I would like to start off by saying how pleased I am with my first half term here at North Gosforth Academy, and how proud I am of our students who are working hard and showing great resilience in spite of the disruption to their education over the past 14 months.
The school community has been extremely industrious since our school return and there has been a real 'buzz' around the building. We have introduced strong learning routines across all classrooms and encouraged students to maximise their lesson time so that they can achieve highly in the future - we have asked them to think carefully about focusing on the way that they learn; this has been a real pleasure to see. We want students to understand that if they work and learn effectively every day and in every lesson then anything is possible for them to create a vibrant and happy future.
We have also introduced an exciting new learning platform called GCSEpod for students working towards important qualifications. This can be accessed both at home and at school and is remarkably easy to use. The idea is that there are 'pods', full of the knowledge that they need, that students watch and then answer a series of exam-focused questions on. They can also check that they were right! Teachers can set and suggest playlists and keep a careful eye on how students are doing. The system is proven to have a significant impact on student attainment and I would urge all parents to have a look at this at home with your son or daughter to fully understand the power it has. Most of our qualifications are catered for and it is easily accessed through our Frog VLE from the 'quick launch' waffle in the top-right hand corner or at https://www.gcsepod.com/ using their school email address.
Uniform and mobile phones
This term we have worked hard at reinforcing expected standards around the school.
As has always been the case, students are not permitted to have their mobile phones out anywhere in the school building. If a student is seen using their phone they will be asked to hand it to a member of staff and it will need to be collected by parents/carers.
Likewise, jewellery is not permitted in school. Students are able to wear one ring, one pair of small stud earrings and a watch. Any students found to be wearing other jewellery will be asked to remove it and hand to staff. It will need to be collected by parents/carers. Further to this, nail varnish is not accepted in school and students will be required to remove this should they choose to wear it.
Students are required to remove their outside coats whilst inside of the school building. This also includes any hoodies or other outwear that is not prescribed in our uniform policy. Before students enter the building these should be removed.
Next Half Term
Following the Half Term break there will be some important changes for you to be aware of.
Students are required to attend school on time and be in their registration classrooms by 8.40am each day. From Monday 7th June, any students that attend school late without a valid reason will receive a 30 minute detention that afternoon, 3.10-3.40pm. Parents will be notified by text message.
We have made the decision that from Monday 7th June all students should attend in their full school uniform and no longer come to school wearing their PE kit on the days they have PE. Students will be able to access the changing rooms to get changed for PE, which have been risk assessed for covid compliance.
Please can I take this opportunity to remind parents of the school uniform policy which you can find attached to this letter.
Thursday 10th June 2021 Y10 Parents Evening (telephone appointments)
W/C Monday 21st June 2021 Y10 Mock Exams
Wednesday 30th June 2021 Y6 Transition Evening
Thursday 1st July 2021 Y9 Parents Evening (telephone appointments)
As already communicated to parent’s last week, given that the cumulative local rates of Covid-19 infection in North Tyneside are higher than the national average we have taken the decision to maintain face coverings in corridors and communal areas at break and lunchtime for students as well as staff. Students are welcome to remove them once they are in the classroom but this will be at the discretion of the individual. While the government advice is that face coverings will no longer be recommended for pupils in communal areas in all schools, we feel this move maintains protection for our staff and students when footfall is high but allows a more comfortable environment within the classroom similar to the Autumn term. We will review this again after May Half Term.
Children and young people aged 11 and over must still wear a face covering on public transport. In accordance with advice from PHE, they must also wear a face covering when travelling on dedicated transport to secondary school or college
If students or staff wish to take an added precautionary approach and continue to wear a face covering in the classroom, this should be at individual discretion.
Reminder about the importance of testing and reporting in schools
Testing continues to play a crucial role, in and out of classrooms, in the fight against COVID-19. Staff and students should continue to test themselves and report results.
Reporting test results can be done simply and quickly, from mobiles, online or by phone, and should be completed straightaway. Reporting not only supports contact tracing in the event of a positive case but also assists our understanding of community rates of infection.
To help in communicating the importance of testing and reporting, the DfE have produced a blog on why reporting your test result is as important as taking a test, featuring further guidance and common questions. This also includes details on financial support available to parents whose children are asked to self-isolate after contact with a positive case.
In response to a rise in case numbers and growing concerns nationally around increased cases of the variant first identified in India, North Tyneside Public Health have launched surge testing and additional vaccinations. Please see the attached letter for further information.
It will soon be time to say farewell to our Year 11 students and further details on this will be communicated in a separate letter. I would like to take the opportunity to congratulate them on how well they have coped in such unprecedented circumstances, and how they have engaged in their final assessments this term. We are all looking forward to seeing them flourish in their next steps.