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Parent Bulletin 29/01/21

Please take some time to read the latest bulletin from Mr Solly...

Dear Parents and Carers, 

We have reached the end of the fourth week of lockdown and I know the situation continues to be really challenging for families. Last week I wrote about the balancing act that families are performing whilst we work from home, support our children with home learning, and simply try to navigate our way in the world as best we can. Some days will be better than others; I always try to see the big picture and put everything into perspective as much as possible. The focus this week on Holocaust Memorial Day brought a stark reminder of what our grandparents and great grandparents experienced during World War II.  

Holocaust Memorial Day 
Mrs Rodgers led our online assembly this week, hopefully you had the chance to watch it before 27th January, which was Holocaust Memorial Day - if you didn't, her excellent presentation is available here. It is well worth watching this with your sons and daughters. 

The theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2021 was 'be the light in the darkness'. It encourages everyone to reflect on the depths humanity can sink to, but also the ways individuals and communities resisted that darkness to ‘be the light’ before, during and after genocide. Be the light in the darkness is an affirmation and a call to action for everyone marking Holocaust Memorial Day. This theme asks us to consider different kinds of ‘darkness’, for example, identity-based persecution, misinformation, denial of justice; and different ways of ‘being the light’, for example, kindness, empathy, acts of solidarity, and illuminating mistruths. I hope we have all been able to reflect on this in some way this week. Holocaust Memorial Day provides us all with challenge which I feel is worth sharing: 

"We can all stand in solidarity. We can choose to be the light in the darkness in a variety of ways and places – at home, in public, and online."

Post 16 website updates for Year 10 and 11 
For our students in Year 11 (but also relevant for Year 10), we are frequently updating our website with Post 16 links. The link to this part of our website is here, please have a browse with your son and daughter. Students in Key Stage 4 would be visiting colleges and sixth forms in normal circumstances, but for now the offer is just a virtual one and it will be important to explore all of the available options from our local providers. If you have any queries regarding careers advice or post 16 progression, please get in contact with our Assistant Principal, Mrs Duffy. 

Remote Learning Engagement Report
The first of these reports were sent home earlier this week and I just wanted to provide a bit more explanation about the rationale behind these. We would normally provide parents with reports, three times per year, on academic progress and attitudes to learning. However, whilst we are working remotely with students, if we were to make any inferences on student progress and send these judgements home to parents, they would lack any genuine reliability or validity. Therefore, in order to provide parents with some information, we have decided to send home these engagement reports every fortnight which give an indication of how much of the work students have engaged with and submitted. This will flag up any students that are not engaging with online work regularly and this information can be used by parents and staff to support the young person to increase their engagement. Given that parents, teachers and young people are all working in extremely challenging circumstances, coupled with that fact that remote teaching cannot replicate the conditions of a classroom and face to face interaction with a teacher, this approach is the most appropriate way of monitoring engagement. We hope that the report will help identify certain areas where engagement could be improved, but we also understand that there are a great number of valid reasons why students may not have submitted work on occasions. We are trying to balance adopting an understanding and empathetic approach to the varying circumstances our families are dealing with, alongside providing challenging work online and in a format that no-one is particularly experienced with. As ever, we will continue to refine our approach as we progress throughout this period of remote teaching and work towards a full return to school.  

Microsoft Teams update
We have made a few changes to improve the efficiency and security of our live lessons. We are asking parents to remind your sons and daughters that all they need to do to access these lessons is log into Satchel:One to read through the teacher’s instructions, then log into Teams, select the relevant class and click ‘Join’. 

The UCC Great Road Trip Adventure:
Once again, the UCC community has shown tremendous team spirit following the launch of this project.  On an average day we have seen over 300 students logging daily activity, along with their families, as well as a huge number of staff.  The number of people getting involved is rising daily and UCC is simply motoring through this adventure.

It has been heart-warming to receive so many pictures and messages from those taking part.  The electronic postcards have clearly grabbed student's attention and it has been great to see so many families stepping back from the computer screen and trying out the 'resilient moves.'  These moments are so key in maintaining positive mental health whilst things remain so difficult.

We intend to keep developing this project as the lockdown continues and hopefully, we will achieve our goal of reaching Australia.  Please continue to follow our progress on social media and if you haven't been able to take part yet, or are interested in the electronic postcards, all the information can be found on our website here.

Resilient Rutland:
We have been working in partnership with Resilient Rutland for just over a year now and they have been amazing advocates for the Mental Health and Well-Being of young people in Rutland.  They have recently published their first annual review.  Please do take time to read this and discover everything they have been doing.

Final thoughts… 
I re-watched Mr Anderson’s assembly on Hope and Humanity this week as the theme resonated so strongly with me. There is indeed, a great deal of uncertainty and instability in the world right now, but there is also hope and light just around the corner. I think it is up to all of us to look forward positively to the future and help shape the world our children will inherit. I’ll leave you with a quote from The Lord of The Rings, which in Holocaust Memorial week, is particularly pertinent: 

“The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater” 
JRR Tolkien

Have a good weekend. Take care and stay safe
Mr Solly