Thanks from the Principal
As the end of term fast approaches, I wanted to write to thank all parents for their support during the most difficult term I have experienced in my 20 years of teaching. It has been an unprecedented year, and the challenges we have faced since March 2020 could not have been forecast. However, I am so proud of how our students, staff and wider community have rallied around and shown resilience in such adversity. Please accept our good wishes and I hope that you can all have a restful and enjoyable festive season.
A Virtual Carol Concert?
We are so proud of the musical performances that Mr Wilson produces. For a small school, we certainly punch above our weight and they are a highlight of the school year. Obviously, we cannot have a Carol Concert this year, but Mr Wilson has spent his time recording a number of wonderful songs from our students. Please see the message from Mr Wilson below and click here to hear the songs for our talented children:
We look forward to nothing more than entertaining our friends, parents, carers, and the local community at Christmas time.
Unfortunately, this year our usual Christmas musical celebrations couldn't go ahead, but that didn't stop us creating some festive recordings and celebrating the work of our talented Music students.
Every day as we move towards our Christmas break, we have released a recording, mostly of Christmas tracks but also of some excellent pieces of music work created within the department, in the hope we can spread a little festive joy through Music and also celebrate the talents of our truly wonderful music students, who continue to amaze me with the quality of music they produce.
We hope you enjoy listening to the tracks as much as we enjoyed recording them!
Have a wonderful Christmas with best wishes from North Gosforth Academy Music department.
Snowman by Ruby Thompson
Silent Night guitar solo by William Richardson
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas by Megan Douglas
Last Christmas by Kaitlyn Currey
Ballade No.1 in G minor Chopin by Luke Maccoy
James Bond by Kai McLeod
Silent Night flute solo by Ellie Ross
La Campanella, Liszt by Luka Maccoy
Bohemian Rhapsody by Cohan Haines, vocals Mr Fryer and Ms Orrick, guitar solo Mr Wilson!
At North Gosforth Academy our RICH ethos is a vital part of the curriculum in all our subjects. The four RICH skills of resilience, industry, curiosity and honour are what make our school community thrive and are what give our pupils their roadmap to success in school.
This year we have decided to reward those pupils who are displaying RICH behaviour in lessons or in their social time at our school. All staff members have the ability to nominate pupils when they see them behaving in a RICH way. RICH nominations can be earned for a variety of reasons. It might be the resilience of not giving up on a difficult Maths question, the industry of spending a long time on a beautiful piece of art homework, the curiosity of asking a great question in Ethics or the honour of staying behind after lessons to help the teacher collect the books.
Some of these actions might seem unimportant on their own, but we like to notice our pupil’s little acts of generosity and hard work. We understand that many small and seemingly insignificant actions will, over time, lead to a better school community for our pupils.
In the month leading up to Christmas our students at North Gosforth Academy have been focused on transferring their RICH values into real-life actions. In particular we have challenged the students to be more kind and honourable to those around them. We have shown all our students an ‘advent calendar of kindness’ which encourages our pupils to complete 1 small act of kindness each day of December. Some of the acts are as simple as saying thank you to a teacher, parent or bus driver, others require a little more effort, like doing the washing up or making a cup of tea for someone at home.
A small group of Year 7s and Year 8s gave up some of their free time to complete one big act of kindness for their peers. Unfortunately, due to absences this was not able to be completed, but I would still like to commend all our young people who were prepared to give up their free time to be kind to others.
We also held our second Principal’s RICH hot chocolate this week, with 6 randomly selected winners being rewarded for their RICH behaviour. Well done to Ella Kelk, Emma Brady, Ruby Scott, Emily Reddicliffe, Alisha Burn and Hannah Graham It was a real pleasure to sit down to have hot chocolate and biscuits with these students on Wednesday afternoon.
The nominations for RICH behaviour are still flooding in to such an extent that with 9 nominations for hard-work around school some of our students are now classed as RICH experts in industry. These students are our role-models for future success in school and I hope they keep striving for nominations so that by the end of the year they can become RICH ambassadors at North Gosforth Academy.
The work to replace the school boiler and fire doors will be starting in January so please can parents be aware that we will be using some of the visitor car park for the contractors and machinery which will be on site. Visitor car parking will therefore be reduced for the Spring term.
Testing Strategy for the New Year
You may be aware that the government made an announcement on Tuesday with regards to community testing that will start sometime in January across all secondary schools in the country. The testing will be through Lateral Flow Devices – these are rapid tests similar to the technology used in pregnancy tests and the results come through in 20 minutes.
In a nutshell the process will be:
- Secondary schools will conduct weekly testing of staff; this will help identify those who are carrying the virus without displaying symptoms, reducing the risk of transmission. This will be coupled with daily testing, for 7-days, for those identified as close contacts of workforce colleagues that have tested positive; this will mean that staff can continue coming into school as normal, rather than having to self-isolate, as before.
- Daily serial testing for Year 11 students if they are identified as a contact of a positive case. This ensures that these students do not need to isolate and are able to continue to benefit from high quality, face to face education in this critical exam year.
- As soon as possible after this initial phase, testing will be available for all other secondary students who are identified as a contact.
Covid reporting over Christmas
As outlined in the government guidance, senior staff will now be on call to deal with track and trace up to noon on Thursday 24 December. If your child tests positive for COVID-19 the same processes apply with regards to the information we need and how to get in touch with us up until this time – please email us directly at email@example.com.
You should only get in touch with us if:
- your child developed symptoms within 48 hours of being in school and
- they receive a positive test result up to noon on Thursday 24 December
In all other situations over the holidays, parents should get in touch directly with NHS Test and Trace.
If your son or daughter does receive a positive COVID-19 test in the first six days of the school holidays please contact the school immediately on firstname.lastname@example.org and provide the following information:
- Name of child
- Class/year group
- Date of the COVID-19 test
- Does the child have symptoms? Yes or No
- What date did the symptoms start?
- What date did the child last attend school?
- A contact phone number
It is very important that you provide this information so we can identify any close contacts that your son or daughter may have had in school during their infectious period. The school will then follow up close contacts and request that they isolate for 10 days to prevent further transmission of COVID-19. Please note that you should also report any close contacts that your child has had outside the school setting through NHS Test and Trace.
We are proud to have been able to help a number of families with technology to enable them to access online and remote learning at what has been a tremendously challenging time for all. As I am sure you are aware, coordinating remote learning is a real challenge but we have a responsibility to educate students while they are self-isolating and not at school. We have also taken steps to ensure that, on their return, students are further encouraged to complete their learning tasks in Homework Club and are given the extra support they need to continue flourishing. It is imperative that, in these challenging times, the school ensures that learning time is not lost and students do not fall behind. We take this responsibility extremely seriously and is the greatest compliment we can afford our school community.
We are able to offer some help to people struggling with internet-enabled devices and access to Frog in certain circumstances. If you need to discuss this with the school please contact email@example.com or if you are having login issues please ring Mr Coulter on (0)191 2361715.
The New Term in January
While we are all looking forward to Christmas, I know that many of us share concerns about letting our guard down over the festive period. January could prove to be a tough month so I would like to continue to ask parents to keep your children at home if they display any symptoms whatsoever. It will be so important at the start of the year to keep the school free from infection so please be extra cautious when judging if your child is well enough to attend.
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. Can I remind parents that if anyone in your household is having a test then they must isolate until the test result comes back. When the result is known further advice will be available. Please note that Public Health England advice is that only people showing symptoms should be tested and that a negative test result will not reduce the period of self-isolation.
Term Start Dates
I have sent a detailed separate letter explaining the amended start times for January. Following the latest DfE guidance, the key dates for students next term are as follows:
Monday 4 January 2021
Year 11 Students will have a normal week at school in preparation for their Mock Examinations. We look forward to seeing them at 8.40am on Monday 4th January.
For Years 7-10, students will have a week of Remote Learning set through FROG. The setting of work through FROG is now well established and we are confident that this will work well.
The only exception to this will be three Year 10 classes. Music students will have a booster session on Tuesday 5th January in preparation for their exam on Thursday. Ethics and Travel & Tourism students will be invited into school on Thursday 7th January. The Travel and Tourism exam is on Friday 8th January.
Friday 8 January 2021
This is a Training Day and this has been in our Calendar since the start of the year, so there will be no remote learning or any other provision on this day.
Monday 11 January 2021
All remaining year groups return - Years 7, 8, 9 and 10 and we look forward to seeing them at 8.40am.
Free School Meal provision
North Tyneside Council is administering a Winter Hardship Fund for families who are eligible for Free School Meals. It equates to a £60 grant which covers the period from January to March. The school has entered all of the details onto the Edenred website and vouchers have been sent out this week. North Tyneside Council have an allocated administrator to deal with all Winter Hardship Fund queries and their details are in the letter you have already received. As the school will be closed after Friday all queries should be sent to NTC.
Take care and have a lovely Christmas,