Dear parents/carers/students and the Fowey community,
It seems incredible that we are now approaching our 4th week in lockdown, another milestone in what has become a very strange and unsettling time for us all. We have another 3 weeks before ‘half-term’ which is the week commencing 15th February. At this stage, we are waiting for official guidance from Government on the return date for all students. You will no doubt be aware of the speculation in the press as to when that might be, and all we can do at this stage is reiterate the official government guidance that we have, which is due to be reviewed by Government in the coming weeks.
Schools will not be expected to return until at the earliest, after February half-term. Schools will receive a minimum of two weeks notice of the return date.
As soon as we have any further clarity on when students will be returning, we will let you know. We are very aware of the pressures on families and home life that remote learning and lockdown are having and we are equally keen to get back to normal and welcome students back, the school simply isn’t right without the sound of our students filling the corridors!
However, despite the challenges that lockdown brings, we do need to celebrate the amazing work that you are all doing. Lockdown 1 was a great effort, but you have raised the bar and are really providing some amazing home learning support, in partnership with the school. In fact, student engagement with online learning has increased by 11% to 91% from the 1st lockdown. Of course we want all students to engage and we are working as hard as we can to reach everyone and make sure that all students are supported. If you have concerns, please make sure you contact the Year group teams who can liaise with teachers and tutors to ensure all students have everything they need to make the most of online learning. You can find all the relevant contact details here.
Here are a few updates for the coming weeks:
Teaching and Learning Update
Since the beginning of January, staff have been extremely busy setting lessons for students through Firefly as well as recording videos and delivering live lessons. Students should follow their normal timetable when completing the lessons posted for them. If your child is struggling with their work, please contact their subject teacher. Your child will also be able to access a question and answer session for each subject each week to help with this. This will be offered during one of each subject’s timetabled lessons and staff will be available throughout the 75 minutes to reply to emails. Please encourage your child to join any live lessons scheduled for them by their teachers as well as watch the support videos they have uploaded to Firefly. Students should upload their work to Firefly where staff will mark and return it. If your child is struggling to complete all the work set in the allocated time, encourage them to talk to their teacher. We are here to help and keeping in contact in these complex times, is crucial to our students’ success and wellbeing.
To access the FireFly portal as a parent please see the following guidance: https://helpcentre.fireflylearning.com/parents/getting-started/logging-in
We have now been testing all students and staff on-site for 2 weeks, using Lateral Flow Devices, provided by the NHS/Government. These devices provide a very quick initial result that allows us to test asymptomatic people. It’s a great way to increase the safety of the school and ensures that anyone who could be transmitting but not showing symptoms, is picked up. We are testing students and staff twice weekly and have been delighted by the community volunteers that have come forward to help. So far we have tested over 200 times with NO positive results. We will continue to test until the guidance changes.
If you would like more information on testing please click here: COVID Testing
Students must have consent to participate in testing if they are attending school, and we strongly encourage all to do so. Consent can be given remotely by filling out this form: https://forms.gle/teX4vQRXb6pBZbXB6
Consent only needs to be given once.
Key worker school provision
We continue to provide places for key workers and students with specific needs that we invite directly. Whilst we would love to have all students in, the Government advice is very clear, even if you are a critical worker, if your child CAN remain at home rather than attend school, on some or all days, then they should. Booking for this week is closed, to book for next week please see the form below:
Unfortunately, we will not be able to accommodate any students in school without a completed place request form. All forms must be submitted by 6 pm on a Wednesday for the following week. We will then contact you to let you know whether your place has been accepted.
Should you wish to check if you are eligible for key worker provision please refer to the following guidance:
Mobile phones are a contentious issue in schools and there is a growing base of evidence to show that there are plenty of good reasons why they should be limited or even banned. At FRA we have always taken a pragmatic approach to phones in schools, however, their prevalence and the dependence on them by some students has been creating more and more problems for all concerned. In particular:
- We know that phones in school can lead to bullying and problems on social media platforms
- We know that some students are accessing inappropriate material on their phones and then sharing that with each other
- We know that on some occasions, students have shared things happening at school LIVE on social media
- We know that mobile phones can cause distractions in the classroom, and despite our policy being that they should not be out, we find this has become a regular battle with some students who struggle not to look at them, even for short periods of time.
- More and more research suggests that the distraction caused by phones is inhibiting educational performance
Lockdown presents a good opportunity for us to review our mobile policy and to trial new ways of working. Students coming to school should expect us to be more focused on this and that they will have to work with us to improve the situation. This means phones could be confiscated if seen out during lesson time unless permission has been given for a specific use. We are not banning them outright at school, although that remains a potential option because we realise they are important for parents and students in emergency situations. However, permission will be needed to use them outside of break times, or in the school buildings.
We really hope you will work with us on this, because we think it is an important issue and one that is affecting the lives of many of our young people, so we cannot shy away from dealing with it. We will report back on how things have gone during this period and we will also be asking your opinions before all students return.
Free school meals
Unlike many schools across the country that are tied to a catering supplier who handles their Free School Meals on their behalf, we are in complete control of the process. We have a voucher system in place and all FSM students have been receiving emails each week with a £15 voucher which can be redeemed with a range of local supermarkets. If you are struggling financially, you may be eligible for free school meals, please check here on the Council website. If you are having trouble with any aspect of the Free School Meal service, please email us.
SEND AND SAFEGUARDING
Just a reminder that the firstname.lastname@example.org email remains operational throughout lockdown as a way to contact us for any concerns you may have.
The BBC has recently created a page to support parents of pupils with SEND which has lots of really helpful tips and suggestions should you wish to have a look:
mental health week
February 1st-7th is Mental Health Week. We are acutely conscious of the impact that lockdown and COVID are having on our young people. Ms Smith will be sending out a variety of information and resources during the week to support students and to help those that are struggling. It goes without saying that if you have concerns about a young person, please do not hesitate to let us know. Please email email@example.com This email is monitored daily and handled by highly trained staff who can help.
FRA Alumni network
Are you an ex-Fowey student? Do you know someone who went to FRA? We have set up an FRA Alumni group and we are looking for as many old ‘Fowey Boys’ and ‘Fowey Girls’ as possible! We are trying to find ways to help our students develop their careers, aspire to greater things and connect to the world of work, and what better way than through our extended family. So if you fancy giving back, or just reconnecting with old friends, please see our two platforms: