WEEKLY EMAIL Friday 5 June 2020

Message from the Head of School

Dear parents/carers

I hope that you have all had a good week and that students have been able to get back into managing their school work from home. Many thanks for all of the lovely emails that we have received from parents over the last week, particularly in reference to the video that staff put together for our students.

As many of you will be aware the school will be opening more widely to Year 10 students from Monday 15th June; there are currently lots of plans and risk assessments underway in order to prepare as safe a return as possible for as many of our Year 10 students that can attend. We have been working hard to devise timetables of small ‘bubble’ groups, mark out the site to ensure the 2 metre socially distanced guidance can be applied at all times and working with qualified Health and Safety advisors and legal teams to make sure we’ve done everything that we can.

The details of the timetable and all of the health and safety aspects of the return within a safe socially distanced environment have been shared with all Year 10 parents as we ask them to decide if their child will return from Monday 15th June. To all our Year 10 parents, please see the separate SchoolComms email and respond to our survey for Monday 8th June at 12pm.

Some parents are beginning to question what the longer-term picture might look like for students after summer; the truth is that we don’t know. We are trying (blindly) to plan for all eventualities: partial openings with social distancing, slightly relaxed social distancing but still partially open on a rota basis or a full opening. Until we get closer to the summer term, we are unsure what September will hold. However, please be reassured that we are constantly looking to improve our offer and our provision and we continue to look into various other platforms and systems that we could move to during the summer if they offer better functionality and interaction for students and teachers. Many of these systems require a complete change of whole school email accounts and this movement takes weeks to complete, hence why we would need to move over the summer.

In the meantime, however, we continue to develop and improve with the system of ClassCharts that we have in place and is working well for so many students according to feedback.

What does this mean for students in years 7-9?
We will continue to set work for students on ClassCharts as we have been doing for students in Years 7 to 9. As we continually try to improve our remote teaching and learning, we have recently shared training on:

  • how to create and share interactive quizzes for classes
  • suggestions for more peer interactions and paired work via devices
  • how teachers can use recorded messages and clips safely
  • how to narrate PowerPoint presentations to improve explanations and instructions.

Our students should begin to see the benefits of this over the next half term.

Will students in Years 7-9 receive any scheduled live lessons?
A small number of parents have requested live lessons for students; this is something that we have been unable to do for a variety of reasons to date at different stages of the lock-down. As we prepare for a wider reopening for Year 10, we face the challenge of many more teachers being in school to teach Year 10 as they are in very small group sizes and planning for longer, 2.5 hour lessons in school, as well as more staff supporting the larger number of vulnerable children that we have in school, alongside planning and marking/providing feedback for those students working remotely. Therefore, scheduling of timed lessons for KS3 will not be possible. However, we will be providing more interactive and pre-recorded lessons/guidance for students in all years over the next few weeks. We hope that students will welcome this variety of resources.

All parents will receive an email survey later this afternoon asking for your feedback on how the online work is going, what is working well and what can be further improved.
As part of our commitment to improve, we ask if you could please complete this questionnaire. It would be helpful if this could be done in discussion with your child. We value your feedback.

Will all students in Years 7-9 receive some personal contact beyond email?
Yes. We are already in regular contact with approximately 300 families across school and form tutors have made email contact with all families. We are now planning to contact all students over the next few weeks to see how they are and how we may be able to support them. Form tutors and other colleagues will telephone for a conversation with the parents and also with the children to help support their online learning (that may be directed from the parent’s frustrations or concerns) and also to check on their wellbeing. Please be aware that as some colleagues will need to do this from home, so this will most likely be through a withheld number.

On the survey that you receive you will be able to raise any concerns about your child’s wellbeing so that we can help when we contact you.

Many thanks for your continued support.

Best wishes

Miss G Greenhalgh

Trip refunds

All refunds for payments made towards trips to Austria and France are now being processed and should be with parents in the next few days.

Peer Mentoring Programme 2020 – Calling all Year 8s!

We are stil looking for Year 8 students who are interested in becoming a Peer Mentor, to help the new Year 7s settle in during their first year at Millthorpe. Click here to find out more.

Please note that we have extended the deadline for applications to Wednesday 10 June.

Preparatory work for students going to York College

The team at York College has sent out some preparatory work to Year 11s via email – don’t forget to take a look! You can see the work here too.

Healthy Child Service – 5 to 19

A reminder that the school nurse team continues to work throughout the pandemic and are able to have telephone contact with students and parents to offer support.

The text number for students, which is 07833437363, is available Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm, all year round apart from bank holidays. A nurse from the team will reply to texts either with information or to agree a time to call.

Junior Maths Challenge Year 7 & 8 – Thursday 25 June

Every year, we enter our top mathematicians into the UK Mathematics Trust’s Junior Maths Challenge. Students are given a problem-solving activity in age-related categories which pits them against students from all over the country. The questions are challenging and often students have to ‘think outside the box’.

The challenge usually takes place under exam conditions in the main hall, but due to the current situation, students can now take the challenge at home. They will be given a special login for the day and will only have an hour to access the questions and complete them. Calculators are NOT allowed, just pencil and paper.

The challenge is open to the following Maths classes:

  • 7A (Mrs Myers)
  • 7B (Mr Hebden)
  • 8S1 (Mrs Papprill)
  • 8N1 (Mr Webb-Sear)

Mrs Papprill will send out further information via ClassCharts to these four classes next week. In the meantime, students can do some practice questions. Click here to find out how to log in.

Please contact Mrs Pappril directly should you have any further questions E: d.papprill@millthorpeschool.co.uk

Think Ninja

Think Ninja is a phone app designed to empower young people to build resilience, manage their emotional health and fulfil their potential. Until recently the app could only be accessed through a NHS referral but is now available to all young people. New content has been added which will help users to understand the following:

  • Fears relating to the virus
  • Isolation struggles and how to stay connected to family and friends
  • Worries about personal health and health of family members
  • Mental strength
  • Coping techniques to use during the crisis
  • Plus many other helpful tips.
York Festival of Ideas

York Festival is taking place online from now until 14 June. Featuring world-class speakers, exhibitions, theatre, music, films, guided walks, family-friendly activities and much more, York Festival of Ideas offers a huge range of stimulating and diverse events for all ages and interests – most of them free. Visit York Festival of Ideas today!

The Discovery Zone is home to fascinating activities for school aged children and their families, from how to make a speaking machine to looking inside an atom and making your own prehistoric cheese – take a look!

Read Theory

Year 7 are continuing their stunning work on the Read Theory website. This week’s top scoring form is 7AIN. Well done to all!

If your child hasn’t signed up for Read Theory yet, please email Ms Bradsell.

Lockdown Legends Challenge from York Theatre Royal

Even though York Theatre Royal is closed, the team there are hoping people will still be creative and feel inspired. They’ve come up with a series of theatrical challenges for you to take part in whilst we are all staying safe at home.

Click here for details of the Lockdown Legends Challenge.

Year 6 to 7 Transition Information

The latest information for prospective Year 7 students, which gives lots of information about your school uniform and top tips from other students, has now been sent out. You can also see it here.

You can take a look at all of the information for potential students on our website.

National Tourette’s Awareness Day

Tourette’s Syndrome (TS) is an inherited neurological condition. It affects one school child in every hundred and is more common amongst boys. Over 300,000 children and adults are living with TS in the UK. Tourette’s Syndrome is often misunderstood as a condition which makes people swear, or say socially inappropriate things.

This Sunday is National Tourettes Awareness Day and we encourage you to follow the links below and discover more about Tourette’s Syndrome and destroy some of the myths:

Open Day at Westrow Academy 

Westrow Academy’s open day that was due to take place on Monday 29 June has been rescheduled and will now take place on 23 and 24 July 2020.

Click here for full details

Safeguarding

If you have significant concerns for the welfare of a child during lockdown, in addition to being able to contact Ruth Cooper during school hours, you may wish to make direct contact with the York MASH (Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub) on T: 01904 686400, option 3. They operate an out-of-hours service so concerns can be raised with them at any time.

For further information please see the safeguarding link on our school website.