As we approach the end of Term 4, I wanted to pass on an enormous note of thanks to all of you, and to our students, about the way in which the whole school community has risen to the challenges we have faced this term. I would also like to formally thank all of the school staff for their incredible contributions in these very difficult times, many of whom have gone well above and beyond to ensure our students – your children – are affected as little as possible by the ongoing school closure.
On GCSE and A Level grading, we are still awaiting information from the DfE about the arrangements for the awarding of grades. As soon as we have further information we will be sharing this with you; as communicated previously, please do rest assured that we will use every opportunity available to ensure our students receive fair and appropriate credit for their work towards these qualifications.
At the time of writing, we are unaware of how long the current restrictions on individuals’ movement and working will remain in force. What we do know currently is that we are expecting to remain closed to the large majority of students immediately following the Easter break, and for the foreseeable future thereafter. We are therefore currently planning for a continuation of our remote working approach across all of next term; if it proves we are able to return to school during Term 5 we will of course reopen at the first opportunity.
However, before we get to next term we are now looking forward to the Easter break, albeit in a most unusual form. May I wish you and your family every health and happiness across the coming weeks, and please do take some time out together as a family for some quality time together.
The remaining sections of this letter detail important information about your child’s learning after Easter. Please do keep this information somewhere safe and accessible.
With very best wishes
Home Learning Update
We have had lots of positive feedback on the work being set by our teachers, thank you. This is new teaching and learning territory for us and we really appreciate your support. You know your child and if they feel overwhelmed by the quantity, just encourage them to do what they can and attempt it, with breaks in between. Alternatively, if they have not enough work to do, please encourage them to email their teachers using their school email address. We appreciate that this is a stressful time for young people and don’t want to put too much pressure on them.
We asked our teachers to set two weeks’ worth of work when we had the short notice of closure. We asked teachers not to mark work in this short period as they, like you, adjusted to working at home and looking after their families, and to set work that would help the students make progress independently. However, this has changed for Term 5, after the Easter break. Teachers will be requesting work in and giving students feedback across the term, as well as assessing their work and giving feedback via email and Go 4 Schools. We will be looking to reward great work on our system – teachers are happy to be emailed work students are proud of, using school email accounts!
We have had a few queries about whether we will be teaching ‘live’ lessons online. This isn’t our standard approach to teaching, partly due to safeguarding our students and teachers and also because it isn’t advised by the Department for Education and the teaching unions. We also believe we can deliver great lessons using our current systems; these will be in weekly or two weekly sections, structured for students. Again, doing the best you can with the work set is always the best approach.
If your child is not on their school emails or our Go 4 Schools system, they will struggle to access work and we are working on ways around this so they don’t miss out. If you are reading this online or on your phone, your child could have access to these systems. We use Microsoft Office 365 and students can log in below.
Go 4 Schools – Step by Step Simple Guide
Log onto the website not the app first (link)
You need to log into your school email first (link)
- Put your school full email address (XXXXX@kingdown.wilts.sch.uk) in then click first time user.
- Open your school emails and copy the link they send you into a new tab.
- Reset your password as instructed and write it down.
- Click agree.
- Now log in to Go4Schools.
- Then download the App and use same log in details
- Click on view all homework task and click on each to see details.
How to get in touch with school
Teachers are setting work via Go4Schools and, in some occasions, following this up with additional email guidance or resources. If you have a specific question to a teacher, please email them. The full list of email addresses can be found here: http://www.kingdown.wilts.sch.uk/staff-contacts/
Please be aware that the school telephone number (01985 215551) is not currently manned. Please be advised that any message left on the number may not be listened to on that day. Please use email@example.com to contact the school with a general query.
External support available, DFE guidance for parents
We will attempt to update all latest information that we receive from the Department for Education with you. Please be aware, however, that the websites often change daily regards information and that we will highlight any key points with you. The school website (Kingdown News) completes a summary each Friday of key links.
DfE Twitter feed: https://twitter.com/educationgovuk
Government Office for Qualifications: https://twitter.com/ofqual
Department of Health and Social Care: https://twitter.com/DHSCgovuk
Staying safe, and contacting school with any safeguarding concerns
Our responsibility to our pupils
Whilst the school is closed, our duty and responsibility to safeguarding our pupils remains. Our regular check ins with families needing a bit of extra help and support will continue throughout the period of school closure, just as if the school was open. Please do not feel offended if a member of school staff contacts you to check in with you, and your child. If you have any concerns about this or would like to speak about if further, please contact your child’s Head of House.
If you have any safeguarding concerns whilst the school is closed, for your child or for any other pupil from the school, please contact Designated Safeguarding Lead David Richardson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are also a number of support networks available that may be useful to students at this time:
- NHS. You can call 999 in an emergency, or 111 if you have a medical problem and aren’t sure what to do. Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- CAMHS is a specialist service providing support for people under 18 who are struggling with poor mental health. Their website is https://www.oxfordhealth.nhs.uk/camhs/wiltshire/
- Childline is here to help anyone under 19 in the UK with any issue they’re going through. They are a free and confidential service and can be reached by calling 0800 1111, or by visiting childline.org.uk
- NSPCCworks to help keep children safe and more information can be found at nspcc.org.uk
- Kooth provides online and anonymous counselling for children and young people, at kooth.com
- YoungMinds are a charity who work to help youth mental health. Their website is youngminds.org.ukand they run a crisis messaging service, available 24/7, by texting YM to 85258.
Advice for staying safe online
- Only communicate with people online you know, particularly with the increased use of video calls at this time.
- Usual e-safety guidelines are particular important to remember at this time, such as students being mindful of not sharing personal data, details or photos with others online.
- When contacting students via email, school staff will only use students school email address (e.g email@example.com). Please ensure students only use their school email address to contact school staff. School staff will continue to use the regular parent/carer email addresses registered with school.
- For their own mental health and wellbeing, students should aim to take breaks from social media, and taking a break from screens and devices.
- With more time potentially being spent online, it is advisable for parents and carers to continue to closely monitor online content being accessed by students.