12th February 2021
Dear parents and carers
As I write to you today it is hard to believe we have completed more than half the school year. I think it is testament to the determination, community spirit and dedication of students, teachers, associate staff, parents and carers that we have managed to forge forward despite all the challenges.
The support from parents and carers with remote learning has been exceptional and attendance and engagement of students has been consistently high since the start of January. I would like to thank you all for supporting Team Heworth throughout this period of time and whilst I know that half term is not a holiday for everyone, I hope at least it is a break from home schooling. As a staff body we are so proud of our young people and the tenacity they have demonstrated everyday logging on to live lessons and completing work on class charts. We have loved connecting with our students during advisory and live lessons as well as through the chat option on class charts. The students who have been coming into school on a daily basis to access their work have been so focused and a recent review by Trust leads expressed how motivated and hard working our students were when they visited this week. I also want to thank our staff body who have worked so diligently to ensure all our young people can succeed with their remote learning and I know that many parents and carers have also passed on their thanks to staff for supporting them with this new way of learning and its trials and tribulations.
I would also like to take the opportunity to thank parents and carers who responded to our recent survey regarding remote learning. We were overwhelmed by the positive responses we received. We will be reviewing the very helpful and constructive feedback about how we can improve things further for our young people once we return after half term; and I will update you further on this once the information has been analysed. If you have not yet completed the survey it will be open until the end of the holiday on the homepage of the school website and your feedback would be appreciated.
Whilst I want students and staff to rest and recuperate over half term, I wanted to highlight links to a few pieces of information that you may want to talk through with your child/children during the holiday.
The Heworth Headlines, Valentine’s Day edition for this half term has just been released and can be found at https://heworthgrange.org/monthly-newsletter/ . I hope you enjoy reading the information in the latest edition and in particular the ‘Know your Worth’ nominations from parents and students, please don’t worry if yours does not feature this time, we will make sure we include it in the next edition.
With the frequent use of remote learning we have a regular review of safety online and always want to ensure our young people know how to protect themselves when they are online in their leisure time as well as during lessons. The 9th February was Safer Internet Day and to raise awareness of this, students have had assemblies this week about keeping safe online to reinforce our consistent messages around e-safety. Further information for parents and carers can be found on the website homepage under school news https://heworthgrange.org/
If you have any concerns at all you can contact the safeguarding team at any time on firstname.lastname@example.org.
We know this has been a difficult time for everyone, some more than others and we have therefore developed our mental health and well-being information so that you can access help at anytime via the school website via the Well-Being page in the About Us section.
In addition, through our student voice surveys and forums we know that a number of students are finding it difficult to sleep at the moment and we know how important sleep is for our young people, so if as a parent or carer you want to look at some resources that may help with this issue, these websites are recommended by Patricia Blanchard our Director of Mental Health.
The well-being team would like to thank all the students and parents who contributed to the well being challenges in the last part of this half term. It has really cheered the staff up seeing your pictures and reading your extracts. We will be continuing these challenges into the next half term, so if you haven’t got involved previously, give it a whirl!
Consultation Evenings, Yr 9 Preferences and Reporting
It has not been possible to complete consultation evenings face to face this year so far but we have enjoyed speaking to parents and carers via the telephone. We have the upcoming Yr 13 consultation evening on Tuesday, 23rd February 2021, and we have rearranged Yr 9 consultation and preferences support to the 26th February 2021. Yr 9 advisors will be contacting parents, carers and students during the day to discuss the process. You can find the link to the preferences process at https://heworthgrange.org/year-9-preferences/
Mrs Carter and Mr Beresford are sending a separate letter to all year 9 parents and carers with more detailed information about this important process.
Assessment reports for Yr 7-10 will be posted to parents and carers today and also as we return on the 22nd February, so please look out for these important updates. As you will be aware due to students not being in school we have not been able to assess students in the usual way so information that is being reported links to behaviour and attitudes to learning.
GCSE and A Level Results
We are still awaiting an update from the Department for Education regarding how schools will be asked to arrive at centre assessed grades for Yr 11 and 13 and I will update you on this as soon as I have this information and what our steps will be going forward. In the meantime, can I ask you to encourage Yr 11 and Yr 13 students to continue to submit work to the best of their ability and to try not to worry about this situation, even though I appreciate it is not easy at all when it is such an important time in their lives.
Parents and carers of SEND and EAL students
To support our parents and carers of students with SEND and who have English as an additional language Mrs Mitchell, the SEND team and Ms Tait will be running a drop-in session for parents and carers to access on Wednesday’s from 24th February 2021 onwards from 10am – 12 noon. Appointments can be booked via the following links: SENDdropin@heworthgrange.org.uk and EALdropin@heworthgrange.org.uk
Messages can be sent to these inboxes at any time to access support.
School Access over the Half Term
Please note that school is closed to students and staff over the half term holiday except for maintenance work, any queries except to the safeguarding inbox will be dealt with once school reopens for remote learning and limited on-site provision again on the 22nd February 2021.
Re-opening of schools
As you will no doubt be aware schools will remain closed for the majority of students until the 8th March at the earliest. At this point I have no further information to share with you and students will continue to work remotely after the half term but as always as soon as I have any news I will update you with our planning going forward. In the meantime, please make sure home schooling is switched off for the holidays, so that students, parents and carers can get a good break from it and be ready to get started again when we return.
I hope that you all have a good weekend and half term holiday and I look forward to catching up after the break.
Take good care.