As you will now be aware, schools are closed from Monday 23rd March 2020. This is an unprecedented decision, but we fully understand and support the need for this in the interests of protecting the most vulnerable and elderly in our society.
We are all facing unchartered territory and we know students will have worries and anxieties about the weeks ahead, just as we do. At this point, many students will think the idea of being at home for a few weeks sounds exciting and that it will be like an extended summer holiday. There will be little realisation that they will be at home for a lengthy period unable to do the things that can be done under normal circumstances. This may have an impact on behaviour and levels of anxiety. We appreciate this will be a challenging time for everyone. I want to offer reassurance that we are here to help and support you and by working together we will get through this.
Although the school is closed, we do not want our students to miss out either on their education or on the pastoral support they receive. We have explained to students that a school closure is not a holiday. It is really important that throughout the closure students have well established routines and spend the right amount of time completing the work that will be set by teachers.
For many students this will be a new way of working and they will need to learn to communicate in a different way with staff as they will not be having the face to face contact they are used to.
I have tried to set out a series of questions and answers that I think will be helpful for you in what are the most unusual of circumstances. I would urge you to spend some time reading these as there is important information about what will happen over the coming weeks.
Remaining in communication with students and parents is going to be vital during this period and we will be writing again next week to explain to you how this will work.
Our students are likely to need lots of reassurance in these uncertain times and our staff will be on hand to continue to do this.
I would like to thank you for all the messages of kindness we have received from parents over the last week. They have been very much appreciated.
Stay safe and take care of each other.
Mrs Aitcheson and all the staff at the College
Questions and answers
- Is the school closed to everyone?
Yes, except for vulnerable students and children of key workers. If you fall into one of these categories, and have no alternative form of childcare, you have been asked to inform us.
- What are students expected to do whilst they are at home?
- Remember this is not a holiday, it is a school closure
- Complete all work set following the timetable below
- Work will be set on Show My Homework by 9am each day
- Any student who cannot access work remotely through the internet please let us know ASAP and work will be provided – please email email@example.com
- The timetable shows what work will be set each day. Maths, English and Science will set two hours of work for each session (6 hours per week). Each option subject will set between 2-3 hours worth of work each week.
- How can we contact staff ?
Staff will still be working and will be contactable during the school day. You can also call the college. We will be providing information next week about how to contact subject staff and our pastoral team should you need to. Any emergency safeguarding concerns should go to Mrs Russell via firstname.lastname@example.org
- My child has Free School Meals – what should I do?
Any children who are eligible for this have been contacted and informed what they should do.
- How can you help?
- Check Show My Homework every day. - all the work for students will be set via Show My Homework which you have your own log-in for. If you have lost this, please contact the college and we will help you to get this sorted.
- Routine: being educated at home is very different to being in a school environment and routine is key. Don’t overload your child’s day with just school work. Doing a chunk of focused work each day will help to maintain their structure and also allow them to balance this with free time and/or creative activities.
- Fresh Air: Fresh air is good for our health and exercise is an important part of our daily lives. Fresh air has been shown to help us digest food more effectively, improve blood pressure, heart rate, and strengthen our immune systems. It also makes us happier by promoting higher levels of positive emotions.
- Support: Isolation has a negative effect on mental health and happiness. Children need some independence and time to connect with others. They also need reassurance, kindness and love so keep an eye on your child’s happiness, emotions and moods.
- Keep updated: Maintain a positive relationship with us here and our teachers to find out what measures will be in place to support your child’s learning. The best way to do this is by using Show My Homework. Keep up to date with the news daily so you are aware of the current situation and any new guidelines.
- What will happen to year 11 and year 13 students whose exams have been cancelled?
We are still awaiting the details of this but once we are in a position to do so we will let you know.
- How can you keep active?
- Sport England have published some useful tips on staying active. https://www.sportengland.org/news/how-stay-active-while-youre-home
- Cosmic Kids Yoga-Teach inspiring kids yoga professionally. Learn online, so you can train from home at your own pace. https://www.cosmickids.com/
- Go Noodle- GoNoodle engages 14 million kids every month with movement and mindfulness videos created by child development experts. Available for free at school, home, and everywhere kids are!https://www.gonoodle.com/
- Youth Sport Trust- Online Physical Activity at home resources. https://www.youthsporttrust.org/free-home-learning-resources
- My Learnful Families-Empowering yourself and your children to notice and nurture your emotional needs and experience calm in the process. https://parents.learnful.co.uk/module/list/learnful-family-membership
- The Body Coach- Fitness based workouts for older students. https://m.youtube.com/user/thebodycoach1
PiXL Independence and Endurance website has wellbeing and recipes:
|PiXL: subject specific resources and wellbeing resources:||PiXL School Number: 205216
- How long will the school be closed for?
As a school we will be following the Government and Department for Education guidelines. At this present moment, we do not know how long schools will be closed for.
Tips for students on caring for themselves
- Make yourself a timetable for your ‘school at home’ day. What will you learn and when? If you can, write this on paper and make it as colourful as you’d like. Don’t forget to add breaks, lunch time and your spellings!
- Spend some time each day in the fresh air either by going outside with family or friends or by safely opening a window in your house for a while. Taking deep breaths of fresh air fills your lungs with lots of lovely oxygen and also helps your body and your brain stay calm
- Try to get up and go to bed at the same kind of time every day. When our sleep routine changes or we don’t get enough sleep, it can really impact how we feel the next day
- Try to limit how much time you spend looking at screens (phones, tablets, tv, Netflix, Youtube, Xbox, Playstation), especially at night
- If you have books in your house, read them! Reading can take your brain and your imagination somewhere totally different. Everybody needs some time away every now and again especially when things are a bit strange
- Keep a diary or journal of ‘school from home’ - Children in the year 2100 might love to read your description of what life is like the year the big, strange Coronavirusstorm came to Leicester.
- Keep in touch with your school friends. Ask the adults in your house about different ways you can contact your friends. Speak to them as often as you can
- Ask questions. If you have questions about the virus or about school being closed ask one of the adults in your house, ask your school friends or ask an adult to phone school. You could also write the question down and see whether you can problem solve it yourself. It might be that there isn’t an answer to your question but even without an answer, it’s still important to ask!
- Stay kind to yourself and others. When we feel frightened our brains can sometimes say and do things that we don’t mean or that aren’t helpful. If you notice your body or your brain doing or saying something unkind. STOP. Take a deep breath and ask yourself these questions:
- What is another possibility?
- What is a more helpful thing to do next?
- What would the people that care about me say to me right now?
- Talk about the Coronavirus storm as much as you need but try to talk about other things too. Talk about the things you enjoy, talk about the people you love, talk about nature and animals and football and space
- Try to add a mixture of activities in your day after you have finished your ‘school from home’ day. Make a list in your head or on paper of things you can do if you start to feel bored, sad, scared or anxious: Drawing, colouring, dancing around the room, yoga, building, reading a book, organising things in your room into size/colour order, hide and seek, writing stories, playing board games, watching the birds out of the window, singing, playing on the tablet/video games, watching tv, making your own tv show using toys and things from around your room, helping adults with their household chores, baking, building, listening to music.
- If you do start to become worried or sad and the feeling doesn’t go away for a while. Speak to an adult, an older sibling or one of your friends. Also, try to spend some time doing some activities you enjoy. You can also use these websites, they have lots of tools and tips on things you can do to help yourself and others who are feeling like that:
- Childline – Games and people to speak to
- Kooth – Online support for young people and lots of videos and suggestions on their website
- Xenzone – Information for adults and support for young people
- Youngminds – Information for adults and support for Year 6 and older
- Headspace – Kids sections with meditations and videos
- Exercise and move with Joe Wicks on Youtube. At 9:00am every weekday morning, Joe Wicks is offering a free live online PE class to children who are at ‘school from home’ - Type Joe Wicks PE Class into Google
- Make cards and draw pictures for family members and friends. Let them know that you are thinking about them and keep them updated with what you are getting up to.