(Update 11.01.21) Teaching and Learning update. National lockdown & closure of schools. New: Changes to summer exams
11 January 2021
Dear Parent/ Carer
We have been delighted by the very high level of attendance at live lessons over the first week. The students have responded brilliantly to the new format and initial feedback from parents and students has been incredibly positive. We would like to thank you for your continued support with this transition.
Our aim is to continue providing high-quality education for our students and we need your help in terms of ensuring students are engaging as fully as they can. So, please read the following list of requests:
1. Absence and connectivity issues. If your child is unwell or is having a connectivity problem, please call the 24hr school absence line (01634) 308609 as soon as you can so that that can be logged and teachers do not worry about non-attendance at lesson 1; if your child has a medical appointment so will miss live-lessons, use the form at the bottom of the home page here https://www.rainhammark.com/ (https://www.rainhammark.com/) . You can log connectivity issues anytime across the school day by calling the absence line. The parents/carers of any Year 7-11 students whose absence has not been called in will receive a call/email from the school office to alert them to non-attendance.
We are aware there can be connectivity issues at times and if your child misses a lesson please can they email the teacher directly to catch up the work or look on Teams for the tasks. If your child has problems with accessing Teams please email directly to ICTsupport@rmgs.org.uk, copying in their form tutors.
1. Online hours and homework. The current government recommendation for online learning for Y7-Y11 is five hours per day. Therefore, we have decided to reduce the time spent on homework activities. Our expectations for each Key Stage are:
* Key Stage 3 (Years 7,8 and 9): if homework is set, it will be scheduled to the homework timetable. However, we understand that remote teaching places a lot of demands on younger students. As such, homework will not be set as regularly as usual and teachers will aim for homeworks to be no longer than 10 minutes. Examples of homeworks set might be to finish assignments set during the lesson, prepare for a future lesson, or it could be in the format of a short quiz/task to consolidate their learning.
* Key Stage 4 (Years 10 and 11): for these students we feel it is still important they continue in the routine of completing independent work. Therefore, homework will be set by class teachers following the usual homework timetable up to a guidance of 20 minutes for each subject. This could take the format mentioned above or a separate assignment to complete.
* Key Stage 5 (Year 12 and 13): as students have study periods available throughout the day, independent work will be set as usual for these students. Teachers may decide to reduce the workload slightly to reflect the current circumstances.
* Teachers may set extension activities where students can choose to complete them if they wish. There will be no expectation that these are completed and they will not inform any judgement of student engagement. These are purely to give students an opportunity to extend their learning.
1. Feedback, rewards & sanctions and your views.
Please continue to check Edulink to see how your child is faring in lessons including their rewards (R1s) and consequences (C1s). Staff know that online learning brings challenges but will use the C system for incidences of poor behaviour or non-submission of assignments. Please urge you child to contact their teachers if they are struggling to meet deadlines rather than just not submitting work. We will also be surveying parents soon asking for views on the learning provided and will act on suggestions if possible.
Study-skills company, Elevate, will be running a session on motivation and have invited all RMGS parents/ carers (Y11 and 13 parents/carers may have already seen this). See below for details
Managing Motivation: How to boost and sustain your child’s motivation during lockdown
1. Date: Tuesday 19th January 2021
2. Time: 6:00 – 7:00pm
3. Registration link: https://get.elevatecoaching.info/uk/register (https://get.elevatecoaching.info/uk/register)
As a school we are here to support your child as effectively as we can with their home learning but also with their well-being. If at any point your child is finding it too difficult to keep up with their school work please email their form tutor and Head of Year so we can inform teachers and put measures in place to support them. We have had some feedback that spending six lessons per day interacting via Teams on a computer screen or phone screen is very tiring. We are therefore going to work to increase the variety of activities that students are asked to do during lessons so that not all of the time is spent looking at a screen.
Thank you for your continued support.
Mr Alan Moore
Previous Update: 07/01/2021
Dear parent / carer,
As you will be aware, the new national lockdown announced yesterday evening means that Rainham Mark Grammar School will be closed (except for identified vulnerable children and the children of critical workers) at least until February half term. We will, of course, continue to provide remote teaching and to support remote learning during this period.
I know that this is making things very difficult for many of our students and their families. We will continue to try to support students’ well-being through regular contact with form tutors, teachers and other key members of staff. It has been said that keeping busy is good for well-being, and I hope that all of our students do fully engage with the remote learning being provided.
There are many things we do not yet know, but the following points of information may be useful.
1. The provision for identified vulnerable children and the children of critical workers will be based in Room N6, and will run from 08:45 to 15:00. Please let us know (by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have not already done so, if you are a critical worker and you would prefer your child to be supervised on site rather than working from home.
2. If your child is ill and therefore unable to participate in online lessons, please let us know by phoning the absence line in the normal way, so that teachers know not to expect them in the online lesson.
3. If your child has left any books in school that are essential for their work at home, an arrangement can be made for them to come in to collect those books via email@example.com
4. The OCR Creative iMedia exam on Monday 11th January is still on for those who wish to sit the exam. Students uncomfortable about attending school in the current climate and would rather withdraw, should contact Mrs Murray.
5. The Government has now announced (06.01.21) that all GCSE, AS and A level examinations will be cancelled in the summer in their current format. They may be replaced by 'teacher assessed grades'; but we have received no information from the Department for Education as to how and using what data they will be calculated.
Currently both OCR Creative iMedia and CIE PreU Philosophy and Theology are still scheduled for summer examinations and have not as yet been cancelled.
Our current plan is to run the Year 13 PEQ exams as soon as we are able to re-open to Year 13 students – so possibly immediately after the February half term. We will also have additional Year 11 assessments as soon as is practical after that date.
I will inform you as soon as we have any information from the Department for Education.
Finally, I would like to wish you and your families well in this continuing difficult time.