynolds
Executive Principal

 

Monday 30th March 2020

Dear Parents/Carers

Last week has surely been one of the most difficult weeks of our working lives. Regardless of what we normally do, the week brought significant challenges. For what we are all living through now, there is no tried and tested roadmap. We are all having to dig deep and negotiate the twists and turns day by day. I have watched with interest just how many young people are adapting to their new working lives – many quickly and creatively showing huge resilience. Lots of our students are developing their own support networks and timetables within timetables at home. I have thoroughly enjoyed looking at all their Golden Moments – keep them coming in!

In terms of how the government will award grades for Yr13 and Yr11 this year, I am advised that guidance will come from Ofqual around mid-week. I do know that at the heart of the awarded grade will likely be evidenced, ethical teacher assessment. This is an anxious time for students in these years, so as soon as I get any information I will get it straight out to you.

Please do keep encouraging your son/daughter to access the learning resources – we are working hard to respond to all questions and concerns.

Remember, regular breaks and fresh air are really important too!

Stay safe and best wishes.

Kevin Reynolds

Executive Principal


 

Friday 27th March

 

Dear Parents/Carers

 

We reach the end of our first week of ‘home learning’ so could I take this opportunity to commend all of our students for their motivation, dedication and independence in this time of uncertainty and change.  Teachers have been supporting students as best they can and have enjoyed receiving completed work as the week has progressed. As parents/carers we have also had to adapt to life at home and have equally overcome some barriers and are hopefully feeling like a routine is falling into place.

If you require hard copies of work moving forward, please contact your child’s teacher and we can arrange to have work ready for collection at our main reception.  Next week will mirror this week and work will be set in the usual way on our VLE. Golden Moments will feature on our website, Joe Wicks in the morning will be a daily event in most homes and we will work towards our Spring Break with the rounding up of work by Friday.  More information will follow next week regarding the 2 week Easter Break.

DfE have informed us that plans for Year 11 and year 13 GCSE and A-Level results will be shared before Easter, so once we have information on this we will share it with you.  In the meantime, please continue to communicate with us, share your successes and frustrations and we will work together to ensure the future is bright. 

I will leave you with the ever relevant words of William Wordsworth:

 

I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o'er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
 

 flowers

Kate Jackson - Director of Outcomes and Teaching


 
Thursday 26th March 2020
 
Dear Parents/Carers
 
Wednesday was our first day of sharing Golden Moments with you all. If you haven’t had a look please go to our website image gallery bit.ly/2QL63tF or www.facebook.com/ConsettAcademy/ there are some wonderfully creative and detailed pieces of work. Remember, if you have something to share with us please email/text individual subject teachers or Year Managers.
 
Our VLE monitoring tool seemed to suggest that fewer students logged in on Wednesday but we feel this might not be an accurate picture. A number of parents we have contacted today have said that their son/daughter did access work on line yesterday - so apologies for the intrusion, we will endeavour to sort the issue out with our system.
 
As of lunchtime today, I have received no further updates from the DfE.
 
We will begin to work on plans for the Easter holiday shortly but are waiting on clearer guidance from the government.
 
Thank for your support and patience as we work our way through some technical hitches.
 
Kevin Reynolds

Wednesday 25th March 2020

Dear Parents/Carers

Yesterday was another busy day for our students as they settled into their second day of working from home. Our staff have been impressed with how well they have tackled the tasks and how much effort some are putting into their work. Where we can, we are giving positive comments and are trying to showcase outstanding pieces of work on a regular basis. As students are sharing their work with us staff are rewarding students and looking for examples to reward ‘Golden Moments’.  As parents, please feel free to also share your ‘Golden Moments’ of your child(ren) working from home so we can share on our Facebook site.  These can be shared by emailing or texting individual subject teachers or Year Managers.

As I said yesterday, students should take regular breaks (with exercise) away from their devices to ensure they don’t experience fatigue or headaches.

As and when I receive any updates from the DfE or examination boards I will share it with you.

In the meantime, take care of yourselves and your loved ones.

Kevin Reynolds

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