WEEKLY EMAIL Friday 27 November 2020

Updates from last Friday’s email

We’ve had another really positive week this week, with the vast majority of students arriving with masks and everyone working hard to maintain all the hygiene and safety measures. Thank you to all of you.

All Key Stage 3 students have had an assembly about the changes to teaching groups and the teachers have made preparations ready for the new arrangements to begin on Monday. We know that this may well be unsettling for many students, but we’re sure that, as with all the challenges the pandemic has thrown at them, they will successfully take it in their stride.

PE/Games reminders: Cold weather clothing

As the weather starts to change, parents/carers and students are reminded that:

  • wearing two layers for outdoor games is a good idea, i.e. a t-shirt/skin/thermal layer under a reversible games top for all boys (and Year 7 girls) and under a school navy fleece for girls.
  • a suitable pair of gloves and/or hat may also be appropriate, especially for students who struggle with the cold.
  • all students are permitted to wear navy blue or black skins or leggings under their navy shorts in outdoor Games lessons during the colder months.
  • students may also wear the uniform tracksuit bottoms (available from Keal Teamwear).
  • students should always bring navy shorts, as this is a compulsory item of PE/Games kit.
  • wearing the additional items is optional.

Please note that the indoor PE kit remains unchanged. 

Students must bring the kit to all lessons and if they are unable to participate, they need to produce a medical note each week.

Social Media concern – TikTok

We have been contacted by our police liaison officer to make us aware that there is a viral video circulating on TikTok at present called “Megan is Missing.” The video is described as “exceedingly violent” by the police.

Please can we again ask you to check your child’s social media usage to ensure that they are not being exposed to inappropriate material such as this? If your child has accessed this video and you require any support, please contact the school office who will direct you to pastoral staff.

Please note that we have not publicised this video to the students as we do not want them to become curious and try to gain access to it.

National Online Safety app for parents

The National Online Safety team have launched a FREE app filled with authoritative, helpful guidance on online safety issues, including:

  • Hundreds of online safety guides on topics including screen addiction, fake news and trolling to hacking, social media influencers and sexting;
  • An online safety training course for parents developed by experts;
  • A user-friendly interface with increased functionality;
  • The option to get notifications to your phone as soon as new content becomes available – so you can stay up-to-date with the latest online crazes (and risks);
  • The facility to personalise your content by favouriting key resources.

You can find the app on the Google Play Store or the App Store

Apprenticeships

Students in Year 11 are looking at different post-16 routes in Personal Development lessons at the moment. Please click here for the November apprenticeships parents and carers pack if your child is considering applying for an apprenticeship.

Donate your coat to refugees

For the past two years teachers and parents have dropped off their outgrown or unwanted coats at Millthorpe School for refugees sleeping rough across northern France and Belgium.

This year, the charity Care4Calais needs your help more than ever. In Northern France over 3,000 refugees are currently sleeping rough. Some are as young as 13 and have no access to clean clothes, water or shelter.

In the UK there are over 3,500 people living in hotels, hostels and military barracks. They arrive in just the clothes they are wearing, and with nothing else, they are unable to take these off to wash them. They are poorly equipped for a British winter and many have no coat at all.

If we all take a look in our cupboards for a winter coat that we no longer wear, we can help Care4Calais to reach their goal of providing each and every one of these refugees with a warm coat this winter.

  • Donate your coat by dropping it in the box in Millthorpe office reception (please sanitise and wear a mask)
  • No coat to give but would like to donate to purchase a coat? You can do so here

The coats we collect will be distributed in France by local volunteers before Christmas. Thank you for your help.

Safeguarding

If you have significant concerns for the welfare of a child, in addition to being able to contact Sophie Johnson 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 20 November 2020

Changes to teaching groups in Key Stage 3

As we continue to seek ways to minimise the risks and impact of COVID-19 on our school community, we will be changing the teaching groups in KS3 so that students will stay in the same group for most lessons.

To help prepare for this significant change, school will be closing at 12.20pm next Wednesday 25 November.

As you are aware, for a number of reasons associated with students’ wellbeing and the quality of their learning experience, we opted in September to continue to have students moving between lessons so they can be taught in an appropriate classroom for each subject. This continues to be our preferred option and, after several weeks of operating in this way, this certainly doesn’t appear to have impacted unfavourably on the number of positive cases compared with other local schools, most of which have far greater restriction on the movement of students.

Nonetheless, we are very conscious of the need to minimise as far as possible both the risk of infection and the likelihood of students missing school as a result of being an identified close contact of a confirmed case. One way we know we can do this is to arrange teaching groups so that students sit near the same students in as many of their lessons as possible. With this in mind, we have re-grouped all students in Years 7, 8 and 9 so that they remain in the same groups for most subjects. Note that this isn’t possible in PE, Technology (which must be taught in smaller groups) or MFL (in which students study either French, German or both). Students will also follow, as far as possible, the same seating plan in every lesson.

This will mean that, for at least some of their lessons, all students in KS3 will:

  • have a change of teacher
  • have a change of classmates
  • sit next to different people
  • have a change of rooms

Students’ timetables will not change – they will continue to be taught the same subjects at the same times across the two-week cycle.

Please note that, for this arrangement to be effective, groups and seating plans will need to remain unchanged for the foreseeable future.

We will let students know about the changes next week and give them their revised timetable (i.e. with any changes to teacher or room included) ready for the new arrangements to come into effect on Monday 30 November.

To make the transition as successful as possible, it is essential that teachers are able to spend time together so they can exchange information and learn from colleagues about the new students they will be teaching, as well as planning lessons to allow newly formed groups to bed in. They will also complete reports on the progress of the classes that they have been teaching to ensure that we have recorded their progress so far. This can then be shared with parents and their new teachers before they change.

To make sure staff have the time to do this properly, school will be closing at 12.20pm on Wednesday 25 November. This is a serious step for us to take but we consider it is a vital part of our response to this unprecedented situation. If you need us to supervise your child until the normal end of the school day, please contact us so we can make suitable arrangements. We will provide a study space for any Year 11 students who wish to remain in school and work for the afternoon.

We recognise that this is a significant change to undertake in the middle of a school year and that it may present challenges for some students. It is not a decision we have taken lightly but it will have a significant impact on the number of other students your child comes into close contact with whilst at school, thus reducing the risk of time out of school and making the school a safer environment.

Face masks

Students continue to be extremely good at remembering to wear face coverings when moving around the school and we are very grateful for your support for this important safety measure. We have noticed an increase in the number of disposable masks we are handing out to students, so could you please remind your child(ren) that they need to bring a clean mask, in a sealable bag, to school every day. Thank you very much for your cooperation.

Keeping warm in cold classrooms

As the winter weather draws in, we appreciate that some classrooms may get quite cold. We must keep the windows open to ventilate the classrooms as this is one of the best ways of reducing the risk of the coronavirus spreading. However, we also want to make sure that students are warm enough to concentrate on their learning.

What can students do to keep warm?

  • Wear a Millthorpe School jumper as well as their blazer.
  • If your child does not have a school jumper and cannot get one, or they are wearing one and are still cold, they can ask their teacher if they can wear a coat or jacket to keep warm in lessons.

What is not allowed?

  • Non-school uniform jumpers or hoodies. If your child is wearing a jumper, it needs to be the Millthorpe School uniform jumper.
  • Wearing outdoor items in the corridors when moving around school. They can of course wear a coat if moving around outside, but when inside the building, they must remove their coat/jacket as normal.

So, as always, students should be wearing their Millthorpe School uniform only (including school jumper if they have one) at all times whilst inside the school building. If they get to a classroom and it is cold, they must check with their teacher and they will then be allowed to wear a coat or jacket. Please remember, non-school uniform jumpers and hoodies cannot be used instead of a coat/jacket.

Eco Laundry

If your child is in need of a school jumper or a coat the Eco Laundry may be able to help!

School Jumpers
If your child receives free school meals, we have a limited stock of school jumpers in our Eco Laundry at a cost of £2. Please phone the school office to see if we have one in your child’s size and we will add £2 to your Parent Pay account. If you are unable to pay the £2 we will provide a jumper free of charge if we have one available.

If your child does not receive free school meals but you would like to buy a jumper and need to use the Eco Laundry rather than Keal’s for financial reasons, please contact the school office.

Coats
We have a number of coats in the Eco Laundry for £3. If your child needs a coat, please email the school office with the size needed and we will try to provide a suitable coat.
Donations of uniform and coats 
If you have school uniform or coats that you could donate to our Eco Laundry, please ask your son/daughter to bring these to the school office.

The Gideons International

Every year The Gideons International donate a copy of the New Testament of the Bible to every student in Year 7 who wishes to take one.

The bibles will be distributed to Year 7 next week in their RE lessons but it is the student’s choice whether they decide to take one or not.

Safeguarding

If you have significant concerns for the welfare of a child, in addition to being able to contact Sophie Johnson 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 13 November 2020

Coronavirus updates

Coronavirus infection rates are currently falling in York, which is excellent news. However, we all need to continue to play our part in helping to bring the figures down further and it is vital that everyone follows the legal requirements set down by the government.

We have been made aware that groups of young people have been gathering in public places outside of school hours and would ask that you please remind your child(ren) that under the current lockdown rules, they should be going straight home after school. They should also not be meeting friends at weekends or outside school hours to socialise. Under the guidance they can meet one person from another household outside to exercise or sit in a park.

This article from the BBC which explains how the second lockdown is different to the first, is written for children and may be useful to share.

Local test and trace
In the past two weeks, City of York’s local contact tracing programme has reached over 80 per cent of contacts passed to them by the national test and trace service. A new animation to explain how the local test and trace system works is now available online.

Please remember that if you are asked to self isolate, it is vital that you do so and that you follow the guidance. Further information about the Local Test and Trace can be found here.

Millthorpe Remembers 2020

Thank you to all of the students who made more poppies to add to our remembrance display. This year’s display looks wonderful! Thank you to Ms Frankland for adding each of the poppies to the display.

At 11am on Wednesday, the whole school fell silent to observe the two-minute national silence of the anniversary of the armistice. Our usual remembrance commemoration, where many students congregate in B Block Quad to collectively observe the silence and listen to Mr Jackson sound The Last Post, was not possible this year. However, all students did stand in their classrooms and observe the silence and Mr Jackson sounded The Last Post, just without a watching audience. Particular thanks to Year 10 students as the silence took place during their break time and they observed it immaculately.
Finally, thank you to any parents or carers who were able to make donations to the Royal British Legion. A special mention to Laura Gatus in Year 11 who managed a socially distanced collection, raising £40 for the Poppy Appeal.

Remote learning for absent students

In the event that your child is absent from school for any reason, they are able to access their lessons from their Google Classroom. All students have received their sign-in details and have accessed their Google accounts. Teachers will upload their lessons on to Google Classroom within 24 hours of the lesson taking place. This means that students can follow their timetable effectively one day behind from home. These lessons cover the same content, and will generally include the same resources and activities experienced by students in school, although occasionally there may be lessons taught in school that were planned using some strategies and resources that are not compatible with Google Classroom.

Students can submit homework and other assessed pieces of work for their teacher to assess and provide feedback on. This won’t be every piece of work but will include every piece that is assessed for classmates in school. Students can also use their Google Mail accounts to ask any questions of their class teachers. Please bear in mind that teachers in school are still delivering full timetables to their classes in school, so they will not be available to answer questions immediately.

Google Classroom is also extremely useful for homework and revision for students in school. All lessons are clearly titled and organised by topic. If a student is struggling with a homework task or to understand a particular topic or concept, they can use their Google Classroom to look at any previously taught aspect of the curriculum.
If your child has missing work, please contact the class teacher in the first instance. If there is a wider issue with Google Classroom or your child is having difficulties accessing Google Classroom, please contact the main office.

Suitable footwear for Games

The artificial grass pitch (AGP) has been in use for the last two weeks. In that short time it has been a big hit with staff and students alike. We are all delighted with it. We have also been pleased with how students have risen to the challenge of ensuring that their boots are both suitable and clean.

It has come to our attention that there are boots on sale that have ‘moulded’ studs (which are recommended for the AGP) that have metal tips (not allowed on the AGP). Can I ask again to please check with your child’s PE teacher at school should you be in any doubt as to the suitability of boots you are planning to buy for the AGP. I can recommend SportsDirect ‘Strike Firm Ground Football Boots’ which are £16.99. They would be suitable for both surfaces.
I hope that helps with the transition to using the AGP as well as grass for many of our outdoor lessons.
Mr Randall
Head of PE

Competition is close in the battle of the Houses!

At the end of last half-term, the competition between the Houses was looking very close. House points up to the end of October were:

  • Roman – 74
  • Saxon – 72
  • Viking – 70

Exploitation online

Online exploitation and grooming can be difficult to spot. This booklet produced by The Children’s Society shows some of the ways in which children and young people can be exploited online and how you can keep young people safe from this kind of abuse.

Safeguarding

If you have significant concerns for the welfare of a child, in addition to being able to contact Sophie Johnson 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 6 November 2020

PE lessons begin on AGP

PE lessons have been taking place this week on the new 3G artificial grass pitch (AGP). Unfortunately due to lockdown restrictions, the AGP can’t be used by community groups as yet, but our students have certainly been enjoying the new facility.

Student access to online learning

Further to the email we sent to all parents/carers on Thursday afternoon, this is a reminder that we would like to find out how easy it is for your child/ren to access Google at home during the school day.

In September of this year we introduced all students to their Google Account, including Google Classroom. In the event of your child’s absence, partial or full school closure, Google Classroom is the platform that we will use for Remote Teaching and Learning.

Please fill in a form for each child you have at Millthorpe, by Tuesday 10 November.

Remembrance 2020

This week, Mr Baybutt has delivered assemblies to all year groups on the theme of remembrance in the lead up to Remembrance Sunday. The assembly reminded students about the purpose of remembrance and also explained why the poppy was chosen as the symbol of remembrance.

We appreciate that it is much more difficult this year to buy poppies in the usual way, but the Royal British Legion would really welcome any donations that families are able to make. Their website says; “Covid-19 and national lockdown means donating online is now crucial to support The Royal British Legion’s 2020 Poppy Appeal. With thousands of poppy collectors unable to sell poppies locally and many fundraising events cancelled, we are relying on the British public to give as generously as possible this year.”

If you are willing and able, you can donate to the poppy appeal here.

Thank you to all of those students who have also made poppies to contribute to our own poppy display in school. It is not too late to make a poppy so please encourage your child(ren) to make a poppy and leave it in the box outside the canteen so that it can be added to our display. More information on “Millthorpe Remembers” can be found here.

Lest We Forget

Post-16 provider open evenings

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, most further education providers will be hosting virtual open evenings this year. The date and links for Archbishop Holgate’s Sixth Form and York College events are below and we will publish others as they become available.

If you are not sure whether you want to attend a College or a Sixth Form, register and attend the virtual events so that you can compare different institutions.

Year 11 Taster Days at York College

The virtual taster days for Year 11 students at York College are now available to book. They will take place between 11-15 January 2021. Go to the York College website and follow the instructions to register.

Please note students will not be given time off school to attend these, they can be accessed outside of school hours.

Careers in VFX, animation and games

This November, Escape Studios are bringing you Access: VFX Meet The Industry – a series of virtual events to help 15-18 year old understand more about careers in VFX, animation and games. Whether students are artistic, have a passion for maths and programming or have an interest in business and marketing there is a role in the creative industries to suit them.

For more details please see the Access VFX website.

Year 11 photos

Year 11 individual and group photos will take place on Thursday 12 November.

Student leaders

The deadline for Year 10 applications for Student Leaders has been extended to Friday 13 November.

As we want to make sure we are as Covid secure with the applications as we can be, we are asking that for the teacher recommendation, students ask a member of staff to email in their recommendation.
Click here to see a copy of the role description and application form.
Applications can be handed to either Mr Black or Mr Sloan, or emailed to studentleadership@millthorpe.southbank.academy
Mr Black & Mr Sloan

BUZZ US

Compass BUZZ offers a confidential text messaging service to young people aged 11-18 across North Yorkshire.

Young people can text BUZZ US on 07520 631168 about any mental health or wellbeing concerns such as low mood, stress, eating problems, self harm, anxiety or self esteem. They will receive confidential advice, support and signposting from a wellbeing worker within one working day via text.

Further information can be found here.

Safeguarding

If you have significant concerns for the welfare of a child, in addition to being able to contact Sophie Johnson 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.