Blog week ending 15th January

Posted on: 15/01/2021

Screen shot 2020 07 17 at 085005As we end the second week of remote learning I wanted to begin by congratulating all of the students, parents and staff for their incredible work in ensuring that learning continues to happen and progress continues to be made, that is not to be underestimated in the current conditions and is testament to the shared values of our community and the desire to support one another.  I have been overwhelmed by the number of emails, letters and phone calls that have been made to the school thanking us for all our work, we appreciate every one, and I very much enjoy sharing them with the staff.  My thanks for the time taken in writing to us.  We would like to equally say thank you and well done to all of you for the wonderful job you are doing in supporting your daughters and sons, but also one another.

Working online and through TEAMS is an excellent resource but as I have reminded the staff we are all learning to do school in a completely new way, not everything will always work or go smoothly.  This is also very true for the students and so can I remind you to be kind to yourself and recognise that there are times you might need help or things don’t work as you had planned.  We are all life-long learners and this current journey is a shared one, so help one another out and recognise that not everything has to be perfect.  We will continue to move things forward and adapt with what is working and what doesn’t and we appreciate your patience as we do that.  Do remember that working on screen and through social media does raise anxiety levels as everything is very much closer and invades your space, so if you feel overwhelmed at times it is important to just step away from the screen, take a breath and let the anxiety settle.  We are here to support you and so if you are struggling then let us know.

As a staff body we have worked tirelessly to adapt and evolve our teaching methods and the treatment of the curriculum to provide first class online lessons to all year groups.  All best practice and shared learnings are used across our staff, to ensure we are delivering the best, and most interactive and engaging learning experiences for our students.  I have seen many examples of creative thinking from both students and staff alike which allow students to work together on topics to provide peer interaction during lessons.  For example, Miss Redsell used ‘sticky notes’ on the white board for her Y10 Geographers to contribute their views regarding “goods and services in the rainforest.”

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In addition to online live lessons Y12 EPQ (Extended Project Qualification) students are working independently to complete a 6000 word higher level dissertation. Mrs Byham is impressed with the level of commitment and output.  100% of the class logged on to complete a virtual lesson on referencing and correct use of citations to avoid plagiarism.  Students have selected a wide range of fascinating and complex issues for their projects, titles include;

  • To what extent has climate change impacted on the Earths eco systems?
  • Why should the international community invest in the reduction of orbital debris and how can this be achieved?
  • To what extent do socio-economic factors affect mental wellbeing in the UK?
  • What are the factors that influence the gender imbalance in STEM careers

The benefits of undertaking an EPQ are many; allowing you the opportunity to choose a subject to study based on your personal interests as well as developing valuable skills that both employers and universities value such as research skills, time management and presentation skills.

Mr Atkins Y8 History students have been expressing and sharing views using interactive tools during an online discussion during lessons.

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Our MFL students have also been utilising the various interactive tools available during TEAMS lessons.  Below, our Year 7 students have been practising their mandarin language skills via digital whiteboard.  Additionally, Mr Dufton Head of MFL commented “I’ve been very impressed with our MFL students who are working brilliantly at the moment and have been especially impressed with our Year 11s’ resolve given how uncertain the details of their examinations are at the moment.

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Our Year 11 students have been meeting with members of our senior leadership team in order to discuss their next steps, A level choices and any concerns they have. The meetings are taking place until the 18th January via Teams and Parents are welcome to attend the meetings with their daughters if they wish to do so.  We hope that continuing with these meetings will give you an opportunity to discuss your next steps with us and we look forward to meeting with you.

I am delighted to share the news that we have finalised the arrangements with Christ Church University and an organisation called Brightside who will be setting up a virtual mentor for every Y11 student so that they will have someone working with them for the next 12 weeks to support them.  The mentoring will be for all our Y11 students at WGSG and at WGSB.  Further details on the scheme will be shared with all Y11 families next week.

PFA Announcement!  We are delighted to be launching ‘The BIG virtual quiz night in’.  The event is an excellent opportunity for family and friends to get together (albeit virtually) and have fun during the lockdown period, whilst helping us raise monies for the school. Teams can be a minimum of 4 players, up to a maximum of 8. There will be prizes for the winning (and losing) team. The Quiz is suitable for secondary school age children as well as adults. Tickets are £5.00 per adult and £4.00 per student. To join, please complete and return the booking form below by no later than 4th February

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Wellbeing.  Many of us are experiencing difficult feelings and emotions about COVID, and so it’s only natural that it might affect our mental health in different ways. Across our school staff are incorporating activities to boost wellbeing such as Mrs Carwithen, who uses her Friday form time to take a desk yoga session with her Year 7 students (and their families!)  Desk yoga can help with posture, and help you feel more comfortable as you work as well as helping you feel focused and relaxed.  

Mrs Carwithen added “wellbeing is incredibly important.  More than ever, my students and I are spending whole working days at our computers or hunched over tablet devices.  How many of us have created a risk assessment for our home workspaces?  I personally start to stiffen towards the end of the working week.  Form time desk yoga aims to give you a break from your screen, have a stretch and remind ourselves of good posture.  This will reduce the chances of neck and back pain and will help prevent strain related injuries.”  

Do your own home risk assessment: https://www.hse.gov.uk/toolbox/workers/home.htm

Try your own desk yoga: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAUf7aajBWE&t=3s

We realise that families have a number of conflicting demands on time and resource, be assured that our staff are available to support students with their lessons or offer additional support as if we were in school.  If you have any questions or concerns please contact your daughter/son’s form tutor or student manager.

Student Managers

Years 7, 8 & 9 - Miss Little, elittle@wgsg.co.uk

Years 10 & 11 - Mrs Pike, CPike@wgsg.co.uk

SEN – Mrs Pritchard epritchard@wgsg.co.uk

Online Resources.  The Children’s Society have lots of useful hints and tips on mental resilience and some useful well-being activities or you could sign up to Kooth or Young Minds for further support.

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During lockdown I will be sharing a blog with you every three weeks, if there is anything you would like to submit for inclusion, please email Miss Wellcoat in the first instance gwellcoat@endeavour-mat.co.uk

Best wishes,

Michelle Lawson

Head Teacher

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