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All Parents Email Update 07.07.20

Dear Parents and Carers,

The long awaited guidance from the government regarding the full reopening of schools in September for all students was published last Thursday morning. Since that time the school has been interpreting the guidance and we are putting plans in place for a full reopening from the start of the Autumn Term.

We will be communicating our plans to you before term ends on 17th July, but suffice to say that school will be operating in a very different way from September onwards for the foreseeable future and this will require every member of our community to play their part in ensuring that we operate in a safe and purposeful way.

Currently we are:

– Amending our detailed Risk Assessment of the school site to take into account the increased number of staff and students required to be on site from the start of next term
– Evaluating a number of different organisational models to ensure that the full timetable can be delivered in a safe way and that is compliant with the government guidance.

Our email updates and website will be important sources of information between now and the end of term but also throughout the summer break as the situation is changing rapidly.

Please be aware that all girls are expected to attend school from September 2020. The government has made it clear that schools will be expected to issue Fixed Penalty Fines to the parents of pupils who are not attending.

We know that some families will be considering travelling abroad for holidays over the summer break and we want to remind you to ensure that you have returned to the UK with enough time to complete the 14-day quarantine that could well be required. If your daughter is starting in Year 7 their first school day is Thursday 3rd of September 2020 so they would need to be back in the UK by Thursday 20th August 2020. For all other year groups, the first day is Monday 7th September 2020 and they would need to be back in the UK by Friday 21st August 2020.

Thank you in advance for your support at this challenging time.

Yours faithfully,

Rachel McGowan
Head Teacher

Year 7, 8 & 9 Parental Email 26.06.20

Dear Plashet Parent/Carer,

Our phased reopening for Year 10 has started this week and all new systems have been a resounding success for those staff and students attending. We now look to September and a wider opening of our provision. At the time of writing, the government has not given any precise details other than their ambition to have all children back at school. I hope to be able to write to you in next week’s update about more specific details for the Autumn Term if the government publishes their plans.

The government has also announced funding for ‘catch-up’ (not a phrase I would use) but again there is very little precise detail about this. Once this is known, I will of course inform you of our plans.

I am pleased to announce that we are fully staffed with teachers for September. We have made successful appointments in Science, Languages and Design & Technology. Some of these are new posts arising from our ongoing school expansion – we have one further year before we have 300 girls in each year group. I do not lie when I tell you how much people want to work at Plashet. Even when we do online virtual interviews and they haven’t visited the school, they invariably talk about the good reputation that we have in the community. That is down to our wonderful, hard working girls and I am most grateful.

Friday 17th July is the last day of this academic year and just three weeks away. Before we break for the summer holiday we will be providing bridging work to support students as they move from either Year 7 to Year 8, Year 8 to Year 9 or Year 9 into Year 10. More details will follow about this in a couple of week’s time.

Best wishes for a good weekend and hopefully some more bearable temperatures.

Rachel McGowan

Head Teacher
Plashet School

Year 10 Parental Email 26.06.20

Dear Plashet Parent/Carer,

Our phased reopening for Year 10 has started this week and all new systems have been a resounding success for those staff and students attending. My thanks to all those parents who have shown faith in Plashet for your support in sending your daughter’s back to school. We look forward to welcoming more Year 10 students back next week as this is a good opportunity to reconnect with three important core subjects in which all students will face exams next summer.

We now look to September and a wider opening of our provision. At the time of writing, the government has not given any precise details other than their ambition to have all children back at school. I hope to be able to write to you in next week’s update about more specific details for the Autumn Term if the government publishes their plans.

The government has also announced funding for ‘catch-up’ (not a phrase I would use), but again there is very little precise detail about this. Once this is known, I will of course inform you of our plans.

The same goes for next summer’s GCSE examinations – the government has announced that it will be holding a consultation about this issue. Currently, we must assume that these examinations will go ahead as they have in the past and current Year 10 students must continue to make the most of their online learning and face-to-face support over the next three weeks. If there are changes, I will of course inform you at the earliest possible opportunity.

I am pleased to announce that we are fully staffed with teachers for September. We have made successful appointments in Science, Languages and Design & Technology. Some of these are new posts arising from our ongoing school expansion – we have one further year before we have 300 girls in each year group. I do not lie when I tell you how much people want to work at Plashet. Even when we do online virtual interviews and they haven’t visited the school, they invariably talk about the good reputation that we have in the community. That is down to our wonderful, hard working girls and I am most grateful.

Friday 17th July is the last day of this academic year. Before we break for the summer holiday we will be setting bridging work to support students as they move from Year 10 into Year 11. More details will follow about this in a couple of week’s time.

Best wishes for a good weekend and hopefully some more bearable temperatures.

Rachel McGowan

Head Teacher
Plashet School

Website Update 15.06.20

GCSE exams would have finished last Friday and girls in Years 7, 8, 9 & 10 would normally be sitting end-of-year exams over the next few school weeks.

We are keen to assess your daughter’s learning and therefore have designed a new system for Plashet summer exams this year.

We will be running a series of online open book exams for Years 7, 8, 9 & 10. We have taken the model from the university sector and have tailored it to our virtual learning environment Google Classroom.

All parents and students have been emailed an overview of how this new process will work.

The timeline for online open book exams will be as follows.

Week beginning:

Monday 15th June – online lessons as normal.

Monday 22nd June – no online lessons as this is a ‘study week’ for students to get their revision notes, resources and flashcards organsied.

Monday 29th June – online exam week. For Years 7, 8 & 9 Exams are set at 9.00am each day and submitted by 5.00pm. No more than 2 exams per day. For Year 10 one exam is set each day at 2.00pm and submitted by 6.00pm.

Monday 6th July – online lessons as normal.

Monday 13th July – last week of online lessons, reports posted home & bridging task/materials set for the summer.

Year 10 Parent Reopening Email 08.06.20

Dear Plashet Year 10 Parents/Carers,

The Prime Minister’s announcement regarding the return of students in Year 10 for some face-to-face learning has sparked some strong opinions.

If you have not already read Newham Mayor, Rokhsana Fiaz’s letter to Newham residents released on Friday 5th June then please do via this link as it gives updated information regarding the R number in London.

The decision to reopen secondary schools for Year 10 students has presented us with many challenges, all of them related to one key word – safety. That is our absolute priority, and I, as Head Teacher cannot shirk from that responsibility towards your daughters, your families and Plashet staff and their families. Risk can never be eliminated in any situation and now, in the current pandemic, not enough is known about this cruel virus and how it can be controlled to the point that the risk is acceptable for everyone. So if you ask me if Plashet will be safe when it reopens, I cannot guarantee it will be 100% safe. I can say that we have planning in place to reduce the risk as much as possible, based on government and Public Health England’s guidance. School though, will be very different to the last time your daughter was here.

Year 10 COVID-19 Partial Return Overview

In order to gain your views on whether or not you will send your daughter back to Plashet before the summer break (from Monday 22nd June) please read the overview attached and then fill in this short survey by 5.00pm on 11th June.

Here is the link to the survey – here

The Government has confirmed that parents/carers will not be fined or penalised if they decide not to send their daughter back, and we will of course support you if this is the option you feel is best for your family. Plashet’s online provision will continue to be the predominant form of learning.

If we know that you have a daughter in Year 10 with an underlying health condition we will want to speak to you about this to enable you to make the best decision on how to proceed. Please respond to any phone call you receive from the school.

We also require updated/additional emergency contacts for students during this time. This is in case any of the named contacts we currently hold are not able to collect your daughter in an emergency due to them shielding or health vulnerabilities at this time.

I would like to thank you for your support thus far in helping your daughter learn from home, and hope you will continue with this. I also hope everyone remains well.

Yours faithfully,

Rachel McGowan

Head Teacher
Plashet School

Dear Parent/Carers,

Welcome back to school after the half-term break. I hope you were able to enjoy the Eid weekend and beautiful weather last week and are now ready for this new half-term of studies.

The government has made a number of announcements related to the easing of lockdown for the country and changes related to secondary schools as follows:

“…secondary schools should plan on the basis that from the week commencing 15 June, they can invite year 10 pupils back into school for some face-to-face support with their teachers, subject to the government’s 5 tests being met.

We are asking secondary schools to offer this face-to-face support to supplement the remote education of year 10 pupils, which should remain the predominant mode of education during this term for pupils in these year groups.”

And additionally: “secondary schools should ensure that only a quarter of pupils in year 10 are in school at any one time.”

So, it is very clear from the government that online learning remains the dominant form of provision for students in all year groups.

Our decision making is being guided by some key principles which are:

● Safeguarding student & staff health, safety and well-being;
● Maintaining high quality learning and engagement;
● Listening to scientific evidence and advice;
● Listening to professional organisations;
● Ensuring arrangements are compliant with DfE and Government expectations.

We are now in the process of completing our risk assessment of the Plashet site so that we are able to operate safely and offer some face-to-face support for small groups of Y10 students from 15th June.

Our preparations include:
● A very detailed risk assessment of the school site.
● Planning an interim timetable of support sessions for Year 10 that are in line with our risk assessment, are in line with the government directive that only 25% of students in the year group are allowed to be on-site on one day with staggered arrival and departure times and will best support Year 10 girls with their online learning.
● Remodelling classrooms to meet the necessary requirements for social distancing as stipulated by the Department for Education and Public Health England.
● Designing a school wide one-way system.
● Purchasing enough PPE to enable our new cleaning arrangements to be sustained over the 5 weeks of having Year 10 students and staff on-site.
● An audit of staff to ensure that we have a sufficient number of staff available to deliver these support sessions.

The Mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz, recently published a statement setting out the Council’s position on the reopening of schools. Please access here

In summary, the Council has said that our schools should only open for pupils when it is safe to do so for children, staff and the community.

The Council has provided reassurance to parents and carers that the Local Education Authority will not take action against them if they decide not to send their children back to school on the proposed return date.

I will be emailing Year 10 families next week as arrangements are finalised.

In the meantime, stay safe and well and thank you for your ongoing support.

Yours faithfully,

Rachel McGowan

Head Teacher
Plashet School

Dear Parents/Carers,

The past ten days or so have been characterised by a great deal of information and some confusion based on announcements made by the government.

In this week’s update I would like to give you some clarity and reassurances.

It is clear that for all year groups, for the remainder of this academic year, the main delivery of learning will continue to be online.

We might be supplementing this for Years 10 girls through sessions offered in school at some point after half-term if the Prime Minister announces on Thursday 28th May that the country is moving to step 2 of the recovery plan.

​A​s we approach the end of this half-term ​I send ​my thanks to students​ ​and parents for their support of the school during this very difficult time. The way people have engaged in the online programme has been tremendous and we now need to enhance our provision further to ensure that we continue to achieve excellence in the second half of the term​.​

May all of you celebrating the end of Ramadan have a very blessed Eid – ‘Eid Mubarak’. May everyone enjoy the bank holiday weekend and whitsun half term. No online lessons will be set next week. I hope you and your family are able to find some space to switch off, or at least to switch off as well as any of us is able to in these strange times.

​With very best wishes,

​Rachel McGowan​

Head Teacher
Plashet School

Dear Plashet Parent/Guardian,

Many of you will have heard the Prime Minister make reference yesterday evening (Sunday 10th May 2020) to the government’s Covid-19 Recovery Strategy.

In relation to schools his exact word were:

In step two – at the earliest by June 1 – after half term – we believe we may be in a position to get primary pupils back into schools, in stages, beginning with Reception, Year 1 and Year 6.

Our ambition is that secondary pupils facing exams next year (Years 10 & Year 12) will get at least some time with their teachers before the summer holidays. And we will shortly be setting out detailed guidance on how to make it work in schools.

The Prime Minister’s reference was to the possibility of a partial re-opening of schools in June as part of Step 2 being conditional on the 5 tests being met fully as the rate of infection remains too high to allow the reopening of schools for all pupils yet.

This means that there is no change to the current arrangements – Plashet is only open for those vulnerable children and children of critical workers who can not safely remain at home. All students will continue to be set work lesson-by-lesson, as per their normal timetable, via Google Classroom.

Whilst we recognise that the current arrangements continue to provide challenges for you and your daughter rest assured that Plashet and the local authority are working on the detailed planning necessary for the kind of reopening outlined above if the country moves to Step 2.

Please also be assured that the most important consideration in this planning is the safety and wellbeing of Plashet students and staff.

Yours faithfully,

Rachel McGowan

Head Teacher
Plashet School

You might have seen an article in the Newham Recorder on 27th April about a new initiative started by an Ilford resident to support non-English speakers access Covid-19 information. The website can be found here and has a wide range of languages on offer in written and video formats.

Covid-19 Update 01.05.20

Dear Parents/Carer,

We have now completed the second week of the Summer Term. It was very clear from the Prime Minister’s words during yesterday’s Downing Street briefing that lockdown will continue for the foreseeable future.

Staying safe online during the coronavirus outbreak

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport has published new guidance on what you can do to stay safe online during the coronavirus outbreak. The guidance also has tailored advice for parents to keep their children safe online. This includes using parental controls to manage what children can access, switching on family filters to protect children from inappropriate content, and having conversations with children to encourage them to speak to a trusted adult if they come across anything online that makes them uncomfortable.

Up to date contact details

Now more than ever it’s really important that we have the most up to date contact details for parents and carers. If your home or mobile telephone numbers, or email has changed please email info@plashet.newham.sch.uk with the new details, and name and form group of your daughter(s).

Students with SEND

The BBC have launched a fantastic Parents’ Toolkit to support families homeschooling young people with SEND. It covers wellbeing, activities and learning and top tips and advice. It is entitled Parents’ Toolkit: SEND BBC Bitesize and can be found here. I hope that it is useful for our families. The following resources may also be useful:
Common Sense Media: here
Childnet: here

Keeping children safe

The NSPCC has created a number of resources to support parents and carers during this difficult time. Topics include:
Talking to a child worried about coronavirus
Parents working from home
Children staying home alone
Lockdown and separated parents
How to cope with tantrums and other difficult behaviour.
The advice can be found on the NSPCC website here.

As your daughter is not allowed to socialise in person with friends at the moment, you may find that she is spending more time on social media. Please see this helpful guide on how parents and carers can keep children safe when using social media here.

As ever, if you have any concerns about your child’s safety or wellbeing, or that of any other child, please email safegarding@plashet.newham.sch.uk.

My thanks to you all for supporting your daughter’s in their engagement with online learning and it is important that momentum with this is maintained. I would however like to remind all parents to be realistic in terms of what you can do at home. Please do not put too much pressure on yourselves to replicate school or worry unnecessarily about your daughter falling behind. Share your calmness, share your strength and share your laughter with your daughter. No girls are ahead. No girls are behind. Your daughter’s are exactly where they need to be – with you at home and safe.

Ramadan Mubarak to all our Muslim families.

I will be in touch next week with a further update, but until then stay safe and well.

Yours faithfully,

Rachel McGowan

Head Teacher
Plashet School

Parent/Guardian FSM Update 27.04.20

Extension of free school meals eligibility

During the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the Government is temporarily extending free school meals eligibility to include some groups who have no recourse to public funds (NRPF), including:
– children of Zambrano carers
– children of families with no recourse to public funds with a right to remain in the UK on grounds of private and family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights
– children of families receiving support under section 17 of the Children Act 1989 who are also subject to a no recourse to public funds restriction.

These groups are also subject to a maximum household earnings threshold of £7,400 per annum.

The Government is also temporarily extending free school meal eligibility to children of a subset of failed asylum seekers supported under section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. This group is not subject to any maximum household earnings threshold.

This extension is temporarily in place due to the current unique circumstances. It covers both children who are attending school and children who are at home.

Please click this link to Newham’s Free School Meals page where you can find the application form here.

Plashet School