We hope that this message finds you all safe and well during this strange time. I am aware that this has been difficult for many of you and I fully understand how frustrating it is not knowing when things will return to normal. Unfortunately, I do not know the answer to this but do remember that we will all return back to our school community at some point in the foreseeable future.
In the meantime, I would like to give a huge thanks to the parents and carers who have temporarily taken over the facilitating of our students’ education. It is a difficult job at the best of times, let alone under the current circumstances. Therefore, whichever activity or piece of work that you are able to help your child with will be of benefit to them when they return back to normal lessons. I am sure that most of you are doing an amazing job but I am also aware that some of you are struggling and are worried that your child will be falling behind. Please do not panic about this. The work that is being provided has been set strategically so that it is either preparing the students’ knowledge for when they return or recapping on topics previously studied. Any little bit that you are able to do is fantastic.
Now to our students, we are really missing you all. It is very strange being at school and not being able to see you or talk to you. I am very proud of how you have been conducting yourselves over the past few weeks. It must be really hard for you not being able to see your friends or go outside and do different things. It won’t be like this forever and hopefully we will soon be back to school where we can all catch up with each other.
I know that some of you have been working very hard on the work that we have set for you. If there are any pieces of work that you have completed that you are particularly proud of, then we would love to see these. You can email a photo of them to Miss Dean at email@example.com so that we can create a showcase to share with the whole school community. If you want to send things in to your teachers, you can either email it to them on their school email or deliver it in to school. I really don’t want any of you getting anxious if you can’t complete a piece of work, we have deliberately set you a large amount so that we can cater for all abilities. You will not be punished if you have not finished all work when you return. However, please realise that this work is important as it will help you to prepare for what you will study when lessons do begin again.
Over this coming week, tutors and other staff will be trying to contact their students to make sure that they are all ok and help with any problems. We have been in regular contact with some of our vulnerable students and families over the past few weeks and are now able to hopefully keep in regular contact with you all. Please remember, if any of you are really struggling, please do contact the school either by phone or email and we will try to help immediately.
Also over the coming week, we are putting together a small video to send you all with some messages of support from our staff. In addition, we will be launching some competitions and events over the coming month; this will include a virtual talent show where students and staff can send in entries for Pewsey’s Got Talent. This could be songs, music, jokes, pieces of art, dance, drama, etc. More details on this will follow.
Our Options process is well under way and Year 9 students have started to look at the different courses we will be running next year; we will continue to do all of this online and communicate directly with the students and their parents. We have also begun our transition work with the current Year 6 students who will be joining us next year. For our Year 7 students, it has already been a whole year since you were involved in this process; how time flies. And on that note, Year 11 would have had their first exam this week! I wrote to them last week and have explained that our school has been in touch with all of the post-16 providers and they have been set appropriate work to prepare them for next year. For Year 10, you really do need to use this time to build on your studies and over the coming weeks we will be delivering more detailed lessons online using different technologies. In addition, Year 10, we are fully aware that we will need to be recruiting a new student leadership team as well as a Head Boy & Girl; this will be something that we will be doing over the coming weeks. If you are interested, start thinking about what attributes you have and what you could do in this position.
The school obviously remains open for vulnerable children and those of key workers and we have a regular cohort now who attend daily. They have been a credit to our school as it is completely different to their normal routine, yet they have adapted well. We also continue to help our local community by running a food bank from our school and our Technology department is still producing protective equipment for the NHS and frontline services.
Please also remember, in addition to your school work there are lots of things that you can be doing to improve key skills important for learning. At school, you would have your weekly guided literacy lesson. Don’t forget to pick up a book and just enjoy spending some time reading. A great way to get inspiration of what to read is to ask other people. If you come across a word that you don’t know why not write it down and then look it up. This is a fantastic way to expand your vocabulary and Mr Beaty will be helping by sending out his ‘Word of the Week’. Mrs Sheppy and has found the books below to be very popular with students of your age. Perhaps you could have a read and then send in a quick review to let us know what you thought. I am sure Mrs Sheppy would love to create a display board, in the library, with this on when we return to school. If you would like personal recommendations then please contact Mrs Sheppy firstname.lastname@example.org and she will be really pleased to suggest something.
After her father's airship crashes and he disappears, Lily is put in great danger as she and her friends - the clockmaker's son and her mechanical fox - set out to find him in Victorian London. Book #1
There used to be an empty chair at the back of the class, but now a new boy called Ahmet is sitting in it. When the class learn that Ahmet is a refugee, one group of friends come up with a plan to help.
In Callum's world the white noughts are second-class citizens and the black Crosses are highly revered and perceived as the superior race. Callum is a nought and his best friend, Sephy, is a Cross and the daughter of a powerful politician. Book #1
Conjoined twins Grace and Tippi go to school for the first time after a life spent being homeschooled. Soon they are forced to make a difficult decision.
Many of you have read this - if you have Sarah Crossan’s latest book is called Toffee.
There is also an established book award called the Carnegie Medal which Mrs Sheppy normally shadows with our book groups. The shortlisted books can be found on the following link.
We have been trying to build in regular exercise for the students who are at school and I am sure that a lot of you have also been engaging in different forms of exercise. Have any of you been taking part in the Joe Wicks PE lessons at 9am every morning? Some of our students and staff particularly liked the Pikachu moves! It reminded me a bit of our ‘Just Dance’ PE lessons. ‘Cosmic Kids Yoga’ has some really great ideas and this is a lovely way to have some reflection time whilst doing some physical activity.
If you have come across any other great work out ideas then please share these suggestions via Miss Dean and we can compile these on our website.
It is also important that we take time to look after our mental health, Now more than ever. This can be simple things like focusing on the positives rather than the negatives. It can be tricky when you think of things that you would like to do but are currently unable to do so. One suggested way to cope with this is to write these ideas down and then put them into a jar. Use different colours to show the things you can change/do right now and the things that you are going to look forward to after lockdown. However, we are still here if you need us so just contact us and we will try to help. Don’t forget we also have links (under the quick links tab) to places that can offer you additional support if you are finding things a little bit difficult.
In school, you would be completing your PSHRE lessons based around the Compass for Life programme. Well, we would like to challenge you to continue to think about these things and to help you with ideas direct you to the new partnership that Compass for Life are joining with the Tim Henman Foundation and the Smallpiece Trust. Every Wednesday on the homepage three new challenges will be launched around the themes of being fulfilled, having fun and staying topical. There will be plenty of things for everyone so get involved and share what you are doing.
Take a look on the website for the coming challenges: https://thfonline.org/home/ and don’t forget to share your work with #THFOnline2020 @PewseyValeSch (twitter).
Don’t forget the Art Department Instagram page @pvs_arttextiles where students have regularly been sharing their photography and artwork. Mrs Slater is going for a staff takeover with lots of images of all of the creative things we have been doing so please keep the student input going. There will be a new theme coming out shortly so watch this space.
So finally, just because we are not all together at the moment doesn’t mean that you are forgotten. I am very proud of all of you; students, parents and staff and I thank you all for the way you are conducting yourselves during this time. Yes, it is difficult at the moment and there are challenges. However, there are also positives. You are hopefully spending more time with your family, you are having to try different things and are possibly taking some timeout to focus on things you wouldn’t normally prioritise. We will be back together at some point and I look forward to hearing all about your different stories when we do. I will write to you again at the start of next week (think of it as our weekly assembly). In the meantime, stay safe and take care of yourselves and each other.
Mr Pritchard & SLT