WEEKLY EMAIL Friday 26 June 2020

Message from the Head of School

Dear parents/carers

I hope that you have been able to enjoy some of the lovely weather that we have had this week; fortunately it hasn’t negatively influenced the attendance of Year 10 students, which continues to be excellent, and they’ve worked really hard despite the warmth and humidity: they have been a real credit to their families and the school. The staff have really enjoyed being able to teach again in person and welcoming them into school and seeing their (usually) smiling faces. All students have now had lessons in Personal Development and Wellbeing, Maths and Science. English lessons have begun today, and the History and Geography lessons will begin on Tuesday.

September opening
I know that many parents and students in all year groups may be anxious to know what is happening in September. I want to reassure you that we have been working hard to determine how we will open for students after the summer break, depending on the government’s expectations at that time.

Currently they have not given us any clear guidance about what this wider opening will look like, although as some of you will be aware, Gavin Williamson, Education Secretary, announced last week that schools will reopen to all pupils full time in September. If it is the case that schools can open safely with all students, this will be excellent news. However, there is yet to be any guidance around what social distancing or other measures are expected to be in place: if one metre distancing was required, for example, a maximum of 50% of students would be able to attend concurrently at any York school. Also, whilst we expect more guidance next week, we are aware that there may well be changes to these initial plans if the ‘R’ rate changes over the summer holidays.

As such, all the Secondary Headteachers in York have been meeting weekly and working together with colleagues in City of York Council and Public Health to plan for every foreseeable eventuality. We have been working on specific plans for Millthorpe in terms of different potential distancing and hygiene measures that might be required, including a model for a full closure if this should become necessary following a further peak of the virus. We feel confident that we have planned for a number of different scenarios and ensured that Health and Safety is a priority for students and staff in all cases. We will confirm our intentions in the final week of the summer term, but I will also write to parents on Friday 21st August, two weeks before the end of the holidays, to confirm the plans for the return and allow for any necessary changes. We are really hopeful that we can return to school with all students in September.

Online learning
There are three weeks left of school for students and we will continue to set work for all of our students and to give feedback on their Key Assessed Pieces and the work that they are proud of; many colleagues are now using other methods of technology, such as narrated PPTs and different interactive aspects to add variety and engagement to the online learning experience.

Online developments – Introduction of Google Classroom
We will be moving our online learning platform over the next few weeks to Google Classroom. We have been preparing for this transition for a number of weeks, but as the migration will involve the transfer of email accounts, it has been necessary to schedule the move for the end of term in order to manage the impact. We could not risk migrating earlier as email is currently our main method of communication with parents, carers and staff.

From September we will set homework using the Google platform, giving any instructions needed to students and issuing them with new email accounts. It will also be an excellent way of giving students access to lesson resources if they are unable to attend for any reason (eg if their family has to self-isolate) or access was restricted in the future owing to a virus breakout, for example. Training for staff will be during the final week of term with full transfer to Google in that week and during the summer holiday – we have timed this to minimise the risks associated with the wholesale migration of staff email accounts.

Lessons in September
Teachers are currently receiving training on how to adapt their lessons and the curriculum in each subject to support students on their return as, inevitably, students will all have had different learning experiences at home and have covered differing amounts of the work set.

Contact and Wellbeing
We are also working with teachers to ensure a really smooth transition back to school for all our students in September and we are aware that students may need some support with their wellbeing when they return. We are planning extended sessions with their form tutors on their first day to give them time to reflect on the last few months, explain how school will work, allay any fears or anxieties and re-establish how we will work together as a school community.

Alongside all of the regular communication that we make to a large number of families, all form tutors have been in touch with all students over the telephone. Tutors will contact their tutees again over the next couple of weeks to ensure that everything is going well for them before the summer holidays. Please do get in touch with us should you require any additional support for your child from a member of the pastoral team or form tutors.

School Uniform
I said that I would write today to explain whether parents should begin to buy uniform for September. I didn’t want families to spend money on the uniform until we had more clarity about the opening in September. As the government advice and information is still not clear, we think it would be unwise and unhelpful to decide on what the school uniform expectation will be at this point: instead we will give confirmation on our position on Friday 10 July. This will still give parents over eight weeks to purchase the items that are required but ensures that you do not purchase items that will not be needed until later in the year. We apologise for this delay, but hope that it ensures that you only buy the uniform when we know that students will be able to wear it.

Eco Laundry uniform donation points open again next week
You may remember our request for school uniform donations for our Eco Laundry at the end of last half term. All families can use our Eco Laundry to buy, swap or donate items of school uniform as a way of protecting the environment and of keeping uniform costs down for everyone. At a time when many people’s family budgets are being squeezed and we are all trying to reduce the negative impact of our daily lives on the environment, we are keen to collect as much uniform as we can so that everyone is able to buy good quality pre-worn uniform, should they require or prefer, at a very low cost.

Thank you to all families who used our uniform donation points to donate school uniform during half term; we were absolutely delighted with the response.

Last week a team of Eco Laundry volunteers washed, dried, ironed, folded and labelled many washing machine loads of donated school uniform and PE kit and our Eco Laundry shelves are now much fuller and beautifully organised!  For the next two weeks our uniform donation wheelie bins will again be chained to the school railings at the front and back of school.

If your child has grown out of any items of uniform we would be very grateful if you could bag these up securely by tying the top of the bag shut and place them in one of the wheelie bins which you will find attached to or just inside the front and back gate. The uniform donation wheelie bins will be available 8am-4pm Monday to Friday for the next two weeks and will be emptied every day by our site team. We are particularly keen to receive smaller sized uniform to assist parents and carers of our new Year 7 students with the costs of moving to secondary school. We are currently working on a plan for selling our recycled uniform in the last week of term, whilst upholding government guidance regarding visits to school. We will let you know once this has been finalised.

Student end of year reports
Over the next couple of weeks we will issue end of year reports for all students in Years 7-10. These reports will include students’ attendance, the number of late arrivals, their total of positives and negative comments and their latest tracking data up to the point of closure.

Best wishes

Miss G Greenhalgh
Development Project News

We are delighted to confirm that two exciting development projects will be getting underway on Monday 29 June.

The Artificial Grass Pitch project, funded by City of York Council as part of the expansion of Scarcroft School, will create a fantastic sports facility available for use all year round for Millthorpe and Scarcroft students, as well as children in other local schools and for the wider community. After more than four years of waiting, we are eagerly looking forward to children finally being able to gain all the benefits to physical and mental wellbeing this will provide, hopefully just as the easing of restrictions makes group sport and outdoor activities more and more accessible.

The Applefields Satellite project will provide purpose-built accommodation for Applefields students on the Millthorpe site, allowing them to integrate with mainstream students whilst still receiving  dedicated support from Applefields staff. This supports our commitment to an inclusive ethos for our school community, as well as allowing us to draw on their specialist expertise and experience.

In both cases, the construction has been planned largely to take place during the summer break and is expected to complete in October.

Virtual assembly

This week’s virtual assembly is presented by Mr Bates and follows on from the wellbeing sessions which have been taking place in school.

River safety

We have been lucky to enjoy some superb sunny weather this week but this has brought some concerning behaviour involving young people of secondary school age.

Large groups have been seen swimming in the River Ouse in various locations. As we know, there is a particularly strong current in the river and a number of people have drowned in recent years. Also, the group sizes significantly exceeded the social distancing rules of six and the young people were not keeping their distance.

Whilst we do not know if any of our students were involved, we would ask you to speak to your child about this; to remind them of the dangers of entering the river and to reinforce rules around social distancing.

We have shared this information with the police so that they can look to increase patrols in the area and have also shared it with other York secondary schools so that they can raise awareness amongst their communities.

Unlocking Performance – Bitesize Briefings

Over the coming weeks, the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust will be hosting an ‘Unlocking Performance – Bitesize Briefings’ webinar series led by world-class athletes. Covering a range of topics, each webinar will provide young people with a unique insight into the key attitudes and mindset that drive a world-class team and individual performance. Topics will include:

Leadership, Confidence and Belief, Motivation, Resilience and Problem Solving, Wellbeing, Goal Setting, Communication and Teamwork.

Please note that whilst these sessions are free, the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust is a charity committed to supporting young people facing disadvantage. They ask that if you find these sessions useful, please consider donating £5 to the Trust.

Maths Inspiration Show

We have had lots of interest in the Year 10 Maths Inspiration Show and have therefore booked everyone a place. The log in details will be sent out once we have them.

It is not too late to request a log in if anyone else would like to attend. Just email Mr Bruce and he will add you on to the list.

Junior Maths Challenge – a message from Mrs Papprill

Well done to everyone that took this week’s Junior Maths Challenge. We entered 120 students from Years 7 & 8 as we do every year. However, we have never done it online before, so it was a new experience for us all.

Those of you that know me will be laughing at the thought of my IT skills (which have improved so much during lockdown – turn it off and back on again!) and me trying to set it all up!
I think although I was receiving three-plus emails a minute from students and parents, we managed to get everyone online and sorted. I think we only had two girls who have worked as a tag team and seemed to be on the same login!
The challenges are designed to be ‘challenging’ and I know that a lot of you did not get to the end of all the questions. That is absolutely fine and exactly what I would expect. You will have done great! I will send out the results as soon as I get them.
Thank you all again, firstly for your engagement and secondly for your patience with me during the challenge. If any of my reply emails seemed curt I am sorry, I was just trying to reply in real time as quickly as I could.
Give me a pencil and piece of paper over a computer any day.
Take care
Mrs Papprill
Read Theory challenge

Year 7 are continuing their excellent work on the Read Theory website. This week’s highest scoring form was 7RNH – well done! Next week, reward wristbands should be making their way in the post to all students who have achieved more than 500 points.

If your child hasn’t begun working on Read Theory yet, all you need to do is send an email to Ms Bradsell and she’ll set them up.
Keeping up with current affairs

Take a look at this week’s edition of The Week Junior here.

Students now need a voucher code to access the magazine – all you need to do is click Login at the bottom of the magazine cover, then scroll down to: Have voucher code? on the right hand side and enter the code supplied in the weekly email.
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 551900, 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.

 

Development Project News – June 2020

We are delighted to confirm that two exciting development projects will be getting underway on Monday 29 June.

The Artificial Grass Pitch project, funded by City of York Council as part of the expansion of Scarcroft School, will create a fantastic sports facility available for use all year round for Millthorpe and Scarcroft students, as well as children in other local schools and for the wider community. After more than four years of waiting, we are eagerly looking forward to children finally being able to gain all the benefits to physical and mental wellbeing this will provide, hopefully just as the easing of restrictions makes group sport and outdoor activities more and more accessible.

The Applefields Satellite project will provide purpose-built accommodation for Applefields students on the Millthorpe site, allowing them to integrate with mainstream students whilst still receiving  dedicated support from Applefields staff. This supports our commitment to an inclusive ethos for our school community, as well as allowing us to draw on their specialist expertise and experience.

In both cases, the construction has been planned largely to take place during the summer break and is expected to complete in October.

WEEKLY EMAIL Friday 19 June 2020

Message from the Head of School

Dear parents/carers

We have had a really good week this week in school with approximately 70% of Year 10 students returning for lessons. Their punctuality, behaviour and engagement has been impeccable; teachers have been really happy to welcome them back and be able to teach once again, despite the limitations and clearly defined two-metre restrictions. We hope it is not too long before we can welcome all of our students back after the summer. We will ensure that, as soon as we have any details or information about the wider opening of schools to other year groups, and dependent on any degree of social distancing, we will contact all parents with the ways that we will manage the transition back to school. We hope to let all parents know what September will be like before we close for the summer holidays but we have to acknowledge that the government guidance may continue to change over the break; we will always keep you informed via email of any changes that occur during the holidays.

Black Lives Matter campaign

This week we received this powerful letter from over 200 previous Millthorpians stating their support for the BLM campaign and requesting that Millthorpe considers its role in the education of children. You can read our response here.

Parent surveys – teaching and learning

Thank you to the parents who completed the KS3 parental surveys last week; we had 349 responses. You can find the graphical representations of the main questions and responses here. Below is a summary of the results of the survey from the graphs shared and from the free text.

We were very pleased to see that the vast majority of our students are working for between one to four hours daily and feel like the amount of work that is set is appropriate. We have previously suggested that three hours of school work each day would be a sensible amount of work for our Key Stage 3 students to complete, alongside some other physical and wellbeing activities to keep them healthy. We shared some examples to help students/parents and carers structure the home-school day earlier during lockdown, should you or your child prefer to have a more structured plan; these are available on the school website should you wish to use them. We know that many students and families prefer the flexibility to plan their time themselves around family time or the need to share IT facilities across parents and children.

At this point it is important to note that students and families need to take a personalised approach to home learning. We understand that some students will find completing all the work set takes considerably longer and can feel overwhelming; there is no expectation that all students will complete all the work set. All of the work that is set is purposeful and useful to students, but we are realistic and understanding about how much students can complete independently. We do not expect students to be able to complete the same amount of work and learning as they would do in school, nor would we expect students to work from a screen for this amount of time. We understand that every household has different circumstances and competing pressures and commitments, therefore we will continue not to set a rigid schedule or strict deadlines and we will not issue any sanction for missing or incomplete work. We will encourage students to prioritise and complete KAPs, so that students can receive feedback from their teacher on how well they have done and how they can improve.

We were very pleased to hear that the overwhelming majority of students can access this work easily through ClassCharts. We acknowledge that while most of the guidance and instructions are clear and easy to follow, according to some students this is an area we could improve. We will be asking all departments to make sure that their instructions are clear, particularly regarding the submission of work, and we will ask all work to include an email contact for the teacher, so that students know who to contact for additional support with each piece of work without having to search for the email address.

There were some comments that there may be other platforms available that might be more effective for remote learning and after exploring different options, we hope to be able to move to Google Classrooms in September. In order to do this we have a number of steps to make including migrating all the staff emails, creating new student emails and training all staff how to use the platform effectively. The email change takes a couple of weeks, hence why we plan to do this in the summer holidays and the training for staff will begin in July and continue in September. We are confident that this platform will enable more rapid and effective feedback and improved communication between students and teachers and among students, as well as bringing many other possibilities for effective remote learning when this is necessary.

We can see that only a few students have submitted ‘Proud Pieces’ of work and that in general they are not getting enough feedback from all of their subjects. The aim of the request for Proud Pieces was to help acknowledge the work students are doing. We know that teachers are not able to acknowledge or assess every piece of work when we are in normal school lessons but the teachers are able to circulate the room, ask questions, acknowledge the work, effort and learning conduct that students demonstrate; this is exceptionally difficult to replicate remotely. We hoped that students submitting their Proud Pieces would enable them to receive some feedback outside of their Key Assessed Pieces of work. Please encourage your child to submit work they have spent time on to their class teachers; the feedback we have had from both staff and students is that this makes a big difference. Our teachers and tutors will remind students that they can submit any piece in this way when they set work on ClassCharts.

The survey suggests that not many students receive feedback on KAPs and our teachers tell us that some students are not submitting their Key Assessed Pieces (KAPs); we are not sure if this is because the students may not have realised which tasks are KAPs. In future, teachers will make sure they are more clearly identifiable and re-publish previous KAPs on the site, as some parents have told us that their child was unsure how to submit these pieces. If your child has submitted a KAP and not received feedback within seven days, please contact their teacher.

Some parents have asked us about GCSE option choices and very soon all Year 9 students will receive confirmation of their GCSE subject choices. Subject teachers will be setting work in all Year 9 lessons that begin to prepare them for GCSE work. We are aware that some subjects have stated this explicitly, but all subjects will be setting work that begins to introduce them to more challenging tasks that get children used to working at the level required for GCSEs. We would strongly encourage students to continue with the subjects that they have not chosen for their options as part of ensuring they complete a broad and balanced Key Stage 3 curriculum.

We have had some requests to use Zoom or video conferencing to deliver virtual lessons but we are still unable to do that at this point. We continue to look into moving towards some form of live interaction and possibly some video lessons once we have the new platform in place that allows us to manage invitations and participation safely. We have completed training on how to include pre-recorded clips, narrate documents and presentations and set remote quizzes and more interactive resources. We were pleased to note that in all subjects, students are largely finding the work interesting and engaging.

Parent surveys – pastoral care and wellbeing

In response to the wellbeing questions, where parents/carers requested pastoral support for their child, the Pastoral Team have been making telephone contact this week and all children who requested a call have now received one.

A very small number of parents/carers did not require pastoral support but did request a call from their child’s Form Tutor with some urgency. The Form Tutors of these students have made telephone contact this week.

A number of parents/carers did not require pastoral support but said that their child would “definitely value a call.” Form Tutors have begun making these calls this week and they will continue them next week.

Where parents/carers did not require pastoral support, and a phone call was not urgent or not particularly needed, Form Tutors will begin making these calls in the coming days.

All students who do not already have regular contact with a member of staff can expect to have received a telephone call from their Form Tutor in the near future.

If, at any point, you need further pastoral support with your child, please contact their Form Tutor using the email address list on the school website.

Best wishes

Miss G Greenhalgh

Remote assemblies

Several responses to our recent survey enquired about the possibility of having a remote assembly for our students to watch. We have listened to your suggestion and here is Millthorpe’s first remote assembly by Mr Baybutt. It reassures students about what we are doing to support them remotely and also sets them a kindness challenge.

We will do one assembly per week for the remainder of this academic year. These will be emailed out in the Friday email and also uploaded to the Health, Wellbeing and Pastoral Care page on ClassCharts.

Lockers

We are aware that some students still have belongings in their lockers at school. As things stand currently, for health and safety reasons, we are unable to allow people in to school to retrieve belongings, but as soon as we are able to allow access, we will let you know.

Read Theory Challenge

Year 7 Read Theory Challenge students are continuing their amazing reading progress. One hundred and sixteen students took at least one quiz last week and 1,886 reading quizzes were taken in total!

Congratulations to 7BLO who are the Read Theory top form for the second week in a row.

If your child needs any help getting started with Read Theory please send an email to Ms Bradsell.

Keeping up with current affairs

Take a look at this week’s edition of The Week Junior here.

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 551900, 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.

 

WEEKLY EMAIL Friday 12 June 2020

Message from the Head of School

Dear parents/carers

Thank you to all those parents/carers of Year 7-9 students who completed the survey about their child’s online learning experience, to tell us about what is going well and what we can improve. We will look at all of your feedback and share our response with you next week.

Thanks also to parents/carers of Year 10 students who informed us of their intentions regarding attendance in school from next week. We have been busy getting the school ready for the return of approximately 70% of the year group in small ‘bubble’ groups from Monday. We are really looking forward to seeing them again.

Finally, to all those parents who completed the wellbeing surveys and requested a phone call to your child, these will begin next week. We will prioritise those who were most concerned, alongside maintaining contact with those families with whom we are already in touch on a weekly or fortnightly basis. Please remember that the phone number may be withheld.

Best wishes

Miss G Greenhalgh

It’s OK to worry about Coronavirus – resource pack

Early Intervention and the NHS have produced a highly recommended resource pack for teenagers to help manage difficult feelings about coronavirus.

A message for Year 11s moving to York College

In order to make the transition from Year 11 to York College easier, the team at the college has created a range of transition activities/materials for students to try, giving them an insight into what it will be like to study their chosen course/courses with us.

To access these, students simply visit the York College website where they will find a video introduction and transition materials. Simply click on the course area relevant to you and give it a go!

If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch with York College via info4schools@yorkcollege.ac.uk

Keeping up with current affairs

The Week Junior is a current affairs magazine for children aged 8–14. Filled with fascinating news and engaging information, it helps children make sense of the world.

You can see this week’s edition here.

Maths inspiration

The Maths Inspiration show will be live-streamed on 9 July, from 1:30-3:00pm. This show is aimed at students in Year 10 who are expected to achieve Grade 5 or above at GCSE.

Join Matt Parker, Ben Sparks, Zoe Griffiths and Rob Eastaway, plus special guest Dr Hannah Fry, LIVE as they reveal mathematical curiosities from the world of music, sport, games, and lotteries. There will be puzzles and quizzes, a chance to ask questions, AND an opportunity to win a fantastic prize for yourself and your school.

The show will be broadcast live on Youtube, and have interactive elements including a mini-lottery and other games and quizzes. In order to fully participate, you will need to have access to Youtube and the ability to open a separate browser.

The Maths Department will pay the booking fee for the event, so it is free for students. If your child would like to book a place on this, please e-mail Mr Bruce by Friday 19 June.

If there is enough interest Mr Bruce will send out log in details and instructions when he gets them.

Year 7 Read Theory Challenge

It has been another amazing week of reading and quizzing on the Year 7 Read Theory Challenge.

In total, 98 Year 7 students did some work on Read Theory this week. In such a short time, lots of students are starting to show real improvements in their reading comprehension. Some students have made huge progress.
The top point scoring form this week was 7BLO. It was a real team effort for them – well done!
If your child hasn’t started on Read Theory yet, please send an email to Ms Bradsell and she will get them started!

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 551900, 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.