Here is a short video with tips and guidance that you might find useful to support you with home learning.
As I’m sure you will be aware, Welsh Government today announced that schools in Wales will now remain closed for face to face learning until January 29th at the earliest for most learners. They intend to review the situation every three weeks. Of course, as I said in my last letter to you this is not unexpected given the current coronavirus situation in Wales and the rest of the UK.
We will continue to provide a combination of online blended learning, paper learning packs and in-school provision for a small number of learners. As I communicated to school staff a little while ago, all we can do for now is ensure that we continue to do the very best we can for our learners via our blended learning provision and to support learners and their families wherever possible. This extended blended learning period also gives us time to continue to develop and refine our online teaching skills, in the same way as it does for our learners to develop their online learning skills. I believe it’s always important to identify the positives amongst the challenges we face.
I would like to thank all parents and carers for doing their utmost to support and encourage their children with their home learning. I know how difficult this can be, especially with the other commitments you are all trying to juggle. However, the longer children are out of school and not engaging in home learning, the bigger the gap that is growing between them and those learners who are doing their best to work at home, whether online or with paper packs.
On that note, we continue to be acutely aware that a significant number of our learners do not have access to the internet or do not have a suitable device to undertake school work with. We are continuing to work on measures to address this and we are optimistic of being able to contact more of our digitally disadvantaged learners next week with some positive information about this. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Newport Uskmouth Rotary, who have been donating digital devices to us (and other Newport schools) to help us to address this issue. Their generosity is very much appreciated.
With regards to the awarding of qualifications and exams this year, it has been announced that the spring internal assessment window for GCSE, AS and A levels (planned to take place between 22nd February and 23rd April) will not now take place and that new arrangements will be made. I will update you as soon as any further information becomes available and have attached a letter to learners from Qualifications Wales that you may find helpful.
Of course, as we get further information about what is happening after the 29th January I will contact you again. In the meantime, I hope that you and your family stay safe. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need any support with home learning or if there is any other matter you think we may be able to assist you with.
Please find a link below to information from ‘Mind’ for parents and carers of young people aged 11-18 who may be worried about their child’s wellbeing during the coronavirus outbreak, and want to know how to support them.
I’m sure you will have heard or read the announcement from Welsh Government yesterday evening regarding schools continuing with their blended learning provision until the 18th January at the earliest. What we don’t know at this time is whether this will be extended beyond that date. Given the serious situation we now find ourselves in with regard to the spread of Coronavirus and the decisions already taken in England and Scotland to maintain blended learning into February, we have to be mindful that extending blended learning provision for Lliswerry High School learners beyond the 18th is a distinct possibility, although not definite.
The government announcement also raised questions that still have to be answered regarding arrangements for the awarding of qualifications for our learners in Years 10, 11, and the Sixth Form. Before Christmas there was some clarity around this matter and we were expecting further details this week. However, at this point it has not been confirmed whether there will now be further changes to previously communicated arrangements and this will understandably cause further anxiety amongst parents, carers and learners.
So, unfortunately there are important things we currently do not know. What we do know however, is that whether providing blended (home) learning online or with work packs or face to face learning in school, we are ready to continue to do our very best to support all of our learners and families. Also, when there is confirmation and clarity of the arrangements for the awarding of qualifications this year we will do our absolute utmost to ensure that our learners are not disadvantaged and ultimately achieve the grades and qualifications they deserve.
Throughout this period of blended learning we will continue to offer childcare for children of critical workers (please see details below), which has been agreed by the school. We will also provide a learning environment for a very small group of other identified learners who will be contacted individually by school staff. Provision of vouchers for children receiving free school meals (FSM) will also be extended to cover this period.
Provision for Children of Critical Workers
This is for children of critical workers who are in Years 7 or 8 only.
Therefore, to qualify for this provision the following criteria must be met:
* the child concerned is in Year 7 or 8
* at least one parent is identified as a critical worker and
* one or both parents are unable to work from home, and
* there is no other childcare available
In the case of single-parent households, children are eligible to attend this school provision where that parent falls within the critical worker definition and is unable to work from home, and has no other available childcare.
Any child attending this in-school provision will undertake the blended learning that would previously have been provided for completion at home.
Should you meet the criteria above and want your child to attend the school based provision, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org stating your child’s name and form and how you meet the criteria. A member of school staff will then contact you in due course to discuss your e-mail. Please note that your request for a place in this provision must be accepted and confirmed by the school before your child can attend. We will, of course, do our utmost to deal with any requests as quickly as possible.
As we move into 2021, it continues to be a difficult time and this is made more worrying when we are considering the education and futures of our children. However, the vaccine brings cautious optimism that relatively soon we may be able to return to what we all understood to be ‘normal’ not too long ago, and it is important that through these continuing challenges we remain as positive as we can about the future.
In the meantime, thank you once again for your support and understanding. I will update you with any further information regarding a return to face to face learning and how qualifications will be awarded this year as soon as I possibly can.
Please note the following important reminders:
Your child must not attend school if they:
1. Feel unwell with any of the identified COVID-19 symptoms (please see symptoms listed below). They should remain at home and self-isolate and arrange a COVID-19 test
2. Have tested positive for COVID-19
3. Live in a household with someone who has symptoms of, or has tested positive for COVID-19
The main symptoms of coronavirus are:
* a high temperature: this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
* a new, continuous cough: this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
* a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste: this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
Please inform us immediately (email@example.com at any time or 01633 277867 during the school day):
* If your child is self-isolating for any reason
* If your child has symptoms of coronavirus
* If your child has tested positive for coronavirus
* If you child has been tested and the result is negative
* If someone in your child’s household has coronavirus symptoms or has tested positive
Everyone following this will help us to keep your children safe in school. Many thanks for your support and understanding.
Lliswerry High School
NHS services for families will change when the new Grange University Hospital opens on November 17th. Please visit the Aneurin Bevan website for full information about these changes – https://abuhb.nhs.wales/clinical-futures1
Sixth Form Collaboration Learner Positive Test We have been informed that a Year 13 learner from St Julian’s High School has tested positive for coronavirus. Although we collaborate with St Julian’s for some Sixth Form provision, liaison with their Headteacher and the local authority Environmental Health team has determined that no Lliswerry High School learner needs to self-isolate as a result of this positive test. This is due to the preventative measures that have been in place in order to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus between collaboration learners.
It has been a first half term like no other and I would like to thank you for your support and understanding as we’ve worked our way through it. As we know, the number of COVID-19 (coronavirus) cases has continued to rise in Newport, as in the country as a whole and we have had to have year groups out of school self-isolating at times. Whilst this is deeply frustrating, it is to protect everyone of course and therefore a necessary step.
The fact that there appears to have been no transmission of the virus between learners and/or staff in school is a reassuring indicator of the effectiveness of the systems and processes we have in place in school up to this point. Please read the ‘First Week Back After Half Term’ section carefully in this newsletter for information about which learners need to attend school for the first week after half term.
As always, please continue to be vigilant for symptoms of coronavirus in your children and do not send them to school if you suspect they have any symptoms. The following guide is taken from the NHS website:
The main symptoms of coronavirus are:
* a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
* a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
* a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
If your child does display any symptoms please inform the school, arrange for a test and then let us know the result of the test as soon as possible.
End of Day Times
Whilst we are happy with the effectiveness of almost all of our systems to reduce the risk of transmission of Coronavirus, we still have some concerns about the end of the school day. Despite learners leaving via five different exits (allocated for their year group), we still have children meeting up outside school and unintentionally mixing
across year groups. This increases the risk of transmission of the virus across year groups. We are therefore considering staggering the end of the school day to reduce this risk. This would only mean a change of approximately 10 minutes at the most for some learners, who would leave slightly earlier than others. This is still being reviewed and we will communicate further if and when we decide to go ahead with it. This type of arrangement is in place already in a number of schools across Newport.
We continue to have difficulties contacting some parents/carers by phone. Please ensure that we have your up to date contact number – if you are unsure, please get in touch with us to check. It is vital that we are able to contact you, not only for a coronavirus related matter, but for any emergency or urgent reason. Please note that a call from school may show a ‘number withheld’ or similar message on your phone. It is vital that we are able to contact a listed ‘emergency contact’ for your child at any time during the school day. Not being able to do so potentially presents a safeguarding issue which we may need to take further with the local authority and social services.
First Week Back After Half Term
As you will be aware, due to the ‘firebreak lockdown’ measures announced in Wales we will only be open for learners in Year 7 and 8 for the first week after half term. A very small number of learners from other year groups may also be asked to attend at the discretion of the school and you will already have been contacted or will be today if this includes your child.
If your child is attending school and uses public transport, please check with the bus company as timetables may have been changed due to the lockdown restrictions in place in Wales.
All other learners will need to stay home and undertake home (blended) learning. This means that they should undertake learning for specific subjects when they would normally have been in that lesson in school. We recognise that not all learners may have access to the internet or have an appropriate device (eg laptop, chrome book etc.) at home – please let us know via email firstname.lastname@example.org if that is the case with your child and we will provide a home learning pack for them.
Do contact us if you need any other support with home learning – your child can of course communicate with their teacher via Google Classrooms if they have internet
access. We have been informed that all year groups will return to school the following week (Monday 9th November).
If your child is in the very small group attending school but not in Year 7 or 8 (as referred to above) and normally receives a free school meal, you should have received a voucher for this week (this is only for those learners not in Year 7 or 8). This means that your child should bring their own food to school as a free school meal will not be provided in school in addition to the voucher.
Exams in the First Week Back
We have a small number of learners who will be sitting exams in the first week after half term. Of course these learners are not in Years 7 or 8. However, they should still attend for their exam and then leave school immediately after. Where possible, parents/carers should arrange for them to be dropped off and collected and learners should not arrive too early. Those learners involved have been spoken to in order to ensure that they know exactly what they need to do. However, as always, if you have any further questions don’t hesitate to contact us. Please be aware of any changes to the times and frequency of public transport should your child have to use the bus to get to school for their exam.
Finally, once again I would like to thank you all for your support and understanding as we move through these unusual times. I recognise that this continues to be an anxious time, but please be assured that we will continue to do everything within our control to minimise risk and keep your child safe whilst in school. I hope that you have a good half term break and I look forward to welcoming our learners back initially on Monday 2nd November (Year 7 and 8 and identified learners from other year groups) and then on Monday 9th November for all learners.
Here is what you can expect for learners if their year group is not in school. If you do not have access to IT or the internet please let us know as a matter of urgency. It is vital that learners continue their learning during term time even if they are not in school and engage in the blended learning provision.