Principal's Letter, 22 January 2021

Awarding of Grades for exam students – Government consultation
You will no doubt already be aware from updates provided by the Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, that a consultation was launched last week on how GCSE grades should be awarded in summer 2021. Through the consultation the DfE and Ofqual would like to receive the views of students, parents and carers as well as teachers, school leaders and other interested parties.

This is a 2 week consultation period to gather feedback on their proposals for assessment and the awarding of grades, for year 11 students. You can read the Government proposals here

In summary, key things the government are consulting on are:

  • Whether year 11 students should sit an assessment, using assessments designed by the exam boards.
  • The details around teacher assessment and the evidence used to inform this.
  • When the academic year ends for year 11
  • When students receive their results
  • The nature of the appeals process.

Please follow the link below to find out more; the link to provide your feedback should you wish to respond is within.
https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/consultation-on-how-gcse-as-and-a-level-grades-should-be-awarded-in-summer-2021

Parents’ Forum
A reminder that I am reintroducing Parent Forum meetings this term, with the first one being held virtually on Thursday 28th January, 6pm on Microsoft Teams.

The foci of the meeting will be Reporting and PSHE. I would really like to have as many parents as possible join the meeting to share your views and support the development of the academy in these areas. Please click Parent Forum to join the meeting if you possibly can.

Parent feedback
We really value your feedback. Can I ask you to take a few minutes to respond on the two following platforms:

i. Parent/Carer survey: A brief google survey on remote learning and yesterday’s tutor day: https://forms.gle/Nnk2qWGvY6FYchRy8. Please respond even if you were not able to join yesterday’s tutor event.

ii. Ofsted Parent View: Following the praise received during tutor meetings yesterday and via emails, I would appreciate parent views being logged officially on the Ofsted parent view site: https://parentview.ofsted.gov.uk/. If you have not logged in before, you will need to register. The academy’s postcode is PO20 3UE. It takes only a few minutes to answer the short list of questions. I truly value feedback from parents and carers in order to continue to improve the education your children receive at Six Villages.

Instrumental lessons
In response to queries, I can confirm that any lessons paid for this term will not be lost. These lessons will be held over until we return post lockdown.

Inset Day
A reminder of the INSET day on Friday 5th February. The academy will be closed and no lessons will take place that day remotely either.

Remote learning and internet safety for young people
The nature of lockdown and learning being remote creates potential safeguarding issues that we all need to be aware of. Students are now spending much of their day accessing lessons and resources via the internet. Many students also spend additional hours communicating and sharing via social media platforms.

Effective use of the internet can really enhance the learning experience of a student and has been invaluable during lockdown. Likewise, young people communicating using social media platforms during this time has provided an invaluable way to avoid complete social isolation from their peers and the potential harm this can cause to emotional and mental health.The benefits of the internet and the way social media allows us to share the experiences in our lives that matter are really important but parents should be encouraged to support young people making safe choices online.

In assemblies, PSHE and tutor time students have been encouraged to consider some simple questions when using the internet:

  1. When using social media and the internet have you carefully checked your privacy settings to ensure that your data and conversation is really private?
  2. In any on-line conversation do you really know who you are communicating with instead of who they say they are?
  3. Before you send any data or image are you aware that once it is sent you will not be able to control who has access to it?
  4. Before you send a message or comment have you considered how it might affect the feelings of others?

We have encouraged our students to adopt a mature and reflective approach to their online behaviour. Before they click return we ask them consider whether their mother/grandmother would approve of the content they are sending!

Likewise, we encourage young people to be supportive of each other and to encourage each other to make safe choices and avoid putting themselves or others at risk of potential exploitation.
Nonetheless, young people will make mistakes using the internet and it is really important that if this happens, they are sufficiently confident to be able to share this with a trusted adult and take the correct steps to resolve it. The simple message here is that if we do nothing about a bad choice we have made, the consequences won't go away but are likely to get worse. Thus, reporting an incident, website or suspect user is really important.

If you have a concern about your child’s use of the internet or another safeguarding issue please contact: [email protected]

If you have a concern about potential abuse online and wish to report it please use the following link: https://www.ceop.police.uk/safety-centre/

There are numerous excellent websites that encourage young people to make safe choices in all aspects of their online behaviour. A number of the links to the websites are listed below:

Short video guides for parents and carers: delivering online safety at home (thinkuknow.co.uk)
Online safety | NSPCC
Parents and Carers | Safer Internet Centre
A parent’s guide to being social online this December (thinkuknow.co.uk)
Internet Safety Guide for Kids | SafeWise

Keeping up to date
Since the pandemic began, we have been sharing important information with you. For up to date information, please follow us on social media; the website is also constantly updated:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/O_SVA
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sixvillages/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ormistonsixvillagesacademy
Website: https://ormistonsixvillagesacademy.co.uk

If your child tests positive for Covid 19, please let us know on [email protected]

Alternatively, if you have a query, please email [email protected]
Reception is open 8am-3pm Monday-Friday currently; please call 01243 546800. We are here to help.

Thank you, as always, for your continued support.

Mr P Slaughter, Principal