Principal's Update w/e 11SEP20
13/09/20 Emailed to Parents/Carers
It has been an amazing few days where we have finally welcomed back all students to the academy. We acknowledge that it has been a challenging few months for parents/carers and sending children back to the academy would have brought a mix of emotions for all.
The full reopening would not have been possible without the hard work of caretakers, cleaners and food hall staff to ensure the academy was ready to welcome almost 1,000 students last Thursday and Friday. This, together with the hard work, dedication and flexibility of teaching and support staff, to both maintain social distancing of year group bubbles and deliver a rich and varied curriculum, means last week will be one that will be etched in our memories for evermore.
As with Year 7 the week before, I met all students in a series of split year group assemblies and explained the new routines and different rules in the academy. I was really impressed with the way students responded and it never ceases to amaze me how students can quickly adapt to change. This acceptance enabled staff to run the three different breaks and lunches as planned, which are so pivotal to a student’s normal day in school. Year 10 and 11 are now moving through the corridors between lessons to specialist teaching rooms. They will always be escorted by teachers and are being asked to wear face coverings whenever they are in the academy corridors (staff already do so). Their response has been excellent and very mature. Thank you for your support in ensuring your child has a face covering ready to wear; but rest assured the academy will provide one if needed.
Academy entrances and congestion near to Castle Road entrance
Could we remind parents/carers to ensure that their child does not arrive early to the academy gates to avoid mixing of year group bubbles. We acknowledge that the Castle Road path has become congested and, to ensure that members of the community can pass safely through, Year 10 students will be asked to enter via the B block entrance gate from Tuesday. They will then walk around the back of the DT block to enter their classrooms.
Social distancing when leaving the academy
Given the steps taken by the academy to maintain the year group bubbles please could you remind your child to leave the site immediately at the end of their academy day and avoid waiting for one another near each of the exits. Duty staff will be encouraging students to do this as well.
FAQ during academy reopening
These will be continually updated and reflect any questions you may have. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Virtual guide to Westbourne for Year 6
As many of you may remember, we would usually be preparing for our annual open evening for current Year 6 pupils and their families at the start of October. This year the pandemic means that we cannot host this event in the same way.
Instead, we are working on a series of alternative methods of introducing all that is great about Westbourne to prospective new pupils and their parents. These will take the form of a new prospectus, a 360 Google map tour, welcome videos from current Year 8 students and from myself and a bookable tour of the academy. We are also asking for feedback from current Year 7 parents about last year's open evening. A Microsoft Form was emailed to parents earlier this week. The results will help us to formulate answers to a wide range of questions that prospective pupils and parents may wish to know.
Full details will be shared with Year 6 pupils and parents via their current primary school setting and will be posted on our website diary page ready for Thursday 1st October. We will be delivering copies of our new prospectus to Year 6 children at our local primary schools for them to take home. For those families who are not familiar with the academy, we will be offering a bookable tour, which will take place after hours.
Warm weather rules
A reminder that students do not need to wear their academy jumper to school until after the October half term. Next week the weather is going to be warm again, more so than it has been so far. If students choose to wear their jumper that is absolutely fine.
Once inside the classroom, students are welcome to remove their jumpers/jackets as some areas of the school are warmer than others. Staff are being advised to open as many windows as possible to improve air circulation.
Please ensure your child brings sufficient water to school to keep them hydrated at break times and throughout the day. Each year group has a designated water dispenser that they can access to refill bottles.
Fizzy drinks are not permitted in school and they will be confiscated from students.
Year 7 PIN codes for ShowMyHomeWork
Towards the end of the week, we will be emailing parents with their unique PIN code which is needed to log on and see Year 7 home learning tasks on ShowMyHomeWork (also known as Satchel-One). Until parents receive this unique code, they will not be able to log in themselves.
All Year 7 students should now be able to log into SMHW themselves. If they cannot do so, or if they are having any issues, please ask them to speak the Teaching Assistant assigned to their form on Monday morning.
Literacy and reading books
At Westbourne, we are fully committed to improving students' literacy skills at every opportunity and a reading book remains a part of the essential equipment that students should have with them every day. Most students in Years 8 to 11, would have had a library book issued to them, when we went into lockdown, back in March.
Could we please ask for your support in encouraging students to return these books to the academy, so that our library stocks can be replenished. All books returned to the LRC/library will be quarantined for at least 72 hours before being reissued to students.
Public Health England launches Every Mind Matters campaign
Most families have experienced upheaval in their daily lives during the pandemic. With children and young people now back at school or college, the new Public Health England (PHE) Better Health – Every Mind Matters campaign provides NHS-endorsed tips and advice to help children and young people’s mental wellbeing, and equip parents and carers with the knowledge to support them.
The new advice available on the Every Mind Matters website has been developed in partnership with leading children and young people’s mental health charities, including Young Minds, The Mix, Place2Be and The Anna Freud Centre.
It is designed to help parents and carers spot the signs that children may be struggling with their mental health and support them, and also provides advice that can help maintain good mental wellbeing. The site also provides tools to help young people build resilience and equips them to look after their mental wellbeing.
Rest assured all staff in the academy are, and continue to be, ready to support your child and to make your child feel happy and safe within the academy. Please encourage them to continue to listen carefully to the new arrangements but encourage them to ask questions too.
Mr M Bouckley - Acting Principal