Letter from Mr Spiers, Headteacher

Dear Parents and Carers,

It’s been wonderful to welcome scholars back this week and to feel a sense of life and energy flowing around the school again. Attendance is at nearly 100% which is a huge credit to our parents who have worked hard to support their children back into school. Scholars have settled in well and are already enjoying a return to the rigours and high standards of AGFS school culture.

All members of our community have been fully briefed on our covid-safe routines, and scholars have demonstrated a typically mature attitude including when wearing face coverings in lessons. I would like to extend a big thank you to the AGFS operations staff who have been running our onsite testing centre. We are now able to process a whole year group in under 40 minutes, which is quite an achievement, minimising the impact on any lost learning time.

Over the next few weeks we will continue to support scholars in lessons with great teaching, thoughtful curriculum planning and assessment. I am confident that our approach will ensure everyone is in a strong place, both academically and socially, by the summer term.

Please take a moment to complete this short parent survey on your experiences during lockdown.

Thank you once again for your ongoing support, we couldn’t do it without you.

 

Mr Spiers

Dates for Your Calendar

28 September

Open Day

29 September

Open Day

01 October

Black History Month

AGFS Updates 12th March 2021

Covid-19 Update

Since returning to school on 8th March we have been made aware of one confirmed positive case of coronavirus (COVID-19) at school. Whenever we become aware of a positive case we follow national guidance by identifying close contacts and asking them to isolate for a period of time. You will only be contacted regarding isolation if your child is identified as a close contact.

If your child has had COVID 19 within the last 90 days, the school is making a note of this and will know not to test your child. If you think we do not know your child had COVID within this time frame, please email info@arkgreenwich.org and inform us of the positive result and date so we will have it on record.

For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild illness.

If your child does develop symptoms, you can seek advice from the nhs.uk website at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/check-if-you-have-coronavirus-symptoms/. If you are concerned about your child’s symptoms, or they are worsening you can seek advice from NHS 111 at https://111.nhs.uk/ or by phoning 111.

 

How to stop COVID-19 spreading

There are things you can do to help reduce the risk of you and anyone you live with getting ill with COVID-19. Do:

· wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds

· use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available

· wash your hands as soon as you get home

· cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze

· put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards

 

At Home Testing for Scholars

As we welcome scholars back to school, after their third test at school, scholars and their families will take on responsibility for testing at home. For more information about this important initiative, click here. If your child has had Covid within the last 90 days, please notify us at info@arkgreenwich.org, as scholars will not need to be tested within this period. If you think the school is unaware that your child had Covid within this time frame, please email us of the positive result and date so we will have this on record.

 

Parent Survey on Lockdown Experiences

We are so happy to have welcomed your child back to school this week. In order to better understand your experience of lockdown, and enable us to support your child and family better now that we've returneda to school, we are carrying out a parent survey. To complete this, please click: https://edurio.com/poll/73YaeU. The survey will be available until Sunday, March 21. We look forward to your feedback!

 

MCAS For All Scholar Information

Now that our scholars are back at school, it’s never been easier to track your child’s attendance, sanctions, golden tickets and more.  You can now access all of this information for free in one place without needing to call reception, by downloading the free My Child At School (MCAS) app.

It’s free on Apple and Android app stores, and can be accessed online as well. We’re thankful that over 70% of our parents have already downloaded the app. If you still need to do so, we encourage you contact the school at the earliest convenience. 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 info@arkgreenwich.org.

 

Digital Detox Miles

We are so proud of our scholars for hitting 1,668 miles during our designated digital detox days over lockdown. We have seen an incredible number of scholars and staff participate in this great initiative, so much so that we’ll be continuing to strive for more miles into the Spring and Summer terms.

Our year group winners were:

  • In Year 7:  Murray Agbor-Tanyi 7H with 27 miles,  Maria Mason 7w with 29.88 miles
  • In Year 8:  Stephanie Mason 8S with 121.99 miles,  Bradley Vuong 8W with 10 miles
  • In Year 9:  Emmanuel Sejas Pozo 9W with 48.46 miles,  Isabelle Jones 9N with 40.3 miles
  • In Year 10:  Success Morrison 10S with 13.01 miles,  Kyann Makele 10H with 9 miles
  • In Year 11:  Mercy Rakickis 11 Warwick with 43.28 miles,  Deivids Kavitis 11 Greenwich with 35.5 miles

All our winners received a fitness tracking watch. Stephanie Mason, our whole-school winner, took home an Amazon Echo Dot as the grand prize! Well done scholars!

Overall year group placing is as follows:

  • Year 7 had 436.004 miles coming is 1st place across the school
  • Year 9 had 292.447 miles coming in 2nd place. Stephanie carried her year group and completed 63% of the year’s miles!
  • Year 11 had 262.833 miles coming in 3rd place
  • Year 8 had 192.39 coming in 4th place
  • Year 10 had 211.43 miles coming in 5th place

 

Device Check-Ups

We ask that scholars who borrowed Chromebooks during the lockdown period to return these to reception on the below date, so that our IT department may check these devices are all working properly and can be checked over for issues or damages.  Please be reminded to bring your Chromebook, charger and case on the following day to reception:

  • Years 7 and 8, Monday 15th March
  • Years 9 and 10 Tuesday 16th March
  • Year 11 Wednesday 17th March

 

Vaccine Roll Out to Carers

The Royal Borough of Greenwich has informed the school that unpaid carers are in Priority Group 6 in the first wave of vaccinations. The vaccination programme has now reached Priority Groups 5 and 6, meaning eligible unpaid carers should soon be receiving an invite for their vaccination.

To check if you’re eligible and for further information about this process click here. We strongly encourage anyone who’s able to get the vaccine to do so at the earliest availability.

 

World Book Day– 24th March

Due to the lockdown period, we weren’t able to celebrate World Book Day in true AGFS fashion. So to celebrate the return of our scholars from lockdown, and to show our creative spirit, we encourage scholars to dress as their favourite literary character on the 24th of March. To do so, they’ll need to bring in a £1 donation to the Mizen Foundation, our partner charity that combats bullying in our community.

 

Electric Scooter Laws

A number of scholars have been travelling to school using this mode of transport and unfortunately this will no longer be allowed. Scholars will no longer be able to bring their scooters onsite.

It is illegal to use a powered transporter:

• On a public road without complying with a number of legal requirements, which potential users will find very difficult

• In spaces that are set aside for use by pedestrians, cyclists, and horse-riders; this includes on the pavement and in cycle lanes

Scholars using electric scooters risk a fine or other penalty, therefore, we are requesting if your child uses an electric scooter, they no longer travel to school using this. This will ensure they remain safe and follow the law. Thank you for working with us to keep your child safe. For more information click here.

 

Scholar Wellbeing

Now that we have returned from lockdown it is important to get into good routines to enhance wellbeing. We have noticed a number of scholars feeling tired this week and not eating lunch.

Scholars should be getting between 8 and 9 hours of sleep per night. This is vital for keeping them physically and mentally healthy. It is important that all digital devices are switched off an hour before bed so that their brains have time to wind down ready to sleep and scholars should be encouraged to read or try calming exercises to help them fall asleep quickly.

All scholars should be eating a healthy lunch. Please speak to your child about the importance of this. We know that those scholars that do not eat at lunchtime are more likely to tire in the afternoon and struggle to work to the best of their ability.

If your child pays for their school lunch please ensure this is topped up with enough money and if your child brings packed lunch please ensure that your child brings the appropriate amount of food.

To apply  for free school meals, we encourage anyone who thinks they may be eligible to register here.

 

We are going to be sharing some tips for how to support with mental wellbeing in assemblies this coming week.

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:

· https://www.childline.org.uk

· https://www.headscapegreenwich.co.uk

· https://youngminds.org.uk

· https://www.samaritans.org

If you or your child need support you can also get in touch with the school via the following channels:

· Emailing info@arkgreenwich.org

· Speaking to your key contact

· Logging a concern on the Sharp system

 

Parent Wellbeing

We know that the past year has been very challenging and has had a detrimental impact on many people’s mental health and emotional wellbeing. 1 in 4 adults experience mental illness and there has been an increase in the rates of anxiety and depression amongst adults due to the impact of COVID and lockdown. Recognising the signs of depression can be the first step towards getting support. We are committed to supporting your child's wellbeing and yours.

 

Some common signs of depression include:

· Decreased energy

· Restlessness, irritability or rapid changes in mood

· Lack of motivation

· Frequent and overwhelming feelings of sadness

· Persistent physical symptoms

· Difficulty concentrating

· Sleep disturbance

· Self-medicating to deal with emotional distress

 

If you are concerned about your own mental health and would like to talk to someone there’s lots of support available through the following websites or organisations below:

· www.nhsfreeyourmind.co.uk- resources to help your mental health and wellbeing 11year old and above

· https://www.good-thinking.uk/-

· Mindline, if they would like to talk on 02088531735

· Qwell on www.qwell.io (a free, anonymous online counselling and emotional wellbeing service.

· Live well Greenwich on 08004704831-has lots of local support, advice and information

· www.livewellgreenwich.org.uk

· Open Monday- Saturday 8.30am – 6pm

· Samaritans –talk on 116123

· Greenwich Time To Talk http://oxleas.nhs.uk/advice-and-guidance/greenwich-time-talk-iapt1/ via telephone: 020 3260 1100 (8am-8pm Mon–Thurs & 8am–4:30pm Fri)

· via email: oxl-tr.greenwichtimetotalk@nhs.net

 

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.

 

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)

· royalgreenwich.gov.uk/communityhub

· Should you need support from one of our local foodbanks during half term, click here.

Careers and Aspirations

JP Morgan Work Experience for Hashim Osman

We are excited to announce that AGFS’s own Hashim Osman was successful in attaining a coveted spot with JP Morgan completing a work experience.

During Hashim’s experience JP Morgan will provide overviews of different lines of business that they have so he can learn about what they do and how they operate as well as meet representatives from the business. Hashim will participate in team-building activities, Q&A panels, career development workshops, including CV and interview techniques workshops, mock assessment centres and other sessions.

What an incredible opportunity this will be, and we hope other scholars will follow in his footsteps. Well done Hashim, we’re proud of you.

 

Free Courses Run By Eton College

AGFS have been successful in partnering with Eton College, the prestigious private school attended by Boris Johnson and a large number of former prime ministers, so our scholars can access the same opportunities as Eton pupils. ‘EtonX’ is the school’s remote courses that can be accessed from around the world and our scholars are being given the opportunity to participate free of charge in the Eton course on resilience and entrepreneurship. These courses will predominantly be of interest to scholars in Y10 and Y11, but are open to scholars throughout the school.

To sign up:

Go to http://learn.etonx.com/ and click ‘Sign Up’

1. Create your account using your school email address

2. Enter your Access Code

o Entrepreneurship:

MRDU623Q

o Resilience:

ZD21L5U

 

Work Experience for Year 10s

Finding work experience has been limited because of the pandemic and what is available in the current climate and many scholars are struggling to secure a placement. To help support you, our Careers Lead has posted onto SMHW various WEX opportunities for scholars to undertake, and AGFS would encourage scholars to sign up for one of these placements. These are online/virtual WEX and whilst, may not be of a direct interest into your chosen career, like any experience, there are transferable skills to gain and will give you an opportunity to see the world of work in practice.

Virtual WEX does not replace the face to face WEX placements we hope you are able to undertake in September, but are additional placements. However, at present AGFS nor the employers may let a WEX occur due to the pandemic. We will of course keep you updated.

Alternatively, scholars can search for placements with Speakers for Schools S4nextgen here https://www.s4snextgen.org where they will find a huge variety of placements on offer.

Please do not hesitate to contact our Careers Lead, Mrs Neville at lneville@arkgreenwich.org if you require any additional support.

 

Ark Alumni: Year 11

This is a reminder that all Year 11 scholars are expected to sign up and join the Ark Alumni network. This is a mandatory task. If you have not signed up to the platform yet, you can do this here.

What can the Ark Alumni Network offer you after Y11:

· Support during 6th form for those going to university or applying for an apprenticeship

· Job opportunities, work experience and internships from our partners

· Exclusive events with our partners including interview skills and other workshops

· Online networks managed by our alumni where they can ask questions about different A Levels/courses/careers/universities etc.

· Resources to support them to develop their employability skills

· Exclusive offers and ‘freebies’ from partners

In a little over 6 months you will leave the AGFS family to embark on your next journey into further education and then into your chosen career pathway.

As a staff body at AGFS, we want to keep in touch with you and provide continued support to you. By joining the Ark Alumni programme you can keep in touch with us, your friends and other scholars who have attended an Ark school, who can offer valuable advice on choosing subjects, universities and career pathways.

Why do we want students to join the Ark Alumni network?

We can continue to support students once they have left school and minimise the challenges they may face by providing them with access to financial support, career development opportunities and networks to support their personal and professional development.

Beyond Ark ongoing support and opportunities programme provided through the Ark Alumni online platform and monthly newsletter.

The Beyond Ark programme will provide school leavers and alumni with support in four key areas which have been identified through surveys, focus groups and interviews with alumni: Professional skills, Independent learning, Independent living and Resilience. This support will be accessible through the Ark Alumni online platform, in addition to a monthly newsletter.

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