MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS
It was nice to see the pupils across both sites supporting World Mental Health Awareness Day.
The girls from Year 8, led by their Wellbeing Ambassador, Amelie, took this fundraising mufti day particularly seriously and I hope you have seen their pictures on our social media platforms.
We were promoting the organisation called Young Minds, which is fighting for a future where all young minds feel supported and empowered.
The crisis in young people’s mental health is real and urgent, with COVID-19 just adding to the problems. More young people than ever before are reaching out for help. By raising awareness and money we are supporting a great cause.
Thank you to those who have already donated and for those who haven’t yet, please remember as we cannot accept cash due to COVID-19, you need to donate via the general section on the WisePay system.
The Junior pupils at each site put together marvellous video presentations to celebrate Harvest Festival this year. Links to these presentations were sent home to the parents concerned and I am sure they were enjoyed. The pupils put a great amount of effort into their performances and I would like to thank all the junior staff for adapting so well to ensure the celebrations could go ahead still.
Thank you to all our families for your donations to Bedford Foodbank, which have gone to support the homeless shelters in Bedford. If you would still like to donate this can be done via WisePay.
CAREERS - VOLUNTEERS REQUIRED
With all the news about unemployment numbers rising because of the impact of COVID-19, now more than ever it seems important to offer careers advice to our secondary students, starting at Year 7 to enable them to begin to consider their futures.
We already provide a good careers programme for our senior age groups and have received invaluable support from parents in the past. If you feel you could offer careers guidance and would like to get involved, please contact my PA, Philippa, as we would be very grateful for your support. Ideas such as giving a presentation on your area of expertise, how you chose it, what qualifications you need, where you studied, where you started your job through to where you are now. We also always need parents to volunteer to assist with interviews to give the pupils some role-play opportunities.
When COVID-19 restrictions eventually lift, we would like to invite volunteers from our parents to ‘career breakfast meetings’ with a small group of students who are interested in your area of expertise. For example, pupils who express an interest in medicine talking to a doctor; or those who express an interest in law talking to a solicitor. Any field of expertise would be helpful, such as financial experts, business leaders, etc.
Please let Philippa know using firstname.lastname@example.org (for both Rushmoor and St Andrew’s). She will compile a list, so that when we are allowed to invite more visitors onto the site, we are ready. We would also like to have some of these meetings on a Friday morning at 9am using MS Teams during this Autumn Term.
I hope you all saw the Clarion message on Monday, which stated that we have reviewed our COVID-19 risk assessment and now books can be taken between home and school, but the electronic platforms will still be our preferred choice for homework tasks.
There have been some local schools where whole year groups have had to be sent home, but we have been very fortunate to get through the first half of this term without having to do this. Please be assured that staff are primed to transfer swiftly to teaching lessons via Microsoft Teams for pupils in year 3 and above should the need arise. I have asked this to be in the form of live lessons and assignment tasks in every subject and the normal timetable to be followed. If our younger pupils have to isolate, then we will revert to using the appropriate platforms. Contingency plans are in place, but let us hope they are not required.
It was pleasing this week to see the pupils at both schools benefitting from a lesson live using MS teams directly into the classroom. It was such a positive experience for the pupils.
SUMMER FORMAL EXAMINATIONS
Next summer's A-levels, Cambridge Technical and GCSEs examinations in England are going ahead, but with reduced content and a start date pushed back by three weeks. Most exams will now start from 7 June 2021, rather than mid-May, in an attempt to make up for lost teaching time. However, Head teachers have accused ministers of an "Inadequate response" to the scale of disruption facing pupils and teachers. The Education Secretary has said back-up plans will be decided later.
It seems we will have to work towards the June dates, but things might well change dependent on how pupils across England are disrupted by COVID-19. As we have already stressed, our pupils continued to work through the syllabus throughout lockdown and received extra booster lessons during the summer, so are well placed in comparison to some of their peers.
Junior School Stars of the Week
St Andrew’s School
Week ending: 9 October
Reception – Hugo Acquah
Year 1 – Harris Pacuka
Year 2 – Emily Perry
Year 3/4 – Kieva Walker
Year 5 – Emily Simmonds
Week ending: 9 October
Reception – Ava Masih
KS1KG – Eloise Perry
3JM – Aaleesha Gusswami
4ET – India Ward
4ST – Jack Saunders
5CR – Jae Sunda
5TS – Ethan Ndokera
I was delighted to present a number of Principal awards this week:
Josiah Bryan for his excellent work in geography.
William North and Zaphaniah Bryan, for their work in history; they re-enacted the roles of defender and prosecutor at the trial of Charles I.
Alessio Nandha for a consistent high level of homework.
Sebastian Saint-White for writing an amazing story inspired by the writings of a classic gothic author. Olivia Crabtree for her written work.
Amelie Ferguson for all her hard work in arranging mental health day last week.
As I said previously, I am thankful that we have managed to get through the first half of this term relatively unaffected by COVID-19. I am certainly looking forward to our two-week break and I am sure many of my colleagues are too. It has been a huge additional responsibility to make sure that we are doing everything possible to minimise risks in relation to COVID-19 and I would like to thank all the support staff, teachers and leadership team for helping to ensure the pupils have enjoyed a relatively normal school experience.
I would also like to thank our pupils for taking everything in their stride and having such sensible attitudes towards all the additional health and safety measures.
If you need to contact the school in relation to COVID-19 during the break, please use email@example.com (for either Rushmoor or St Andrew’s) as this is routinely checked. I hope you have an enjoyable half-term break and stay safe.
I M Daniel, BA (QTS), NPQH