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Safeguarding Update Letter, 30 April 2020

posted May 1, 2020, 3:12 AM by Mark Giudici

Dear Parents/Carers, 

 

The reason I am writing to you is because you may be aware of the recent fatal stabbing of a young father in Smethwick.  Unfortunately, the attack was recorded and the clip has been shared widely on various forms of social media. We are extremely thankful that no Holyhead students were involved but some of our students may have received this clip and may have even viewed it online.  This is a very disturbing video, and I urge you to be vigilant in relation to your child's online activity.  If you know that your child has been affected by this, please do not hesitate to get in touch with a Designated Safeguarding Lead via enquiry@holyheadschool.org.uk or with me, using ddenny@holyheadschool.org.uk directly. The Police have asked members of the public not to watch the video.  Having seen it ourselves, we echo this sentiment.  Sadly, this incident is accompanied by two other serious incidents in the locality and in the context of growing concerns about increases in the Handsworth crime rate during lockdown.  It appears that criminals are taking advantage of the current situation.  Please, please keep your children at home and comply with the Government instructions about staying at home.  We want everyone in the Holyhead community to remain safe. 

 

Following this, I have been in communication with civic leaders and members of the community who are expressing concerns about compliance with social distancing measures within the Handsworth area.  The local streets seem extremely busy. 

 

In summary, our advice is as follows;

 

  • Follow the Government guidelines and stay inside unless it is absolutely necessary to go out - see www.gov.uk

  • Be vigilant on how your child is accessing social media - www.gov.uk/www.nspcc.org.uk

  • Talk to your child to see if they are concerned about anything, or report your concern to a member of staff

  • Refer to the Holyhead Safeguarding page for other agency contact details

  • Signpost your child to the student wellbeing page where there is various information on mental and emotional wellbeing

  • Alternatively call Birmingham Children’s Services(0121 303 1888) or the Police (101) if you are concerned about a child’s safety. Thank you for your continued support,

 

Yours faithfully,

 

D Denny                                                       

Mrs D Denny                                                                                Mr R Trafford

Designated Safeguarding Lead                                                   Principal

Reading Week - W/C Monday 4th of May 2020

posted May 1, 2020, 2:56 AM by Mark Giudici

Dear parents/carers,

During the week beginning Monday 4th of May 2020, we are launching Holyhead Reading Week 2020. 

When students log-in to the Google Classrooms they have become accustomed to, they will find recommendations left by their class teachers. I am pleased to announce that we have invested in a platform that makes thousands of E-books, audio books, comics and graphic novels available to our students for FREE! Instructions of how to download the app have been emailed directly to students. There is also information and instructions available on the school website. For those students who have let us know they are struggling with IT access, we have written a letter explaining the option to pick up books from school. They can download the app and read the material on their phone. 

Why is parental support with Reading Week so important? 

According to the International Reading Association (Moore et al., 1999, p. 3): 

           Adolescents entering the adult world in the 21st century will read and write more than at any other time in human history. They will need advanced levels of literacy to perform their jobs, run their households, act as citizens, and conduct their personal lives. They will need literacy to cope with the flood of information they will find everywhere they turn. They will need literacy to feed their imaginations so they can create the world of the future. In a complex and sometimes even dangerous world, their ability to read can be crucial. 


Literacy has benefits for mental wellbeing.  Did you know that reading and writing can be beneficial to your child’s wellbeing, and help them have a happy and healthy outlook on life? 

National Literacy Trust research shows that children who enjoy reading are three times more likely to have good mental wellbeing than children who don’t enjoy reading. 

  • If your child is facing a particular problem, reading a book that covers the subject could help. It can help them make sense of what they are going through, and feel that they are not alone. 

  • You don’t have to be a great reader yourself. Audio books are a great way to enjoy stories and still gain all the benefits associated. 

  • Picture books can be a great way of talking about difficult topics with children. They can even work well for older kids. 

  • Getting lost in a good book can be a great way for a child to forget about stress and worry. It’s also a great way for a child to develop empathy skills and understand other points of view. 

  • Reading a funny book could make your child laugh and feel happier. Reading books together is a great way to share a positive experience with your child. 

  • Reading before bedtime is a great way to switch off from the day. A relaxing read before bedtime could help your child prepare for a good night’s sleep and wake up refreshed. 

There are also enormous benefits on the development of literacy which has a positive impact on a child’s overall academic achievement. 

During this week, students are not required to read a book from every subject. That is not possible. 

They need to try each of the teacher recommendations and get a feel for what they might enjoy or what peaks their interest. We will follow this up with some activities and a competition, the following week.

Please get involved and lend us your support. Never has reading been more important and the horrible circumstances in which we find ourselves, present an opportunity to do something positive and productive. 

Please let us know if you have any questions and please visit the school website. 

Best wishes,

Ross Trafford

Principal
Holyhead School

Letter - 21st April 2020

posted Apr 21, 2020, 3:40 AM by Mark Giudici

Dear Parents/Carers,

I hope that this letter finds you and your families well. As we begin the Summer Term, we have updated the Google Classroom activities so that students can continue to interact with staff between the hours of 8.40am – 2.30pm. The Google Classrooms will close for staff at 12.40pm on a Friday.

I would like to use this first week to remind you of our expectations which may not be the same as other schools. I have referred to these in previous letters but have created a guide that is attached to this letter. In summary, we don’t want you to stress about school work. All students will catch up when we return. The curriculum and lesson plans will be adapted in order to do this. It’s what we do best and as educators, we will ensure that this prolonged period closure has no detrimental effect on any child’s education. No student is ahead and none is behind. They are exactly where they need to be. All we ask from you is that you share your calm, your laughter and your reassurance. We also ask that you get them to do the activities that we place on Google Classroom not because we are asking you to teach them. We want them to do the activities because they are designed to keep students interested in the learning within their subjects and to retain a ‘thirst’ for learning new things, increasing their academic knowledge and building new skills. It’s this appetite for learning that we all need to keep alive if we are to stay on track as I described above.

Learning can take many forms including reading a book. We are preparing for a reading week to start week beginning 4t​ h May. More details about this will follow. Learning also extends beyond the subjects and our student portal is full of activities to engage and inspire students. Many of them can involve the whole family and will show students around virtual tours of museums, zoos and other cultural experiences. There are also ideas for learning something new and activities that will keep them off depressing news feeds or excessive social media. Get them to show you the Student Portal when they next log-in.

One of the most valuable forms of learning we promote at Holyhead is that of character development. We ask students to improve personal attributes such as Leadership, Organisation, Resilience, Initiative and Communication. Students know these as the LORIC values. We also work hard to try and positively shape behaviour and attitudes as we insist upon high standards in relation to Respect, Excellence and Responsibilities. We would like to incorporate these at home but whatever values you choose, we would like you to make this part of their learning. Asking them to take responsibility for tasks around the home is vitally important.

As I have said before, you are and will always be your child’s best educator. We are here to support you and help you access resources and support where you need it.

As highlighted in the online assembly I published before Easter, social/emotional health and mental health and wellbeing is our primary concern. This assembly contains advice on coping strategies and signposts additional support. I am happy to re-publish if parents/carers feel it would be beneficial. In addition to this, we have a student-wellbeing page on the Student Portal and are available by phone and email. The Department for Education’s recently published guidance entitled “What parents and carers need to know about schools and education during the coronavirus outbreak” can be found on the gov.uk/education website.

To reinforce this, we encourage students to try and keep some form of routine such as following the school timetable. They should resist spending too much time on individual subjects. We recognise they have ‘favourites’, it is important that their education has breadth and variety.

They should also get plenty of sleep and get up at a reasonable hour. We are also encouraging regular, daily exercise but in line with the Public Health advice and guidance that applies during ‘lockdown’.

If you are experiencing issues with technology, we still have an IT Support Team in place. We have a waiting list for laptop loans and we have printed packs of learning resources available that can be extended and supplemented upon request. We are awaiting a delivery of laptops which we will sell at cost price as soon as they arrive. We believe that we have sourced the most cost effective laptops available and we are looking at government finance schemes. Thank you for your patience if you have been without use of a laptop or home computer. Keep talking to us about how we might be able to help you.

Following recent celebrations of Easter and Vaisakhi, we want to express our warmest wishes to all those families entering the month of Ramadan this week.

Please have a look at the daily briefing for students and parents by following the link on the homepage of the website. This includes specific advice and support but also contains important updates about 2020 GCSE and A Level examinations. You can also find the latest edition of our termly ‘Pulse ‘magazine.

Finally, please continue to comply with the Government’s safety advice. Stay safe and rest assured that you are in our thoughts and prayers.

Thank you for your continued support and best wishes

Ross Trafford
Principal

Holyhead School update on Exam Cancellations and Predicted Grades

posted Mar 23, 2020, 9:09 AM by J Grant   [ updated Mar 23, 2020, 9:16 AM ]

Please take some time to read the updated guidance in the link below, that we are sending out about the Government's decision on Friday 20th March to cancel the summer exams, and the practical implications for us at Holyhead while we wait for further details and confirmation of how the grading system will work Ofqual. We fully understand that many parents/carers and students are concerned and worried, wanting definitive answers about what is going to happen, and how the system will work, unfortunately though these answers from the Government aren't available to us yet.

Once the Government/Ofqual give us further information and some certainty of how the system will work, we will update you, however, in the meantime, our messages for students are to try not to worry about what might happen and focus on doing the best you can with the work that teachers are setting.

Holyhead response to Ofqual’s statement on predicted grades / assessments following the cancellation of the Summer 2020 exam series (Monday 23rd March)

ABSENCE MONITORING

posted Mar 23, 2020, 4:28 AM by Mark Giudici

ABSENCE MONITORING

All student absences need to be reported via ParentMail. You need to do this in order to stop teachers contacting your child to discuss non-completion of work. If they are not ill, they should be completing work. We will issue negative MyPoints and contact home for all students not doing the work set. We want to avoid unnecessary offence. Please make sure you let us know if your child is ill. We will pass this on to their teachers.

As you are aware the school is 'closed to students' from an educational perspective until further notice (except children of Key Workers as per Government guidelines).

We do understand that many parents will be working from home and home learning will look very different to school. Teachers are planning to work to provide some stability for both students and parents and they will be working on this on a daily basis. We cannot emphasise enough on how the immediate priority must be the mental and physical health and wellbeing of all members of the household.

We fully understand that this is a period of huge social upheaval.

Students have had assemblies last week explaining the arrangements in detail.

Students are to complete homework set by Subject Teachers on Google Classroom between 8.40am to 3.20pm Monday to Friday (please make sure your child is taking frequent breaks in between).

Should your child be unable to complete their homework everyday from Monday to Friday due to illness, symptoms of Coronavirus or any other reasons please report the reason via ParentMail on the absence section.

If you are not registered, please email enquiry@holyheadschool.org.uk with below details and we will send you a link to register:

* Your child's name

* Year

* Your email address

This will enable us to ensure your child is receiving the right educational needs whilst at home

If you child does not have access to a laptop/ PC or internet, please email enquiry@holyheadschool.org.uk as a matter of urgency so we can arrange for a pack to be collected from school.

Message From

Holyhead School

National Online Safety Guides for Parents/Carers

posted Mar 19, 2020, 7:48 AM by J Grant   [ updated Mar 19, 2020, 7:54 AM ]

With the Government announcement of school closures from Monday and schools moving to online learning, it is important to provide support for parents/carers in helping to keep children safe while online.

Please take some time to look at the safety guides produced by National Online Safety, they are designed to help adults to understand the online world. They can also be found in the Safeguarding section of the Parents/Carers tab of the website.
https://docs.google.com/a/holyheadschool.org.uk/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=aG9seWhlYWRzY2hvb2wub3JnLnVrfHNjaG9vbHdlYnNpdGV8Z3g6NzI5Mjc4Y2FkNWI0MjRjZA
https://docs.google.com/a/holyheadschool.org.uk/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=aG9seWhlYWRzY2hvb2wub3JnLnVrfHNjaG9vbHdlYnNpdGV8Z3g6NGVlZDZmMTZiYzU5YjVlMw
https://docs.google.com/a/holyheadschool.org.uk/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=aG9seWhlYWRzY2hvb2wub3JnLnVrfHNjaG9vbHdlYnNpdGV8Z3g6NjU5MDBhYzNhZDE5NWIzOA
https://docs.google.com/a/holyheadschool.org.uk/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=aG9seWhlYWRzY2hvb2wub3JnLnVrfHNjaG9vbHdlYnNpdGV8Z3g6OWZmYzRmMWVhNDE3OGFi
https://docs.google.com/a/holyheadschool.org.uk/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=aG9seWhlYWRzY2hvb2wub3JnLnVrfHNjaG9vbHdlYnNpdGV8Z3g6MzdhZDg3ZTExNTJhZWJkMA
https://docs.google.com/a/holyheadschool.org.uk/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=aG9seWhlYWRzY2hvb2wub3JnLnVrfHNjaG9vbHdlYnNpdGV8Z3g6MWYwODliZDQzZjg2YTg4Mg
https://docs.google.com/a/holyheadschool.org.uk/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=aG9seWhlYWRzY2hvb2wub3JnLnVrfHNjaG9vbHdlYnNpdGV8Z3g6NzA4ZTVhYzI5N2I1OTMzYQ
https://docs.google.com/a/holyheadschool.org.uk/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=aG9seWhlYWRzY2hvb2wub3JnLnVrfHNjaG9vbHdlYnNpdGV8Z3g6YWNkODIyYTM5YzE4MTQ4
https://docs.google.com/a/holyheadschool.org.uk/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=aG9seWhlYWRzY2hvb2wub3JnLnVrfHNjaG9vbHdlYnNpdGV8Z3g6MzkwYzRhZTY0ZjQxOWZiOA
https://docs.google.com/a/holyheadschool.org.uk/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=aG9seWhlYWRzY2hvb2wub3JnLnVrfHNjaG9vbHdlYnNpdGV8Z3g6MzE1MjhjM2EyNTE5MjhlYg
   

Enforced closure of Holyhead School from Monday 23 March 2020 until further notice

posted Mar 19, 2020, 4:19 AM by J Grant   [ updated Mar 19, 2020, 4:20 AM ]

Dear Parents/Carers,

Following the Government announcement on 18/03/2020 and further to my previous correspondence, it is with great regret that I confirm we are closing to most students from 23/03/2020 until further notice.

Please ensure you are continually checking the website for updates. This will also include how to manage the arrangements for students receiving Free School Meals and for those who do not have ICT access at home. Crucially, it also gives instructions on how to manage ‘Google Classrooms’, the school’s virtual learning environment.

We have been responding to changing Government advice as soon as it is released. I would like to thank you for your patience and understanding. We have been just as frustrated as you are.

Some form of on-site education is available for the children of parents/carers who meet the ‘Key Worker’ definition that will be released by the Cabinet Office. We will publish this list on the school website as soon as it becomes available. The current definition lists NHS staff, the Police and food delivery drivers.

Please contact us using enquiry@holyheadschool.org.uk if you meet this definition and would like us to register your child for on-site education.

We will be contacting the parents of vulnerable students with the offer of the same provision.

You have received a revised Home: School Agreement and combined with the advice we have posted on the school website, this should enable us to work together proactively.

We are now operating as a ‘virtual school’ with staff and students using Google Classroom to follow their normal timetables.

There are unprecedented times. We will face them with determination and compassion.

Yours faithfully,

Ross Trafford
Principal

Parental Communication regarding Holyhead School and the COV-ID 19 virus

posted Mar 18, 2020, 8:38 AM by J Grant   [ updated Mar 18, 2020, 8:39 AM ]

Dear Parents/Carers,


Thank you for your continued support. Your cooperation and understanding has made it increasingly possible to manage student/staff safety and continue to provide a good quality education.


I have created a new section on the school website where you can find everything you need in relation to the school's response to the national challenges we are all facing. Please follow the link on the homepage. 


The students who are in attendance today have been informed that the school Website and Twitter account will now act as the main source of communication with parents (assisted by ParentMail). This is where daily announcements will be posted by 7.30 am. Specifically, it will outline which year groups are affected by partial closure. 


The plan as at 18/3/2020 at 12.45 is as follows;


Day

KS3 and KS4

KS5

Thursday 19 March

Closed to Year 8 and Year 9

Year 12 and Year 13 to work from home in the afternoon if they are on 'free' period or their teacher is absent

Friday 20 March

Closed to Year 8 and Year 9

Year 12 and Year 13 to work from home in the afternoon if they are on 'free' period or their teacher is absent




Monday 23 March

Planned for closure to all students except Years 11,12 and 13

*to be confirmed



Please ensure you are continually checking the website for updates. This will also include how to manage the arrangements for students receiving Free School Meals and for those who do not have ICT access at home. Crucially, it also gives instructions on how to manage ‘Google Classrooms’, the schools virtual learning environment. 


We have asked you to respond to a form which replaces the previous Home: School Agreement. It is vital that you complete this. This has been shared via ParentMail. We have also asked that you ensure your contact details are up to date.   


The next request is that you let us know immediately if you are a front line NHS member of staff or care worker. We request that you notify us via our enquiry email address ‘enquiry@holyheadschool.org.uk’  This may mean different arrangements for your child in the event of school closure. 


I am also writing to confirm our plan to close to all staff and students at 2.30pm on Friday 20th March 2020. This early closure is designed to enable staff and students to be able to ensure they secure adequate provisions for members of their family who are over 70 or experience some other form of vulnerability. If their shopping is already completed, it’s a chance to check in on elderly relatives and help around the house. Community and family values have never been so important! It's only one hour but it’s a chance for everyone to focus upon ‘kindness’, something that binds our unique and special community. 


I apologise for the constant communication over recent days. However, I hope you recognise my intention to ensure that the school is prepared for every eventuality and that you as parents/carers, are given every available piece of information to keep your family safe. 


I will write a separate letter should the Government decide to action full school closures.


Yours faithfully,


Ross Trafford

Principal


Emergency School Closure for All Year 12 Students on Wednesday 18th March 2020

posted Mar 17, 2020, 5:58 AM by J Grant   [ updated Mar 17, 2020, 6:01 AM ]

17th March 2020
Dear Parent/Carers,

It is with regret that I have to inform you that we are requesting all Year 12 students to remain at home on Wednesday 18th March 2020.

This is a precautionary measure in case of increased staff absence, following the Government’s announcement last week.

Any staff shortages would mean that we were unable to adequately supervise students at the required ratios. This is not a risk I am willing to take. Year 12 have been chosen because they are old enough to take responsibility for their own learning during time spent at home. They also have increased access to learning resources using their Chromebooks.

We have had a very small number of staff reporting absent today. None have confirmed or suspected cases of Coronavirus. Some have minor flu-like symptoms that the Government are recommending they respond to by self-isolating at home. These are control measures being used as part of the next phase of the Government Action Plan.

At present, there are no plans to extend this measure any further than Monday, but of course, we will keep you updated. Please use the school website and official Twitter feed to stay up-to-date. We will also be communicating via ParentMail.

Thank you for your continued support. There is information via Public Health England or our website.

Please contact us if you require any further information. Sorry for any inconvenience caused.

Yours faithfully,

Mr R Trafford
Principal

Emergency School Closure for All Year 8 and Year 9 Students on Thursday 19th & Friday 20th March 2020

posted Mar 17, 2020, 5:49 AM by J Grant   [ updated Mar 17, 2020, 6:04 AM ]

17th March 2020
Dear Parent/Carers,

It is with regret that I have to inform you that we are requesting all Year 8 and Year 9 students to remain at home on Thursday 19th and Friday 20th March 2020.

This is a precautionary measure in case of increased staff absence, following the Government’s announcement last week.

Any staff shortages would mean that we were unable to adequately supervise students at the required ratios. This is not a risk I am willing to take. Year 8 and Year 9 have been chosen because they are old enough to take responsibility for their own learning during time spent at home. They also have increased access to learning resources using Google Classroom.

We have had a very small number of staff reporting absent today. None have confirmed or suspected cases of Coronavirus. Some have minor flu-like symptoms that the Government are recommending they respond to by self-isolating at home. These are control measures being used as part of the next phase of the Government Action Plan.

At present, there are no plans to extend this measure any further than this week, but of course, we will keep you updated. Please use the school website and official Twitter feed to stay up-to-date. We will also be communicating via ParentMail.

Thank you for your continued support. There is information via Public Health England or our website.

Please contact us if you require any further information. Sorry for any inconvenience caused.

Yours faithfully,

Mr R Trafford
Principal

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