WEEKLY EMAIL Friday 15 May 2020

Dear Parent/Carer

Following the Government’s announcement about the gradual opening of schools to more students over the coming weeks and months, there is much discussion about exactly how and when this is likely to take place. Although we are making a range of plans and preparations, there are still many questions yet to be answered. We will of course share it with you as soon as any further information becomes available.

Key Stage 3 Assessment and Feedback 

Since we last contacted you, we have now determined that in Key Stage 3, during the summer term each core subject will set two Key Assessed Pieces (KAPs) on which students will receive individual assessment and feedback from their subject teacher; subjects with less contact time (Art, Music, Drama) will set one KAP. Departments will set these at different times across the term. These are in addition to students being able to submit a piece of work they are proud of in each subject: the teachers are really looking forward to seeing what children have been producing!

We are also developing subject-specific surveys to give students a chance to feedback on the work they have been receiving.

Year 6-7 Transition Information

The latest information for prospective Year 7 students has now been circulated and added to the website: http://www.millthorpeschool.co.uk/millthorpe/parents/whole-school-new-starters/

Trip Cancellations and Refunds

We are still in the process of organising refunds for all the overseas trips we have had to cancel, including Austria and France.  We’re really sorry that it is taking so much longer than we had hoped to do this, which has been as a result of the impact of schools across the country all needing to make refunds at the same time: we’re working hard to get money to parents as soon as possible.

In addition, we regret that the Year 9 trip to Carlton Lodge will not be possible to run this year. We will be providing full refunds for this trip as well, as soon as we are able to.

Read Theory Reading Initiative for all Year 7 Students

Please follow the link to a letter about an exciting new reading intervention for all Year 7 students:

http://www.millthorpeschool.co.uk/millthorpe/wp-content/uploads/Read-Theory-Letter.pdf

Year 11 Leavers’ Hoodies

Keal Teamwear have advised that they are planning to start work on the hoodies as soon as the shop re-opens in early June, and they will either send them out by post or contact parents to let them know when they are ready to collect.

City of York SEND Communication Strategy Survey

City of York Council and the Clinical Commissioning Group are putting together a communication strategy to set out how best to communicate to parents, carers, young people and professionals involved with children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disability. To share your views, please complete their survey: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/TV6D778

Armed Forces Recruitment

The British Army and RAF are recruiting now across a range of varied job roles. Army and RAF Careers Offices are currently closed but recruitment teams are at work and available online or by phone.

Contact details for Armed Forces Careers Offices can be found here:

https://apply.army.mod.uk/army-career-centre-finder

More information on eligibility and the application process is available from the Army Recruitment Helpline:

Tel: 0345 600 8080  Twitter: https://twitter.com/armyjobs  @armyjobs   #armyjobs

Contact details for Armed Forces Careers Offices with a dedicated RAF recruitment team can be found here:

https://www.raf.mod.uk/recruitment/recruitment-centres

More information on eligibility and the application process is available on the RAF website or from the RAF Recruitment Helplines:

Tel: 0345 605 5555 (Regular FT)     Tel: 0345 606 9069 (Reserve PT).

Twitter: https://twitter.com/raf_Recruitment   @RAF_Recruitment        #NoOrdinaryJob

Interested customers can register their details on the RAF website: https://www.raf.mod.uk/recruitment/find-your-role

WEEKLY EMAIL Friday 8 May 2020

Dear Parent/Carer

So another week away from school for most of us comes to an end, and we wait to hear the government’s plans for the next phase of lockdown on Sunday. We will of course be in touch again once it is clear what implications this may have for Millthorpe. In the meantime, thank you for your continued efforts to support your child or children’s learning at home and I hope you are able to enjoy the Bank Holiday weekend.

VE Day

As you know, today marks the 75th anniversary of the surrender of Nazi Germany to the Allied Powers on 8 August 1945, signalling the end of the Second World War in Europe in World War 2. Any students who would like to learn more about this momentous event can access resources and optional tasks on the Year7-9 History pages on ClassCharts.

Maths Challenge Success

We have just had confirmation that Millthorpe came second overall in the 2020 Blutick Maths Marathon. Schools right across the country competed to see how many maths questions they could complete and Millthorpe students managed an incredible 52,910 questions between them. Well done to everyone who contributed to this exceptional intellectual effort and thanks to the Maths department for getting so many students involved. The school will receive £200 in prize money in recognition of this fantastic achievement.

Shout! Text support service

Shout is a 24/7 text service, free on all major mobile networks, for anyone in crisis, anytime. If you need support at any time, all you need to do is text “Shout” to 85258. By texting ‘SHOUT’ to ‘85258’ the texter will be put in touch with a trained Crisis Volunteer (CV) who will chat to them using trained techniques via text. The service is designed to help individuals to think more clearly and to take their next steps to feeling better.

More information is available at https://www.giveusashout.org/about-shout/

Year 6/7 Transition

The second round of information about transition from Year 6 to Year 7 was sent out to our prospective parents today. You can see a copy on the website here: http://www.millthorpeschool.co.uk/millthorpe/wp-content/uploads/Moving-to-Millthorpe-Edition-2-Key-staff-school-day.pdf

Careers News

Year 10 Work Experience

It is with regret that we have to confirm that the Year 10 work experience programme will have to be cancelled this year due to the current situation affecting the vast majority of employers. NYBEP, who oversee the placements, will be contacting all employers to advise them, so there is no need for you to do so. If school is open to Year 10s during that time, students will be expected to attend as normal.

From next week, a package of careers-related activities will become available on ClassCharts, which will replace some of the work on work experience planned for Year 10 peronsal development lessons.

Askham Bryan College

Askham Bryan College are holding a “virtual open event week” from 11th to 15th May. There will be presentations and information about all their land based courses and also topics such as accommodation and transport. This could be really useful if you are planning to go to Askham Bryan (Y11) or if you are  considering going there in the future (Y10). You have to book online by going to the “What’s On” page on their website – https://www.askham-bryan.ac.uk/whats-on. Any problems, the contact person is Calum Goodwin on 01904 772236.

Year 11 Careers Advice

Y11 students might not physically be with us but Millthorpe is still able to provide impartial careers advice to any student who needs it. This could be about applying to college or sixth form, applying for an apprenticeship or advice on what is the best next step for you. Our careers advisor is called Rachel Howlett and you can contact her via e-mail – r.howlett@millthorpeschool.co.uk. She is really nice and more than happy to help you in anyway she can!

WEEKLY EMAIL Friday 1 May 2020

Message from the Head of School

Dear parent, carers and students

As we begin the month of May, as a community we should be looking forward to spending time enjoying the sunshine at school, but times are very different for us all.

I never thought that I would miss the very familiar sounds of the school bell – the daily controller of our next period of time – but I do. I miss the bustle on the corridors as students move from one lesson to another, recalling what they’ve just done in the previous hour and chatting to their friends as they head to their next teacher. I miss the bell as it signals the beginning of break and lunchtime and then the liveliness and energy that ensues as the students leave the classrooms to enjoy spending time with their friends, socialising in the canteen and on our wonderful school fields. I miss the delight of seeing our happy community whilst on lunchtime duty: the football games that take place with children from different year groups playing together; the groups of friends enjoying their packed lunches on the grass, like picnicking groups in a park at weekend, reminiscing about their experiences, sharing friendships and making memories; and I even miss reminding the occasional over-exuberant child not to roll down the grassy verges as their parents would rather they didn’t go home with grass-stained white shirts.

I really miss being able to see our whole community doing what we do best at Millthorpe – being kind, caring and supportive of one another. I know that my colleagues at school are also missing our students and community very much – we didn’t want to become teachers to work from home – we thrive off working closely with our students every day and miss the joy that they bring and the way that they inspire us and make us laugh and smile every day.

To our students: we miss you.

I know that many of our students will be missing much of this too. They may also miss the familiarity of the bells and the structure that they provide without realising it. For many, the consistency that a timetable provides and the regularity and rigidity of a school day may not be possible or even advisable at the moment. I know they will also miss their friends, their social times and even their lessons with teachers who provide support and warmth and safety whilst working hard to inspire them to learn and engage in the subject that they love. They will also miss our community.

Change is hard and unsettling. Add to that a pandemic which is frightening and a world that we live in that is unrecognisable from that which existed only a couple of months ago.

But our students are always surprising us and surpassing even our high expectations. Below I will highlight what we will do, and how we have improved our learning and contact with families, to help you as we continue in this current situation.

To our students: we will see you again, and we will look after you and make sure you don’t fall behind. But until then, show everyone what we see in you. Be safe. Be confident. Be brave. Be kind. Be determined. Be helpful and supportive to your families. Continue to make us proud that you’re a member of our wonderful community. We will be together again when it’s safe.

Miss G

Developments in learning

We are working relentlessly with all our Heads of Department and teachers to improve the learning experience of all of our students.

Remote Learning: we are all learning a new way of working and following guidance based on the latest research on distance learning from the Education Endowment Foundation and from information on best practice from other schools and lead practitioners. As always, we are continually reviewing our practice to improve further.

Our students and parents can expect remote learning set on ClassCharts in line with the following guidance from current research:

1. Keeping routines simple: Subjects that usually have more curriculum time on the timetable in KS3 will set 2 hours of work and those with less time on the timetable will set 1 hour. In Year 10, teachers will set the same number of hours that the students usually have in a school week. Work will be available each Monday at the beginning of a school week and the expectation is that it should be completed, if possible, by the following Monday. It is set on Mondays to allow families to have an oversight of the work set and enable it to be scheduled when it can be completed around other family commitments and enable planned sharing of IT devices. We have included an example schedule to offer further guidance to students, parents and carers who may be struggling to plan their time.

2. Clear instructions: Departments are now adapting their resources to give clear guidance for students as they move from one task to the next, with prompts, advice on how to tackle the work, assistance if they need it and model answers for self-checking so that students are confident in accessing the material and checking their progress.

3. Breaking down the tasks: The work set will ‘chunk’ the material in to smaller steps and encourage students to do something active with the new learning. It is good practice that students will be asked to use a small amount of new learning in a variety of different contexts, as this repetition will help secure deep understanding and help them to remember the learning.

4. Setting tasks that are problem/challenge orientated: Our teachers will now be setting more tasks that set goals and challenges to help motivate and engage students. This can already be seen in many activities and challenges such as Blutick in Maths. More departments will be adapting resources to create similar activities and teachers are researching new, innovative apps and strategies for this.

5. Providing tasks that are as active, engaging and practical as possible: Teachers will be setting work outside of their typical classroom curriculum. We know that some gaps in learning are inevitable and we feel it’s better to set tasks that inspire students in subjects rather than to try and cover the curriculum in the usual sequence. We are already planning how we are going to bridge any gaps in students’ understanding and knowledge when we return to school.

6. Building in reflection on learning and how students learn: We have spent a lot of time in school developing these skills for our students; this is done in green pen in school and students know it as ‘R-for Reflection.’ It is important that they understand how we learn, can mark their learning and learn from their mistakes and can reflect on how they will approach the task next time. We are ensuring that this work continues in their online lessons.

7. Feedback and marking: students are already provided with self-marking guides. We have now taken steps to ensure that, as well as the self-assessment tasks, challenges, and self-monitoring approaches, KS3 students will receive specific feedback from their teachers on Two Key Assessed Pieces (KAPs) in the vast majority of subjects.Students should respond to this assessed work in green pen and it will be used in lessons when we return. These assessed pieces will be highlighted on ClassCharts with clear instructions on how to submit them to their teacher and the teacher will ‘mark’ it and give feedback. Students in KS3 are still encouraged to send one piece of work per subject that they are most proud of to their subject teacher also.

Developing and extending communication with students and parents/carers

We are currently in contact with a large number of families for many different reasons. However, we are aware that contact doesn’t reach every family. We will extend our contact to reach every family in our community from next week.

Remote Form Tutor: In school, your child’s/children’s form tutor usually plays a crucial role their time in school; they are the adult that checks in with them on a daily basis and a single point of contact for students and parents/carers. We would like to enable that communication to be opened up during this time. Therefore, from next week, each form tutor will be in touch with your child/children to ‘check-in’ with each student and make sure they have everything the need to access the work and support they may need as they continue to work from home. They will make weekly contact with your child by emailing the parent. Please share this email with your child and reply to the form tutor or contact them should you need any support. They are missing their tutees and would love to hear from them!

As part of our responsibility to support learning we closely monitor how much and how frequently students log into ClassCharts each week. Your child’s/children’s form tutor/s will be making contact with any families by telephone to ask if there is anything we can do to support students who seem not to be engaging with ClassCharts and the work set.

How much time should students be spending on school work?

It is difficult for us to insist on a specific amount of time that your child spends on work as we don’t know all families’ personal situations and challenges. However, we would advise students in Years 7- 9 to be completing about three hours of school work each day. We would advise that Year 10 students certainly complete at least three hours of work but should aim to complete five hours to try to keep up with their preparation for GCSEs.

It may be that your child completes their school work in one block or they divide up their school work around their daily exercise, for example. It is really important that they commit some time to reading each day to improve their literacy.

We have shared some examples of what schedules may look like. We have created a timetable based on a student who likes to work in the mornings and finish school work off early. One who prefers to work in blocks of time but may vary the time of day they work. One who prefers to follow the school timetabled hours and another who prefers to plan everything and work in smaller chunks of time, interspersed with other activities.

Check out the example schedules here

We hope that the changes and developments that we have made continue to support your students and improve their experiences during these times. We will continue to look for ways to further develop our provision.

With best wishes

G Greenhalgh

Supporting Your Child’s Emotional Resilience During COVID-19: FREE ONLINE COURSE

Bright Sparks CIC are offering a free online course for parents to help them support their child with their emotional resilience during these uncertain times. It is aimed at parents of children aged 4-11, so whilst this may not be appropriate for those parents who only have secondary age children, it may be useful for parents of current Year 7s and/or those parents with younger children in the family.

Support for parents with home learning

The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has published this useful information to support parents and carers to establish home learning routines and tips with assisting children in their learning.

Keeping up with current affairs

The Week Junior is an award-winning current affairs magazine for children aged 8–14. Filled with with fascinating news and engaging information, it feeds curious young minds and helps children make sense of the world.

You can see this week’s edition here.

News from York Learning

York Learning’s Family Learning team have put a variety of activities onto their Facebook page and Instagram, including fun games, activities and recipes to try at home, a Wednesday afternoon “Ask the teacher” slot for all those maths questions and tips for managing stress in a Friday weekend wind-down. These can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/familylearninginyork/ and @FamilyLearningInYork on Instagram.

They have also started a project to build a Giant Virtual Rainbow, and they need your help! Each week they will be collecting photos focussing on one colour of the rainbow. You can post your photos and tag them, using the hashtag #FamilyLearningRainbow, add them as a comment on Facebook, message them to us on Facebook or Instagram or email family.learning@york.gov.uk

Online support and resources during lockdown

In addition to the resources we have included in previous weekly emails (which are now listed on our website), please find below further useful links:

  • Bereavement UK have published some useful resources for supporting pupils facing bereavement, those who are already bereaved and those who are experiencing mental health difficulties. Click here for more information.
  • CAMHS also provide ideas for supporting pupils with emotional and mental health difficulties.
  • Information for parents/carers about online radicalisation.

Online learning platform to develop workplace skills

A new online learning platform to help develop workplace skills while people are staying at home, has launched this week. The new platform gives adults access to free digital and numeracy courses to help build up their skills, progress in work and boost their job prospects.

Citizens Advice York

Citizens Advice York is still open for telephone advice. Please take a look here for their current contact information.

Post-16 options

Just a reminder that York College is still accepting applications for September 2020. If you have any queries please email the Admissions team or you can apply online. Applications should be made as soon as possible for students to have the best chance of securing a place on the course they want.

If anyone is still keen on securing an apprenticeship, you can e-mail this address in order to receive a weekly email update on the latest apprenticeship vacancies and events. You can also use the same email address if you need any general advice on making applications, checking CVs etc.

To search for apprenticeship vacancies, please visit the Amazing Apprenticeships website.

Moving to Millthorpe

Today, we have sent out the first in a series of emails to our new Year 7 students who will be starting Millthorpe School in September. You can take a look at the information here.

Contacting school and teaching staff

Just a reminder that if you or your children need to contact teaching staff during the school closure, all of their email addresses can be found here. There is also a link on the home page of the school website.

If you have a query that does not relate to teaching / specific subjects, please contact the School Office using the email address: admin@millthorpeschool.co.uk and they will direct your query.

 

WEEKLY EMAIL Friday 24 April 2020

Safeguarding children and families

As we continue through this lockdown period, it is clear that most children will be spending more time than usual on their mobile phones and on social media sites. Whilst these provide great platforms for enabling conversations and for socialising, this increased online activity can also bring additional potential risks. Please take the time to read some guidance for parents on keeping your children safe online at CEOP and NSPCC. These websites are full of useful information to help you recognise the dangers, the types of online child abuse and the possible signs to be aware of.

There have also been concerns raised in the news about the increased likelihood of Domestic Abuse during a period of lock-down. You can find more information together with details of how to get help or support here.

We have added a page to our website that includes more information on keeping safe and also gives some other forms of support such as who to contact if there is domestic abuse in the household. Visit our website

Contacting school and teaching staff

If you or your children need to contact teaching staff during the school closure, all of their email addresses can be found here. From next week, there will also be a link on the home page of the school website for ease.

If you have a query that does not relate to teaching / specific subjects, please contact the School Office using the email address: admin@millthorpeschool.co.uk and they will direct your query.

Microsoft Office

Students at Millthorpe can access free Microsoft Office software for the duration of their time at school. It can be installed on up to five devices.

Your son/daughter will just need to know their username which is theirnetworkusername@millthorpeschool.co.uk (ie 0woodworth@millthorpeschool.co.uk or 3binky@millthorpeschool.co.uk) and their password, which is their school network password.

Anyone who has forgotten their password should contact Mr Ward.

Full instructions for downloading and installing Microsoft Office can be found here.

Blutick Maths Competition

The website Blutick is running a maths competition for the whole country with prizes for individuals who answer the most questions and for the schools who have the most participants. We got the exciting news that Millthorpe is one of the top 20 schools in the country so far! Well done to all who have taken part – keep answering those questions. If you haven’t taken part yet, go to the website and log on to keep Millthorpe at the top!
Many thanks to our Maths department for organising it.

National Theatre performances

Parents/carers and students can access a number of fantastic performances on the National Theatre website using the school’s user credentials. Visit Drama Online and then follow the login procedures – full details on how to do this can be found here.

Good news stories

We know there are some amazing activities and initiatives taking place during the lockdown, involving our students and the Millthorpe community. One such story covered in the York Press this week, featured Year 10 student, Luke Smith, who took on the challenge of climbing the equivalent of Mount Everest, the world’s tallest mountain, from his own home. A great achievement which raised more than £700 for the NHS and homeless charities.

Please do send us your news, achievements and projects to news@millthorpeschool.co.uk – we’d love to hear from you!

WEEKLY EMAIL Friday 17 April 2020

Message from the Head of School

I hope that you and your families are keeping well and that you have managed to have some quality time together during the Easter break.

Teachers will be continuing to ensure that there is work set for your children on ClassCharts from Monday. Should you need to contact any teachers with any questions, they will be available by email.

Whilst I am confident that most students and families are following social distancing guidelines, can I remind everyone that socialising with anyone outside of your household is not permitted. Please do not allow your children to meet their peers in outside spaces. If school is contacted to say that students are doing this, we will be obliged to contact the Police.

Please be safe to protect all of our community.

With very best wishes

G Greenhalgh

Community Hubs

As part of the city’s co-ordinated response to the COVID-19 emergency, there are now nine community hubs operating across York. The hubs, which are partly staffed by volunteers, are there to support vulnerable people and families across the city, including the provision of food and medicine for residents who are self-isolating.

People keen to help and volunteer are being asked to sign up to volunteering@york.gov.uk or call 01904 551550, or go to www.york.gov.uk/COVIDVolunteering.

Vulnerable people needing help because they are directly affected by coronavirus and have no other source of help should email our Community Support Coordinators at covid19help@york.gov.uk or call 01904 551550.

Find out more about the community hubs

Health advice for parents during the Covid-19 pandemic

Whilst coronavirus is infectious to children, it is rarely serious. If your child is unwell, it is likely to be a non-coronavirus illness, rather than coronavirus itself. Whilst it is extremely important to follow government advice to stay at home during this period, it can be confusing to know what to do when your child is unwell or injured.

Remember that NHS 111, GPs and hospitals are still providing the same safe care that they have always done. If you are not sure if your child is unwell and whether they need to be seen by someone, take a look at the criteria on the Healthier Together website to help you decide.

Family Matters – online courses

The team at Family Matters York are offering a range of online courses, starting next week. These include:

  • Time Out for Parents – the Teenage Years
  • Time Out for Parents – the Early Years
  • Time Out for Parents – the Primary Years
  • Handling Anger in the Family

You can find out more about the courses here. To book a place please contact Helen Atkinson on 07393 147259 or email helenatkinson@fmy.org.uk

Mental health and wellbeing 

The Recovery College provides a range of online educational courses and resources to people with experience of mental illness, from service users to their families, friends and staff. There is a comprehensive section on their website for young people, covering a number of topics including bereavement, bullying, eating disorders, depression and anxiety amongst others.

Ofqual – how grades will be awarded this summer 

Year 11 students and parents and carers should have already received an email explaining how GCSEs will be awarded this year and how, as a school, we will contribute to that. We hope that the video was helpful in ensuring that you understand how the process works and that you can be reassured that the school will do everything that we can do to support our students’ success.

York Music Hub online

York Music Hub announces the launch of #YMHShare. This online forum features music making and creativity from the young people of York, celebrating all the fantastic talent within our city. It is for anyone who has had a concert cancelled, a festival pulled, an exam postponed or anyone who’s using this time to work on being musical.

So much hard work has gone in to school productions, concerts, and all kinds of events and #YMHShare offers a virtual alternative.

From Monday 20 April, York Music Hub is also launching YMH Online Learning. This will be a dedicated section of #YMHShare where downloadable resources, Youtube live and Zoom music making sessions will be posted for anyone to get involved with. These will be kicking off with the York Music Hub Zoom Choir which will be led by Jessa Liversidge. This will take place on Monday 20 April at 3:15pm.

Other online sessions available are:

  • Singing for all @ The Hub
  • Ukulele Stars Tuition
  • GCSE/A Level Zoom Composition Sessions for KS 4 & 5

For further information please email: info@yorkmusichub.org.uk

Open Day at Westrow Academy 

Westrow Academy’s open day that was due to take place on Monday 20 April has now been rescheduled and will now take place on Monday 29 June 2020, from 4.00-7.00pm.

Find out more here

WEEKLY EMAIL Friday 3 April 2020

Expectations at Easter

As we begin a very unusual Easter break, I thought it was important to share our expectations during this period.

It is important that teachers and students have a break from work and can try to enjoy some time with their family.

There is no expectation that students will complete any work over the Easter period. There will be some school work available should students wish to access it but it will be more limited than in term time weeks.

Teaching staff will be unavailable during this time. It has been a very challenging term and, although some teachers will continue to work in the holidays as part of our role as key workers, they will not be available to respond to emails. It is really important they have some time to spend with their loved ones.

I hope that you all manage to get some quality family time at Easter and keep yourselves safe and well.

Gemma Greenhalgh
Head of School

Safeguarding children and families

As we continue through this lockdown period, it is clear that most children will be spending more time than usual on their mobile phones and on social media sites. Whilst these provide great platforms for enabling conversations and for socialising, this increased online activity can also bring additional potential risks. Please take the time to read some guidance for parents on keeping your children safe online at CEOP and NSPCC. These websites are full of useful information to help you recognise the dangers, the types of online child abuse and the possible signs to be aware of.

There have also been concerns raised in the news about the increased likelihood of Domestic Abuse during a period of lock-down. You can find more information together with details of how to get help or support here.

We have added a page to our website that includes more information on keeping safe and also gives some other forms of support such as who to contact if there is domestic abuse in the household. Visit our website

Universal Credit and free school meals

If any parents/carers are currently claiming Universal Credit and awaiting a response, please do let us know, as we can expedite the process internally and supply the family with vouchers for free meals.

Mental health and wellbeing

Kooth.com provides online mental health services for children, young people and adults. It is an online counselling and emotional well-being platform for children and young people, accessible through mobile, tablet and desktop and is completely free. Please take a look if you need support with your own mental health and wellbeing or if you need some guidance on how best to help someone else.

Weekly email

As it is Good Friday next week, we will not be sending a weekly email on Friday 10 April. We will of course keep you updated with any important news or developments as necessary.

WEEKLY EMAIL Friday 27 March 2020

Dear parents / carers

I hope that this message finds you all well and thank you for the emails and kind messages that many of you have sent to individual colleagues and the school.

I’d like to address a number of points in this email to try to give you some clarity and reassure you. I took the decision when we entered this challenging period to be completely open and transparent with parents, carers and students and would like to do this again today, so would like to address two key areas: the setting of students’ work, the challenges and our expectations and an update and guidance for our Year 11 students and parents. I hope that you find this communication useful.

 

Setting of student work and expectations

Some of the challenges of learning from home

I think that we have come to realise over the last week that the school is likely to be closed for a long period of time; we are unsure of exactly how long, but it is not likely to be open for students in the next few weeks and could be closed throughout much of the summer term. This is a completely unprecedented situation and we are trying to work out how school can continue to educate our students in this challenging time without the face to face presence that we have experienced throughout our careers. This is completely new territory for all of us, staff and students. The work that teachers are setting, by this very circumstance, needs to be work that students can largely complete independently.

Students and families are all different and they have different challenges that they face.

Some students are very confident in working independently and thrive on the challenge, spending hours completing all of their school work and, for those students, this keeps them happy and motivated. Some students find working independently a real challenge and are daunted by the prospect of having to work alone and are really missing the opportunity to ask questions and talk things through. Some students are very difficult to engage in school work and will not independently just complete the work set. We are very aware of this because we work with these students and their different types of behaviours every day; whatever way your child works, I can reassure you that there will be a significant number of other children who are very similar in their approach.

Equally, we are aware that some parents feel very confident in supporting children with their studies and may be spending a lot of time working alongside their child/ren. However, many parents are not confident with school work and have little knowledge or understanding of some subjects – as a qualified teacher myself, I would struggle to support my own child with German, for example, as a subject I’ve never studied or with Geography that I haven’t studied since I was in Year 9. Some parents will also have other children or dependents in the house that they are looking after or they may be working from home and are unable to support or challenge or convince their child to complete the work set.

There are homes that have limited access to IT resources and may have to share devices across the family where a parent may also be working from home and there may be difficulties in recording information or answers to tasks when the children’s exercise books run out and you no longer have any paper.

We are very aware of many challenges that families may face. And we are aware that we are unable to supply these resources that we usually would supply. So we are reassuring families that we understand that you may not have easy ways to keep school work recorded and have physical resources you can use.

ClassCharts – our current provision and how we are reviewing it

We are currently setting 1.5-2 hours a week per subject in Key Stage 3 – we know that some students will complete tasks much more quickly and others will struggle to complete very much. Work will be set on the Monday of each week, so when you search ClassCharts by Issue Date, you will see work for the week ahead.

We are continually reviewing with colleagues how we can provide resources that also provide answers and structure so that parents can help students where possible, but they can also help themselves. We are going to further develop how we set work for Year 10 students as they do need to try to complete as much work as they can to place them in the best position for their GCSEs next year. We have limited the work set by teachers to setting the equivalent number of hours that the students would have in school. This should be more manageable for them. We will try to ensure that Year 10 lessons are clearly structured to build on the content that they will need to cover.

We are also working to be able to format all of our documents as PDFs as soon as possible to help those with issues accessing Powerpoints.

There will be some work on ClassCharts that students may choose to complete over Easter but there will be less than usual as we would encourage students and staff to take some holidays.

Extra help

From Monday we will provide all teaching staff email addresses on the website to enable students and/or parents to ask for help or guidance if they do not understand a task or require any support. This cannot be used to deliver a personal curriculum or assessment opportunities for individuals but can be used to feedback to teachers if any work set is posing a problem. Please do ask your children to only contact teachers in a formal manner about school work.

Please note: teachers will not be responding to emails over the Easter holidays.

Our expectations of students

I want to reassure you that the work that we are setting children is to try to support you to support your children but we are NOT imposing rigid expectations of what our parents and students must complete at this time. We recognise that there are immense pressures on some parents and that some students will be anxious about our expectations when they return.

There will not be any formal sanction or consequence if students do not complete all of the work set, or in fact any of the work set.

The purpose of setting school work is to continue to challenge the students’ thinking, introduce them to new learning and to provide a structure for them whilst the regular structure of their world is turned upside down.

We are not underestimating the importance of their education and of continuing to engage with their subjects, but we recognise that all children will have very different experiences at this time. We will have a responsibility to ensure that there is some time set aside in the curriculum when we return, to ensure that all students can recap on what work has been sent and we can explore any misconceptions and close any gaps in their learning.

Therefore we will not be monitoring or assessing exactly what each student has completed. We would advise families to consider how to make this time work best for your children and to continue to keep in touch with their learning.

At this time, we would also recommend that you consider as families how to use this experience to also learn valuable skills for life from home such as cooking skills, gardening and spending time together that you wouldn’t have under normal circumstances. We have added a list of activities to support families that you might consider doing at home on our website.

There are also resources provided on ClassCharts on our Health, Wellbeing and Pastoral area such as Mrs Marley’s daily recipe with minimal ingredients and from Monday there will be a number of resources for when we have ‘time on our hands’.

One cannot underestimate the importance of reading for students – I would strongly recommend that students are reading every day for at least half an hour. This may be newspaper articles or other methods of non-fiction or engaging in a novel; these are life skills that will benefit all subject areas and their literacy.

It would probably be most useful for you to set up a routine for your families to give your children some clear structure. This should include days that they will not complete school work and you may choose to keep this as time at weekend, or you may choose to spread out the time. There should be planned opportunities for exercise and may of you may be using activities such as the 9am Joe Wickes’ sessions to keep your family fit. It would also be good to structure times that you get some fresh air, whether that is the permitted exercise time each day or spending time in outside spaces such as a garden if you have one.

Children are used to having a very rigid timetable for 7.5 hours a day over 5 days so having a structure, however bespoke to your family, will help them to continue to have routines as this stage of lockdown continues and they become more frustrated by the restrictions.

 

Information for Year 11 students

We should receive more information from the government and Ofqual next week about how grades will be determined for you. We know that we will have to provide some information to the exam boards of our predictions for each student in each subject. This will not be the result of one set of Pre-Public Exams (PPEs) or one set of predictions or one NEA (Non-Examined Assessments or known as coursework) for the subjects that have these. It will be a judgement based on their experience of you throughout the whole GCSE period and how you have progressed and were continuing to progress. This judgement will be informed by informal and formal classroom assessments, your PPEs and other methods of making judgements. PPEs are an unfair model to use as grade boundaries regularly change and many colleagues used harsher boundaries as a precautionary measure to not overestimate your results and leave you disappointed. The government will not solely use PPEs as there are different exams and papers set at different times with different mark schemes across the country.

Please be reassured that your teachers will not be harsh in their predictions when they are asked to submit them but that they will take considerable time to analyse with honesty and integrity what you have completed over time and what you deserve to achieve. Then there will be some external moderation of these predictions that will be outside of our control where the exam boards will use additional information, such as Key Stage 2 scores, and other data to determine your final grade. The government is hoping to be able to set a date so that you will get these grades in July, but this is not yet confirmed. Students who are unhappy will have the opportunity to sit exams as soon as is reasonably possible after school opens again and you could use time over the summer to prepare if this is the case. Students will also have the option to sit their exams in summer 2021. Further information can be found here.

I would like to remind and reassure you that the government will not want you to be negatively impacted by this, neither will they want everyone to sit exams later in the year, so we have to try to be optimistic at the moment rather than worrying.

With this in mind, no further work completed by students will contribute to the predictions that teachers will make.

If NEAs have been completed, they will be taken into account, as will moderated work. If incomplete, teachers will still be able to predict what the student was likely to be able to achieve if they had the time to complete the work.

Therefore, I don’t feel that it is fair or sensible to suggest that Year 11 continue to revise or complete work that they will not be assessed on. Teachers will provide work for each subject that helps students to prepare for their next steps. It would be advisable and sensible to focus on the subjects that you wish to continue at A Level or to look at the subjects most useful to you if preparing for a vocational course. In those areas on ClassCharts teachers will provide work that may still not have been completed and would be useful to cover before A Level or work that will help you to prepare further by extending your thinking and wider understanding around a specific subject.

Please do not make any contact with your teachers about grades as they are instructed not to discuss grades with you. However, if you wish to ask for help, they are more than willing to support you.

 

Young carers

At Millthorpe School, we work hard to support all of our students who are Young Carers as they undertake a caring role at home. Those Young Carers known to us will continue to receive additional support during the coming weeks and months but there may be some students who are Young Carers but are not known to us.

If your child does undertake a caring role at home and you would like more information about how we can support you at this time, please e-mail Miss Johnson.

Support for parents and families

‘The Parents’ Guide to’ provides parents of teenagers with a wealth of information they need to help their children create successful futures. In response to the Coronavirus outbreak they have produced a useful guide called The Parents’ Guide to Coping with School Closures.

Support for Families document has been shared by City of York Council and is full of information, web links and contact details for families in need of support on a number of topics including: housing, finance, food, SEN, mental health and bereavement amongst others.

Please do take a look at these documents and if you feel you need support from school, please contact us.

Handling Anger in the Family

The team at Family Matters York are planning to offer an online course from next week on Handling Anger in the Family. It will look at how as adults we manage our own anger and then how we support our children’s feelings of anger. It will involve the presentation of material, whole group discussions and small group activities which will all take place online at the same time, on the same day over four weeks.

Anyone who is interested is asked to contact Family Matters with a preference for one of the following times: 9.00-11.00am; 2.00-4.00pm; or 7.30-9.30pm. They can be contacted on T: 07393 147259 or E: info@fmy.org.uk

Final message

I know that these are challenging times for all of our community. On behalf of all of the staff at Millthorpe, I hope that your families stay safe and follow the guidance from the Government and I look forward to seeing you when you return.

We will continue to keep in touch with you all when we receive any information and on a Friday.

With best wishes

Gemma Greenhalgh
Head of School

WEEKLY EMAIL Friday 20 March 2020

Millthorpe Loop Quiz Night postponed

With regret we have taken the decision to postpone the Millthorpe Loop Quiz Night due to the ongoing uncertainties surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic.

Thank you to all those who have spent their time and energy in arranging the event and to all of those who have bought tickets to date. We are confident that the quiz will take place in the future and we will set a new date as soon as we can.

Families in need of support

Further to Miss Greenhalgh’s email earlier this week about free school meals provision, we would like to remind you that we can access York Foodbank for further support and issue Foodbank vouchers for families in need.

York Foodbank is part of a nationwide network of foodbanks, supported by The Trussell Trust, working to combat poverty and hunger across the UK. They can provide three days’ worth of nutritionally balanced food to support local people who are referred to them in crisis.

For further information please contact Ruth Cooper at School or York Foodbank can be contacted directly E: info@york.foodbank.org.uk  T: 07871 610 894.

Year 11 photographs

Braiswick Photographers have extended the deadline for ordering your Year 11 photographs – the new deadline is now Friday 27 March.

Uniform supplies – Keal Teamwear

Our uniform suppliers, Keal Teamwear, have notified us that they will be closing their shop temporarily as of today. They will still be offering an online delivery service if anyone does want to purchase uniform.

Careers and HE Fair – All Saints RC School

The All Saints Careers and HE Fair scheduled to take place on Monday 23 March has been cancelled.

WEEKLY EMAIL Friday 13 March 2020

Eco Laundry – uniform stock plea

Thank you to everyone who has already kindly donated items of school uniform to Millthorpe’s Eco Laundry. We have received plenty of shirts, trousers in smaller waist sizes and jumpers, but we are still in need of the following items:

  • Blazers
  • Trousers in sizes 32″ and 34″ for both boys and girls
  • Skirts

If anyone can help, please drop your items in to the School Office at any time.

Mental health support for children and young people

Kooth is a transformational digital mental health support service. It gives children and young people easy access to an online community of peers and a team of experienced counsellors. Access is free of the typical barriers to support: no waiting lists, no thresholds, no cost and complete anonymity. Launched in 2004 and accredited by the BACP, more than 1,500 children and young people across the country login to Kooth every day.

This is a fantastic online resource available to all.

Millthorpe Loop Quiz Night – tickets are selling fast!

There’s still time to get your tickets for the Millthorpe Loop Quiz Night, but don’t delay as they are selling fast.

We are still planning for the event to take place on Friday 27 March, from 7.00-9.30pm in the School Hall. The victorious team will win a Barrow of Booze and there will also be smaller prizes for the runners-up.

Tickets priced at £3 per person are now available via ParentPay or from Millthorpe School’s Main Reception (cash only please). All proceeds will go to Millthorpe Loop funds. (All monies will be refunded in the event of cancellation.)

Year 11 reports

Year 11 students should have received their reports this week. Please contact the School Office if your child has not received their report.

Project Prom

If you are looking for a prom dress or suit, but don’t want to spend a fortune, why not go along to the next Project Prom event on Wednesday 25 March? The event runs from 5.00-7.00pm at Archbishop Holgate’s School on Hull Road and you can choose from over 200 dresses and 50 suits which are available to hire.

Take a look at the Project Prom flyer.

WEEKLY EMAIL Friday 6 March 2020

Millthorpe Loop Quiz Night – tickets now on sale

Tickets are now on sale for the Millthorpe Loop Quiz Night!

The evening, hosted by Tom Adams, resident Quizmaster at The Swan and The Slip, will take place on Friday 27 March, from 7.00-9.30pm in the School Hall. The victorious team will win a Barrow of Booze and there will also be smaller prizes for the runners-up.

Tickets priced at £3 per person are now available via ParentPay or from Millthorpe School’s Main Reception (cash only please). Tickets are limited so don’t miss out, get them fast!

All proceeds will go to Millthorpe Loop funds.

Kick the Habit – Anti-idling campaign

As a school we are backing City of York Council’s ‘Kick the Habit’ campaign which urges everyone to play a part in reducing air pollution by:

  • encouraging drivers to switch off their engines when parked up and waiting (idling)
  • reducing the numbers of idling vehicles in York
  • drawing attention to the health risks of continued idling

The campaign also wants to make people think about the importance of clean air and the impact that air pollution has on our health; the Kick the Habit campaign starts a conversation about air quality in York to prompt a change in the behaviour of drivers in our city.

If you are dropping off or collecting your child from school, please help us to support the ‘Kick the Habit’ initiative.

You can find out more about the scheme here.

Early closure reminder

Just a reminder that school closes at 2.20pm for staff professional development on Wednesday 11 March.

Year 9 reports

Year 9 students should have received their reports this week. Please contact the School Office if your child has not received their report.

Drama Club – Year 7 & 8

Next week we are starting a new Drama Club for Year 7 and 8 students. It will take place in the Drama Hall every Tuesday lunchtime. Lunch passes are available from Mrs Sladen or students are welcome to being their lunch with them.

Sport England project

We would like to inform you about a research project led by Sheffield Hallam University which is taking place to evaluate the impact of a new programme to improve students’ experiences of PE and physical activity. This programme is currently being offered to all secondary schools in England by Sport England and the Secondary Teacher Training Consortium. The research project asks students and staff to complete a short online survey before the start and at the end of the project that asks their opinion of the physical education, physical activity and sport opportunities available to them at school.

All data from the study is anonymous and your child’s data will be combined with those of many others and summarised in a report to further protect anonymity.

If you do not want your child to participate in the research study, please inform us by emailing the school office.

Full information about the project can be found here. Any further questions can be directed to Mr Randall or Mr Collins.

Free talk at Bootham School – An Operational Mindset

On 12 March, Bootham School is hosting a talk by venture capital firm, GreatPoint View (GPV), called An Operational Mindset. The event will take place from 6.00-7.00pm and tickets are free. Further information can be found here.