Parent Update - 3rd April 2020
Published on 03/04/20
Welcome to the latest edition of The Thetford Academy's Parent Update.
- Principal’s Message
- Important Information for Year 11 and Year 13 Students
- Plans for After Easter If School Remains Closed
- Remote Learning After Easter
- Keep Calm and Carroll On
- Pet Pictures
- The Coronavirus Time Capsule
- English Department Update
- Online English Club: Writing Competition
- Excellent IT Work Year 7: Technology and Smart Homes
- Mathematical Baking
As we reach the end of a strange and challenging term I wanted to offer my sincere thanks to the wider school community. Firstly I wanted to thank our children, who have risen to the challenge of working from home. Thanks also to you for supporting them with their work during what I appreciate must be a difficult time for your families. I also want to pay tribute to our staff here at Thetford Academy. They have had to adapt to setting independent work online with only a few days notice, and they continue to work hard from home while managing their own families too. Many of our staff have volunteered to come in and supervise the children of key workers, or those children who are vulnerable in school too, and will continue to do so during the Easter holidays.
Best wishes to you and your families over Easter, stay healthy and safe
The organisation that oversees all examinations in this country, called ‘Ofqual’, has issued a letter to students in Year 11 and 13 today setting out how their grades will be awarded without exams taking place. This letter can be read here. Please note that Ofqual have said that teachers are not allowed to discuss grades with students.
As a school, we would normally be setting work for pupils to do over the Easter holiday, particularly revision for exams.
We are not going to be setting homework over the Easter holiday for the majority of pupils. The one exception to this is that some pupils in older years (Years 10-13) who need to complete coursework may be asked to work on this.
We are however very aware that some parents like to have things for their children to be getting on with, and for this reason we are going to continue over Easter to run the following:
(1) Extra-Curricular Clubs
Our online extra-curricular clubs have proved very popular over the last couple of weeks and we shall continue to run these with challenges and competitions for pupils to enter. For more information on the extra-curricular clubs and how to join, please visit the dedicated page on the website:
(2) Optional Independent Study Work
We are going to put some links to additional independent study work that pupils can do over the Easter holiday. This will include continued use of online platforms (such as Hegarty Maths), wider reading that pupils can do and appropriate documentaries and films to watch.
Running a remote school over the last two weeks have been a new challenge for all of our staff, and we are grateful for everything that parents have done to support us with this. We would also like to thank parents for sending us feedback on what has and has not been working, as this means we can make adjustments to our future plans. We do not know what the situation is going to be after the Easter holiday, but, if the school remains closed, we shall be making the following changes to remote learning.
(1) Reduction in Amount of Work Set
A number of pupils in the school have been struggling to complete all of the work that teachers have been setting for the last two weeks. After Easter, we are going to be asking teachers to set less work, aiming for two hours a week in maths, English and science, and one hour a week in all other subjects.
We would like to stress that we are very happy for parents to make judgements based on their own situation at home about what their children can reasonably get done. Pupils work at different speeds and we do not want them having to spend excessive hours trying to get their work finished. If you feel that there is too much work for your son or daughter to complete, then it is fine to tell them that they do not need to do it all.
If you feel that not enough work has been set, then you will be providing optional extension work.
(2) Fortnightly Rather Than Weekly Hand-Ins
We have been very impressed with how well pupils have been handing work in remotely. We are also aware that one week can be quite a short time span for which to plan. For this reason, we are going to move to fortnightly rather than weekly deadlines for submitting work. This means that pupils will have more flexibility in how they plan their time, and it also means as parents that you will be getting fewer messages home if work has not been completed.
(3) Year 11 and Year 13
After Easter, provided the courses have been finished, we are going to move Year 11 and Year 13 to focus on their plans for next year. We are going to be providing them with materials to support their transition into sixth forms, colleges and universities. More information on this will be sent round after the Easter Holiday.
Well done to Scott Lee in Year 7 who correctly identified the peacock butterfly from Wednesday’s update. Mr Carroll will be issuing him with a Golden Ticket. There is another challenge here from Mr Carroll’s garden. There will be a Golden Ticket for the first pupil who can email Mr Carroll to identify correctly which animal lives in this house.
We all know that pictures of cats and dogs on social media cheer everyone up, and so Miss Chmielewski asked staff of the school to send in pictures of their pets at home. You can see quite a range of them on these slides
Company Three is an award-winning youth-theatre company based in London. They have created a new project called ‘The Coronavirus Time Capsule’. Week by Week they are creating a ‘cumulative video time capsule, recording teenage experience during the coronavirus pandemic'. Week 1 can be viewed through the link below and there will be an update every Friday.
If you would like to know more about how Company Three are developing this project please click here
Team English have identified students for ‘Star of the Week’ based on their work submitted during week one. A digital postcard is being sent via email to the following students:
Sam Long & Victoria Whelpley
The challenge this week was to write a short story based on pictures/titles from 'The Chronicles of Harris Burdick’. Pupils could choose between
His heart was pounding. He was sure he had seen the doorknob turn.'
'Mr. Linden's Library':
He had warned her about the book. Now it was too late.
Well done to the winner Madelyn Lyra who will receive a £10 Amazon voucher. Here is her entry:
He was sure he had seen the doorknob turn. No. It had to have been a figment of his imagination. His mind went back to his earlier conversation with that old woman when he had first moved here. That ‘creatures of nightmares’ reside in this area was a bizarre thing to say. Surely her warning couldn’t be true - could it? Nevertheless, he sat and listened, hearing nothing but his own heavy breathing and thumping heartbeat. Laughing at his own panic, he stood and walked away from the door, beginning to head up the old creaking stairs. Did she really think that he was that gullible?
Working in real estate often proved difficult, especially with ancient cases such as this one. Who would want to live in a run-down house like this? He really had his work cut out for him.
A scratch. That was just a tree, he thought to himself. Had to be. He wouldn’t be scared away from this place because of the words of an, obviously crazy, old woman.
He had just convinced himself once again that it was nothing when the doorknob turned again. The lock clicked open, and the door opened slightly; revealing a small slit of white light. A clawed hand - pitch black as the night sky without the light of the bright white moon or twinkling stars - appeared from out of the open crack. Following his instincts, he suppressed a scream by biting into his hand, before running and taking cover within the small space.
Something within him told him that that was his only chance of survival. As the creature thudded close enough for him to smell a stench of rotten flesh, his heart kept into his throat; would this really be it? Would he die here? Still, he hid.
From Mr Kinnen:
The following students deserve a "Shout Out" for excellent work in IT:
Year 7 students have been completing a series of Google Slides on Technology and Smart Homes, thinking about what sort of technologies they have in their homes, why it's important, and how this can make our lives better.
We all know that there is a lot of maths in baking, and Mr Lau asked his Year 10 mathematicians to submit their best home-cooking pictures. The winner was Julia Huber with these lovely apple and cinnamon scones.