Headteacher's update 3
Published on 24/04/20
I hope you and your family are well. Thank you for your continued support during these unprecedented times. I hope my message provides you with an insight into all the work that is still taking place in Silverdale – albeit mainly remotely. A small number of staff have been in the school building to look after the children of key workers and some vulnerable students. Everyone else is working from home but continuing to provide the support that our students need.
The month of Ramadan, which this year began on Thursday evening, is considered the holiest of months in the Islamic calendar and sees Muslims fast by not eating or drinking during daylight hours, as well as being a time for charitable giving, prayer and reflection. Ramadan Mubarak to all our students and families who will be observing the Muslim holy month.
As mentioned in my message last week, we are refining the amount of remote learning we set for students. The aim is for each subject to have 30 minutes of work per scheduled lesson, with the option to also undertake 30 minutes of extension work. It may be that it takes a student the whole hour to complete the main piece of work – that is fine. And, if you and your child are happy for them to do the main piece of work and then do something else for the rest of the hour, such as reading, exercising, listening to music, etc then that is fine too.
Please appreciate that we are trying to cater for everyone. Some parents have said that they want enough work to be set to fill every hour. Some have said that their child is getting anxious about not finishing work in the time set. Our main priority is our students’ wellbeing. We appreciate that every child’s situation is different – both in terms of their own learning, but also their situation at home. That is why we have taken this more flexible approach. If your child has a problem with a particular task, please encourage them to contact their subject teacher for advice and then move onto a different task or subject.
The other change is that we are moving to setting all home learning on the Google Classroom website. If you need further information about this then please see the IT Support page on our website at: https://www.silverdale-chorustrust.org/itsupport
I strongly recommend watching this video produced specifically for our school, which shows you how to use Google Classroom. Both staff and parents who have already seen it have commented that it has taught them some useful tips that they were previously unaware of - even though they have been using Google Classroom for some time.
For those who do not have access to a computer we have also been sending work via the post. You may have seen the government announce that they will be providing IT and internet equipment for disadvantaged students. We have not been provided with information yet about how this will work but we will share it with you as soon as we have it.
Achievement Points and Rewards
We want to recognise and reward the exceptional hard work of students in these exceptional circumstances, just as we do when school is open. We also want to provide an incentive for students who might be struggling for motivation.
That is why, from Monday 27th April, teachers will be awarding an achievement point each time they receive a piece of completed work. Every two weeks, students’ points will be totalled and the student with the most submissions and the student who has improved the most since last time in each year group will be rewarded. Their key stage teams will be in touch to offer them the choice of 2 different rewards:
- 1 month Audible subscription
- £10 National Book Token
We would like to say a big thank you to the Silverdale PTA for their hard work in raising the funds to make these rewards possible.
Support for Students
Our Form Teachers are contacting all the students in their form every two weeks, to check in with them and see how they are getting on, and point them towards further help or support if they need it.
We also have a range of wellbeing resources available on our website. This includes some new resource packs created by professionals in Sheffield. I strongly recommend looking at them as they contain lots of activities that students can undertake to support their wellbeing - they are the first two items (the Resource Pack and the Self-Care Kit), at the top of this page:https://www.silverdale-chorustrust.org/studentwellbeing
As ever, if you have any questions, please get in touch with our Pastoral Managers in the Key Stage offices, in the first instance. Their contact details are:
- Year 7: email@example.com
- Year 8 and Year 9: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Years 10 and Year 11: email@example.com
- Years 12 and Year 13: SixthForm@silverdale-chorustrust.org
Our SENCO, Mr Dalrymple, has put together SEND support packs for both students and parents. They can be found on our new webpage for SEND support during lockdown: https://www.silverdale-chorustrust.org/sendsupportinlockdown
He and his team will be updating this page further with more resources over the coming weeks.
A reminder to try and keep an eye on what your child is accessing online, given the increased time they are spending on the internet. I appreciate that this is difficult, especially when you may have lots of other responsibilities, but I feel it’s too important not to mention. There are some excellent resources on our wellbeing page about this at: https://www.silverdale-chorustrust.org/studentwellbeing
Free School Meals
Chorus Education Trust is committed to the government voucher scheme and our school has been working with the provider, Edenred, to ensure that redemption codes are emailed to those families on free school meals on a regular basis.
We appreciate that parents are finding it difficult and time consuming to access the Edenred website and redeem their codes for supermarket vouchers. This is a national scheme run by the government, not the school, and as such there is significant demand on Edenred’s website. Please be patient when trying to access the site.
Please be aware we cannot redeem the vouchers for you, or alter email addresses that a code has already been issued to. Please regularly check your email spam and junk folders as the email may go in there depending on your security filters.
Further information on the scheme, a link to the provider's website and FAQ information is on the school website at: https://www.silverdale-chorustrust.org/freeschoolmeals
Year 9 Students’ Options
Despite the lockdown, we have still managed to provide Year 9 students with details of their options for next year. They were sent details directly via their school email account and parents were sent some supporting information. Any queries should go to the Key Stage 3 office: firstname.lastname@example.org
Year 11 Students
We will be writing to Year 11 students and their families in the coming few weeks with further information about their next steps. One thing we can confirm is that GCSE results day will be the same: Thursday 20 August.
For those trips cancelled and or taking place pre school lockdown, we is currently pursuing insurance claims for these. Obviously travel insurers have a significant backlog of claim requests currently, but as soon as we receive a response and/or refund from our insurers we will advise parents accordingly and/or issue refunds as soon as practically possible, once insurers have confirmed they consider our claim to be valid.
For all other trips that were due to take place after the school lockdown, the Trust has taken the view that all trips for the rest of this academic year will not go ahead. Where we can negotiate moving these trips in to the new academic year we will try to do so (for example, Duke of Edinburgh). Where this is not practical and or possible because of the nature or timing of the trip, we will pursue the tour provider and/or our insurer for a refund of monies paid to date.
Please be patient with us as we try to unpick the legalities of this unprecedented situation with our providers. We ask that parents do not pay any more money to school for any trips for the remainder of this academic year and we will be in contact with parents of students on planned trips as soon as we have more information.
Community Food Bank
A community food bank has been set up by Madina Masjid Sheffield in partnership with Ship Shape. It provides a weekly service with essential items (including rice, bread, butter, flour, pasta, toiletries, tinned items and much more) to support the most vulnerable within our community.
To access simply text or call the number below to arrange a collection or suitable delivery time.
If you wish to donate to support them, it would be hugely appreciated.
For more info contact Faisal on 07594 690 436.
Thank you for your continued support and I hope you all get to enjoy some time together in the sun this weekend.
With very best wishes,
Mrs Sarah Sims
Head of Silverdale School
PS. Don’t forget that all the information we are providing during lockdown is available on our website in the Virtual School section. This is highlighted on our homepage but can also be found via this link: https://www.silverdale-chorustrust.org/virtualschool