I wanted to start this bulletin off by saying how delighted we have been with the start of this half term. Students and staff have been a credit to their school and community and we have coped far better than many feared in the summer. Our student attendance sits at 91.2% which is not too far from where we were last year pre-COVID and above the national average of 87%:
% Unauthorised absence
93.39% - (94.34%)
2.35% - (1.42%)
88.21% - (93.12%)
5.77% - (2.93%)
91.60% - (92.53%)
1.72% - (2.93%)
89.95% - (93.75%)
2.82% - (2.89%)
92.98% - (91.12%)
3.04% - (4.08%)
91.17% - (92.59%)
3.16% - (2.45%)
Staff attendance has been strong as well and this has meant that there has been very little disruption to teaching. Can I thank parents for their support in sending students to school during these difficult times.
We have been fortunate that COVID has not affected the school too much but you are all aware that we have had a small number of student cases. I will continue to send letters out when these occur as it is important to be transparent during these times. Letters are sent via email and those parents without an email address are sent hard copies. If you are not receiving these emails, then please can you contact the school office to update your current email address?
Can I also take this opportunity to remind parents about the School Gateway App. Whenever we send out a text to parents it saves the school money the more parents that are using the app. You can download the app for free by searching “School Gateway” in your app store or log-in to the School Gateway site here https://login.schoolgateway.com
With our recent case, I would like to take the time to thank the family in question. As they had followed the Government guidance and followed the rules on household isolation due to a previous case, this meant there had been no impact on the school. I would like to continue to ask parents to keep their children at home if they have developed symptoms. As you are all aware by now, the most common symptoms of COVID-19 are a recent onset of a new continuous cough and/or a high temperature and/or a loss of, or change in, normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia). If your child, or anyone in your household, develops these symptoms, your whole household must remain at home and not go to work, school or public areas. You should arrange testing for the person who has developed symptoms. When the result is known further advice will be available.
As you are all aware by now, all of our homework and remote learning is now set on FROG, our Virtual Learning Environment. Even those students without access to a computer can access the work through the FROG app on their phones. If you have any issues with accessing FROG can you please contact Mr Fryer at the school on 0191 236 1700 (Ext. 277) as there are ways in which we can help.
We are determined as a school to focus on the positives, even through these difficult times. Students are still receiving hundreds of RICH nominations for their resilience, industry, curiosity and honour. North Gosforth Academy students have just reached another amazing RICH milestone with our 1000th RICH nomination. This means that there have been 1000 acts of RICH behaviour either in lessons or around the corridors at our school. I am increasingly proud of all of our students but in particular I am proud of those who have been nominated.
In a few weeks’ time, we will be making the draw for our second RICH hot chocolate celebration with myself and every student who has received a RICH nomination since the start of this half-term will be in the hat to win a place.
You can keep track of your children's RICH progress in their planners, where all our students are recording their nominations as they aim to become a RICH ambassador for our school in one of the 4 skills.
Speaking of our RICH ambassadors, please keep a look out on the Chronicle website for coverage of Reece Slater who has raised an incredible £1,445.25 so far for the West End Foodbank, with donations still coming in. The link to Reece’s fundraising page is: https://newcastlewestend.enthuse.com/pf/10miles-70minutes
Reece and Mr Fryer visited the foodbank this morning and they were incredibly grateful for Reece’s efforts. He is a wonderful young man who we are so proud of. The story will be covered in the Chronicle soon and on social media. This really shows how special our school community is and how, in a time of great need, one of our own has reached out in this way. Well done Reece!
For this year only, there will be a change in how we are conducting Parents Evenings’, in order to avoid large gatherings on-site. We trialled the system with Year 11 yesterday evening and it worked well. An appointment will be made to speak to your child’s tutor, mentor, Head of Year or a member of the Senior Leadership Team. This appointment will be on the evening of the Parents Evening’ or on a following evening if that is more convenient. That member of staff will have collected comments from all of your child’s teachers to discuss their progress with you and to set out any targets or interventions. A recent Data sheet will be sent out in advance of the meeting so you are well informed. There will also be an opportunity to discuss your child’s well-being and mental health in general, in terms of how they are coping in this difficult year.
The remaining Parents’ Evenings are as follows:
Thursday 26th November Year 7 Tutor Evening
Thursday 4th February Year 10 Parents’ Evening
Thursday 3rd March Year 9 Parents’ Evening
Thursday 29th April Year 7 Parents’ Evening
Thursday 13th May Year 8 Parents’ Evening
Following each parents’ evening, we will send out a questionnaire for parents/carers to complete. Please make sure that you do this and return it to school as we really value your views and it gives us vital information about how we can continue to improve things further in school.
Year 11 Examinations
We are all aware of how unsettling the uncertainty is with regards to Year 11 GCSE examinations in the Summer of 2021. You will have noticed that Scotland and Wales have decided not to set examinations for their students this summer. However, as it stands, all students in England will still be sitting their examinations in June. I have made representation to OFQUAL to ask for them to give greater clarity to students and schools. In particular, I have asked them to publish a ‘Plan B’ so students will know what will happen if, for some reason, examinations are cancelled.
All of the staff in the school are supporting Year 11 in preparing for the summer exam series. We have tried to explain to students that they should try not to worry too much as it is outside of their control. However, we all realise that this is hard to do. If you feel that your child is becoming particularly anxious then please do not hesitate to contact your Head of Year and we can discuss how we can support.
Finally, please keep safe and well and try to enjoy the weekend as best you can.