Thank you for all your support in helping us administer the Year 12 assessment fortnight. Whilst these will not be used in the usual way, they will greatly support teachers in their planning for the weeks ahead and make sure that lesson and private study activities are targeted to the development of the individuals. We very much appreciate the additional stress students may have been under and truly value the support they will have received at home to overcome this.
With that period complete, we now look forward to returning to a more structured lesson timetable and would ask you to encourage students back into that routine, checking go4schools daily and ensuring any work deadlines are met. With that in mind, we have a number of messages to share in this week's Newsletter.
As you are aware, all our students were asked to complete a wellbeing survey last week. We received 119 responses out of 171 in Year 12 (letters will be sent this week to the parents of all students who didn't respond). Students who completed the survey will receive some individual feedback this week but there were 3 specific areas that were a recurring theme:
1) Virtual lesson
Many platforms have hit the news recently as a means for businesses to continue remotely. Some students enquired about whether these could be used for lessons. Whilst this may seem a good solution to remote learning it has significant logistical issues that would prevent it from being an efficient way of replacing classroom lessons. We cannot guarantee the availability of students or staff at a specific time. This is due to the additional commitments of being at home and the need to share resources needed for these sessions with others in the household, if they are available at all, and could put a number of students, who are unable to access these sessions at an even greater disadvantage. The current way of working requires only minimal technology and affords the flexibility required to ensure all students have the opportunity to access work at a suitable time to them.
2) The Volume of Work Set
Students have commented that they feel they have more work set than they would normally have in a 50-minute lesson. This is a new scenario for staff as well, and we cannot get it perfect every time. However, we do have to ensure that we maintain the pace that would be taught in school. It may well be that staff are setting additional reading and practice to give students the best chance of cementing understanding without their direct input. In addition, please remember that we would ordinarily set a minimum of 2 hours of homework or directed study for students outside lessons each week (just to keep students on track when in school) so this has to be factored in, as well as any wider reading, private study or revision that students would ordinarily take on voluntarily to extend themselves. It is a very difficult balance and one that is under continual review, but if you have any specific questions please contact the subject teacher directly in the first instance or myself (Mr Brackstone, Head of Year 12) for support with managing your time and workload.
3) When will we receive help on university/apprenticeship applications and personal statements?
Students have been receiving support in this area throughout the year and will continue in tutor period virtual lessons. It is vital that all students engage with this in the same way as other lessons (every Wednesday). Please see the separate article on tutor periods.
Thank you for supporting and encouraging your son/daughter to complete the assessments over the last couple of weeks. The main purpose of this exercise was to identify any gaps in students' knowledge and understanding and to provide feedback on examination technique. Staff have been given the deadline of the 25th May to provide feedback to students. Using this feedback, students will be expected to complete a 'Passport to Year 13 Action Plan' (Staff will provide templates for this). The Action Plan will help students to identify what they need to do to address any weaknesses and demonstrate that they have acted on the teacher's feedback.
Prior to the school closure, there was a report due to be published on the 18th May to share the Trial Exam results. As these exams have not taken place, this report will not be required. Therefore, the next report for Year 12 will be a full written report, which will be published on the 6th July.
Throughout the year, during tutor period lessons, students have been asked to reflect on their strengths and areas for development, make strategic targets, as well as working on the skills required to develop a growth mindset and their future employability.
In addition, students have been asked to research their future pathways by considering University courses, apprenticeships, and gap year opportunities on the Unifrog platform. Using the templates and support materials provided, students have also been asked to produce a draft personal statement for their tutors to review. This was further supported by the workshops at the Higher Education and Apprenticeship Information evening.
Prior to Easter, students were provided with two further opportunities to both reflect on where they had got up to, and also to start to plan for what their next steps would be considering the current situation.
We are now in a position where I would expect most students to have an idea of what their next step may be. Students should already have made shortlists on the Unifrog platform, and I would now be asking them to whittle this down to the five University courses or an array of apprenticeship options they may wish to apply for. To support this, students should now be looking at what providers have now put in place in the way of virtual open days, webinars and similar online-based information events. Please see the UCAS site for a list of virtual opportunities https://www.ucas.com/undergraduate/what-and-where-study/open-days-and-events/virtual-tours
The next step is for students to start fine-tuning their personal statement so that it is relevant to their chosen area of future study and employment. We will build on the information already in place and provide further resources to support this in future Wednesday tutor period sessions.
Students can search for courses that commence in 2021 through UCAS from the 5th May and they will be able to register their application form from the 19th May. Screenshots of this process will be provided nearer to this date.
Mr Brackstone, Head of Year 12
Mrs Collier from the LRC has created a wonderful Padlet with lots of resources, activities, quizzes and sources of information that hopefully you will find helpful during the lockdown. If you have any suggestions for any useful items which could be added, then please contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you to her colleague Sharon Corbally for the original padlet outline.
Follow the link below:
Check out this image to see the vast amount of content included: