Letter to Parents/Carers – 6 January 2021

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Dear Parents and Carers,

We hope that you and your families are safe and well. Thank you for all your support for your children and for the academy as we have tried to get all the provision in place for this new period of lockdown. The efforts you have put into helping your children whilst also coping with the pressures you are all facing is not underestimated nor taken for granted.

Below I have grouped together some of the most important messages that we want to share with you regarding our provision.

  1. Online learning and live lessons

Our introduction video for online was shared with parents and carers last week. If you have not seen this yet the link is: Online Learning Introduction Video

We have endeavoured to pull together a wide range of advice to help parents and students manage learning from home. This can be found on our website here: https://www.bedeacademy.org.uk/secondary-learning-from-home/

The two most frequent trouble shooting issues that have arisen over these first two days are for students accessing the ‘live’ stream of lessons have been:

  • The need for parental consent before we can process and activate students access to ‘Google Meets’ within their Google Classroom. This takes approximately 24hrs from the time we receive the consent to complete. The form is available here and one needs to be completed for each student: https://forms.gle/FnKj6t4fCiifiAP67
  • Student devices not allowing ‘Google Meets’ to access the camara or the microphone. This can be resolved by adjusting the devices settings. Our guide to how to do this on a range of devices is found here: https://www.bedeacademy.org.uk/google-meet-device-settings/.
  • Students saying that their ‘classrooms have disappeared’. This is most often because they have not logged into Google Classrooms using their own private email addresses rather than their Bede Learning email address. Simply log out of all your google accounts and log in again using only the Bede Learning account the academy provides.
  1. Onsite provision for Critical Workers/Vulnerable Student provision

The academy will continue to provide a Critical Worker/Vulnerable Student provision for the period of the lockdown.  More information about students who qualify for this provision can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision.

If you would like to make use of our daily provision, please complete a short survey at https://forms.gle/JjimT5C2C2UZ6kqA8 . This survey is for the week beginning 11th January – however if you do not need to use the provision during this week but feel you may need to use it at a later date, we would be grateful if you could complete the survey now and indicate this at the appropriate point in the survey.

Hot and cold school meals will continue to be provided each day at school for all who attend this provision. For those in receipt of Free School Meals this will of course be free of charge for non-free school meal students we ask that parents/carers continue to pay for school meals in the usual way via ‘Parent Pay’.

  1. Onsite COVID-19 testing for staff and students

Over the Christmas period and early this week the academy undertook work to establish a testing centre in our Sports Hall for students and staff at Bede Academy using Lateral Flow Tests. Though we are now under new lockdown restrictions the Government have said that for students and staff who remain onsite testing should proceed.

We will be running our test centre from 8-9am daily and will be offering these on a weekly basis to students and staff who attend site as part of our provision for Critical Worker/Vulnerable Children in order to keep our academy site as safe as possible for all who are here.

If your child is accessing our onsite provision and you would like them to take part in the weekly testing then please complete the online consent for below (you will need to complete the form once for each child from your family who is attending our onsite provision).

Under 16: https://forms.gle/jQoyosE3cfF9zwpZ9

Over 16 – students to provide their own consent once they have discussed this with their parents or carers: https://forms.gle/QQEHNDkurPYdNShz6

The proposed daily programme of testing is as follows:

From Monday 4th January

MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday
Testing Centre UseSet up, training and practice daysSet up, training and practice daysSet up, training and practice daysOn-site staff to be tested 8-10amOn-site students to be tested (y9-13) 8-10am

From Monday 11th January onwards

MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday
On-site staff
8-8.30am
Staff will report for testing once per week, to correspond with staffing rota. 8-8.30am—–——–——–——->
On-site students 8.30-9amGroup A (y7)Group B (y7)Group C (y8)Group D (y9)-10Group E (y11-13)

Students should simply report to the test centre registration desk at the entrance to stair well 5 by the Sports Hall at 8:30am on their designated day. Students who are not on site on their designated day will be able to take their weekly test at another time in the week. We will arrange this on a case by case basis. We have created and shared with students who are onsite the following short video explaining how the process will work here at Bede Academy: https://youtu.be/NHNv1GjfGrs

Results (which take around half an hour from testing) and if the result is positive it will be shared directly with staff and students participating. Where participants are under 16, parents or legal guardians will also be informed of a positive result.  Also attached to this letter are FAQs regarding Data Protection and COVID testing

  1. Free School Meal Vouchers

We will continue to issue Free School Meal Vouchers to any family in receipt of this benefit and are working to get these to you as soon as we can.

If any family has undergone a change in circumstance and now would possibly be entitled to Free School Meal provision, we would encourage you to apply for this. You can do so using the following link: https://online.northumberland.gov.uk/citizenportal/form.aspx?form=Free_School_Meals

  1. Summer Exams

In addition to this we have already contacted parents of students in Year 11 or in Sixth Form with an update on the implications of Mondays’ announcement by the Prime Minister on exams. We will keep parents and students in these year groups informed as information arises and implications become clear as to what form of assessment will replace these. Suffice to say that the early headlines that ‘exams have been cancelled’ does not provide the full picture. Instead we know that they will not go ahead in their current form but consultation on what assessments might take their place is now underway. We will do all we can to keep preparing our Year 11 and Year 13 students to complete their curriculum and prepare for these assessments.

We will continue to support our staff and students throughout, but please contact us if you have any questions.

Yours faithfully

Andrew Thelwell

Principal, Secondary

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