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Coronavirus Update – Monday 30th March 2020

What a week that was! I hope that you are all still managing to smile through the first week of our new home study nation! Here at Henshall Towers, establishing a routine worked well for a time and then degenerated into “they’re setting me too much work” or “they’re not setting me enough!” from my two teenagers, in equal measure. On the plus side, the one piece of exercise per day means that we have got the fittest nine-year-old Labrador in Bedfordshire!

At the risk of patronising our savvy and well-educated parents, I wanted to give you a few things to bear in mind about the work we are setting and how to complete it.

Well-being is more important than anything else. If students are getting stressed about it despite their perseverance, then they should have a break or go onto something else, or both. The teacher is always there to email too, if all else fails. In a classroom, teachers break activities down into chunks and much of the lesson develops from what they can, or indeed can’t, understand. This is very hard to do when setting work online. Therefore, doing the above will help.

Try to keep a routine if you can. This could be done by beginning each day with a family meeting about what they will be working on that day or by supervising the first half hour to get them started, then leaving them to work through it. It could also be done by doing the physical workout on TV first (PE With Joe, The Body Coach) https://www.youtube.com/user/thebodycoach1 or indeed following the example set by our PE department on Twitter @RPS PE then letting them get on with their studying afterwards. It is having a routine that matters most, rather than what that routine is.

Reading is relaxing, it is educational and it allows students to pursue their own interests. I would advise them to read for an hour a day, if this is at all possible. Audible have made lots of online books available free during the lockdown. It is worth checking this out: https://stories.audible.com/start-listen

At RPS, we as teachers are learning about this new world too. Most feedback from week one seemed to indicate that we are setting a bit too much work due to the high expectations we have of our students. Whilst these high expectations remain, I have asked colleagues to set somewhat less work this week.

After Easter, we will move to a more medium-term plan. This will include more teaching input within it, via Google Classroom, as well as sometimes using recorded teaching of our voices or use of video technology. We are currently experimenting with and researching many of these options. You will see a shift in the style of work set after the holidays which will not only be mindful of the amount set, but will also see a greater prioritising of Year 10 and 12, who need to keep the momentum going for their GCSE and A Level courses respectively.

At the moment, we are asking Year 11 and 13 to finish their courses and practise the skills they need for the end of their key stages. Once this has been completed, we will be looking to set Year 11 work which is more appropriate for preparing for the next phase of their education.

We are mindful of how stressful this time can be for both students and parents. The link below should help with signposting help that is out there, as well as good advice. We will also be sending the student link to them via Show My Homework.

https://www.justtalkherts.org/news/looking-after-your-mental-health-during-coronavirus.aspx

Finally, I would like to pay tribute to all our magnificent parents who work in the NHS. We are so grateful to you for all you are doing for our loved ones and will be doing in the weeks ahead. I for one will be applauding every Thursday evening. To help in our own small way, we have donated a lot of our science masks and goggles to the NHS and we have made our minibuses available to NHS volunteers to deliver vital supplies.

We will get through this crisis together. Have a lovely Easter and I’ll contact you again after the holidays.

Kind regards

Alan Henshall

Headteacher

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Coronavirus update – Monday 23rd March 2020

I would like to start by thanking you for following the guidance given nationally for students only to come to school if there is no other way of them being looked after at home. This has enabled us to keep the staffing levels manageable going forward from today.

We have sent an organiser to students and we ask that they fill this in every day. You will note that it allows them to adopt and maintain a positive routine and it also asks them what they will do to help their families around the house!

Over the weekend there were more than a few students wanting to use our fields or playgrounds to play games. The clear advice from the government from Friday afternoon is to stay at home and not to mix, even in small groups, and to maintain social distancing therefore please ensure that your children do not come to the school site. One or two parents have asked me to reiterate that students should not be in groups out of school anyway as this negates the reason for the schools closing in the first place. I realise it is difficult for young people and all of us at the moment but we need to maintain our social interaction virtually over the few weeks ahead.

There is little further information about exam results nationally since last Friday. In the meantime, I have put a link below as it will hopefully answer the many questions you have until further clarity is given.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-cancellation-of-gcses-as-and-a-levels-in-2020/coronavirus-covid-19-cancellation-of-gcses-as-and-a-levels-in-2020#will-the-past-performance-of-the-school-be-taken-into-account-when-devising-the-calculated-grade

I intend to send you an InTouch message on a weekly basis unless new information arises. In the meantime, stay safe and look after each other.

Kind regards

Alan Henshall

Headteacher

(message timed at 15:45 on 23 March)

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Coronavirus Update – 20th March 2020

I wanted to begin by saying what a great day we have had today. Despite the short notice and the challenging nature of the week, we have managed to put together final assemblies for Years 11 and 13 which did justice to these wonderful year groups as we say goodbye to them. The students were a credit to themselves, the values of the school and their families throughout the day.

We note that Ofqual have just made an announcement. They will “develop and set out a process that will provide a calculated grade to each student which reflects their performance as fairly as possible”. I have asked Roundwood Park staff not to respond to any emails from parents asking for grades to be raised.

For all year groups, we have today set out clearly our expectations of students and the quality of work they need to complete when they are at home. The PowerPoints shown in assemblies have been uploaded to Show My Homework so that you can see them there too and reinforce the same expectations at home. If you have any issues logging in to Show My Homework or other platforms please contact helpdesk@roundwoodpark.co.uk.

Please check the email sent to you this morning regarding your entitlement to school provision if you are a key worker. If you haven’t received this, please check your junk folder.

Have a great weekend and thank you again for all your support this week. I will be in contact again next week.

Kind regards

Alan Henshall

Headteacher

16:45 – Friday 20th March 2020

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Children of key workers

An email has been sent to all parents regarding the opening of the school next week for the children of key workers. Please ensure you have looked at this and responded if you need to. It may have gone to your junk inbox, so please check this.

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Coronavirus Update – 19th March 2020

The situation has become somewhat clearer today but there are still many questions that we have as educationists, parents and students. What we do know is that some provision is being made for the children of key workers and vulnerable students in certain categories. We will be obtaining information on whether you are a key worker or in need of extra support tomorrow. Please look out for an InTouch message which will be sent mid-morning.

It saddens us greatly that we are unable to run leavers’ days for Years 11 and 13 and, with the school likely to be closed for most, if not all, of next term, we are unable to set a new date. Therefore, we will do final assemblies only for Year 11 and 13 students tomorrow. These will be much scaled down events and we will miss greatly our staff and students who are self-isolating or unwell but we will be thinking of them all during these events.

It is still not clear how grades will be awarded this summer. I would politely ask that students and parents refrain from putting pressure on teachers to improve the grades for students. Any predictions that we may be asked to make will be made on the teachers’ professional judgement. In the meantime, we are asking Year 11 and 13 to work as hard as they can for the foreseeable future, whether that is at school tomorrow or at home in the coming weeks, to make sure that they give the best possible impression of the academic standard they have reached at the end of the course.

Finally, I am delighted to say that due to the help of part time staff who do not normally work on Fridays we will be able to open to all year groups tomorrow. Years 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12 will all have assemblies where we will support them, tell them how we will care for them when they are not in school and set out our expectations of the standards of work we require.

I hope that you and your families take care and continue to stay healthy. I am thinking of you all.

Kind regards

Alan Henshall

Headteacher

17:47 on Thursday 19th March 2020

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School open as normal on Thursday 19 March

Dear parents and carers

Please be aware that we have received the information from the government in real time just as you have.  We presume that more detail will follow in the next 24 hours.  In the meantime, school is open to all year groups tomorrow, Thursday 19 March.

Kind regards

Alan Henshall

Headteacher

(this message is timed at 18.40 on 18 March 2020)

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Update regarding Coronavirus – 17 March

I would like to start by thanking you for the many supportive emails we have sent to us over the last few days. We appreciate your kind words even though we know you are concerned about the national picture yourself. Here at Roundwood Park we hope that you are keeping well yourselves.

We are endeavouring to keep the school fully open at the moment and to this end we think we can do this tomorrow (Wednesday) if we ask that Year 12 sign out at 1pm and study at home in the afternoon. I must warn you, however, that it is getting to a point where I may have to partially close the school, possibly as early as Thursday, offering lessons only to Years 7, 11, 12 and 13. We are not at that stage yet but it would be prudent to have conversations as a family about how you can prepare. If we do have to partially close, work will be set for the year groups not in school.

We know that these InTouch messages to parents are being delayed due to the volume being sent through the national system, so please accept our apologies if you receive this many hours after it has been sent (6pm), as happened last night. The latest government guidance, updated on Tuesday 17 March, can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection

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RoundUp 143 : Friday 28th February 2020

The latest edition of RoundUp has just been published on our website.  Please click here to read our latest news and information.

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RoundUp 142 : Friday 31st January 2020

The latest edition of RoundUp has just been published on our website.  Please click here to read our latest news and information.

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Schools Art Exhibition

More details about the Exhibition can be found below.

Art Exhibition