I am writing to wish you a very happy holiday and New Year for 2021. May you and your family be safe and healthy throughout the festive season!
At the end of a very busy and successful term, I would like to thank the students for their hard work and achievements so far. I would also like to thank the staff for their dedication and commitment to excellence, as well as parents and carers for your continued support of Kingsmeadow School and our students.
This has been a year like no other due to Coronavirus. While we have done our utmost as a school and community to ensure school life remains as normal as possible, government restrictions have meant that there has been an inevitable impact on the day to day running of the school since September. I would like to take this opportunity to thank students, staff and families for their support through these challenging times. Despite the tight restrictions that our students have been kept under this year, they have still found ways to express their creativity and commitment to learning. As I write, the music department is in the midst of recording student performances that would normally make up our end of term Music Showcase, live performances normally open to student family and friends. These recordings will be collated and made available to families to view over Christmas, with highlights on the school website.
This year also saw a year 8 Science team make it through to the national finals of the Big Idea competition run by Solutions for the Planet, which should have been held in London, but due to Covid restrictions took place virtually in school on 18 November. The girls worked very hard throughout lockdown, completing weekly challenges, upgrading their product's business plan and partaking in live Q&A sessions. ‘Spike Stoppers’, the team, performed brilliantly and came 4th nationally out of 56. A fantastic achievement, especially during lockdown.
Due to Health and Safety guidelines, our ability to run any public trips or events such as those above, including open evenings and parent consultations, have been curtailed. For the first time ever, we were not able to invite new starters and their families into school last summer as we were in lockdown. I know that this caused some issues for all involved, with the usual face to face meetings between staff and parents unable to take place. Many of the questions and concerns, especially from our new parents, have been around communication. While we have tried our utmost to use other forms of communication to share important messages such as regular postings on the school web page and via the MCAS app, a web page or app is not the same as a face to face meeting.
Although a vaccine seems now to be on the horizon, the current situation is set be with us for at least the next term and may well be the case through to the end of the academic year. We will continue to do our best to keep you informed. Please keep a close eye on our website. All key information will be there.
The last day of this term is Friday 18 December and the students will finish school at 2:45pm as normal. Covid restrictions are in place and I would ask that you remind your child that they should go straight home and not ‘hang around’ public places in Dunston.
Start of Spring term arrangements
Students will return to school for normal lessons on Monday 4 January 2021 and should arrive in school before 8.40am. Please ensure your child is in school on time with the correct uniform and equipment so that lessons can commence with the minimum of disruption.
Ms Murphy is leaving us after 3 years working with the school to move onto pastures and challenges new. I am sure you will join me in thanking all staff who are leaving for their valued contributions to the school. I would like to take this opportunity to wish them the very best in their future careers.
Once again, I would like to thank you for your continued help and support. I hope you and your family have a restful break and enjoy this holiday period. I look forward to seeing your children refreshed and ready to learn in January.
All students have access to our online learning platform Google Classroom. Each child has been issued with individual codes to access key online classrooms. During any periods of agreed absence work will be set through Google classroom and will enable students to keep up with classmates. During the last few months this has been used as the key mechanism to allow those students that have been absent due to Covid to keep pace with their peers and not miss out. Please refer to the Remote Learning Policy for full details. All policies are available via the school website.
In school we have several security programs which all serve to keep our students safe while online. These programs allow us to monitor our IT network, while allowing our students to work safely. We educate our students about online safety, ensuring they are aware how to behave responsibly while online. It is essential that parents support us in this and ensure that while at home their children are using the internet responsibly. There are a few ways in which you can do this:
· Be open about internet safety - Talk to your child about both the benefits and dangers of the internet, to try and help them understand that they have a responsibility to themselves and others while online. Ensure that they know to talk to someone they trust if they feel scared or hurt by something which has happened online.
· Set up internet filters - You can do this through your internet provider. Contact them and ask them how to do this.
· Set up safety settings on your home devices - Safety settings