Letter from Mr Spiers, Headteacher
Dear Parents and Carers,
Whilst this term has presented its fair share of challenges, we can also reflect on a great many success stories. Our scholars have once again demonstrated their strength of character through their independence, resilience and dedication to their studies. Attendance to lessons throughout lockdown has been exceptional with the great majority of scholars engaging well with online work and independent study.
I would like to thank the AGFS staff who have worked tirelessly to facilitate a high-quality remote learning offer, establish a face to face programme for our vulnerable children and critical worker families, launch an onsite COVID-19 testing facility and undertake wellbeing calls with all our families each week. Teachers have also made a concerted effort to make lessons enjoyable and interactive in the hope that this will keep our scholars smiling.
Our Digital Detox Day proved to be a huge success with hundreds of scholars posting impressive exercise achievements and pictures, a selection of which have been included in this bulletin. I'm delighted to be able to confirm that as a school we exceeded our target by exercising for 1070.201 miles! Special mentions go to scholars Murray Agbor-Tanyi (27 miles), Stephanie Mason (22 miles), Mercy Rakickis (26.2 miles), Emmanuel Sejas-Pozo (14.8 miles) and Ij Adewale (30.2 miles).
As we get closer to a potential return to school for more children, we will be doing all we can to ensure the necessary hygiene and distancing measures are in place. To help us prepare, we are asking all families to provide consent for onsite testing, to find out more and provide consent please click here.
I will be closely monitoring the government announcement on 22nd February and hope to be able to update you on our arrangements for more scholars returning to school shortly after half term. We can’t wait to be able to welcome the children back to school and we know how pleased they will be to see their teachers and friends.
It would be impossible to have achieved what we have this term without the support of our parents and carers, so I am extremely grateful to you for all you are doing to support your children from home. I wish you a restful half term and hope to be able to share some positive news with you in due course.
We look forward to welcoming scholars after half term during remote tutor time at 08:20 on Monday 22nd February.
Dates for The Calendar
Black History Month
AGFS Updates, 12th February 2021
Support for Vulnerable Families in the Borough
If you're vulnerable and self-isolating, and don't have anyone who can help, the Royal Greenwich Community Hub can provide support.
· Freephone 0800 470 4831 (Mon to Sat, 8.30am-6pm)
· Should you need support from one of our local foodbanks during half term, click here
Spring Knowledge Checks
To check that the core knowledge from the Autumn Term has been mastered, all scholars will be sitting their ‘knowledge check’ the first lesson back after half term. We've taken this decision after careful consideration of both, the content covered and screen time. We firmly believe that it's essential to provide scholars the opportunity to refamiliarise and consolidate the content covered already over the last term.
Please remind your child to review the Autumn independent learning in advance of these tests so that they can achieve at least 80%. Scholars who do not achieve 80% will be required to resit the assessment until this benchmark has been met.
Links to the all subjects Winter Golden nuggets can be found here.
Trialling Using Cameras During Tutor Time
Our recent parent survey has informed us that scholars are finding the lack of interaction during lockdown challenging. In order to try and address this we are going to trial inviting scholars to turn their cameras on during registrations. This will enable them to see their peers and will support with their wellbeing.
After half term we are going to trial this initially with Year 9 scholars only. They will be invited to turn their cameras on during am and pm registration.
In order to ensure that safeguarding protocols are adhered to, please ensure that your child follows the below expectations:
· Scholars should be sat at a table and wearing appropriate clothing
· Scholars should only switch on their cameras when this is requested by their teacher
· The background should be blurred at all times. This will mean that nothing except the scholar can be seen. In order to blur the background scholars should:
1. Join their meeting
2. While waiting to be let in they should turn their camera on and select Background filters
3. Choose Blur
a. Select Apply
Failure to follow these expectations may result in the scholar being removed from their meeting and additional sanctions.
Following our trial we will hopefully be rolling this out to other year groups in the coming weeks. More information will follow.
Oak National Academy Now Data Free
Oak National Academy, an online platform full of remote lessons and curriculum resources, is now available on mobile devices without using any of a user's data plan. This means every family who has a device for accessing the internet via a SIM card can now use Oak, download resources and watch videos, without worrying about any costs to them. We hope this will help scholars with their independent revision without adding further burden on families’ wifi usage.
Ark Sing Into Spring Competition
Are you a keen singer? Do you love writing and performing songs? Would you like the opportunity for industry professionals to hear your amazing voice? If so, this competition is for you! Scholars from across the Ark Network are invited to enter their first inaugural remote singing competition. To find out more about the competition, click here.
To enter the competition:
Parents/guardians or teachers need to email or WhatsApp the recording to Carys Evans, Ark Music Programme Manager (email@example.com / 07535271558), stating the child’s name, school and year group by Friday 12th March 2021.
Contact Tracing During Half-Term Break
If a scholar tests positive for coronavirus and develops symptoms during half-term break, parents are asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org with the information so that the school can assist with track and trace. The scholar and other members of their household should isolate as per the guidelines.
If the school is made aware of a positive case within our community we will work closely with Public Health England to identify anyone else that needs to isolate and you will be contacted if this applies to your child.
Free School Meals During Half-Term Break
During the half term break, the Royal Borough of Greenwich will be issuing vouchers for all families receiving free school meals. These will be issued to parents directly from the council to either your mobile number or email address. The value of the voucher is £15. The bar code will be sent to you via text or email and you can then redeem these at your local post office. Once redeemed, you will receive a cash payment. Please be aware, you only have 3 months to redeem this voucher. Should you have issues, please contact Corin at Corin.Hammersley@royalgreenwich.gov.uk.
Free School Meals Eligibility
If you have had a change in circumstances and believe your child could be eligible for free school meals (FSM) please fill in your information via the link below and we will be notified immediately of the outcome. Anyone eligible for FSM will also be issued vouchers to cover lunches over breaks, so we strongly encourage any family who believes they could be eligible to complete this short form. The Government has temporarily extended eligibility for free school meals to groups with no recourse to public funds.
Self Care Tips During Half-Term Break
We recognise how difficult it is to spend so much time indoors and online during the lockdown period. It is increasingly important that you encourage your children to take time for proper exercise. A 2017 study showed that increased physical activity can reduce depressive symptoms in children and young adolescents. Here are a few key tips to encourage more activity and positive mental health:
· Watch this video on supporting your child’s and your own mental health
There are lots of places that you or your child can go to for advice or help, and below are some links to useful websites:
If you or your child need support you can also get in touch with the school via the following channels:
· Emailing email@example.com
· Speaking to your key contact
· Logging a concern on the Sharp system
Digital Detox Drop Down Day
This week we had our first full digital detox day, asking our school community to turn off the screens and get outside for some exercise, and you all did not disappoint! We set a challenging goal of reaching 1,000 miles in one day. We not only met our 1000 mile target but exceeded it! As a school, we walked, ran or cycles 1070.201 miles- equal to the distance from the UK to Spain! We’re proud of all the scholars and staff who got involved. Congratulations to our Year 7s who crushed the competition.
Take a look at the photos in the gallery below to see what our staff and scholars got up to!
Have You Downloaded MCAS Yet?
Want to track your child’s work completion and online attendance in real time? Now you can, with MCAS. This application has now replaced Xpressions and allows parents to access attendance details, behaviour notices, communications and more all in one spot.
All parents have received an invitation to MCAS by letter and email. We look forward to 100% use in the next few weeks. To learn more click here or on the tile below for further information.
If you have not received an invitation to join MCAS, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.Quick Tip: to view if your child has any missing work, check under 'behaviour' on the MCAS app and it will show any negative points for 'independent learning not done' or 'work not done online'. These will give you real time indications of your child's completion of work!
Scholars of the Week
Congratulations to this week's top scholars for achieving the most golden tickets in their year groups. Each scholar has exemplified the school values of Ambition, Growth, Fellowship and Scholarship.
Year 9 Options, Due 26th February
We’d like to extend a thank you to all the year 9 scholars and parents who joined us this week for the Options Launch event on Wednesday 3rd February. A recording of the Launch Evening Meeting can be found here. To view the full options booklet, click here or see the attachment tile below. Or to view certain subjects, click the links below:
Independent Learning at AGFS
Scholars at AGFS typically leave the school in Year 11 with grades that are between a half and a whole grade higher than their same ability peers nationally. This achievement places the school in the top 200 schools in the country. The academic success of our scholars can be attributed to high quality in-class teaching, supplemented by frequent, highly structured independent learning tasks. Scholars are working very hard in remote lessons, which is to be celebrated. Genuine success during this period will be a result, however, of this strong engagement in online lessons plus the continuation of independent learning.
Independent learning at AGFS is the same across all subjects:
At Key Stage 3, scholars use Quizlet and Google Forms to test themselves on the ‘core knowledge’ they need to be able to access lessons and make rapid progress. Scholars should spend 20minutes revising the knowledge on Quizlet, before completing pre-requisite tests (PRT) until they sore 80% three times in a row. This level of mastery will mean knowledge sticks.
At Key Stage 4, scholars complete the above, as well as additional tasks set by their teacher. To help scholars organise their time, we advise the following independent learning study schedule.
Key Stage 4 study schedule:
Thank you for your support in monitoring your child’s remote learning and independent learning so that they can be in the best position possible when schools begin to re-open from 8th March.
Expectations for Scholars When Completing Online Learning
It is vital that all scholars are working in a way that closely emulates their school experience. Please ensure your child is following the steps below:
1. Get up at the same time every day
2. Have breakfast before morning registration so they are prepared for the morning
3. Wear appropriate clothing in case their camera accidentally turns on
4. Sit at a desk/table. Scholars should not be sat in bed or on the sofa. If you do not have a suitable place for your child to work please contact Ms Gainey (email@example.com) to enquire about your child attending our Community Classroom provision
5. Take short breaks in between lessons. Scholars should stand up, stretch, and move away from the screen. Lessons are now finishing 5 minutes early to enable this to occur
6. Cameras and microphones should be turned off. Microphones should only be turned on when the teacher asks your child to.
7. Scholars should not listen to music or play games while they are completing their work to enable them to focus fully on their school work
Thank you for all of your support with ensuring your child is able to access and engage with our online provision.
Top Tips for Supporting SEN Scholars with Online Learning
1. Changing the background of documents on Google Classroom can help scholars with their ability to read, particularly if a scholar is dyslexic. This can be done by following the simple steps below:
a. Open the document
b. Select File
c. Select Page Setup
d. Change the page colour to light blue
2. If your child is having trouble reading the text on Google Classroom, they can use a screen reader. To install and use this please follow the steps below:
a. Download the ChromeVox extension for Google Chrome. This can be done by selecting extensions and then going to the Google Chrome Web Store. It is free.
b. Once installed open the document
c. Select Tools
d. Select Accessibility Settings
e. Click on ‘Turn on screen reader support’
f. A new item will appear in the menu called Accessibility. Select this
g. Select speak
h. Select speak selection
i. Highlight the text you want read
3. To enable your child to type using speech please use the below link here and add the extension to Google Chrome. This will mean that your child will be able to say what they want to type into their microphone and it will appear on the page.
Safeguarding and IT
Please be advised that everything that is done on a school device and during online lessons is tracked by our safeguarding software, SENSO. This is in order to ensure that scholars are safe when they are using school devices. Any inappropriate usage may result in sanctions. Please remind your child of this and ask that they only use the school devices for school work.
As we continue during the lockdown period we know that scholars are using their devices more and more often. It is vital parents monitor the usage of these, particularly their phones.
Some key reminders:
· Scholars should never add anyone or accept any friend or follow requests from people they do not know personally.
· All social media profiles should be set to private to stop people from accessing them and to limit what people see.
· The minimum age for someone to have an Instagram account, TikTok account or a Snapchat account is 13. Scholars who are younger should not be signing up.
Many scholars are in Whatsapp groups and unfortunately there have been a number of bullying incidents related to these. The minimum age for using Whatsapp is 16. Scholars should not be in group chats with lots of people and should only communicate with people they know well. If they are worried about anything in a group chat they can leave that group.
How To Help Your Child While Remote Learning
It is unlikely that your child will run into technical difficulties when accessing their online lessons. That said, the following tips will help you troubleshoot any issues:
1. Scholars’ IT login details can be found on a sticker in their planner.
2. Our website holds guides and video tutorials walking you through how to handle any IT issues.
3. Remember to check whether the correct user is signed into the platform. Alternatively, please email firstname.lastname@example.org where a dedicated member of our team will aim to provide fast response support on a case by case basis.
Careers and Aspirations
Career Magazine for Year 7-11
Work Experience for Year 10s
Work Experience for Years 10 and 11
Year 9 UCL Scholars Programme (Literacy Skills Programme)
Year 11 Post-16 Applications