WEEKLY EMAIL Friday 25 September 2020

Message from the Head of School

Dear parents and carers

We have had another busy week with students and staff continuing to adapt well to the new regime. The pandemic continues to pose its challenges and we appreciate that the current situation can be difficult and disruptive for many people. Please be assured we are continuing to follow government advice closely, to ensure we are keeping everyone in the school and wider community as safe as possible. Thank you to all parents/carers and students who have followed our advice about obtaining Covid tests for those who are symptomatic and for self-isolating until the results are received.

We know it can be difficult to know what to do in different scenarios, so we are sharing this useful flowchart to help parents take the appropriate steps when their child is unwell.

We were delighted (not to mention slightly terrified!) to carry out our first virtual open evening for prospective parents on Thursday evening. It was our first foray into live webcasting and although it wasn’t without its technical hitches, it was, as always, a moment of great pride to be able to showcase the wonderful community here at Millthorpe School. The students who took part were fantastic ambassadors for the school, so a big thank you to them. Our promotional video and recording from last night’s Q&A session can be found here.

Wishing everyone a great weekend!

With very best wishes

Miss G Greenhalgh

Black Lives Matter – Embracing Diversity – Second Call for Students and Parents

Mr Burton is now planning how we can improve the experience of our students who are black or from other minority backgrounds. Please come forward as a parent to help us.

If you are black or from an ethnic minority, join us! We want to recruit as many parents as possible to serve as a reference group, to tell Mr Burton how things are, advise him if our plans for improvement make good sense, and help us find out if we are actually making the improvements intended from the plans. It will involve one meeting every eight weeks or so to monitor what we do. No preparation is needed and no specialist expertise other than your own experience. To take part just email embracingdiversity@millthorpe.southbank.academy with your name and we will be in touch.

Similarly, we want a reference group of students, so again, if your child is black or from an ethnic minority please encourage your child to put themselves forward. Just email the same address with the name of your child. We are also recruiting a reference group of staff to guide us.

Election of Parent Governors

There is currently a vacancy for a parent governor vacancy within Millthorpe School. To read the full letter, please click here and find out more about being a parent governor here.

Free cycle training

Bikeability Level 2 and 3 courses will run during school time in the Autumn Term. Training is provided by City of York Council Road Safety Team. The training is offered free of charge to students in Years 7 and 8 and gives the opportunity to develop on-road cycling skills and all round road awareness. Each course is a single two-hour session. Bicycles can be borrowed from CYC, by prior arrangement, for the training.

An information letter is available here and the consent form should be returned to cycle.training@york.gov.uk as soon as possible.

Further details of the Bikeability Training can be found here or you can contact the Road Safety Team at cycle.training@york.gov.uk

Year 7 Science assessment and revision

Year 7 students will be sitting their first assessment in Science either in the week commencing 30 November or 7 December. In order to support your child with this, revision lessons will be taught in the lead up to this examination and resources will be added to Google Classroom to further help your child to revise at home independently.

In order to further support your child with Science homework and revision, throughout the remainder of Key Stage 3, we have invested in revision guides which can be purchased for £4.00 from ParentPay. If your child is in receipt of Free School Meals the government provides additional funding for study materials, therefore you will not need to order a guide on ParentPay; your child will be provided with one by their class teacher.

If you have any further questions regarding your child’s Science assessment or revision guides, please do not hesitate to get in contact with their science teacher.

Please read Mr Wright’s full letter to Year 7 parents here

Course for Parents who have Children with Additional Needs

Family Matters are running a course via Zoom for parents who have children with additional needs, starting on Thursday 8 October, from 12.45 – 2.45pm, and running for six weeks.

It is an opportunity to meet with other parents facing some of the same challenges and share experiences and ideas, and to work through some material sharing ideas of ways to deal with our children, our families and professionals.

To book a place or for further information please contact Helen Atkinson on 07393 147259 or email: helenatkinson@fmy.org.uk

You can also find more information about their courses on the Family Matters website

Safeguarding

If you have significant concerns for the welfare of a child, 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 18 September 2020

Message from the Head of School

Dear parents and carers

As the first full week back at school comes to a close, I would like to say a big thank you to everyone for making the start of term such a success. Our students have done us proud. They have been inundated with lots of new information, instructions and rules, but have taken everything in their stride. Their behaviour has been excellent, and they have been making every effort to follow the new rules and procedures, in a bid to keep themselves, and each other, as safe as possible.

I would also like to say thank you to you, as parents and carers, for your ongoing support. The vast majority of students have come back to school well-prepared, wearing the correct uniform, ready to carry on with their learning and most importantly ready to enjoy being back at school with their peers. I thank you for helping to make this happen.

The team and I are thrilled to see the school full of life again, and are relishing the opportunity to catch up with the students and hear all about their activities during lockdown and over the summer break.

We will continue to keep you updated with any further developments as the term progresses.

With very best wishes

Miss G Greenhalgh

Thursday 24 September – Training Day and Open Evening

School will be closed to students on Thursday 24 September for a Teacher Training Day.

On the evening of 24 September, we will be hosting our Virtual Open Evening, in place of our traditional event. The event will be all online – full details can be found here.

Positive calls and emails

As we mentioned in last week’s pastoral update, our staff have committed to making at least one positive phone call or email home each day. We have been overwhelmed by the impact that this has had and have been delighted to receive so many compliments in return. In such difficult times, we felt it was important to contact you to let you know how well your children are doing on their return to school, but an unexpected by-product of this has been the morale boost that your glowing replies has given the staff. So, thank you for thanking us!

If you have not yet received a positive call or email, do not worry. We would also be in touch if we had any concerns so you would know about it if there was an issue and we are sure that you will receive a positive call or email soon.

Update for students

In form time over the last couple of days, Form Tutors have delivered the attached Update for students. We wanted to share this with you so that you are aware of what we have said to the students, and ask for your support in making sure that your child is doing what they have been asked.

Many parents have asked us what they can do to help the school during these challenging times, and this is certainly something that would help. The less time we need to spend addressing items such as uniform the better for everyone.

This update also includes the plan for if students lose their year group badges and vital reminders about social distancing both inside and outside school, so parents are politely asked to have a read and discuss it with their child.

Planners

Please could we remind parents to check and sign their child’s planner every week.

Election of Parent Governors

There is currently a vacancy for a parent governor vacancy within Millthorpe School. To read the full letter, please click here and find out more about being a parent governor here.

Black Lives Matter – Embracing Diversity – Students and Parents

Mr Burton is now planning how we can improve the experience of our students who are black or from other minority backgrounds. It has been clear from initial conversations that we need to consider the different experiences of all our children and families who are black or from ethnic minorities, although it was the Black Lives Matter movement which inspired our reflection.

Over this year we want to examine the experience of our black or ethnic minority students and check that our curriculum, behaviour systems and ethos serve them as well as our white students. Mr Burton is asking for your help as a parent. If you are black or from an ethnic minority, please consider putting yourself forward. We want to recruit as many parents as possible to serve as a reference group, to tell Mr Burton how things are, advise him if our plans for improvement make good sense, and help us find out if we are actually making the improvements intended from the plans.

To take part email embracingdiversity@millthorpe.southbank.academy saying you would like to be in the parent group with a name and we will be in touch. Similarly, we want a reference group of students, so again, if your child is black or from an ethnic minority please encourage your child to put themselves forward. Just email the same address with the name of your child. We are also recruiting a reference group of staff to guide us.

Update from City of York Council

City of York Council have asked us to share the following updates as we come to the end of the second week of the new term.

The council, multi-academy trusts, schools and colleagues in Public Health are continuing to work together to minimise the risk of Covid-19 infection and it is really pleasing that the proportion of pupils who are back at school in York is higher than the national average.

As many people as possible are being encouraged to walk and cycle to school to reduce traffic congestion and crowds around schools. Pupils over the age of 11 travelling on buses must wear face coverings; these are required on public transport and also on buses operated for schools only.

A face mask is essential equipment for young people of secondary school age. They must be used on school and public transport, in shops and in other public buildings. All secondary schools have adopted the strong recommendation from the council’s Director of Public Health that pupils should wear face coverings in communal areas of schools – essentially this means anywhere inside school buildings except classrooms and at any time other than when eating.

Safeguarding

If you have significant concerns for the welfare of a child, 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 11 September 2020

Message from the Head of School

Dear parents and carers

I’d like to start by expressing my deepest gratitude to you and our students. Despite months of planning and risk assessments, we were never exactly sure how the return to school this week would be. Changes to the start and end of the school day, different break and lunch times, one way systems, year groups in different designated areas, wearing face masks indoors in communal areas, provision of personalised resources, near constant hand washing and sanitising…the list of changes for the students and staff was endless. How would students respond? How would they feel after so long, with a range of different experiences whilst away from school, coming back to so many different routines and structures? 

All the research suggests that many children have experienced considerable trauma and loss and all of them will have faced challenges. You will also be aware of reports in the media about parents being unwilling to allow their children to return to school and the consequent risk of poor attendance and a growing gap between different students’ learning. To say that we were feeling a little anxious would be an understatement. 

However all the concerns were alleviated as soon as our first set of students began to return on Wednesday. We welcomed every single one of our expected students to school in Year 7. How wonderful it was to see them arrive at Millthorpe early on Wednesday morning. Despite not having the opportunity to spend their induction day in school getting familiar with our complex site, meeting each other and their form tutors, they arrived punctually, were pristinely dressed and showed amazing resilience. They met their tutors and had their very first secondary school lessons before leaving us smiling, ready to return with all the students the next day. So, thank you to our new Year 7 parents for ensuring that the students all arrived in a timely manner and well equipped and to our new students for a wonderful start back to school. 

Then there was Thursday to await; 1058 children hopefully returning to school and much larger numbers on site. I think that it is fair to say that there was some trepidation amongst the Senior Leadership Team and the staff as we hoped that all the planning would prove successful. It was. We have tweaked some systems and made some small changes and we are really pleased with how the plans have worked so far. 

But I’m most grateful that we have been able to welcome back our students in the most positive manner that we could have imagined. They have been warm, friendly, well-behaved and positive; they have risen to our expectations and have taken all of the changes in their stride and I feel incredibly proud of them all. We are truly thankful that the whole community has responded exceptionally well to navigating the complicated one-way system, remaining in their designated areas and in their year groups and being polite and courteous to each other and the staff. We’re particularly grateful for supporting your children by making sure we can all look after one another by all wearing our face coverings in the corridors to try to minimise any risk of transmission. We have only had to supply a handful of spares to students who have forgotten theirs over the three days, so thank you again – this has really made a huge difference. 

Lessons have gone really well and student behaviour has been impeccable; we haven’t had one incident where a child has needed a formal sanction for behaviour all week! In the current circumstances, this is even more extraordinary and just shows what a wonderful community we have here at Millthorpe! Attendance for the whole school was over 98% which means that we have been able to welcome back the vast majority of our students and enable them to learn together again. 

On Thursday and Friday I have also had the privilege of visiting all Year 11 forms to reassure them not to worry unduly about their exams and to focus for now on adjusting to being back in school and making a positive start to the new year. I also spent two lunchtimes with them all on the field outside. It was a real pleasure to speak with them all, to share their experiences, worries and hopes, and to see them smiling and enjoying being back in school. So many of them have really grown up and are determined to focus on ensuring that they do the best that they can in school in their final year at Millthorpe and I am confident that they will achieve great success in their GCSEs. 

So, once again, a huge “thank you” to all of our students for making this difficult transition back to school run as smoothly as possible and making all of my colleagues smile again because we can do what we love: teach and support our young people. 

And finally “thank you” to all of our parents for being supportive and ensuring that the children have returned with the right equipment, uniform and above all attitude, so they are ready to learn and to enjoy being back in the school community. 

We are really looking forward to our first full week of school next week. 

With very best wishes

Miss Greenhalgh

 

Pastoral Structure – update for parents and carers

Following the departure last year of Mr Butterworth, there are a number of changes to the pastoral team. Mr Baybutt will now be leading the team and Ms Tapscott will become Director of Achievement for Roman House.

Full details can be found in our Pastoral Update, which outlines what we have committed to, what our expectations are, the changes to our pastoral systems and team structure, and the updated behaviour policy. We kindly ask that you read this document so that you are clear on the pastoral systems and expectations as they stand from September 2020.

Resource Packs

All students have been provided with a pack of essential equipment to avoid sharing resources. We are asking parents, if possible, to make a contribution of £2.50 towards the cost, which you will be able to pay via ParentPay from next week. Parents of students eligible for Pupil Premium and/or Free School Meals are not expected to make a payment.

Early closure – Wednesday 16 September

A reminder that staff professional development takes place every other Wednesday afternoon, on a B week. School will close early next Wednesday, 16 September. Full details about timings will be sent out early next week.

Social Gatherings

We have been contacted by North Yorkshire Police and asked to share the following information with you. We would be grateful if you could explain this to your child(ren).

As per the latest government guidelines, group gatherings of more than six people will be prohibited as of Monday 14 September. This includes the journey to and from school and all socialising outside of school such as evenings and weekends. Inspector Lee Pointon advises that groups of more than six people will be stopped by the police and dispersed.

Cycle Safety

It is great to see so many of our students cycling to school but please can you take the time to discuss safe cycling with your child.

English Literature set texts

Year 10 and 11 parents/carers

As part of their Literature GCSE, Year 10 will be studying a play called ‘An Inspector Calls’ by J.B. Priestley. If you would like your child to have their own copy of the play, rather than borrowing a school one, they are available to buy for £6.50. Year 11 will be studying the Shakespeare play ‘Macbeth’ and again, copies will be available to buy, priced at £5.00.

Having their own copy will enable students to make notes in their book and underline key quotations, which will help them when they revise. Students eligible for Pupil Premium will be given a free copy of the play.

You will be able to purchase the set texts on ParentPay from Tuesday 15 September. Unfortunately, we are not able to take cash payments at this time.

Mrs Arnold, English Department

Fantasy Football

Compete against staff and students in the inaugural ‘Millthorpe Masters’ fantasy football mini-league.

To enter simply click here and you’ll be added automatically after you’ve entered the game.

League Code: 9b88xl

Make sure you’ve created your team and entered before Saturday morning to be ready to go for the start of the 2020/21 Fantasy Premier League season. Looking forward to playing against you this season!

Mr Sloan

Family Matters courses

There are still spaces available on the following courses starting next week, all of which are delivered via Zoom:

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

You can find more information about their courses on the Family Matters website.

Safeguarding

If you have significant concerns for the welfare of a child, 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 4 September 2020

Message from the Head of School

Dear parents and carers

I hope that you have all had a good summer break and that students are feeling refreshed and ready to learn again.

My colleagues and I are very much looking forward to seeing our students back at school again next week. We look forward to spending quality time as a community, re-establishing relationships, meeting new students and learning with students in school rather than remotely. 

I know that students, staff and parents will have very mixed feelings about the return to school after such a long time at home. There may be feelings of excitement, nervousness, enthusiasm and anxiety. I want to reassure you all today that we have done a lot of work to make school and learning as safe as possible for everyone. 

You can see some of the systems that we have set up in school on this video and some of our rationale shared before the summer here

On Wednesday 9 September, we will welcome Year 7 to school. When they arrive they should go straight to the tarmac area by the gym at the rear of the school. They may enter through any entrance and colleagues will be there to help them and direct them to their designated area.

On Thursday 10 September, Years 7, 10 and 11 should arrive for 8.45am and go to their form rooms. 

You can find details of all form groups and rooms here. Please check this as there may be changes from last year.

If students arrive early they should go to their designated year group bases only. They must not congregate with students from other year groups. 

On Thursday, students in Years 8 and 9 should arrive at school for 9.05am and go to their form rooms. If they arrive early, they should go to their designated area. 

On Thursday, all students will have an extended form tutor period for the morning in order to support their transition back to school and to understand how school will function and how we will keep the community safe. 

On Friday, and subsequent days, Years 7, 10 and 11 will arrive for 8.45am and go to their form. Years 8 and 9 should arrive for 9.05am and go immediately to their period 1 lesson. 

Years 7, 10 and 11 will finish school at 3.10pm and Years 8 and 9 will finish at 3.30pm. 

All details of designated areas, timings of the school day and other important information can be found here.

Equipment
All students will be provided with an equipment pack that contains a mini-whiteboard, a mini-whiteboard eraser and pen and a pair of scissors. Students will need to be responsible for these packs and replenish anything that they lose or damage. Students must not share equipment. Students should also bring their regular stationery including: black pens, green pen, pencils etc.

The changing rooms are not being used for PE for the first few weeks. Therefore students need to bring just their trainers for light exercise. 

Detentions have been set for different nights for different year groups. You can find details of how detentions will work here.
 
Face coverings
Earlier in the week I wrote to parents and carers about the need for students to wear face coverings in communal areas indoors except for classrooms. You can find the information from City of York Council and Public Health here and Millthorpe’s response here.

All students need to bring their own mask to school and must not share masks. We will teach students about the safe use of masks when they return. 

They must also bring a sealable plastic bag to school to put their mask in when they are not wearing one. Disposable masks should not be worn more than once and, therefore, are not recommended. 

A final message 
When we invited Year 10 students back to school in June, many of them were feeling worried about their return. However, within one day, students realised that although school may be different, our community can still thrive and be the successful, warm and welcoming place that makes us so unique. I am confident that we can all work together as students, parents and staff to keep the Millthorpe community a safe and happy place for us all. 

With very best wishes

Miss Greenhalgh

 

Free school meals

If you have applied for or are now in receipt of Universal Credit, your child/children may be eligible for free school meals. We would advise you to apply even if your child normally has packed lunches, as you may also be entitled to uniform vouchers, revision guides and funding for compulsory school visits.

Download the application form here.

Full information about eligibility criteria and how to apply for free school meals can be found on the gov.uk website here.

Back-to-school newsletter for parents

A further newsletter for parents and carers has been produced by York Education, alongside a range of information on the City of York website in the run-up to the full re-opening of schools next week. You can see the newsletter here and also access a whole host of information and support on the Let’s Be York pages of the Council’s website.

First Bus – back to school information

First Bus has published details on their ‘School Services’ page regarding their on-board safety measures, the app features they have introduced to help customers on their journey, and the additional bus journeys they will be introducing from 7 September for public school services.

You can also download the ‘Back to School’ leaflet which they have produced for schools, parents and students.

Lord Mayor of York’s Covid-19 Charity Appeal – Sponsored Walk

This year the Lord Mayor of York, Councillor Janet Looker, has established a charitable fund, in partnership with the York-based Two Ridings Community Fund to support people in York who have been hit hard by Covid-19, with a special emphasis on helping children and young people, and local community arts organisations.

Sir Hugh Bayley, MP for York from 1992-2015, will be raising money for her fund by doing a ten-day sponsored walk along the 110 mile Cleveland Way – from Helmsley to Filey via Whitby. Further details about the walk and how to donate can be found here.

Safeguarding

If you have significant concerns for the welfare of a child, 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.