Announcements

Headteacher's Blog 26 June

Posted on: 26th Jun

Dear Parents and Carers

Over the last couple of weeks, we have received some much needed good news for the school.  Firstly, we have successfully welcomed back our year 10 students.  All the planning and preparation certainly paid off and the week ran incredibly smoothly, both from a safety point of view and educationally as well.  The following comments from the students’ certainly supports this:

“I found the lessons beneficial, to generally catch-up and make sure we are staying on track”

 

“It has been nice to have some face-to-face learning again and also very helpful.  I felt like I learned more in 2 hours with a teacher than 4 hours by myself”

 

“These lessons have been VERY useful to me.  I feel more clear on what I am doing.  Thank you!”

 

“I found that the lessons have reassured me on what I learnt through home learning.  It has been effective and useful”

Our ambitious plan has really gone above and beyond the requirements outlined in the government’s guidance, and epitomises the high expectations that we have as a whole school community.  I am positive that next week with our year 12s will be equally as successful.

We received news this week that an application made to an organisation called the Wolfson Foundation has been successful and we have been awarded a large grant towards the cost of refurbishing the Design Arts facilities.  I would like to say a huge thank you to Mrs Hill and the Design Arts team for putting together such a comprehensive application.  This will markedly improve the learning environment for our students and further enhance teaching and learning across the Design Arts faculty.

The last piece of good news is the government’s decision to allocate six-week food vouchers to all children eligible for free school meals.  These vouchers will continue to have a value of £15 per week per recipient and will cost an estimated £120m.  This change in government policy is in response to the campaign launched by Marcus Rashford and a petition signed by over 250,000 people.  Details of this new government scheme and practicalities of allocating vouchers have yet to be published.

Y10 mock exams - September 2020

 

Prior to lockdown, students were given timetables for a complete series of mock papers to be sat at the beginning of Y11.  However, due to the circumstances that we find ourselves in, we are reducing the number of these to a maximum of one exam per subject.  Each exam will focus on assessing what students have learnt during the lockdown period and identifying next steps in learning across Year 11.  Please reassure your children that we do not want them to feel any anxiety about these assessments, but rather to see them as an opportunity to enhance their learning and progress after time away from the classroom.

End of year reports

By the end of term every student will receive an end of year report. The KS3 reports have been designed to reflect the level of engagement of the students with our home learning provision over the last term.  It is an opportunity to recognise those students who have worked consistently well during the lock down period showing resilience, ambition and creativity.  For KS4 and 5 the reports will also contain the projected grade for their qualification to ensure students understand where they are before they return to more regular lessons at school.  The KS3 reports will be issued week commencing 6 July, followed by KS4/5 reports week commencing 13 July.

Recently, the government changed the guidance allowing us the opportunity to meet students beyond Years 10 and 12.  In light of this change, we are now looking at how we can offer face-to-face meetings for our KS3 students before the end of this term.  These meeting will, of course, closely adhere to the wider protective measures guidance, and guidance on the numbers of pupils permitted on-site at any one time.  Watch this space!!

Bake off Challenge - Are you the next Mary Berry?

Come and take part in our cupcake bake off competition:

  • You need to create 6 identical cupcakes with a show stopping design!
  • Cakes will be judged on appearance and uniformity (as we can’t do the taste test!)

Photos of your cake must be emailed to Mrs Holbrook - transition@thedownsschool.org by Friday 10th July

Please include your name and house. Click here for further guidance.

Happy Baking!

Finally, as we enter the last month of a very interesting year I would like you all to take some time to acknowledge the impact of the effort you are making to do the best you can in a situation where there is no blueprint.  Take a few minutes to remind yourself of the following:

“Self-care is never a selfish act - it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer others.  Anytime we can listen to true self and give the care it requires, we do it not only for ourselves, but for the many others whose lives we touch.”

Thank you for all you are doing; please look after yourself.  It is abundantly clear that we are in a marathon, not a sprint!

Kindest Regards

Mr Prosser

 

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