Subject: Samuel Whitbread Academy Newsletter Issue 114 (01/05/2020)

Samuel Whitbread Academy 
E-Newsletter
Issue 114 (01/05/20)

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Dear Parents and Carers,

I hope you and your families are keeping well in these extraordinary times.

The school was open over the Easter break for vulnerable and key worker children. The students took part in a whole host of different activities including making beeswax candles, baking scones and even playing monopoly. We currently have around ten students in school each day, although it does go up and down depending on key worker shift patterns. Over Easter we delivered visors made by Mr Bonham to three care homes and two local funeral directors, which were gratefully received. I also delivered over 100 birthday cards to Captain (now Colonel) Tom, including those from RBA, Gothic Mede, Langford and Shefford Lower. His son-in-law told me he had done 32 interviews that day and was waiting to be interviewed by CNN!

This is certainly a strange time for students in Year 11 and 13. They worked incredibly hard to prepare for their exams, only to be told they were all cancelled. This has obviously never happened before and was very upsetting for many of our students. In place of the exams, the government has asked schools to submit calculated grades to exam boards that reflect a fair, reasonable and objective judgement of the most likely grade a student would have achieved if they had sat their exams this summer. So since the announcement, Mr Butler and the exams team have been working incredibly hard in the background to design a process that ensures none of our students are disadvantaged. We have also been working on rescheduling the Proms for later in the year, so our students have the chance to say a proper goodbye when the lockdown eases - we will contact students as soon as we have some more information.

Before the Easter break we concentrated on setting work to students in Year 9, 10 and 12 on everything we had covered in the spring term. However, for the last two weeks, we have been delivering new content and this is obviously new territory for all of us. Mrs Linehan sent out a booklet before Easter on distance Learning and sent some additional top tips this afternoon. We will continue to share advice and guidance throughout this difficult period. Please rest assured, you are doing your best and we are fully aware of how difficult home schooling may be at times.

The feedback we have received from parents so far is that teachers are probably setting too much work and they would appreciate some ‘live’ lessons online, on top of the support through Google Classroom. So to make sure we get the full picture of what parents think of the last two weeks, Mrs Linehan has designed a quick survey for parents to do online with their children, to get a feel for how the last two weeks have gone and to see if we need to make any changes. Please take the time to complete the questionnaire, so we can change our strategy accordingly over the coming weeks.

We had some fantastic news this week about our Head Boy Liam, who has secured a contract to play rugby for Washington University. This is an amazing opportunity and something Liam has dreamt of for many years. I am delighted that he has been given this chance to achieve his dream of studying in America and I know he will make the most of this amazing opportunity.

We had some incredibly sad news just before the Easter break that Mr Franklin, who worked in our reprographics department, had sadly passed away. This was a massive shock and very upsetting for everyone at school. As a key member of the support staff, Mr Franklin was well known to all of our staff and many of our students - who regularly popped in and out of reprographics to collect their printing or to collect resources. Although he only joined us recently, he had slotted straight into the school and it felt like he had worked at the school for years.

In these times of lockdown it is incredibly difficult to say a proper goodbye, so when the school reopens fully we are planning to build a memorial garden for everyone who has lost a loved one in these difficult times and we will also plant a tree to remember Mr Franklin in the centre of the garden. I know there will be many of you who would like to be involved in this project, so we will update you as soon as school reopens.

Lastly, this is a difficult time for all of us and I personally can not wait for lockdown to ease and for the school to start to reopen again. The school is far too quiet and disconcerting, without all of our students and the sooner they return to school, the sooner life can return to normal. Your child’s health and well-being is the school’s top priority at present. If they do not complete every task, it doesn’t matter! We will endeavour to ensure that no child is disadvantaged when the school reopens. If your child needs any support with their work, organisation guidance or time management advice, please encourage them to contact their tutor or Head of Year.

We wish you and your families a restful weekend.


Nick Martin
Principal
 
 
 
 
 
 


Year 9
Dear parents
Thanks for all the support you have been putting place for your children over the past few challenging weeks. It is a steep learning curve for us at school and I can imagine it is the same for many of you at home. Please keep persevering with this as we are now very much into the 'new content' stage of our virtual learning schedule. 
As you will be aware, we have been working hard on the Year 10 options timetable. We are very close to being finished and should have the confirmation of your child's options by the end of May. This will be distributed via ParentMail if we are not back in school. 
Any support that is needed with school work should be directed to the class teacher and any other issues can be directed to the tutor. Please let us know if you need support. Please pass on my praise to all the pupils in Year 9 who are dealing with this unprecedented situation in a mature, diligent way.

Mr R Sinclair
Year 10
Firstly we would like to start by wishing you all good health and hope that the last 5 or 6 weeks have not been too difficult for you all. It has been a really unusual time and we are pretty sure, at the end of all this, we are all going to be changed in many different ways. We want to remind parents, guardians and students to make sure they are communicating with teachers regarding work completion and work load - we can appreciate that remote learning is a new experience for many and will take some time getting used to. If students are struggling with the amount of work being set or organising their time effectively, please make sure they contact the class teacher or tutor to discuss strategies or raise concerns. Year 10 students should be expecting to hear from their tutors this week either via email or an invite to a Google Classroom to help with well-being. We are trying to encourage communication with the students and maintain a sense of community so that our students feel supported. We also want to take the time to say a big well done to the work being produced by Year 10 students, some have taken working from home in their stride and are working incredibly hard – as a year team we couldn't be more proud! 

Miss V Yadav
Year 11
Dear students, I hope you are all keeping well and trying to occupy your time as productively as possible. Hopefully by now you have settled into a routine which makes this situation a little easier for you. If you are continuing onto Sixth Form at SWA, it is a good time to read around your Sixth Form courses and get ahead of the game. As well as this, Mr Huckle has emailed you all the links for MOOCS (Massive Open Online Courses) and placed them on Show My Homework. These courses provide a huge range of topics and can be very useful when applying for future courses/jobs. An email was sent out earlier in the week which provided some updates on workload, gradings, yearbook, prom and leavers. I hope that you found this helpful. If you still have any questions, please fill in the google form link that was at the bottom of the email. We have had some good responses so far and will compile something to ensure we answer every question sent. 
 
It is so important, now more than ever, that we stay connected. With this in mind, all Year 11 tutors will be in touch with their forms over the coming days to touch base and check how their students are getting on – if you have any questions or concerns please let your tutors know. This tutor time contact will happen weekly so please do respond and let them know how you are doing. As well as this, I will continue to email you weekly updates and activities/quizzes for you to do, should you wish to! I hope you enjoyed the different quizzes I sent last week and I do hope you found the mindfulness suggestions of some help. To reassure you, you do not have to take part in these activities, but I thought it might be a fun way for us all to remain connected in some way. 
 
Please continue to stay safe and take care. Remember, we are here if you need anything.

Miss C Tabert

Sixth Form
Since Easter we have moved to a model of delivering new lesson content, and although it’s early days, we are really pleased with how students are responding. The effect of this lockdown is clear for all of society, but I think we must always consider how heightened this is for our young people who are navigating an already challenging and important time of their lives. We are all working together to try and minimise the impact of this, and that is why we are trying to maintain normality with a workload that is reflective of a school timetable.
 
We have had lots of feedback from the year group about what works for them and what they think could be tweaked. I want to reassure parents that as a Sixth Form team we really appreciate the feedback and teachers do use this to inform their practice. We are also looking at how else we can support our students through wider content, advice and activities that would have been delivered through registrations. We will use Google Classroom as our primary platform to deliver any extra material, while emails remain the best form of communication.
 
We are currently preparing materials for our ‘Next Steps Days’ which are due to take place in June. In the event of not being at school we will be delivering this content online. This will cover UCAS, apprenticeships and other routes to industry. We will keep you informed with these plans as soon as we know more. 
 
Thank you all for the support you are giving our students at home. Although work for Year 12 students is more independent than other age groups, there is also added stress and pressure with the impact this may have on their exams and their next step after Sixth Form. We understand that parents, siblings and family now take on a greater role than ever in supporting our young people. As you see how hard your children are working at home I would like to collate some praise for how well they are doing at home. It does not need to be in relation to school work, if you have any praise for passionate projects they have completed, how they have helped family members or simply for learning how the washing machine works, I would love to hear. Please send anything to ctonking@bestacademies.org.uk

Mr C Tonking, Mrs S Hoad & Mr L Huckle
Duke of Edinburgh
As with everything there has been lots of disruption to the running of the Duke of Edinburgh. We still have over 300 participants at SWA taking the award who are working towards completing their sections. The DofE in the UK have put in place different ideas for participants to be able to continue their sections whilst the current restrictions are in place. The DofE Magazine is being published very soon - read it online here. There are some fantastic tips and pieces of advice on how to continue with DofE as well as a great mix of stories and other useful articles. 
 
Sectional Activity Ideas from DofE Central England’s Twitter Page:
  • Volunteering: If you’re continuing the Volunteering section for your DofE, or just want to help your community, look at these tips.
  • Physical: There is a fantastic selection of fitness ideas which can be done at home on the NHS Fitness studio website.
  • Skill: British Sign Language are currently offering students the chance to sign up for an online sign language course for only £3. This is a fantastic opportunity to [british-sign.co.uk]learn sign language from home for at least three months. Daily exercise is important for your physical and mental well-being. Have you seen inspirational scenes when out? Why not try photography with Sharp Shots and create a portfolio for your Skills section? 
  • Expedition: Even though you can’t take part in your expedition at the moment, why not check out these online activities in preparation?
Gold Award
Please join me in congratulating Charlotte Liddiard and Bailey Parsons, pictured below, who completed their Gold Award this year, the photos were taken just prior to the school being closed when we were able to present them their gold award badges. Under normal circumstances they would be receiving their certificates at Buckingham Palace this summer, however, this has been delayed due to restrictions. It is an amazing achievement to get so far with the award, a culmination of many hours of volunteering, physical exercise and learning new skills as well as hiking for many hours taking part in their expeditions.
Art
There has been some fantastic work going on at home from our art students. Below are two colour pencil drawings from Year 10 students. We would love to hear from other students who are producing some incredible work from home during the period of lockdown. There are some excellent examples of work on our art and textiles Instagram page – @SWA_ArtTextiles – and all art and textiles students on Instagram should give this a follow! 
Captain (Colonel) Tom
As Mr Martin mentioned in the opening paragraphs, he delivered over 100 birthday cards to Captain Tom for his 100th birthday.
Calendar
Term dates for the 2021/22 academic year have been agreed and added to our website. Please click here to view the calendar.
Psychology students
All SWA Psychology students that are on Twitter should make sure they are following our Twitter page - @PsychSamWhit – especially Year 13s who are waiting to start a psychology-related degree, as they might find it a useful place to get inspired and find additional reading/research ideas!
Eco-School Committee
The latest Eco-School committee newsletter is complete and you can view it here. It includes articles and top tips from SWA students and teachers about being eco-friendly during lockdown, introducing wildlife to your garden and also a challenge to raise money for charity. Congratulations for the group for still continuing to do sterling work amid the difficult situation.
Google Classroom
Most subjects are using Google Classrooms to set, receive, mark and feedback on work. Lots of staff are commenting on how good the work submitted has been. There have also been a few questions on handing in work with attachments on Google Classroom. Mr Rowell has created a short video guide here. Please take a look to get familiar with how to make sure you submit work successfully, so class teachers can review and give feedback.
Head Boy Liam off to America!
Head Boy Liam Holland has officially signed for Central Washington University to play rugby alongside his academic studies. He is currently working on applying for his visa and then will be all set to go. We are all very proud of Liam and his efforts! In a message to the school and his teachers, Liam commented: “I would just like to say thank you for everything you all did in aiding the process and helping me to make this achievable.” We wish Liam all the best in his adventures!
Visors & PPE for key workers
We have tried to continue our contribution to local workers battling the virus on the front line by making PPE for those who are in desperate need of it. Over Easter we delivered visors made by Mr Bonham to three care homes and two local funeral directors, which were gratefully received.
Supermarket voucher scam
Police have issued a warning over a new scam targeting Tesco and Morrisons supermarket shoppers. Both hoaxes offer vouchers to customers of the supermarkets through apparently genuine websites that are actually designed to steal personal and financial information. The police have advised that the public should never open links or attachments in suspicious emails and never respond to messages asking for personal or financial information.
Key Stage 4 High Attainers
We have launched an exciting new opportunity for Year 9 and Year 10 students this week - The Samuel Whitbread Diploma. As the school closure continues, we want to provide on-going support and challenge for our high attainers. The diploma has been designed to broaden students’ understanding in a range of different subject areas. The diploma is to be completed alongside the work set by class teachers and will need to be finished by July 3rd 2020. This is a new, in-depth and ongoing project and whilst a select number of students have been invited already to take part, we are making the opportunity open to all who feel they can show commitment. If you know that your son/daughter would be interested in the Diploma please contact Miss Priano via email (apriano@bestacdemies.org.uk) so that I can forward on more information or answer any queries.


 
 
 
 
 
 

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Samuel Whitbread Academy E-Newsletter

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Samuel Whitbread Academy
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