Please read the guidance notes at this link if you think your child or a member of your household has Coronavirus symptoms – please do not send your child to school
Letter from Public Health England – Advice on testing when you have coronavirus symptoms
We know that with students returning to school following such a long period away means there is now the inevitable high volume of colds and other regular childhood infection doing the rounds. The present situation can make it hard to understand the right steps to take, and how to tell if it is a cold or something that requires a test for COVID-19 and a period of isolation. We have received this letter from the NHS that will help you make the right decision about what course of action to take.
THE LATEST WEEKLY UPDATES FROM THE HEADTEACHER CAN BE FOUND IN THE THAMESMEAD TALK NEWSLETTER EMAILED EVERY FRIDAY TO PARENTS AND AT THIS LINK ON THE WEBSITE https://www.thamesmead.surrey.sch.uk/google-drive-newsletter/
Return to school – Final details and webinar link
4th September 2020
Dear Parents and Carers
I hope you have had a good week. It has been a real pleasure to hear the sound of our staff back in Thamesmead’s corridors and classrooms this week, they have been busy preparing for the new school year ahead. We are now really eager to welcome the students back to school from Monday.
Just to remind you that Monday will be Year 7 only and then the rest of the school will be starting the new year with us on Tuesday.
I hope that this letter will clarify any final details you need about our reopening to students. Thank you to the many of you that joined us online last night for our webinar to go over our preparations for this term. If you were not able to attend but would like to watch the webinar the link is now available on our website. This letter repeats some of that information, as not all parents could attend, but we have also addressed some of the questions that arose last night during the event.
We have had to put many changes in place, and do things very differently to normal in order to ensure the school is as safe a place as possible for all members of community, and this means some things are taking longer to sort out. It has been a busy summer for us with the unusual GCSE results situation and some late changes to the Department of Education’s guidance, and we continue to work hard ensuring we are ready to go. We are grateful for your patience and understanding as we do this.
This is a long email but I want to ensure that all parents and carers have received these messages in one form or another. I hope this will answer any questions you may still have outstanding and makes clear to you all arrangements for the term ahead.
Have a wonderful weekend
Ensuring student safety
I wrote to you in July to confirm the steps we were putting in place to ensure the school would be as safe as possible to open to students and staff. I have updated this table to reflect the work we have done over the summer, and any changes. It can be found at the end of the letter.
What to do if your child or a member of your household is unwell.
If your child or a member of your household has symptoms of COVID – 19 please do not send them to school. There are three symptoms you should look for. They are;
- A persistent cough
- A high temperature
- A loss of sense of taste and smell
In this case please check our guidance sheet explaining what to do. It can be found here https://www.thamesmead.surrey.sch.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Guidance-for-Thamesmead-students-and-families-corona-virus-and-self-isolation-1.pdf
There have been reports today that there may be good evidence that vomiting and diarrhoea maybe a symptom of COVID-19 in children. If your child is sick with vomiting and diarrhoea you should not be sending them to school, however we would suggest that you contact NHS direct on 119 and ask if they recommend getting a test done.
Many of you have contacted us with queries about timetables on the portal. One of our measures to limit student contact with others outside of their year group bubbles has been to introduce double lessons. We do not want to make permanent changes to the timetable that could not be undone should the situation improve later in the school year and therefore this means our usual two-week timetable has been extended to a four-week timetable. The use of double lessons means that it will now take a student four weeks to work through their full cycle of lessons rather than two weeks. Unfortunately, this is creating some problems with how the timetable looks in the our portal as it is not set up to manage this unusual format. The students will therefore have their timetable shared with them on their first day with us. If your child has PE on their first day and needs to wear PE Kit we have emailed you individually to let you know. We will have signs showing Years 8-11 where to go for their first period when they arrive with us on Tuesday. Year 7 will be guided to the correct place on their first day.
Timings of the day
I wrote to you at the end of July to explain that we would be introducing a staggered day and start/ finish time so that we could ensure the movement of all our students around the school safely.
I have included these timings again below.
|Arrival and Hand Washing||8:20||8:20||8:20||8:50||8:50|
|KS3 Tutor time||8:30||8:30||8:30|
|KS3: End of day
KS4: Tutor time
|KS4: End of day||15:15||15:15|
We recognise that it is not always possible but ask that you do your best to avoid students arriving very early for school. We cannot provide multiple spaces for students to wait socially distanced from other year groups before school. Once school is open at 8:15am Key Stage 3 students can go straight from hand washing to their form room.
Where Key Stage 4 students cannot avoid arriving early, for example they arrive on the bus, they should go to their playground zone to wait, both have designated seating under the canopy in the Quad. Unfortunately, we cannot supervise and clean additional indoor waiting areas as we are already supervising arrival, hand hygiene routines on arrival etc. There is a limit to what we can do with the staff and space we have. I hope you can understand this.
We will offer Homework Club for each Key Stage 3 Year group. This will run from 2:45pm and is where Key Stage 3 students should go if they need to wait for the bus or an older sibling before going home. However, we need to know how many students will need to use this facility as we must ensure the rooms we use have enough space for the students using it. As Key Stage 4 lessons will run until 3pm we cannot guarantee that there will always be computer access. If your child will need access to Homework Club please can you let us know by e mailing your child’s name and year group, with the days they will be staying to email@example.com . Students who are not booked in will only be allowed to drop in to their designated homework club if there is space. Please only use this if you have no other alternative in these first weeks as we get used to our new timings. We will confirm arrangements for any Key Stage 4 homework support in time.
We wrote to you on Tuesday 1 September explaining our expectations with face coverings. This letter is on our website here https://www.thamesmead.surrey.sch.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Face-coverings-in-school.pdf
|Bring a reusable face covering.||Bring a disposable face covering or bandana.|
|Bring a sealable plastic bag to store it in.||Place it in a pocket or bag, or wear it off the face when not in use.|
|Bring enough face coverings to change them through the day if they are being taken on and off frequently.||Reuse dirty face coverings.|
|Ensure your face covering is plain or a simple pattern.||Please do not wear face coverings with logos, slogans, embellishments or offensive or inappropriate images.|
|Bring a separate face covering to wear on public transport and put it away safely while in school.||Do not wear the same face covering in school that you have worn on public transport.|
|Have your own supply of sanitiser to use when putting on and removing your face mask.||Touch anything after removing your face mask until you have sanitised or washed your hands.|
|Let us know if your child cannot wear a face covering.|
What to bring to School
- Face coverings and a sealable plastic bag
- Hand sanitiser
Pencil case to hold:
- 2 writing pens (in case one runs out!) blue or black ink
- 1 X 4 coloured ink pen
- 2 X HB pencils
- Pack of 10 or 12 colouring pencils
- Pack of highlighters
- Casio fx-83GTX calculator
- Maths compass
- Round bladed paper scissors
- Glue stick
- Whiteboard pen
Items that can be purchased from school in September:
- Casio fx-83GTX calculator
- Stationary pack in a ziplock bag containing:
Inkjoy Black Pen
Scissors (round bladed for paper)
Students should also bring a reading book into school each day.
Transport to School
Government guidance is that where possible public transport should be avoided and walking and cycling is to be encouraged.
Dropping students off
Due to this advice we expect that there will be more students getting lifts to school. Manygate Lane is already congested and, as a result dangerous for our students as they leave. An increase in traffic at the start and end of the day will increase this risk. It will also make it hard for students to social distance if students are all leaving or getting into cars pulled up outside close to the school. Please also be considerate of our neighbours. To support us with this we ask you to drop students off in locations further away from the school.
Our car park will be locked to all traffic from 8:15 to 8:30 and 2:45 to 3:00 as it is being used as a thoroughfare so that our students can be kept socially distant as they enter school.
If travelling by public transport students need to follow social distancing rules and wear a face covering if they are over 11 years of age. Students should sanitise or wash their hands after travelling. They should bring a fresh covering to wear in school that has not been worn on public transport.
Students using the school bus will need to take care when travelling to;
- Wear a face covering
- Take care when queuing and boarding to respect social distancing and to keep a good distance from others wherever possible.
- Sit only with students in their year group bubbles.
- Sanitise their hands when boarding and leaving the bus. Sanitiser will be available on the bus.
Bus timetables have been changed to match our staggered day. Bus timetables can be found on the school website here https://www.thamesmead.surrey.sch.uk/transport-to-school/
The bus company has requested that students have the correct change for their bus fare.
Arrival and Departure and Year Group Bubble Zones
Each year group have their own entrance/ exit and playground zones. This is to reduce interaction between year groups and support social distancing.
Colour coding and coloured arrows will guide students to their zone.
Zones and colour coding have been shared with you in the student guide emailed to you on Wednesday 3rd September and linked below. Each student will be given a coloured badge to wear on their blazer that will help make it easy for us to identify which zone and entrance they need to use and guide them to it.
We want students to spend as much of their break and lunch outside in the fresh air. It is known that the risk of transmission is much lower outside. In case of bad weather we have identified indoor spaces for each year group to use, but we will only use these when weather is severe. Therefore, as the weather gets colder students should consider wearing coats to school or bring umbrellas for light rain. Please make sure your child’s coat and umbrella is clearly named.
Food will be available to students to buy. Students must ensure that their card is loaded with money at home as we cannot use the machines in school.
Year 7, 8 and 9 will have access to the canteen.
Year 10 and 11 will have access to the Pod in the Quad.
Hot food is available from both. All year groups have access to covered seating at break and lunch time if they are eating hot food.
Students should bring a water bottle with enough water to last for the day. Water fountains are contact risks and we have switched them off. We make jugs of water available to each year group at lunch time they can refill bottles with, as used jugs can be washed frequently after use.
|DfE expectation||Steps we have put in place|
|1) minimise contact with individuals who are unwell by ensuring that those who have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, or who have someone in their household who does, do not attend school||We have been communicating regularly with you about what to do if a student has been in contact with someone with COVID symptoms. We will maintain this communication.|
|2) Where recommended, use of face coverings in schools||We expect all students, staff and visitors to wear a face covering in all communal interior spaces. This includes corridors, the dining hall, and reception. Students and staff may choose to wear face coverings in classrooms and outdoors if they wish.|
|3) clean hands thoroughly more often than usual
|We have set up wash stations and sanitising stations across the school. We have made use of classroom sinks for hand washing. We have turned of hand driers and replaced with paper towels. We have opened up staff toilets and decommissioned toilets for students to use. We have clear signage around the school about good hand hygiene. We have installed hand sanitiser stations across the school.
Further for September – Over the summer we have installed 64 hand sanitiser stations. Break and lunch time will be longer allowing plenty of time for handwashing. Arrival times are planned to allow students time to wash hands before school.
|4) ensure good respiratory hygiene by promoting the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach||All classrooms have tissues for student use, we have placed lidded bins in all rooms, we have displayed signage reminding all in school about this. We have cleaning kits in each classroom.|
|5) introduce enhanced cleaning, including cleaning frequently touched surfaces often, using standard products such as detergents and bleach||We have a daytime cleaning service to clean frequently touched surfaces. We have cleaning kits in each room. We have wipes in spots where surfaces may be touched more often.
Any room used is cleaned thoroughly at the end of the day.
Students will be asked to wipe down their work stations after they have used them. They will be able to sanitise them before use as well if they wish.
Further for September – we have increased our cleaning service. We will have cleaning routines for frequently used shared kit such as PE equipment, tools or musical instruments.
|6) minimise contact between individuals and maintain social distancing wherever possible||We encourage 2 metres social distancing in our corridors and open spaces and this is marked out.
We have put students in bubbles and have kept them separate through use of staggered arrivals/ breaks and departures. Students use dedicated entrances, toilets and playground areas for their bubble.
We have kept bubbles in specific rooms for the day.
We have put a one-way system into place.
|7) where necessary, wear appropriate PPE
|This is if a student or member of staff is unwell with COVID19 symptoms in the school day. We have supplies of the necessary PPE to deal with such a situation safely.|
Return to school (PART 2) – Student and Parent information booklet
Return to school (PART 1) – webinar invitation
|1st September 2020
Dear Parents and Carers
I hope you have all had enjoyable summers and your families remain safe and well.
We are ready for the new school year and looking forward to welcoming the students to school after such a long period of time with only small numbers of students in the school.
To remind you;
Monday 7th September – Year 7 only start at 8:20am
Tuesday 8th September – Year 7, 8 and 9 start at 8:20am
Year 10 and 11 start at 8.50am
Please remember that your child should not attend school if they have any COVID-19 symptoms or have been required to isolate for a period of time after being in contact with a confirmed case or returning from a country where a period of quarantine is required. The guidelines on what you should do if you think someone in your household may have COVID-19 symptoms are always at the top of this page.
It is also vital that you check we have up to date contact details for you in case we need you to come and collect your child. Please take a moment to check the Parent Portal to see that we have correct mobile telephone numbers. It is particularly important that we have a second contact if you are in a position where you cannot take a call during school hours. Should your child be unwell during the school day we need to be able to reach someone immediately. If you need to update or add a contact number to your records, please email this to firstname.lastname@example.org
We wrote to you at the end of the summer term outlining our plans for how we are going to bring the students back safely. Many of these details remain the same but as you will no doubt be aware there have been some key changes announced by the Government recently.
In order to inform and help you prepare the students of all the updated measures we have in place to ensure a safe return to school we will be sharing key information with you throughout this week. We will be doing this over the week as we do not want to overwhelm you with lots of information in one go. Today we have attached a letter that explains the situation with face coverings in school. I have also attached below a link to the Department for Education’s leaflet for parents and carers of secondary school children about the return to school.
On Thursday 3rd September at 6:30pm we will hold a webinar for parents where we will go through the steps and measures we have in place and you will be able to ask any questions that you may have. You can sign up for this here
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
You will need access to Zoom on whichever device you plan on using. Please can we ask that only one parent from each household registers to ensure the numbers trying to log on do not become too high and cause any issues with access for other families.
We hope that you will be able to participate in this session. If you have any problems registering, please do not hesitate to get in touch so we can try to ensure it is resolved quickly.
|17th July 2020
Dear Parents and Carers
It is a strange way to end the school year with a near empty school. Normally we would be standing on the gate and wishing the students well as they leave us for the next 6 weeks, and I must admit that when I did this back in March while I considered it may mean we would not see them until September and our plans were made with this in mind, I must admit it seemed almost unreal that it could be the case. I have been working in education for 22 years now, and some of my colleagues here even longer, and I can honestly say we have been working for the past 5 months through a situation that has been unlike anything we have known. It certainly puts the interruption of a snow day into perspective! School has been empty for too long. To miss so many significant moments in the year from GCSE exams, and the prom, to sports day and our school production has been hard for all. While I am certain many of our students may have let out a cheer when they learned we would be closing school, I hope that now after all this time, they are looking forward to coming back and that the experience will enable them to value what coming school does offer them for their learning and progress, as well as their social development and relationships with others. Our year 10 students told us when they returned to school last month that they just wanted to come back, and I hope that will be the same for all of our year groups now too. While I know my staff are all very much ready for a holiday, I know that also we are really looking forward to having a school full of students again.
School will still not be normal again in September and we will still have to much of our work with parents remotely unless things change significantly. If you have not read my letter to you yesterday, then please do so as it explains some important changes we have to make. Thank you to those of you have emailed questions. Please allow me some time to respond, things have been moving rapidly as the end of the year has come round so soon. As explained we will write to you in mid-August to confirm exact arrangements and to share details with about the webinar we plan to allow you to learn more.
I would like to finish by saying some thank yous. I would like to thank the team of staff here for all that they have done, all the effort that they have put in, to keep things as close to normal as was possible. It may not always have been perfect but I can assure you it was their best. I would like to thank our governors for their additional support in these times. I would like to thank the students for their resilience and perseverance with us as we learned these new ways of working. Finally, on behalf of the staff here at Thamesmead I would like to thank you all for your constant support, encouragement and the endless positive messages of thanks and your kindness shown. They really have kept us all going and reminded us just why being a teacher or working in a school is the best job in the world.
I wish you all a safe, healthy and happy summer, and we look forward to the safe return of your children to Thamesmead School in September.
Return to School in September
· Year 7 will start at Thamesmead school at 8:20 on Monday 7th September.
· Years 8-9 will start back (with Year 7) at 8:20 on Tuesday 8th September.
· Years 10-11 will start back at 9:00 on Tuesday 8th September.
Contacting the school during the holidays
If you need to make contact with the school over the holidays please e mail us on info@email@example.com . This address will be monitored but you may need to wait a little longer for someone to get back to you. As staff will be enjoying a much-needed rest I do ask you to only get in touch if it is an urgent matter and leave less important queries until nearer the start of the new school year.
Year 7 and Year 8 Remote Progress Meetings
Thank you to the parents who were able to participate in these meetings. As you know we piloted a system we had not used before to hold these, and as we may need to continue to use these systems for other year groups in the new school year we would appreciate your feedback on they worked. Mrs Eley has emailed you with some questions for you to answer if you have feedback you would like to share. I hope you found the opportunity to talk with your child’s teachers helpful.
We were pleased to introduce our blazer badges to recognise the student’s achievements of our different values over the year. These have been issued and sent home. We are looking forward to seeing them worn proudly on student’s Thamesmead uniforms when they return in September. If your son/daughter has been awarded and sent a Thamesmead Value blazer lapel badge, could you please iron it on to the blazer as per the instructions in the letter that accompanied the badge. Likewise, if your son/daughter is a house captain or prefect, please sew on the badge on the left hand side lapel of the blazer.
At this time of year I know that many of you will be thinking about purchasing new uniform items for the new school year. It helps get students off to a great start in September as it means we can avoid conflict with them over uniform in those important first few days of the new school year. For those of you with daughters, thank you for supporting us with ensuring that their skirt is the correct length for the new term. We also expect ties to be in good condition and any that are damaged or drawn on will need replacing. Another aspect we ask for support with is piercings, haircuts and make up. Please ensure that any haircuts, or semi-permanent make up (such as nails or eye lashes) that is not in line with our expectations have grown back or been removed before we return to school. Piercings that are not in the lobe will need to be able to be removed when we return to school in September so please do not let your children have any done in the latter weeks of the holiday.
For the full uniform policy please click here: https://www.thamesmead.surrey.sch.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Uniform-Policy-2020-2021.pdf
Below are the names of the students who were nominated by their teachers or tutors this week for either the commitment put into their online learning, or contributions to morning tutor sessions. They have been awarded 5 achievement points on SIMS and received a Certificate.
Year 7: Freddie Green, Alfie Potter
Year 8: Rowan Bailie, Sarah Campion, Angelica Gomez, Erin McCarthy
Year 10: Suki Liu
Supporting your child to return to school in September
We are working hard to prepare for September and currently planning how we can help children make sense of their time in lockdown.
Parents have an extremely important role to play in preparing for the return in September. The key areas to focus on are building resilience, taking time to reflect on the positive aspects of their life, trying to take an optimistic outlook and also showing gratitude. Working on these areas, openly sharing and discussing with your child will help to change mindset and reframe the perceptions so they are able to show resilience and bounce back when things get tough and don’t go as planned.
If you think your child might be worrying about the return to school Dr Kathy Weston has created some practical tools you can use to help your child flourish.
There are also 3 videos that will support what you can do with your child over the summer.
For more information about Dr Kathy Weston or the work that she does on developing resilience and building positive self-esteem please go to http://www.drkathyweston.com/
South Western Railway – Child Fares for 16+
Discounted fares can be obtained on South Western Railway for students aged 16, by applying for a student fare card. You may want to apply for this if you child will need to se the trains next term and turn 16 in the Autumn Term.
Summer Photography challenge
Our Capture the World photography challenge has produced some excellent entries over this term. Here are a few of the latest ones. Congratulations to everyone who has taken part.
Don’t forget to send in your entries on the theme of ‘Amazing Adventure’ before 3rd September.
Surrey Arts – SMASH programme
Surrey Music and Arts Summer Holiday workshops are open to all online. Some are free too. There are a range of group and 1-1 lessons, plus tater sessions. Check the Surrey Arts website pages for more information.
Virtual Sports week
The results are in! Congratulations to Phoenix House on winning the Virtual Sports challenge, but also congratulations to everyone who took part. The results can be seen on this attachment.
Winning House News
After a hard fought contest throughout the year with dedicated House Leaders encouraging, leading and inspiring their Houses to participate, get involved and have fun, the end has come. There can only be one winner, but it feels like all four houses are winners when you think about how this year has gone……
But there can only be one winner…..and that winner is
MY CONGRATULATIONS TO DRAGON AND TO MR PATEL FOR HIS HARD WORK LEADING THE HOUSE TO SUCCESS!!
Many congratulations to all of the students participating in the special events and working hard to earn rewards. It really did go down to the wire! Mr North
School Comms text messages
This week with an increase in communications to parents by text, we have been made aware of large number of parents who are not receiving important messages as they do not have notifications for the SchoolComms App enabled on their phones. Please make sure that you have the latest version of the app AND enable notifications using these instructions.
For Apple devices:
On your phone go to Settings
For Android devices:
On your phone go to Settings | Applications Manager
|16th July 2020
Dear Parents and Carers
Our plans for September
As you are aware the Department for Education (DfE) has issued schools with guidance for how they should reopen to all students from September. This guidance makes clear that there are 6 key preventative measures that schools must follow to ensure a safe return of students to school. They are:
1. Minimise contact with individuals who are unwell by ensuring that those who have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, or who have someone in their household who does, do not attend school
2. Clean hands thoroughly more often than usual
3. Ensure good respiratory hygiene by promoting the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach
4. Introduce enhanced cleaning, including cleaning frequently touched surfaces often, using standard products such as detergents and bleach
5. Minimise contact between individuals and maintain social distancing wherever possible
6. Where necessary, wear appropriate PPE
We have already addressed the majority of these as part of our preparations for our Year 10 students returning to school from June this term. The table we have attached with this letter summarises the measures we have in place to address these.
To address point 5 above we need to make significant changes to how we operate the school. These are explained below.
Minimise Contact – to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission schools are asked to minimise contact between students in different year groups.
The DfE guidance makes clear that secondary school year groups are to be considered a social bubble. Schools should do what is practicable to ensure each year group bubble is kept apart from the other year groups bubbles throughout the day. To adhere to this guidance, we have had to make the following adjustments:
· Thamesmead has a small main building, with limited access points to the site. If all of our students arrive or depart at the same time we cannot keep them apart. Therefore, we will need to stagger the days for students in Key Stage 3 and those in Key Stage 4 to keep help us keep year groups apart. This means a different start and end time for our Key Stage 3 and 4 students.
o Key Stage 3 students will need to arrive at school at 8:20 for hand washing and will finish school at 14:45.
o Key Stage 4 students will need to arrive at 8:50 at school for hand washing and will finish school at 15:15.
· To provide access to the canteen facility and to keep students separate as they move through the building break and lunch need to be staggered. This requires us to extend the time we allocate to these in the school day.
· To reduce students moving around the building we will need to timetable double lessons. This reduces the number of times students move around the school from 7 to 3.
· Where possible students will be taught in the same room for 2 or all 3 of their lessons in a day. We will allow practical lessons to go ahead in the specialist subject classroom so practical learning is not restricted.
· Contact sport will be avoided in PE lessons. Students will be allowed to wear PE kit to school on days they have practical PE lessons and remain in their kit for the day so that the changing rooms are not used.
· We will limit the equipment that is shared by students in different bubbles. Where this cannot be restricted it will be cleaned between uses. Students will not be able to borrow everyday equipment such as pens, glue or calculators and must be fully equipped with the things they need to access their lessons every day. This is the equipment they will EACH NEED to have with them every day
· Year group bubbles will have designated playground space and time to access the canteen/pod to keep them separate from other year groups.
· Each year group will have a designated entrance and exit to the school site. Students will be advised of this prior to their return.
The overview plan for the school day is below
We ask you to do your best in supporting us to ensure your child/children arrive within their allocated arrival time. We understand that some students will be dependent upon train times and may arrive ahead of their time slot, or may normally travel with older siblings but wherever possible we would like them make plans that allow them to arrive within their allocated time.
Social distancing – to further reduce the risk of transmission, and keep the numbers who could be asked to self-isolate down schools are asked to do what is practicable to keep their distance from others.
The following steps will help all students and staff keep their distance from each other;
· To deliver the timetable Teachers will need to operate across different classes and year groups.
· Teachers will be kept 2 metres apart from students as much as possible. 2 metre teaching zones will be marked at the front of the classroom that the students should not enter.
· Where staff need to work with students at less than 2 metres this should be at the furthest distance that is practical, side on, and for no more than 15 minutes at a time.
· As each year group forms a bubble, students will be able to be in classes of up to 32. They will be sat side by side in rows. Practical lessons will try to ensure 1 metre plus for activities where students are more mobile.
· When moving through the corridors, halls and when outside students will be expected to keep 2 metre distance between each other.
· We will continue to use our one-way system we have put in place. Combined with the staggered day this will reduce year groups from getting close to each other.
· We will not run any activities that brings together more than one Year Group at a time.
· We will not hold assemblies in person.
Other key points
Transport – Students are encouraged to walk or cycle to school. If students need to use the train or a public bus, then they will need to wear a mask and do their best to maintain a safe social distance from others. It is important that they then wash their hands on arrival at school. We are liaising with the school bus company and the local authority about their arrangements for ensuring a safe journey. We will share more with you when we hear from them.
Attendance – The expectation from the DfE regarding student’s attending in September is that all will be required to attend school unless they are self-isolating because they have had symptoms or a positive test result themselves, or because they are a close contact of someone who has coronavirus. In this situation we will be required to provide remote learning for the student. After changes to the government guidance there will be very few children who remain on a shielding list and will need to remain at home for the protection of their, or family member’s health. If after viewing this list, you still have concerns about your child returning to school due to risk factors please contact the school to discuss this so we can consider the measures that can be put in place.
Face masks – students travelling to school on public transport will be expected to wear a face covering. Present DfE guidance says that they should not be worn in school. As this guidance is subject to change we will review this nearer the time based on the latest medical evidence and guidance.
Uniform – We will expect students to return in full uniform for the new school term. Please check our uniform policy to ensure you are aware of this. https://www.thamesmead.surrey.sch.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Uniform-Policy-2020-2021.pdf
Parent visits – All parent visits to school will need to be arranged in advance. This will mean parents cannot drop items into school if a student forgets them for the day. Therefore, it will be helpful to ensure that you are able to top up student’s canteen cards remotely for occasions when they might forget their lunch.
Further details – This is our outline of the essential things we think you will want to know before September. Clearly there are many other questions you may have, and there is more detail we will need to go into. However, I am mindful that September is a long time away and things may change further. Therefore, we plan on holding a webinar for parents on Thursday 3rd September at 6:30pm. This will allow us to go through the plans with you and will allow you to ask questions you may have throughout the event. These events have worked well when we have used them on other occasions this last half term and we think it is the best way to go over the more detailed plans nearer the time with you. We will share the link with you so that you can register nearer the time. We will also write to you at the same time, as well as issue the students with a guide to what they can expect on return to school.
Return to school – Please remember that Monday 7th September will be the return date for Year 7 students only. All other students (including Year 7 will) then be in school from Tuesday 8th September.
If you have questions that you would like answers to before the beginning of September you can email them to us on firstname.lastname@example.org but I hope that the webinar event will help us answer many questions nearer the time.
Staff who are leaving Thamesmead
We are saying good bye to Mr Barrett (RPE and Duke of Edinburgh) who is sadly relocating and will be taking up a post in Wycombe as second in charge of Humanities, Miss Bhambra (English), Mrs Kareer (Science), Miss Egleton (English), Mrs Gonzalez, Miss Curtis, and Miss Franklin (Teaching Assistants), Miss Godfrey (Cover Supervisor) and Mrs Wood retires after 14 ½ years working as a Teaching Assistant at Thamesmead. We wish these staff the very best for their next posts. While we are sad to say goodbye I am pleased to report that we are fully staffed for September. We also welcome back Mrs Loong (MFL), Mrs McCarthy (Science), and Mrs Ward (PE) from their maternity leave.
Thank you for your support with the steps we have taken to support the students and their learning through this pandemic. I am sure the students are as ready for a break from remote learning as the staff here are. We are really looking forward to welcoming the students back into school in September. Thamesmead has not been the same without them. I will write to you to wrap up the year with any final messages tomorrow.
The latest DfE guidance for parents about education can be viewed here
10th July 2020
Dear Parents and Carers
I hope you all remain well. It seems that slowly we see the country taking steps to return to some semblance of normality. We have been working hard in school to plan the systems and structures we need to have in place to ensure we will meet the Department of Education (DfE) guidance on the full opening of schools in September. I hope to have this finalised early next week to share with you. There are some complexities that have taken us some time to work out and after much thought we seem to be there! The DfE will confirm in the middle of August if it is possible for these plans to go ahead, and clearly the start of the new school year being a full 7 weeks away allows a significant amount of time in which the situation will hopefully improve further.
Some things that I can confirm for you are:
We will start term on Monday 7th September for Year 7 only. This is because the Year 7 have not had any opportunity to visit the school before joining us and it is vital that we allow them a day to come to school without all the other students in school to settle in and learn their way around.
The rest of the school will start on Tuesday 8th September. This is a one-day delay to our planned start of term for Years 8-11, but I hope that you can understand the reason why this is necessary. We had considered an earlier return to school for Year 7 but after the lifting of restrictions on travel to many destinations we need to consider this could mean some students being on long planned holidays if we were to change the planned start of term, and would not be fair to those joining a new secondary school.
The DfE have asked secondary schools to treat year groups as social bubbles and do their best to keep them separate throughout the day. Therefore, it will be necessary for us to stagger the starts and ends of the day for different year groups and we are finalising the timetabling of this to ensure it will be effective for all. Doing this will mean we have to lengthen the lunch break and as a result it will also lengthen the school day from our 2.30 finish time. We will share these timings with you next week so you can see how his may affect the journey to and from school for your child/children.
The guidance makes it clear that students will be expected to return to school in full uniform so I trust this will give you ample warning to purchase any new items of uniform that you will need. While we have been flexible with those attending school this last few weeks this has been to recognise that shops have not been open for much of the last 4 months, but now this has changed we will expect uniform to be worn fully. The only change to this will be on days when students have PE. As we are unlikely to be able to manage changing and meet the DfE guidance on minimising contact between students we will ask students to arrive at school in PE kit on days where they have practical PE lessons on their timetable. Our up to date uniform policy is available at the link below. Please do take time to check this as we have updated it this summer. All of our uniform can be purchased at Shepperton Sports & Ski who are now open, have an appointment system in place for fittings and are also doing web orders. https://www.thamesmead.surrey.sch.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Uniform-Policy-2020-2021.pdf
You should be aware that progress reports were emailed to all parents for students in Years 7-10 yesterday. Please contact the PCS office at school if you have not received yours.
Year 7 and 8 Progress Meetings.
On Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons next week we are holding a limited number of remote Progress Review meetings for parents of Years 7 and 8 as these events were not able to run earlier in the year. This means that staff may not be available to teach periods 4 and 5 on these days. All students will be having work set for them to complete in this time in their careers team. It will be titled: Metacognition Lessons 1 + 2. Some students may have completed or looked at part 1 in a previous lesson, but if not they should complete this first.
Year 10 will also be set work for any GCSE lessons missed. These lessons have been designed to support students with the planned return to school and the switch back from remote learning to classroom based learning and will be an important part of the work we plan to do in September to help students settle back into school.
Changes to our Pastoral System
As part of our planning and preparations to welcome all students back in September we have been reviewing our pastoral system, including the tutor groups for students in Years 8, 9 and 10. We are making the following changes:
- To increase consistency across the pastoral system we are reducing the number of tutor groups from 8 to 7 in Years 7 to 10
- Students in Years 7 to 9 are to be taught in their tutor groups (rather than having a separate tutor group and teaching group for the majority of subjects) allowing for better communication between subject teachers and tutors and better support for learning.
This will involve changes of tutor groups for some students. Heads of Year have given careful consideration to these changes based on a number of factors including friendship groups, combinations of students and staffing changes. I am aware that some of you will be worried about the prospect of these changes, especially in the current situation but we have given this great consideration and are confident these changes will allow the school to provide the best possible pastoral care and support in September and throughout the academic year. Confirmation of these changes will be emailed to parents on Tuesday 14th July.
Lower Sunbury Road Plans
You may be aware that the County Council are considering a project as part of the ACTIVE TRAVEL scheme announced by Transport Minister, Grant Shapps, involving Lower Sunbury roads. These schemes have been proposed to utilise the emergency funding made available by the government to improve cycling and walking routes. This will see several major Sunbury roads restricted to cars travelling from east to west. All traffic exiting Sunbury in the direction of Shepperton and Walton, will need to go via Sunbury Cross roundabout. While there is no doubt it will improve cycling and walking in the Lower Sunbury area it will redirect a significant amount of road traffic to Sunbury Cross and the Upper Halliford Road/Gaston Bridge Road. In turn, I fear this will make Green Lane and Manygate Lane busier and make walking and cycling routes that our students use more congested, and as a result more dangerous. I would also be concerned about the safety impact this would have on the journeys to school for all of the children who attend one of the Sunbury Schools in the Nursery Road area. As this is part of the COVID-19 emergency response there is no need for the council to consult on these plans and they can introduce these changes in a very short time span.
Details of the plans can be seen by following these links:
There is also a survey here, open until 14th July. https://spelthornelibdems.org.uk/en/survey/lower-sunbury-active-travel-zone
If you wish to contact the council with any concerns or support for the scheme you can email Nick Healey, Area Highway Manager, Surrey County Council at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Below are the names of the students who were nominated by their teachers or tutors this week for either the commitment put into their online learning, or contributions to morning tutor sessions. They have been awarded 5 achievement points on SIMS and received a Certificate. Well done!
Year 7: Cameron Dadzie, Nayana Shrestha
Year 8: Harrison Pescud
Year 9: Freddie Simpson
Year 10: Miles Koe
Friends of Thamesmead 200 Club Lucky Lotto
Over the period of lockdown the FoT have continued to make their 200 Club Lotto draw.
Winners from April-June have included Mrs Buckle, Mrs Vincent, Mrs Capper, Mr Moss, Mrs Budd and Miss Jones.
The annual Grand Draw took place last week and the £200 Jackpot winner was Mr Theaker (School Governor) and runner-up was Mrs Vincent, winning £100. We thank all the parents who support this fundraising scheme.
If you would like to be part of this and in with a chance of winning next term, you can find the details and join here https://www.thamesmead.surrey.sch.uk/parents/pta/
School Comms App
We have noticed that some parents using the School Comms app are not receiving messages as they do not have notifications enabled. If you use the School Comms app please remember to keep it updated.
For Apple devices:
- On your phone go to Settings
- In here scroll down to the “Notifications Centre”
- Select School Gateway
- In here ensure that under the heading “Notification Centre” it is switched on
- Close the screen; you will now receive notifications when new app messages come through
For Android devices:
- On your phone go to Settings | Applications Manager
- Scroll down your list of apps until you find School Gateway and select it
- In here there will be a tick box that says “Show notifications” ensure this is selected
- Close the screen; you will now receive notifications when new app messages come through
Best wishes to you all for the weekend and I will be in touch again early next week with more details about September.
|3rd July 2020
Dear Parents and Carers
As I am sure you are aware the government announced its guidance explaining how schools are to return in September. Once again you will have no doubt heard about this through the media at the same time as we did at school, with official guidance being released by the DFE later in the day after these leaks were reported on.
The guidance makes it clear that the government expects all students to return to school in September and we will now be working through that guidance so that we can plan how we will do this and share this with you before we finish for the summer holiday. I will write next week to keep you updated as our plans develop.
What has been made clear is that to ensure safety and reduce the risk of infection whole year groups are to be treated as bubbles, but they are not to mix with other year groups in the day. Schools are not allowed to run rotas, with each year group being expected in school each day, therefore it is very likely that to achieve this that we will have to stagger the day and look at a different timetable to the one we would normally run. This may affect lesson lengths, start and finish times, and break and lunch times. I think it is important to make you aware of this.
There have been comments in the media and suggestions in the guidance about reducing content or the number of subjects for part of the year. I would like you to know that we plan to avoid reducing students learning as we believe it is important they do not lose out on having a broad and balanced curriculum as a result of the interruption of the last 4 months. Instead we will be working hard to plan how we support students so that this is not necessary. Our remote live lessons will have helped reduce the need for us to do this also.
I would like to reassure you that we will now be taking the time to make sure that our plans will prioritise keeping students, staff and families as safe as possible while working to return learning to a best near normal as we can for September. As soon as we have clarity on exactly how that will look I will share it with you.
GCSE Exams 2021
The guidance confirms that GCSE exams will go ahead close to normal with proposals for minor adaptations. Ofqual have written to us about how they intend to adapt GCSE exams next year. They have made some small adaptations to reduce the amount of physical work required in some subjects such as English and Art, and looked at allowing greater choice for students over the questions they answer in subjects which have a large number of topics like History and Geography. They have also suggested GCSEs may start a month later in June to allow more time for students to prepare. We will be responding to the consultation on behalf of Year 10 however some of you with children going into Year 11 in September may wish to look at this yourself and possibly even respond. The consultation is open until 16 August 2020. The link for this consultation is here https://www.gov.uk/government/news/ofqual-launches-consultation-on-2021-exams-and-assessments?utm_source=e8238d66-848e-4134-aa96-115c9fa2b50b&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate
Progress Reports and GCSE Options
Mrs Eley is writing to parents in Year 7 and 8 this week about the plans we are making to ensure parents of Year 7 and 8 can talk to staff about student progress this year as we had to cancel our progress review meetings for these year groups during the lockdown. We will not be able to offer appointments for every parent to speak to each of their children’s teachers but we are working to making sure that where there are concerns or there is a need that there is the chance to talk to staff before we finish for the summer. Thank you for your understanding in this matter. Year 9 parents will get a letter to confirm their GCSE choices for Year 10. We are also finalising our reports for this term that we hope to send home next week. Again, Mrs Eley will confirm this in writing with parents and she will explain how we have adapted this process to acknowledge the very different conditions in which we have been working.
Under normal circumstances we would have held our sports day at this time of year. It plays a significant part in our annual house competition and in fact, a good day on sports day has turned the whole competition on its head in some years! The PE department and house leaders do not want to lose the excellent participation and engagement we get from our students on sports day and therefore they have planned a remote sports week for this year with a number of physical challenges students can complete to win all important points for their house. This will run next week. I know Mr Cowley has already shared the plans and poster promoting this with you but here is a brief reminder of how students can get involved.
We are pleased to announce that from Monday 6th July, the Thamesmead Virtual Sports Week will be live until 2:30pm on Friday 10th July. You therefore have a whole week to prepare and practice for each of the 9 challenges.
Which house is going to come out as overall winners?
Who is going to try to complete all challenges?
Who can demonstrate the Thamesmead Values?
To submit your scores for the Virtual Sports Week, you will be expected to complete the Microsoft Form that your Teacher uploads before the deadline on Friday.
Any questions, please ask your PE teacher or contact Mr. Cowley directly.
Race Across the World Results – from Mr Patel
For 11 weeks, our Race Across the World has seen us virtually visit new cities around the world, with parents, staff and the students contributing, to our brilliant final total of 35,033 km!
This is the distance from Thamesmead School – Sydney – San Francisco with our final destination being, St John’s, New Foundland.
As we were also running this as a House Competition, here are the final standings:
1st: Phoenix- 14,480km
2nd: Dragon- 12,587km
3rd- Griffin- 4,732km
4th- Centaur- 3,234km
Thank you for taking part and supporting our campaign by sending in your kilometres each week! As a House Team, we thank you for your support, which has got us closer to getting back to Thamesmead, which is a huge achievement!
Below are the names of the students who were nominated by their teachers or tutors this week for either the commitment put into their online learning, or contributions to morning tutor sessions. They have been awarded 5 achievement points on SIMS and received a Certificate.
Year 7: Ollie Gell, Nayana Shrestha
Year 8: Megan Corti, Carmen Highfield, Samuel Parker
Year 9: Dulcie Barry, Lauren Creeke, Harry Norman, Georgia Thomas
Year 10: James Dixon, Rhys Glands, Jasmine Gillman, Emily Rickwood, Millie Searle.
Inset Day – Wednesday 8th July
This is to remind you that Wednesday 8th July is a long planned Inset day and there are no live lessons planned for this day, as all staff will be involved in these training activities to help us prepare for the new school year.
Baby Edmondson Jones
We were delighted to hear that Mrs Edmondson Jones gave birth to a very healthy and happy baby girl called Clementine this week and we wanted to share that good news with you all. Both are doing well.
Finally, we have more wonderful art work to share with you and, we hope, inspire our students to keep striving to develop their creativity and talent while at home in lockdown. I have really enjoyed seeing this amazing work over these last four months and I hope you have done so too.
Thank you for your continued support and have a good weekend.
|26th June 2020
Dear Parents and Carers
I would like to share with you that Dave Hill, who was Executive Director of Children, Lifelong Learning and Culture at Surrey County Council sadly passed away unexpectedly this week. Dave had joined Surrey in 2018 and joined the local authority to help drive essential transformation and improvement to this department that impacts on so much of the work schools do with our children. Our thoughts are with Dave’s wife and daughters at this sad time.
There have been several announcements from the Government this last week around social distancing, a return to schools in September and the wider relaxing of lock down restrictions. Regarding the change surrounding social distancing from 2 metres to 1 metre, this has not changed the guidance for secondary schools on which students, and how many students can be invited into school on any one day. We have planned our provision for Year 10 to bring the maximum number of students we can bring in each day and this will not change whether they are 1 or 2 metres apart. The reality of this change is that it would only allow us to fit 15 in a classroom rather than the 10 we can currently manage at 2 metres. Therefore, we will be maintaining 2 metre distancing for the remainder of this term. It does not allow us to bring students in from other year groups for teaching either.
I need to ask for your patience with information about September and how that will look. We are expecting guidance at some point next week and once we have had time to process that we hope we will be able to have some plans to share with you before we break up for the summer holidays. One thing I am committed to is allowing the new Year 7s some time in school before the rest of the school starts. We are not permitted to do this before we break up and so it will need to be in September. This may mean some slight movement in our start of term for some year groups so we can do this. I am sure you will appreciate the apprehension that our youngest students feel on joining secondary school, and this will be exacerbated by not having access to the usual transition time with us. Again, we will confirm this with you as soon as we have certainty over what September will look like regarding how many students we can bring into school at once.
I would like to remind you that Wednesday 8 July is a long planned Inset day and there will be no live lessons on this day. We have contacted Key Worker parents who are using our provision to see if they need support on this day but for all other students it will operate as a normal Inset day. We have this day planned to prepare for the new year ahead and work with new staff who are joining the school to help them prepare also.
I would like to say thank you to Mrs Chaperlain who has finished with us this week. Mrs Chaperlain stepped into support the teaching of Spanish from February and suddenly found herself teaching her classes remotely having only really got to know them for a month. We are very grateful for her help, particularly supporting our GCSE Spanish groups with her expertise in the language. Mrs Loong, our Head of Modern Foreign Languages returns from maternity leave to work for us from Monday and will be picking up the classes Mrs Chaperlain had been taking. We welcome Mrs Loong back, and she has been working hard to master Teams so that she is ready for meeting her new classes remotely.
Below are the names of the students who were nominated this week for a Headteacher’s Award.
Year 7: Nya Gibson, Mia Lewis, Rowan Norbury, Rhyley Onuona, Arthur Roffey, Nayana Shrestha
Year 8: Daisy Anderson, Sarah Campion, Ethan Medlycott, Harriet Meek, Lydia Mouawad, Harrison Trehern
Year 9: Annelise Ambrosino, Lottie Davies, Carl Egginton
Year 10: Harvey Fox
Mr North has asked me to share this message for students.
In order to promote the positive ethos that Thamesmead school has strived to create during the lockdown period, all students have had a remote House Assembly last week during tutor time. Part of that assembly encouraged students to reflect on the online learning they have been doing and to “Thank a Teacher”. This can be done very simply by filling in the gaps in a PowerPoint slide, which is designed in their House colours and send it to the relevant House Leader. (This can be found in Files in their Tutor group channel) Please find below the email addresses of the House Leaders. All students need to do is fill in their name, tutor group, the teacher’s name and the personalised brief message. Trust me when I say that teachers love receiving these tokens of appreciation and, if you could encourage your son/daughter to fill one out, I am sure they would not only put a smile on someone’s face but also gain House Points for their individual and House totals.
Phoenix – firstname.lastname@example.org
Dragon – email@example.com
Griffin/Centaur – firstname.lastname@example.org (covering for summer term 2)
I wrote to you about the issues surrounding the Black Live Matters campaign two weeks ago. I am delivering the remote assemblies this week and will be discussing issues surrounding racism and events in the news with the students as well as setting some activities for tutors to do with students on the same theme. If you are having discussions within your family, or you would like some guidance as to how you might open up, or now continue such a conversation there are some helpful suggestions and resources here that you can look at. Some of the earlier content is targeted at younger children but halfway in there is a link to a guide for parents to the Black Lives Matters movement which is very helpful. It provides a useful explanation over why the ‘all lives matter’ slogan detracts from the very real issues the BLM campaign is seeking to tackle. Also, it is clearly written for all parents regardless of their ethnic background to help them talk to their children about race and the current issues surrounding this.
Duke of Edinburgh Award recipients – from Mr Barrett
Congratulations to all those below who have completed their Duke of Edinburgh Certificate for 2020. The Duke of Edinburgh will be sending an electronic certificate direct to participants in recognition of their hard work, despite the challenges of coronavirus.
Names with an asterisks have completed the section, but are still waiting for assessor reports, for example from furloughed staff. So a little more to do when we can before the Duke of Edinburgh will send an electronic certificate.
Is your child’s name missing? Don’t get cross, please get in contact (email@example.com). I have been in contact with a number of participants and we haven’t quite got some sections finished, despite all our efforts. Let’s do our best for the next roll of celebration on Friday 3rd July 2020.
Online safety guidance
This document for parents is about online safety and has lots of useful information for parents https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-keeping-children-safe-online/coronavirus-covid-19-support-for-parents-and-carers-to-keep-children-safe-online
Marathon run for MIND
Benji Duncan in Year 11 is training and running for a marathon in October. He is trying to raise £5000 for the charity ‘Mind‘ to help people with mental health issues as during lockdown it has been a tough time mentally for everyone, with people not being able to see their friends, but even more so for those suffering from mental health issues. If you would like to sponsor him please visit his Go Fund Me page https://gf.me/u/x997qy
Have a good weekend
19th June 2020
Goodbye to Mrs Edmondson-Jones
Sadly, we must say goodbye to Mrs Edmondson-Jones today. Many of you will have known that she is expecting her first baby any minute now. Lockdown has actually meant her students have been able to have lessons with her right up to the final weeks of her time with us and we will hopefully be hearing her good news very soon! I know many students will miss her lessons which have inspired so many of our students in their learning of Science, and we will miss her leadership of Griffin House. Sadly, Mrs Edmondson-Jones is also relocating to the North of England and therefore will not return to us.
Miss Thayaparan is joining the science department and has been working with Mrs Edmondson Jones all week to get to know the classes she will take over for the rest of the year. Miss Thayaparan was working with us up to December earlier this year and we are really pleased that she is returning to join the school permanently. Miss Godfrey will be taking Mrs Edmondson Jones Health and Social Care classes to the end of the term.
Year 10 return to school.
It has been fantastic to see Year 10 returning to school for some face to face lessons this week. We have worked hard to make this happen and it has been rewarding to see these plans working so well. Over 80% of the students invited in each day have attended. The students have impressed us with the work they have done remotely, and they have conducted themselves impeccably when back. Each student who has been in school this week has also had a wellbeing meeting where we have been able to check in on how they have been and are feeling. These next two weeks we are now doing one to one sessions with students where we know they need some more support to help fill gaps that are evident in their learning following the lock down. Y10 parents of the students identified in need of these sessions should receive a text message today with details on the day and time. Please understand that not all students are being invited in, only those where the gaps are greatest. We will then follow these sessions with further face to face lessons for Year 10 in July.
This week we have been given guidance that we can bring students from other year groups in for an individual meeting if considered beneficial and they are possible to schedule in line with protective measures, and the provision already in place. We will be looking at how we might do this, and anticipate that we will target students in other year groups where we have concerns about their engagement with our remote provision. We will let you know about this in time.
Below are the names of the students who were nominated by their teachers or tutors this week for either the commitment put into their online learning, or contributions to morning tutor sessions. They have been awarded 5 achievement points on SIMS and received a Certificate.
Year 7: Finton Bull, Rowan Norbury, Emily Simpson
Year 8: Sarah Campion, Isla Cousins, Jessica Hornibrook, Sebastian Janssen, Ashmin Lalli, Freddie McAvoy,
Erin McCarthy, Ethan Medlycott, Harrison Pescud, Lemar Shah
Year 10: Amy Bullamore, Jack Donovan, Chloe Frewin, Gracie Hornibrook, Meakaran Kandiah, Ralph Palmer-Andrews, Millie Pearson, Holly Penegar, Mason Pescud, Tianna Phelan, Eleanor Richards, Nathan Smith, Lucy Tendler.
Thank you to all the students who entered the House Bake Off at home competition. There were many incredible and delicious looking entries which we have shared on the attached sheet to get your mouth watering! Congratulations to the winners.
Race Across the World
Our Race Across the World Campaign continues to reach new destinations around the world! We have now covered a grand total of 23,251.33km as a school and have reached the capital of French Polynesia, Papeete! Keep those kilometres coming in for your house to Mr Patel each week! firstname.lastname@example.org
The campaign ends on Wednesday 1st July @3pm!
Government provision for tutoring and catch up
It has been pleasing to hear the Government announce plans to support schools with helping students catch up with their education following the crisis. I have received the details of how this will work this afternoon. I am pleased to hear that they have been guided by the Education Endowment Foundation as to the best way to support those who are falling behind. As an organisation they have an expertise and solid reputation for research and practice in this area. We have been encouraged when meeting our Year 10s at where their learning is at present, they have clearly been working well at home. I hope this is a reflection of the progress students have made in all year groups. The notion of catch up can make things sound scary. While there is no doubt the remote learning is no substitute for being in school with your teachers, I am confident that the hard work my staff have invested in remote learning has helped minimise this for the majority of our learners who have engaged with it. I look forward to hearing more about our access to this support and funding how we will be able to use it to support Thamesmead students where it is needed.
This also follows the encouraging news that free school meals support will now be made available to eligible families throughout the summer. Once again I share the details of how to claim if you think you would be eligible for this support in case there have been families where the situation has changed recently.
I hope that you are all remaining safe and well. Enjoy the weekend.
|17th June 2020
Dear Parents and Carers
I hope you are all well. We have welcomed Year 10 students back into school this week. Each day we have invited up to 50 students a day in to work with our subject teachers. We have seen close to 90% of students invited in, join us and it has been wonderful to see more students returning to school for lessons with their teachers.
A huge amount of planning and preparation was required to ensure that everything was in place to ensure the students, staff and our community could be kept safe with an increase in students in the school and it is pleasing to see all of these steps running smoothly this week. Thank you to parents of Year 10 who have spent time back with us in school, who have passed on feedback to us. What is most reassuring is hearing that students have found the time back in school supportive of their online provision and learning which will continue to be the main form of education through to the end of term. They have behaved brilliantly and responsibly and supported us with all of the measures we have in place regardless of how inconvenient they may make things.
We will remain hopeful that come September we will be able to get as many of the students into school as possible, and if the rest of the week runs as smoothly we can be confident that we will have a model of socially distanced schooling that we can now expand and develop should this be needed as we move into the new school year. I will keep you updated as the guidance on the reopening of secondary schools changes.
I would like to remind you that if staff are in school teaching Year 10 then online lessons will be disrupted. The table below will indicate which staff will be in school at different times over the rest of the week. If staff are only in school for one teaching session, then they will set work for lesson 5 if they are in school for a morning or work for P1 if they are in school for the afternoon session. The following teacher’s lessons will be affected;
Children of Key Workers and those in other key categories
We will continue to provide spaces in school for students in these categories if this is needed. Please complete the attached form and email it to email@example.com to let us know if your child fits one of these groups and you would now like to start using your place. You can check these criteria here. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision
As detailed in my letter last Friday, please remember that Friday 19th, period 5 is our next citizenship lesson and students will be working on different material to their normal timetabled lesson.
Student conduct in the community
I have received some reports from local residents that young people of school age are congregating in the Greeno park after school hours and behaving in a manner that is causing concern. Should this be Thamesmead students it would be so disappointing as we have been impressed with the maturity and behaviour of the students we have worked with in school during this crisis. We are aware the conduct of these individuals is not meeting the present social distancing regulations, would warrant police involvement, and is also leaving a mess. I hope this behaviour will stop, but if this continues to be a problem we will be working with local councillors to support them to identify any individuals who may be our students, and if necessary as this behaviour is concerning and breaking social distancing regulations, it is likely to involve the support of police. Therefore, if your children are leaving the house at the end of the school day we ask that you check they are not conducting themselves in this manner. This will mean we all support our community in helping stop such behaviour and keep these young people safe.
Thank you for your continued support.
|12th June 2020
Dear Parents and Carers
The events of the past two weeks surrounding racial equality have been significant and normally we would seek to engage our students in discussion and reflection through assemblies, tutor sessions and classes. They are certainly events which warrant learning from, however difficult and uncomfortable they may feel. The remote circumstances we find ourselves in adds an extra level of challenge to doing this and as a school we must take time to ensure the best ways to do this so that it is done carefully and well, but we will be doing it.
For all students, trying to make sense of these events and form opinions can be hard when the debate stirs strong emotions and the views expressed across media become so polarised. However, we acknowledge that this will have been a very difficult two weeks for members of the Thamesmead Community who are from ethnic minority backgrounds. Seeing or hearing reports about the death of George Floyd, the protests that have followed around the world, and the continuous news stories will present to these young people a frightening reality of a world where people are still experiencing racism every day.
I want Thamesmead to be a school where students know they will be treated equally. When we established the four cornerstones of our school vision, ‘respecting our community’ was included to help us work to achieve this. Just as we went into lockdown we had been updating our Equality Policy which was approved by our governing body this week and the updated version will be shared on our website soon.
One of the objectives we have set ourselves to work on as a school is to develop student and staff understanding of protected characteristics and how equality and diversity can be better promoted. Engaging our students with the issues being discussed and raised in society at present will be one of the actions we can take to help us achieve this. Our school cannot be a happy school for all of our community if we cannot continue to better this understanding.
I would like all of our students to reflect on recent events in the media and consider the role they have to play in ensuring that unequal treatment, discrimination and hatred is not accepted, both at Thamesmead and within society. As a school we stress the importance of children doing the right thing when they know others are being treated badly and how doing nothing sends a message of acceptance. Yet they are not always strong enough or confident enough to do this.
The partnership between school and home is essential if we want the young people in our community to go out into a world where racism does not pollute our society and hold people back unfairly. We need them to understand discrimination and hatred is not acceptable. We need them to be brave and speak out to support those who are the victims and not cover for those who abuse. We need our students to understand that when they say nothing when they know there is a problem that they become part of the problem. This needs constant reinforcement at home and at school, and the more students are prepared to stand up to any form of prejudice the more it will stand out as unacceptable within our school and community.
If you are not sure where to start, talking to your child about the article below is a short read and might provide a place to start. Essentially it suggests 1. Do not avoid talking about it – be open and allow them to ask questions 2. Model the behaviour you want to see from your child – you are the greatest influence on them 3. Keep talking about it – the conversation has to keep going for it to stick.
Phased return of students to School
We are looking forward to welcoming year 10 students back into school from Monday. As you are aware we can have up to 25% of the year group in school at one time. Thank you to those parents who participated in the webinar on Wednesday night to understand the steps we have taken to ensure the school will be safe and how we have planned the student’s learning. We know that some students will be apprehensive about coming to school again and beginning to mix with small groups of students but we are confident that once they are here they will feel comfortable with all the steps we have taken.
As we look forward to seeing more of our Year 10 students returning to school on Monday it is a good time to remind you all that if there have been any changes to your contact details then please do update them with us. You can send them to firstname.lastname@example.org which is also the email address you should use if you wish to contact us at school. Although we are inviting more students on to our site we are still not able to have visitors on to site.
I would also like to share again the procedures you should follow in case there is a suspected case of coronavirus in your family and household. The link to this is at teh top of this page.
We have completed the process for selecting and voting in House Captains, their Deputies and Prefects for next academic year. Congratulations to Callum Stewart (Centaur), Josh Ballard (Dragon), Millie Pearson (Griffin), and Tate Foxhall (Phoenix) who are our house Captains. Also to Talia Hill (Centaur), Alice Horan (Dragon), Rhys Glands (Griffin) and Holly Fletcher (Phoenix) who were voted as deputy house captains. There is a long list of Year 10 students who applied to be prefects and have been successfully selected and these are detailed below.
Our next school citizenship lesson will be Friday 19th June in Period 5. We will once again distribute the work via Show My Homework for the students to complete in this period instead of their timetabled lesson. Work will appear on the morning of the lesson. Detailed below is what we expect the students will be working on. As with the last lesson we have ensured that in each lesson’s materials there are signposts as to where support for each issue can be accessed if relevant. If you wish to withdraw your child from material linked to Sex and Relationship Education, please let us know and we can provide alternative content. Should the students have any concerns arising from participation in the activities then they will know that they can raise them with their form tutor. The following topics are being studied;
7C – Mental health
7D – Democracy – having a say
7G – Diversity
7P – Internet safety
8C – Enterprise project
8D – Council spending
8G – Charity campaigning
8P – Mindfulness
9C – LBGTQ
9D – Interview skills
9G – Teenage pregnancy
9P – Drugs
10C – Community contribution
10D – Careers
10G – Enterprise
10P – STIs
Year 7: Chloe Evea, Eden Foxhall, Thomas Gilbert, Isis Ireeta, Rowan Norbury, James Taylor-Jenkins and David White
Year 8: Dominic Longley and Sarah Vassallo
Year 9: Grace Austen-Reed, Dulcie Barry and George Prendergast
Year 10: Baxter Cameron, Lauren De Lord, Erin Howick, Abigail Maynard, Olivia Mensah, Himani Patel and Hinal Patel.
We have also heard that two of our students have been successful in having their writing selected for publishing as part of the Young Writers competition. Several have articles that are being published and we will announce these names in the coming weeks.
We hope that their achievement can inspire other students to write. At the moment the English department is promoting a creative writing competition through Generation Lockdown (https://generationlockdown.co.uk/).
Thamesmead Race Across the World
You will know that Mr Patel has been encouraging students to keep active during the lockdown and send in their kilometres travelled as part of their exercise to see how far Thamesmead can travel. We have made it to Sydney which is incredible but we now have until 1 July to make it back home. Please keep sending your kilometres in to Mr Patel.
Art in the Community
Students who have been attending school in recent weeks have been working on some squares for a collaborative project with a local artist to thank the NHS. I think you will agree they have done some excellent work.
We would also like to tell parents about a photography competition called ‘Hold Still’ being championed by the Duchess of Cambridge https://www.npg.org.uk/hold-still/
I wish you all a good weekend.
|9th June 2020
Dear Parents and Carers
I hope you are well.
This Thursday, June 11th we are holding another staff training day in preparation for our planned phased reopening to Year 10 on Monday 15th June. This means that there will not be any live teaching and students will be set independent work to complete at home for the day for each lesson. Staff will be asking the students to focus on tasks that consolidate what has been done, and ensuring they have been able to finish all the work that has been set recently. Each subject for the day will set students a lesson based on where they are at present in their work. Students should log in as usual and instructions for the task will be placed in assignments within MS Teams.
As some face to face lessons will be taking place for Year 10 in school from Monday the teachers delivering these will not be able to deliver live remote lessons on that day. Students will be told if this is the case. Unfortunately as the staff are in school teaching at this time we will not be able to set work for students to do in these situations. If staff are only in school for one teaching session, then they will set work for lesson 5 if they are in school for a morning or work for P1 if they are in school for the afternoon session. The following teacher’s lessons will be affected;
While this looks like a large amount of lessons please recognise each teacher will only teach 5 classes a day and the majority of staff will be delivering lessons on line as normal. We have over 60 teaching staff and the maximum number of teachers involved in anyone day is no more than 11 therefore most lessons will continue unaffected. I trust you can appreciate that staff cannot be preparing and teaching face to face in school as well as setting remote lessons for students to do at the same time.
Surrey Police have asked me to share the important message below with you. In support of this I would like to stress that one of the reasons the government are reluctant to bring too many secondary school children back into school is because the likelihood of them mixing with many other students outside of school is great. It is therefore clear that it is considered scientifically important at this stage to continue to ensure young people continue to follow the social distancing rules if the work that has gone into bringing down infection rates nationally is to continue. Please take the time to share this message with your children and ensure they are fully understanding of their responsibilities in helping combat the infection.
Once again I would like to share the process for applying for Free School Meals. I am aware that as this situation continues and the furlough scheme’s life span is now known that a few more businesses are having to make difficult decisions about employees. I hope that few of you will find yourselves in this situation but remain alert to the fact that is possible and therefore would like to share this again as it is possible help that may be appreciated in these circumstances.
I have written to Year 10 parents separately today regarding our plans for Year 10 to attend face to face lessons in school from Monday 15th.
Finally, I am pleased to share another celebration of the fantastic art work that our students have been producing whilst working remotely. The quality of the Year 9 and 10 work is impressive I am sure you will admit, and the Year 7 and 8 photography work is clever, witty and should make you smile. I hope you enjoy looking at our students’ talented creations.
Specific guidance for Year 10
Video information for Year 10 students regarding returning to school
– returning to school from 15th June onwards
Webinar recording from Wednesday 10th June – Year 10 parents
4th June 2020
I hope that you are all keeping well.
You may be aware that guidance was issued to secondary schools on reopening to more pupils on bank holiday Monday, 25 May.
It states that from 15th June secondary schools should start to provide some face to face contact for Year 10 students that will complement their remote learning. However, remote learning is to remain the main form of delivery for the remainder of the summer term. Year 10 have been prioritised by the government as they are due to sit their GCSE examinations next summer.
The scientific advice that has guided the Department of Education’s guidance has indicated that there is still a need to control numbers of pupils attending school to reduce the risk of increasing the rate of infection. Therefore, the maximum number of students we are allowed to invite into school from Year 10 at one time will be limited to 50.
Secondary schools have been given the freedom to identify the face to face support that will best suit the needs of their community, so long as it conforms to the key health and safety guidance set out. Starting with a focus on the health and safety of our students, staff and their families we have then designed a provision following consultation with our subject leaders. We have been pleased with the quality of our remote learning provision and know that this has allowed us to maintain a good standard of education to be delivered to all of our students throughout the period of lockdown. You have told us that you have been pleased with this remote provision. If we shift our focus to providing large amounts of on-site provision to small groups of Year 10 students this will have a detrimental effect upon the availability of staff to teach the remainder of the year group and students in Years 7-9 remotely.
With all of the above taken into account we have prepared a model of face to face provision for Year 10 students that will commence from Monday 15 June, but will also ensure that there is minimal interruption to our online provision.
We have also prepared a detailed risk assessment plan so that we can be confident we are taking all the steps necessary to minimise the risk to students, staff and families. We have held a training day for staff so that they understand this plan and feel confident returning to school and ensuring the safety of our students. This will be supplemented with further training next week to prepare. The plans have been shared with, and approved by our governing body. It is important to state that the plans we have made represent our very best effort to reduce risk, but it is impossible to eliminate all risks and guarantee the safety of children and staff from a virus.
A summary of protective measures we will be taking;
· Providing training for staff
· Review of all policies and procedures relating to the health and safety of students and staff
· Ensuring those who have symptoms do not come into school
· Enhanced cleaning routines, including daytime cleaning
· High profile focus on personal hygiene and health – hand washing, etc
· Doors propped open (inc. main toilet doors) – to minimise surface contact and allow supervision of hand washing
· Additional hand washing and sanitising stations
· Staggered days for those attending including arrival, breaks and departure
· Increased emphasis on students and staff taking personal responsibility for their safety
· Keeping groups of students and staff distinct and separated – with teaching ‘bubbles’ set up
· Class sizes of no more than 10
· Social distancing in the classroom – 2 metre rule maintained
· Social distancing in the school building – 2 metre markings throughout corridors and one way systems
There are many more detailed steps we have planned but the above gives you a summary of the main steps we have planned. Parents of Year 10 please see below re more detailed information.
Children of Key Workers and those in other key categories
We will continue to provide spaces in school for students in these categories if this is needed. Please complete the attached form and email it to email@example.com to let us know if your child fits one of these groups and you would now like to start using your place, if you haven’t done so before. You can check these criteria here. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision
Students in Year 7, 8 and 9
While the government have said they will keep the return of other students to secondary school under review, it is most likely that we will not see students from these year groups return to school this term. The scientific advice guiding the Department of Education suggests that older students are more likely to mix more widely outside of schools and therefore secondary school opening will remain very restricted until this risk of infection spreading is reduced. We will continue to deliver and develop our online remote learning provision as best as we can for these students. We have planned our year 10 provision so that it minimises the negative impact upon our remote provision for other year groups. However please understand that if a member of staff is required in school to deliver face to face support for Year 10 students or support other students entitled to be in school then lessons will not be taught by them on these days. Teachers will let students know in advance that this is the case.
Pastoral Support for students
We are preparing for supporting students wellbeing and emotional needs when they return to school. These will be varied but we anticipate that many students will be anxious about returning to school and may have experienced trauma such as the bereavement of family or friends to COVID or seen loved ones very poorly. We know some of you have made us aware of this, however if your family has been affected in this way and you would like us to be aware please do contact your child’s Head of Year to let them know. We can then liaise with you to establish the level of support that may be needed as they return to school.
Visiting the school site – Students and parents
During this time, students and parents are not permitted to be on the school site unless they have been invited to attend for face to face contact or a pre-arranged meeting. If there is a reason why you believe it is necessary for you or your child to come on to the school site, please contact us to discuss this before attending the school.
Parents of Year 10 only.
We will write to you by the start of next week with the details on the face to face provision we will make available to students in Year 10, and explain fully the steps we will be taking. Once you have received these details we will share a survey with you to identify how many students will be attending and to gather any questions you have. We will also be holding a webinar on Wednesday 10 June at 6:30pm which you can join to hear about these plans and ask questions. If you would like to sign up for this webinar please follow the link below. Please note this is for Year 10 parents only. Please register in advance for this webinar (you will need to do this in advance):
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. If you wish to access this on your phone you will need the Zoom app downloaded.
Our plans to allow more students back into school to access face to face support with their teachers has been carefully designed to reduce risk of infection through minimising mixing between large numbers of students. They will spend their day in dedicated teaching ‘bubbles’ of no more than 10 children and will not be mixing with other bubbles. It is therefore important that students continue to observe social distancing outside of school according to the present government rules.
Tomorrow in period three our students will be completing their next citizenship lesson in place of their usual timetabled class. They will be directed to this work in tutor period tomorrow morning.
I have attached a poster regarding Child Abuse and Exploitation that the police have asked me to share with our community. It advises on steps you can take if you are worried about a child’s wellbeing.
Year 9: Finley Brooks, Chloe Codd, Aleksandra Hababicki, Amelia Jones Liddell, Connor Stockwell and Madelyne Watson.
Year 10: Lucy Tendler.
Finally, we are aware that many of you have generously given money to a fund set up by parents to go towards a ‘thank you’ celebration at the Red Lion for the staff here at school for the work they have done during this period. I wanted to say a personal thank you to all who have been so kind and generous. It is something very unexpected and we are happy to work hard to teach, and care for our students through this time. It is a very generous thing for you to have done and I am so very grateful to you for thinking of my staff in this way.
|22nd May 2020
As you are aware we have been planning for the occasion when we can safely bring some of our students back into school. The last government guidance issued was clear that the expectation is that it would be students from year 10 who we should plan to deliver some ‘face to face’ contact with. The national debate around primary schools reopening on 1 June has dominated things, and as I have shared, there has been little in the way of final detail on the expectations of what this face to face contact should look like for secondary schools.
An announcement is due on 28 May about whether the health conditions have been met so that it will be safe for children to return to school from 1 June. I expect that only after this will the focus return to how this will work with secondary age students.
What I feel able to share with you at this stage is that the very earliest we might open for some Year 10 students, would be the week of 15th June. I would like to make clear that this is not a date when we will reopen, but that it is the earliest I think it might be possible should the government say that the necessary conditions have been met to permit schools to open to more students. In the meantime, I remain confident our remote provision means our students are losing out much less than those in the many schools where this has not been widely available.
Therefore, I will write to you again in the first week of June to update you as to how likely this is. Once we are more certain of when we will begin to open to more students I will then share with you the details on the steps we are taking to ensure we can do so safely. I appreciate those of you who have got in touch with supportive messages about this making it clear that you think it better to take time and not to rush the decision.
To help prepare for the time when we can reopen to more students we will be using Wednesday 3 June as a staff training day. To allow the staff to participate in this we will not run timetabled lessons. For students we have planned a day of careers learning activities that we would like them to engage with and we will share the details of this with you on our return.
We remain open to those students who have parents who are key workers or meet the specific government categories that entitles them to attend. School will remain available on 3 June for these students. Attendance at school for key workers children must be pre-arranged by contacting the school directly.
The DFE have issued guidance for parents on supporting secondary children with their education but I hope that our daily provision means much of this will not apply. You can view it here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/help-secondary-school-children-continue-their-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19
I have attached our latest online safety help sheet that Mrs Garraway, has prepared to help you monitor your child’s internet browsing history. I hope that you find this helpful.
As mentioned on Wednesday we have seen many Headteacher’s awards issued this half term. Below are the names of the students who were nominated by their teachers for the excellent hard work and commitment put into their online learning since lockdown. They have been awarded 5 achievement points on SIMS and received a Certificate. Some received more than one! Well done, congratulations and keep up the good work.
Year 7: Megan Andrews, Mason Boyle, Zac Clarke, Chloe Cox, Edward England, Ava Jenkins, Rowan Norbury, Arthur Roffey, Lisa Roth, Ayan Sohail.
Year 8: Sarah Campion, Josh Daniel, Marlon Gomez, Carmen Highfield, Jessica Hornibrook, Owen Marley, Hannah Mukasa, Abigail Nixon, Mia Sheppard, Sarah Vassallo, Leo Wilkinson.
Year 9: Annelise Ambrosino, Dulcie Barry, Ruby Bray, Adrian Chiu, Chloe Codd, Danny Drew, Carl Egginton, Amelia Horn, Edie Mark, Annabelle Martin, Ben Mills, Benjamin Nixon, Kit Parsons, Audrey Pitcher, Bryce Rosling, Joseph Stothard, Georgia Thomas, Isabelle Tugby, Ellie Wolfe.
Year 10: Oliver Alexander, Freddie Allen, Baxter Cameron, Juliet Carroll, Alex Chung, Tom Digby, Holly Fletcher, Tate Foxhall, Carys Fuller, Jacob Gelona, Sienna Gillman, Lewis Kean, Charlotte Maynard, Olivia Mensah, Grace Morgan, Sky Morgan, Ralph Palmer-Andrews, Jack Pescud, Mason Pescud, James Quinn, Bethan Scammell, Millie Searle, Arthur Starr, William Taylor, Eleanor Thomson.
Remote lessons will commence again on Monday 1 June at 8:30am.
I hope that you all remain safe and well, and that you all enjoy the bank holiday weekend ahead.
|20th May 2020
Dear Parents and Carers
I know many of you will be expecting details from me soon about how we intend to allow some of our students to return to school for some face to face contact with their teachers. I have asked you from the outset for your patience and I must thank you for this as you have given me just that.
We are still awaiting Department of Education guidance that was intended to be with secondary schools at the start of this week. It is now overdue, and in turn that means we are unable to complete the necessary steps we must take to have confidence that we are doing all we can to ensure it will be safe to begin a phased return of students to school. Until I have received this, and then been able to review our planning after examining the guidance I cannot share any of our plans with you. I apologise as I know this is something that you will have many questions on.
I have attached a letter from Julie Iles, Cabinet Member for All-Age Learning, and Liz Mills, Director for Education, Lifelong Learning and Culture at Surrey County Council, that they have asked Head teachers to share with parents. Once again, please can I reassert that I am remain grateful for the support our parent community have shown the staff at Thamesmead throughout this crisis.
Mrs Long has once again shared some wonderful Art work completed by the students while working from home. I hope you will enjoy a moment appreciating the incredible talent on display here. Please do share this with your children. We do hope it will inspire them to work with equal commitment on their next piece of art work. I am really pleased to see the boys better represented in this sample too. You can view the work here https://www.thamesmead.surrey.sch.uk/celebrating-student-art-in-lockdown/
You will know that we normally share the names of those who achieve Headteacher’s awards via Thamesmead Talk. There has been a significant increase in the number of students nominated for these while they have been working remotely. I know many of students have really shown us how resilient and committed they are in these times and the staff have wanted to recognise this. Our communication processes are working slightly differently while we have reduced staff on site and we aim to celebrate these with you at the end of the week.
Finally, my emails tell me it is ‘Thank a Teacher Day’ today! I am never sure who decides these things but I am going to take the opportunity to thank my team of dedicated staff for all they have done for the students of Thamesmead this last half term.
|15th May 2020
Dear Parents and Carers,
We are continuing to review official guidance and advice that has been shared over the week about the possible return of students to school in the next half term. There has been a huge amount of discussion nationally about this and I am sure you can see from the news reporting on the issue that there remains a lot of work to do. We have begun to consider plans in light of the Department of Education’s advice but there is now work that needs to be done at local level with the local authority and other Headteachers. Thank you for being patient with me as I take the time to carefully consider all these steps. As I have written previously I will share any plans with you as soon as the time is right.
One of the highlights of my week was reading the attached information on the good work so many of our students have been doing towards their Duke of Edinburgh awards during lock down. It was a pleasure to hear these individual tales and I encourage you to read, and be inspired by their experiences.
We are excited to announce that since the launch of GCSEPOd we have almost reached 1,000 videos viewed. Feedback from staff and students is that these ‘pods’ are very helpful to supplement and consolidate learning covered during remote lessons. I hope that students will continue to utilise and benefit from this excellent resource over the coming weeks.
I would like to thank you for your continued support of the school during the school closure by ensuring that children are logging on to access their lessons remotely. We have been using an online survey called Socrative to identify when students have logged on and I am pleased to report that the vast majority of our students are attending their lessons. Despite the numerous challenges of remote learning and following the school timetable while working at home many of our students have still managed to achieve 100% attendance!
As part of our pastoral support provision during the school closure we are extending our programme of one-to-one meetings for all students. These meetings will take place with your child’s form tutor or member of our pastoral or inclusion teams and be conducted using Microsoft Teams. The meeting will be prearranged and focus on student’s well-being, experiences while remote learning and additional support that the school might be able to provide. Student will receive more information about this next week.
A message from Miss Walker…
I wanted to make you aware of some high-quality literacy resources from The National Literacy Trust that are now available for free
Zone In is an online portal aimed at children aged 13+. New content is added each week, including reading materials, activities and video tutorials presented by guest speakers, starting with beauty blogger Rose Gallagher:
Family Zone is a platform aimed at younger children and contains weekly author exclusives, reading activities and free books:
I hope you find these resources useful
Parental Engagement remote learning
First of all, we would like to thank you all as parents and carers who have written to us expressing kind words of support during this period of school closure, as well as supporting and guiding your children through the online learning experience. As a school we are continuing with our online learning to ensure that all students get the best deal possible. There might be, of course, times when some students lack motivation, or systems in place do not go as planned or just simply yearn to come back to school. This is completely normal given the circumstances. For this reason, please find below a link to a video you might find helpful in taking stock of the home learning experience and routines that go with that, along with a checklist that you may find useful in revitalising efforts.
Checklist based on the video
Internet Safety – House Party
This week’s internet safety tip is an attachment on the increasingly popular social media app House Party. We know that many of our students are using this app, and in some cases spending large amounts of time on it. Please read this help sheet to provide useful guidance on how parents can ensure students are not put at risk through their use of it.
Thamesmead ‘Feel-Good’ Bake Off
This year’s spring bake off is going to be centred around our student’s favourite things, we will be running our Bake-Off competition over the May half term and would love to see as many students as possible taking part!
Students may bake anything they like, sweet or savoury, but the bake has to represent something that makes them happy. This could be a pet, family member, book, film, TV show, or anything else.
Students may enter alone, or we would like to encourage multiple students from the same household who would like to enter in a team. The prizes will be House Points and the winning student(s) will get the chance to be a guest judge at next year’s Christmas bake off! The House
Points to win are below:
1st place = 15 2nd place = 10 3rd place = 5
We would love to have photographs of the students’ bakes by Wednesday the 3rd of June. All entries will be shared with the Thamesmead community via the school website and our Facebook page.
Shepperton Lockdown Doorsteps
We were visited today by Shepperton Lockdown Doorsteps who are doing a photography project on documenting different households and organisations during the lock down to raise money and donations to the local food bank. A small number of the school staff and some of the students we had on site today posed for a socially distanced photograph for the publication that they plan to produce. If you would like to donate to their project or be involved then you can do so by visiting
Thank you for all your continued support and messages of encouragement.
Have a lovely weekend,
12th May 2020
Dear Parents and Carers,
Since Sunday evening I have been working through the most recent government guidance available to understand more about the plans for a phased return to schooling announced in the Prime Minister’s briefing.
It was clear from that speech that the priority is students in primary schools with the youngest and oldest primary students being prioritised to return from the 1st June. This is all subject to the scientific and medical guidance indicating that it is deemed safe and appropriate to begin to return children and the adults that work with them, back into schools.
In the Department of Education guidance which has followed the Prime Minister’s speech it talks of offering “some face-to-face support to supplement the remote education of Year 10 and Year 12 students who are due to take key exams next year “. It is clear that this contact is not expected to be a return to a normal timetabled provision, and is intended only to provide support for the learning that students in Year 10 are completing at home. As yet, we have limited information about the way in which this face-to-face support may be offered or the precise date from which that support should be offered. The guidance released to schools late last night suggests that it should be from the 1st June, if this is safe and possible, but there remains a lot more to be decided at government level before this can happen.
I have been looking at the guidance today and it provides some of the information that will allow us to start planning how this might work, so that it would be safe for students and staff, but there is still much more information I need before we can share any plans with you as to how this would look. I would like to make clear that the 1st June date is not guaranteed, and we will not return students to school until we are confident that everything we need is in place so that we can do so safely.
As soon as we receive this further information from the Department for Education, we will be back in touch with you to share our plans in accordance with that guidance. We will take into account the possible impact this may have on what we can provide for our students in Years 7-9 before we commit to delivering on site provision for Year 10 only.
In the meantime, our status is as it has been since the 23rd March – our schools are only open for those children of Critical Workers who need to be cared for while their parents/carers are at work and for those children deemed ‘vulnerable’. If your child falls into this category and you know feel that it is necessary for them to attend school, please do contact us. The most up to date guidance for parents on education can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers
On another note, Thamesmead is currently recruiting for the role of Senior Finance Officer. With discussion of job insecurity being high profile in the news at present we would like to draw your attention to this in case you know someone, with experience of finance, who is looking for a secure position. The details are available here https://www.tes.com/jobs/employer/thamesmead-school-1005906
Thank you, once again for your continued support, and patience at this time of unprecedented challenge, which is much appreciated.
|7th May 2020
Dear Parents and Carers
I am mindful that the government will be making announcements on Sunday regarding possible next steps for easing the lock down restrictions that are in place at present. There has been lots of speculation in the press about what they may include and some of this speculation has been about when schools might reopen. I wanted to make clear that, as was the case when the announcement was made to close schools, we have had no notice as to what might be announced and if it will include plans for education. There has been no official date or planning shared with schools as of yet. Therefore, if the announcement does cover plans for schools please understand that we will be hearing it at the same time as you. We will need time to consider this, consult with the local authority and other local schools, consider fully the health and safety implications, and carefully adapt the early planning we have done ourselves, before we can share this with you. I know many of you will be anxious about this and will have many questions, but I ask for your support in giving us time to respond to any announcements and allow us to contact you. I would like to reassure you that the health and safety of our students and staff will be our prime concern. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
I am also mindful that the long weekend is in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of VE day and while we have done lots to manage the delivery of education under lock down I am conscious (especially as a history teacher) that we have not been able to deliver as much as we would hope under normal circumstances to commemorate this as a school, given the hard work that is going in from my staff delivering our timetable from home. We have here a link to a useful home pack from English Heritage that is designed to help families at home mark the occasion https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/siteassets/home/visit/ve-day-75/eh-ve-day-at-home-pack.pdf which you may wish to look at.
You will recall from my previous letters that we have asked students to submit all work to their teachers via assignments in MS Teams to ensure that it gets to the right place and is easy for teachers to find. In order to help students who have found this difficult we have made three instructional videos to help students working on different devices.
The students have the links to these in their emails but they are here for your reference also.
Uploading work to Teams assignments via a computer: https://web.microsoftstream.com/video/5a6b083b-fcef-4561-9b42-403a8975f47e
Uploading work to Teams assignments via a tablet: https://web.microsoftstream.com/video/34570461-f8e5-4290-870b-1fef03c4c5c4
Uploading work to Teams assignments via a smart phone: https://web.microsoftstream.com/video/7a5328cc-d99b-485b-9bc5-b303d3c77963
Mrs Long, our Head of Art, has asked me to share with you (via the link below) some of the fantastic Art work that students have been producing at home during their remote lessons, and some of it is simply incredible. I am sure you will enjoy looking at some of this lovely work produced by our talented students. The Art Department would like all students to see the high quality of work that has been produced by some of their peers, and hope that by sharing this, others will aspire to produce work of an equally impressive standard. I could not help but notice that the work from our older students here is largely produced by girls and hope that the boys in Years 9 and 10 can take up the challenge to share some equally inspirational and creative work in the next fortnight.
As you know we have been working hard to support the local community: Our design technology department has made approximately 400 PPE face visors for local hospitals and care homes; we have also identified those who would benefit from receiving food parcels in these very difficult times, hopefully this will have eased pressure on some. Through the support of Always, who have provided us with sanitary products, we are working to combat period poverty. We have been sent items which are being held at school and whilst we have already given a large quantity out to local families we do have more, if you feel you would benefit from receiving these items please get in touch and we can arrange this.
We understand that there are lots of families whose circumstances have changed beyond their control through no fault of their own. We would like to help and offer support where we can. Whilst we appreciate we can’t solve all problems we will do our best to access the right support or find an agency or charitable organisation that can help. So in these times please do get in touch if you think we can be of help to you or one of our families.
Have a good bank holiday weekend. I will be in touch again next week.
|6th May 2020
Dear Parents and Carers
I hope you are well, and that your families remain safe and healthy.
With this Friday being the rearranged May bank holiday, to celebrate the 75 anniversary of VE Day school will be closed and there will be no online lessons.
New registration process for lessons
This week we have introduced a process we have been able to develop, that will help us monitor effectively how many students are participating in each lesson. We know that there are times when students cannot be online for the lesson but do try and do the work off line, or when they can. However we are keen to build a better picture of overall engagement and where students may not be engaging at all. This will be important in helping us plan for our curriculum as we move forward through the stages of this crisis. This has been shared with students and is a simple step they should take at the start of every lesson. There is a tutorial for the students here to help if you have any problems https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DSCgltiTJkY&feature=youtu.be. Hopefully after three days of doing this the students have now got the hang of the process but please do encourage them to make this their first step each lesson.
Year 11 Progression
Year 11 Esher College applicants have been sent a letter with information about preparation study guides.
The link to this (and all college applicant information) is also on our website here
Reading at Home
This week’s internet help sheet has been emailed to you and has been provided by Miss Walker and Mrs Garraway with tips on how you can make the most of many of the resources that have been made available to families during the lockdown to support students reading and literacy.
During the school closure please do not think we have stopped the rewards. We have not. We are continuing during our online learning, and as parents/carers you will be receiving notifications of these via the Parent Portal. The current Houses leader board is below. Phoenix are in the lead but all to play for – so now is the time for all students to win as many points as they can to contribute to their House’s total. Points are also added to individual totals which contribute to winning the Thamesmead Values reward badges. Good luck – having a target can really help you focus your attentions during this time of uncertainty.
Wellbeing activity for younger children
The link below is a colour in guide for younger children with advice on how to stay happy at home. Some of you with younger families may find it of use.
Mr Loffstadt, Mrs Scarrot, Mr Todd and Mr Cowley have all continued to make hundreds of PPE visors with Mr Todd adapting some with cartoon tops to make them less intimidating for use with young children. They have been distributed for key workers across the following organisations this week;
· The Burlington Care Home, Shepperton
· HMP SEND
· Princess Alice Hospice
· Sunbury Nursing Home
· Ashton Lodge Nursing Home
· Charlton Grange Care Home
· The Children’s Community nursing teams – Richmond, and Kingston.
· Shooting Star Chase Hospice
We are glad that we have been able to use our resources at school to support all of these teams in the vital work that they are doing to care for those who are more vulnerable at this time.
Thank you for your continued support and positive messages that you have sent into school this week. I continue to share these with the staff each week and it makes a difference to them to hear that their hard work is helping our students and community so much.
I wish you all an enjoyable bank holiday weekend.
|1st May 2020
Dear Parents and Carers
I hope you are keeping safe and well. It has been a while since I shared with you the links to the latest Department of Education advice and guidance to parents. This is updated frequently and while I have not seen it necessary to share these minor changes with you here is the latest link for you for your ease of reference should you need to refer to it.
I anticipate that from next week we may begin to hear some ideas about government plans for how schools be able to open again in the future. I will share concrete details with you whenever they are available, but there will be significant planning involved to make any of these plans happen. When we are in the position where we have enough information to begin this, we will depend upon your patience and understanding.
Staying Safe at Home
We have been asked by Surrey County Council to share the link to their advice sheet pointing out services you can access if you are worried about online crime, the safety of a child, domestic violence or mental health.
We have been trying to ensure we focus on providing weekly advice for parents that recognises that our students are spending significant amounts of time online at present. This week’s internet safety newsletter covers the topic of ‘netiquette’. This gives some useful reminders as to how to ensure your child thinks carefully about their conduct toward others when using virtual platforms. I think we have all seen examples of when adults find it hard to regulate their online behaviour and act or respond in ways that is impulsive or regretful, it is even harder for teenagers who may need increased support and guidance to help them manage their actions and emotions. The attached advice sheet gives a simple summary of strategies that can help ensure online behaviour does not upset others.
Year 11 Transition
We have received news from more of the Sixth Form and further education colleges this week about support they are offering Year 11 in advance of their new courses starting in September. Strode’s College, Egham have sent us a booklet containing a range of tasks that students can do for each subject they are interested in studying. This has been emailed to Year 11 parents and is on our website here. There will be another batch of tasks shared in June. We are also aware that Brooklands have emailed applicants with news of things that they have made available for students to do who plan on joining the College in September. All of these along with other useful Year 11 information from colleges is here
Please also read the item below on GCSEPod as this has developed resources that may be useful to prepare Year 11 for their next stage also.
GCSEPod Webinars for Parents
In anticipation of the school shut down we invested in some additional internet based resources to support our learners learning from home. One of these is GCSEPod which is relevant to students in Year 10, but also those in Year 9 and 11. The attached help sheet has information on how each year group might benefit from their independent engagement with the resource. There is also detail on a webinar aimed at supporting parents in using this with their children at home. This is a resource that will be highly beneficial to any GCSE student who uses it alongside their GCSE studies at any stage of their learning and we would like to see students continue to use it once schooling returns to the classroom again too.
Generous support from Shepperton Aurora Rotary
We are grateful to the Shepperton Aurora Rotary club who have been in touch with us to ask about ways in which they can support some of our students who are most in need at present.
Visors for Princess Alice and Sunbury Nursing Home
This week we have delivered 180 of the visors that our Design Technology department have been making using the laser cutter here at school. The recipients, Princess Alice Hospice and Sunbury Nursing Home were very grateful. We will continue to make more and if you know of any other local organisations that would appreciate a donation please let us know.
Thank you for all your continued support and kind words you have asked me to share with our staff here. I hope that you have a good weekend.
|29th April 2020
Dear Parents and Carers
I hope that you are well. I have received some emails from parents this week asking us about events that were scheduled to run such as progress meetings that we were due to hold for particular year groups. They are good questions to ask and I would like to address this. We have a number of significant tasks we are having to deliver at present such as awarding Year 11 centre assessed grades in place of their GCSE exams, and trying to manage the transition of Year 6 into the school while schools remain closed. Once we have these up and running, we will turn our attention to considering how we might be able to provide you with some feedback on how your children are progressing with their learning. Clearly, we must investigate technical and logistical solutions to make this possible. We need to be sure that the time we invest will allow us to create an experience that is easy for both parents and staff to access. I would like to ask for your patience as we work through these priorities and I hope our forward thinking approach to learning will reassure you that if we can find a remote solution to something as important to us as progress meetings, we will.
Students Submitting Work
As we are now more familiar with MS Teams and are using it for the bulk of our remote learning, we will be asking students to submit any work to staff using the assignments function. This will make it easier for staff to keep track of work which has been filling staff in boxes with individual emails from students. Students will receive training on how to do this in tutor time tomorrow and will hopefully be comfortable with the process after this. If they continue to find it difficult then if they let their teacher know we provide some individual support to help.
Queries about Year 11 GCSE grades
We have much greater clarity about how we will be assessing our Year 11s to provide them with the grades that will inform their GCSE results now that we have received further guidance from the DFE, exam boards and OFQUAL. This process must remain fair and objective for all. Therefore if you have any questions about Year 11 GCSE grades they must now be directed to Mrs Eley, Deputy Headteacher so that they can be responded to without unknowingly jeopardising the fairness of the process for other students or putting individual staff members in an unfair position. Thank you for your support with this.
Year 11 Transition
Many of you have also been in touch to ask about work that Year 11 students can do to prepare them for their next steps at College and beyond. We have written to Year 11 parents individually, but I am pleased to say that Woking College have been quick to respond and have made activities available on their website for year 11s to do independently in this time as good preparation for their courses in September. They can be found here https://woking.ac.uk/year-11-transition-work/ along with a reassuring message from the Principal, Brett Freeman. https://woking.ac.uk/information-for-students-staff-parents/information-for-year-11-new-applicants-prospective-parents/ .
This work is targeted at students going to Woking in September however having had a look at it, much of it would be of good use for any Year 11 planning on continuing with college studies at any institute. We have contacted other popular colleges and they have promised us they will be in touch soon with any resources they are planning to share.
Extra-curricular clubs and activities
I am pleased to share with you several extra-curricular opportunities for our students to work on at home. We are proud of the opportunities we offer our students after school and it seems that now some of our staff are getting to grips with their remote teaching they are ready to extend the work they do with our students.
Details of a remote learning Science week that Miss Edmondson-Jones has put together to replace the activities we had planned in school has been emailed to you. They look great fun and could be done with all the family, so I encourage you to get involved.
Miss Long and Miss Jones wish to continue with their Capture the World photography competition and the attached slides should explain how students can get involved in this. Keep your eye out as the theme will change each fortnight.
Miss Dos Remedios is starting a film making club for budding directors and again the attached slide should give you details on this.
In addition, do not forget to encourage the students to let Mr Patel know about the kilometres they and their families travel on their daily exercise, as part of his Race Across the World challenge we shared at the end of last week.
Thamesmead Student’s fundraising for NHS Charities
You may wish to support one of our students, Daniel Calvert in Year 9 who is dying his hair blue to raise funds for the NHS charities. He hopes to raise £500. You can support his fundraiser here https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jade-calvert2
Message from PC Caroline Barnes 3885
Youth Intervention Officer for Spelthorne
Schools in Spelthorne have had to close due to measures to control the spread of Covid-19.
If your child is off school this is not an excuse for them to go out and cause anti-social behaviour in the community and cause more upset and distress to members of the public who like us all are trying to manage the current situation in the best way possible.
Unfortunately, we are seeing a large number of reports of groups of youths gathering in areas within Spelthorne behaving in an anti-social manner.
Your child should be at home during school hours and should be adhering to the social distancing requests made by the Government at this time. The social distancing requests apply to all young people following the shutting of all schools across the country on Friday afternoon.
Please talk to your children about what is expected of them during this difficult time and advise them that should they be found responsible for any anti-social behaviour or criminal acts they will be dealt with.
Thank you for your cooperation during this time.
School Trips Update
We have had a lot of enquiries regarding the trips we have planned. We are liaising with all travel companies and our insurers regarding these. Once we have gathered all the information we need to make decisions we will contact you regarding each trip and explain the way forward. Thank you for your continued patience here. You will understand that these companies are very busy dealing with enquiries at present.