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Whole School Letter — 29th January 2021

Our Ref: FCG/SJM

29 January 2021

Dear Parent/Carer

I hope that you and your family are well at this time. I am writing to update you about a number of matters in the Academy.

Planned reopening of schools

The government has announced that schools in England will remain closed until at least 8 March 2021. The Academy will continue to be open only to the children of critical workers and vulnerable children and to provide remote education to all other students at this time.

Lateral flow testing in schools

Lateral flow testing continues in the Academy for staff on site and on the return to the Academy of any student. The government have made a change to this procedure at this time. If an individual receives a positive result with a lateral flow test in a secondary school there is no need for a confirmatory PCR test at this time. Following a positive lateral flow test result, an individual will need to self-isolate in line with government guidance, and contact tracing will need to be undertaken.

Expectations and Safeguarding for Remote Learning

Thank you for the support that you are giving your child with remote learning. We understand that this can be challenging for many reasons and are so impressed by students’ responses. A document providing additional information to parents and students about our remote learning offer is now available on the Academy website. Students should expect to attend virtually a daily tutor time session plus their usual lessons. There will be a blend of teacher-led activity and independent learning as in a lesson in the Academy. Where possible, students can be supported by the provision of a quiet place to learn.

Safeguarding remains a priority. Please remind your child to keep the camera turned off on their device and to mute their microphone unless invited to switch them on by the member of staff delivering the lesson. Please do encourage your child to participate when invited to as this is important for the teacher to assess their understanding and progress. The expectation of students’ behaviour during the online lessons is exactly the same as in normal face-to-face classroom lessons within the Academy. If there are any safeguarding concerns that you or your child have ordinarily reported to the Academy, please do so via the telephone or by emailing the enquiries address.

If your child is unwell and unable to attend online lessons, please report this to the Academy as you would when usually reporting your child’s absence from the Academy.

During the lockdown period, the pastoral team will also be available by telephone to support students and families. If you would like to receive a call from a member of the pastoral team please call or email the Academy.

Screen free sessions

This week, we launched our first screen free sessions. The aim of these sessions is to give students time away from the screen in order to participate in the wider curriculum. We have suggested activities based around a range of curriculum areas and students have the option of continuing their online learning where this is preferred or more appropriate. It has been exciting hearing about what our students have used this time for and seeing the evidence that they have provided to their tutors.

Half Term

In line with national guidance, the Academy will close for the children of critical workers and vulnerable children on Friday 12 February 2021 for the half term break. Online lessons will also not continue during this week. The Academy will reopen on Monday 22 February 2021 for the children of critical workers and vulnerable children. Please contact the Academy if you feel that your child might be eligible for a place and you would like them to attend. If your child has been in the Academy in the week before half term, develops Covid symptoms within 48 hours of having been in the Academy and subsequently tests positive for Covid-19, please contact the Academy through the enquiries email address so that we can support the test and trace process.

Free School Meal Vouchers for half term

Lincolnshire County Council has confirmed that they will support the Academy in providing food vouchers to families whose children are eligible for free school meals during the half term break. These vouchers are funded through the Covid Winter Grant Scheme and provide £15 per eligible child. As at Christmas, vouchers will be issued through the Wonde platform. The Academy will contact eligible families to ensure that we have the correct details. For enquiries about free school meals or eligibility, please contact the Academy.

Healthy Minds

Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust “Healthy Minds” are offering a number of online workshop and discussion groups for young people and parents over the coming months via Teams. Sessions include:

  • Improving a young person’s wellbeing — workshop for parents of 11–16 year olds
  • Staying emotionally well — workshop for young people of secondary age
  • Parents supporting children with anxiety and SEND
  • Building positive self-esteem — workshop for young people of secondary age

Places at these sessions can be booked online at: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/healthy-minds-lincolnshire-20000004846

Lincolnshire Emergency Assistance Scheme — Individual Grants Scheme

We have been made aware of this DEFRA-funded Grant Programme which aims to ensure that vulnerable people within Lincolnshire have improved access to food and are not adversely affected during the 2020 Covid-19 global pandemic. The individual grants scheme is open to individuals/households who find themselves in need of essentials (for example, utilities support, provision of food or hygiene related white goods, or other food related essentials) to support their ability to access and consume food. Further details and the online application form can be accessed here: www.bishopg.ac.uk/foodgrants. If you believe that you may be eligible and would like to be referred into this scheme, please contact the Academy.

Meningitis Vaccines

The Men ACWY & Td/IPV vaccination programme for Year 9 and 10 students is scheduled to take place on Friday 26 February 2021 in the Academy. Your child will receive an invitation from Lincolnshire Community Health Services to attend the Academy at a specific time. Please ensure that you have given your consent using the form on the Academy website.

Mobile Data Increases

We are able to request mobile data increases for students who:

  • Do not have fixed broadband at home
  • Cannot afford additional data for their devices
  • Are experiencing disruption to their face-to-face education

Students with access to a mobile phone on any of the following networks may be able to benefit: Three, Smarty, Virgin Mobile (offer not on Pay-as-you-go), EE, Tesco mobile (offer not on Pay-as-you-go) and Sky Mobile (offer not on Pay-as-you-go). If you wish to request a mobile data increase, please email the enquiries address stating: your child’s name, the name of the mobile phone account holder, the mobile phone number, your mobile network and whether you pay monthly or Pay-as-you-go? Some networks have limits on the number of data increases they will offer. A privacy statement relating to the sharing of this data can be read at https://get-help-with-tech.education.gov.uk/guide-to-collecting-mobile-information/privacy.

Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership

Please see attached a newsletter for your guidance.

Finally, can I reiterate again my thanks to you in all that you are doing to support your child’s education and wellbeing. If you have any questions or need further support, please do not hesitate to get in touch via our email address enquiries@somercotesacademy.co.uk or by telephone on 01507 353459.

Yours faithfully

Mrs F Green

Enc. Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership newsletter

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Somercotes Academy Principal

Frances Green