As we come to the end of another half-term when schools across the country are still closed, except for students identified as being as priority groups, it seems timely to look back on the weeks since the start of lock-down. It was something that was discussed at length at a meeting of the Governing Body on Thursday 21 May. Following the meeting, Jenny Poore, the Chair, wrote this message:
"On behalf of the governing body I would like to express our thanks to the staff of Dorothy Stringer School who have been working tirelessly to facilitate the learning of our students while the school is closed during lockdown. With tremendous dedication and determination they have adapted very quickly.to new ways of working and learning new technologies so they can present Loom lessons and live webinars, they have adapted resources for families who aren't able to access IT and hand delivered resources. They have been emailing, phoning and holding video meetings to keep connected with our students.
Thanks too to you the parents and carers for keeping the students going when learning from home and all your supportive messages to the staff who, like you, are juggling the demands of work and family life.
We do hope everyone is keeping safe and well and we are working closely with the Leadership Team in determining when it is safe to re-open the school on a phased return. We will assess the school's risk assessments and the decision to re-open will be based upon guidance from the Department for Education, the Local Authority and Unions. We know you will support the school in their decision making and please be assured the leadership team and governors are planning meticulously so that we will only re-open the school once it is safe to do so."
There are still a lot of challenges to overcome before we can re-open even just for one year group. The government has issued a lot of guidance for schools but very little of it is 'directed'. They are asking schools to consider their local circumstances and plan any return based on these. Our aim therefore is to make sure that we consider all the issues, and plan carefully, before we bring more students onto the site.
Over the last two weeks I have been sharing news of our trials of new technology to support and enhance our teaching and learning. We have moved from a position of all work being set on the SLG, to using live webinars for Year 10 and Loom videos for instructional and feedback purposes. We also set-up the YouTube channel to share lessons in food technology and PE. We have rolled out Office365 during lockdown and students will have training when we return on the use of cloud storage and OneDrive. A few of our staff have now been involved in a pilot of Microsoft Teams and, although there have been teething problems, we have most of the functionality enabled and are looking to make further use of this next term.
Our main area and portal for work will still be the SLG as we are confident that for many people this has proved to be an excellent repository and I would like to thank parents for their positive feedback about this. We will look to train some staff on Teams at the start of next term and hope to be able to share further updates in the coming weeks.
Throughout the lockdown period we have been supporting staff and students whilst planning for the rest if the academic year and looking forward to September. A number of new high quality staff have been appointed during the lockdown period and we are fully staffed in all subject areas. We are still advertising for Pastoral Managers and a over supervisor role for September and these details can be found in the link at the end of the newsletter.
I do hope students and parents are able to have some time away from their screens over the coming bank holiday weekend and I look forward to sharing further details of our phased return after the half-term break.
We would like to wish our Muslim families Eid Mubarak as they celebrate Eid Al-Fitr this weekend. Celebrations begin Saturday evening, 23 May and continues on Sunday 24 May.
Bright and Hove Youth services – tell us what you think!
An online survey has been launched to find out what young people across Brighton & Hove would like to see in the City.
Brighton & Hove City Council wants to hear direct from young people about what groups, activities or clubs should be provided and where in the city they should be located. The survey is for children and young people in Brighton & Hove aged 11 to 19, or up to 25 years with special educational needs.
The survey only takes about 10 minutes to complete and ends on 28 June. To give your views via the survey please visit brighton-hove.gov.uk/youth-survey
The council is working closely with youth organisations across the city to make sure as many young people as possible give their views. The feedback from the survey will inform recommendations for future services. These will be considered by the council's children, young people and skills committee in September. Committee chair Councillor John Allcock said:
"We're committed to delivering high quality youth services in the city but we can only get this right if we get the views of our young people and act upon what they tell us. We want their views not just about the services they received before the Coronavirus lockdown, but also since the lockdown. We want to know how this has impacted on them and how youth services could help them now and in the future. We are also keen to hear from young people who do not currently attend any groups, activities or clubs."
There will also be online chats young people can join. Contact your local youth or group leader or Tracie James at email@example.com if you would like to be involved.
Department for Education Guidance for Parents and Carers
The Department for Education have published information, guidance and support for parents and carers of children who are learning at home during the coronavirus outbreak.
Opening schools and educational settings to more pupils from 1 June: guidance for parents and carers - Updated 20 May 2020
Help secondary school children continue their education during Coronavirus - Published 21 May 2020
Community Food Bank at Balfour School
Many people are finding themselves in times of hardship as the lockdown has created uncertainties with both employment and also the rising costs of having children at home all day. One of our parents has set-up a community food bank. In order to access this all you need to do is simply turn up daily between 4.15pm and 5.15pm with a bag and take what you need. There is further information on the community Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/groups/brightonandhovemutualaid/
They are also offering delivery to people who cannot make these times, are self isolating or have transport issues. Delivery is confidential and contactless and can be arranged by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Donations are also welcome by dropping them off at the KS2 site at Balfour School between 9am and 4pm Monday to Friday. (Non-perishable goods only please)
We are Recruiting
We are currently recruiting for Cover Supervisors and Pastoral Managers - for more details please check the vacancy page of our website.
Word of the week: May half term Vocabulary Recap 2
See attached a recap of the vocabulary of the words covered over the last few weeks. Also attached are some reading tips which our Librarian has created for families.
Stringer Reading Top Tips May 2020.pdf
Take care and stay safe.