Letter from Mr Spiers, Headteacher

Dear Parents and Carers,

I would like to extend a huge thank you to you all for ensuring your children attend remote lessons on time and that they are working hard. It is clear from our own analysis that overall attendance remains very high and the great majority of children are engaged in learning and doing their very best to impress their teachers with the work they complete. Staff are working incredibly hard to balance community classrooms, onsite testing and family wellbeing calls alongside a high quality remote learning offer, but we could not achieve this without the support we are receiving from you.

Now that we have completed a full week of remote learning, I am keen to hear your views on how things have been going. As such, I am asking all parents to take 2 minutes to complete our remote learning feedback survey by clicking on the link here.

Thank you once again for your ongoing support and please don’t hesitate to contact reception if we can be of assistance.

 

Mr Spiers

AGFS Updates, 15th January 2021

Covid-19 Testing at AGFS

The government has asked secondary schools across England to set up COVID-19 testing for students and staff as they return to school in person. The process is relatively straight forward and approximately 30 AGFS staff have already received training to ensure the process runs smoothly. Our aim will be to get as many students and staff tested as possible before they return to face-to-face teaching, helping us to identify the virus early and reduce transmission rates. Thereafter, students will only need a test if they are identified as a ‘close contact’. We support this government initiative as it will help to provide a further layer of security, on top of the existing strict safety and hygiene measures that are already in place across our school.

Testing of students is optional, but strongly encouraged. All information on testing at AGFS can be found by clicking here. If you wish to volunteer to support with testing at AGFS please email: coronavirus@arkgreenwich.org.

To provide consent for your child to be tested please click here.

 

Wellbeing Tips During Lockdown

As we move through this challenging period, it is important that we take steps to look after our own and our children’s mental and physical wellbeing. Here are some quick tips for helping your child stay well:

Organisation: Encourage your child to get all of their Google Classroom tasks on their screen at the beginning of the day so that they do not have to keep searching for the links.

Scholars should also remember that they must complete their Independent Learning. A great way to do this while supporting wellbeing is for scholars to move away from their device at the end of the school day and go for a walk before completing their Independent Learning. This will replicate the transition between school and home and will enable them to have a break and get some fresh air.

 

Sleep: Sleep is vital for our physical and mental health. Teenagers need between 8 and 9 hours of sleep per night. They should turn their phones and other electronics off an hour before bedtime to help them wind down and relax, ready for sleep.

 

Exercise: The Government has asked that we limit the amount of time we spend outside but we are able to go out with people in our household or alone for exercise. It is important to take advantage of this and get outside every day. Going for a run, bike ride or walk will help keep us all mentally healthy, will help us sleep and will give us a much needed break from the inside of our homes. If you can’t go out, there are loads of workout videos on YouTube and Joe Wicks is starting his online PE lessons again.

 

Digital Downtime: We are spending more time than ever on computers and other devices and it is important for our wellbeing that we take a break. Please encourage your child to have some time away from their devices in the evenings and at the weekends. This will help them to wind down before sleep and rest their eyes.

 

Support with Mental Health

This is a worrying and challenging time for us all and many of us may experience a decline in our mental health or an increase in our anxiety. 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:

Community Classrooms

The school is staffing a face to face Community Classroom provision for the period of remote teaching where eligible scholars are expected to attend site for supervised study in one of our computing rooms. All social distancing and hygiene measures are strictly adhered to.

If you are a critical worker and require your child to attend please email Ms Gainey (Assistant Headteacher SEND/Safeguarding): vgainey@arkgreenwich.org.

When attending community classrooms, scholars must wear full school uniform including an approved face covering. The usual school rules on jewellery, makeup and mobile phones apply. Scholars may bring a packed lunch or purchase lunch whilst onsite from the school canteen. FSM will also be available to eligible scholars.

Support for Online Learning

At AGFS we know the most successful scholars are those who demonstrate high levels of independence, often taking responsibility for their own learning and supplementing in-class work with further consolidation activities at home. We have taken some time to provide you with our highly recommended online learning platforms which your child can use to reinforce their learning. Here you will find a range of learning resources on every topic across the curriculum including helpful videos, interactive presentations, revision materials and much more. Scholars already have login details where applicable.

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 info@arkgreenwich.org where a dedicated member of our team will aim to provide fast response support on a case by case basis.

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. The income threshold for these groups is higher (£16,500 after tax) than the income threshold for standard eligibility.

HPV Vaccinations Clinic 26th January

NHS nurses were originally planning to be on site giving year 9 scholars the next round of HPV vaccinations, however they are now holding a clinic outside of school, given the recent closures.  The clinic will take place at:

Waverly Crescent Scouts Hall

19 Waverely Crescent SE18 7QT

Tuesday 26 January 10.00 am- 2.30pm

 

Year 7 Reading Programme 

Year 7 scholars wishing to collect a FREE book from a choice of 40 books we have to give away are welcome to get one from reception on Thursday 21st of January 2021 from 3-4pm. 

Reminder: World Book Day is 4th March 2021

Community Check-In Calls

During this lockdown, as we did in the first, AGFS staff will be making weekly calls home to check in with families to see how they're doing and if we can lend any additional support. As many of our staff are working from home, these calls may come from an unknown number. Please do answer these calls, as it is important for us to connect with you and your child throughout the lockdown period.

Introducing MCAS

We've heard our families loud and clear, and we are thrilled to announce the new parent app, MCAS. This application will replace Xpressions and allows parents to access attendance details, behaviour notices, communications and more all in one spot. All parents should now have received an invitation to MCAS and we encourage you to join asap! To learn more click here or the tile below for further information.

If you have not received an MCAS invitation to join, please email info@arkgreenwich.org.

Alexi Brasenose has Oxford Offer

Following her recent interview, Alexi has been offered a place at Oxford. She is currently achieving top grades in the International Baccalaureate at Bexley Grammar School. We are so proud of her achievements as she joins a growing number of fellow AGFS alumni at Oxford. 

Private Music Lessons

The school works with a team of highly-qualified, experienced peripatetic music teachers who are currently offering lessons in drums, piano, guitar, and singing. These lessons are currently taking place remotely via MS Teams. Any student wishing to take music at GCSE level should either be learning to play a musical instrument or be regularly singing, and the current lockdown provides an excellent opportunity to start this process. Priority will be given to scholars in receipt of free school meals, where financial assistance is available to help support the cost of these lessons.

If you are interested in your child learning the drums, piano, guitar, or singing, please contact Jacci Linn (jlinn@arkgreenwich.org) in the first instance.

Ark Music Wednesdays

Ark Music are running enrichment activities for all scholars on Wednesday afternoons. Parents must return the attached consent slip below to jlinn@arkgreenwich.org.

Sound Alive Instrumental Ensemble 

Open to all instrumentalists across the network (all abilities and all year groups welcome).

Sounds Alive is aimed at beginner to Grade 3 instrumentalists, and is a perfect opportunity to ensure that keen Y7 and 8 students do not lose their enthusiasm for music; we know that a number of students are not having curriculum lesson at present and these ensembles are a perfect way to continue their music-making.

Time: 4:30pm – 5:30pm.

Link: Sounds Alive Ensemble Link

One Voice Promotional Video

Open to all singers across the network (all abilities and all year groups welcome).

Time: 4:45pm – 5:45pm.

Link: One Voice Choir Link

Careers and Aspirations at AGFS

Latest updates on Year 11 GCSE examinations can be found here.

 

Year 11 Post-16 Applications

All Y11 Scholars must apply to a minimum of five post-16 providers before Friday 12th February 2021, if they have not already done so.

Applications to post-16 providers can be done in various ways: online via their school website, printing and posting the application, or sending them via email. Please refer to the post-16 providers’ websites for further guidance on how to apply, paying particular notice of the post-16 application deadline date to ensure applications are submitted on time by scholars.

Scholars may also need their student UPN/ULN or UCI number when completing post-16 applications, as well as their most recent predicted grades. If you are unsure of your UPN/ULN or UCI number, you may request this information from the AGFS Careers Lead, Mrs Neville at lneville@arkgreenwich.org

When completing your applications, alongside being asked your personal details and current GCSE predicted grades, you will be asked for details of a referee at Ark Greenwich Free School. Please use Mrs Neville at lneville@arkgreenwich.org as the referee, as this will ensure all reference requests sent from the post-16 provider are delivered to the AGFS Careers Lead for completion and will avoid any unnecessary delays.

After scholars have submitted an application to join a post-16 provider, it is vitally important to advise the AGFS Careers Lead of each application completed by filling in the details at the following link: https://tinyurl.com/Post16ApplicationMade

If any scholars require any additional support with the post-16 process or in completing individual applications, they can also contact the AGFS Careers Lead Mrs Neville at lneville@arkgreenwich.org who will be able to support them.

 

Introducing: Mr Cole

Mr Cole joins AGFS as a PE teacher, having previously worked at Horizons Academy. Mr Cole is passionate about the teaching of Physical Education and believes that scholars have a responsibility to ensure they lead healthy, active lifestyles. As a PE teacher, Mr Cole is also a keen sportsman and plays a variety of different sports, most notably Football and Cricket to county level on numerous occasions. He also takes pride in keeping himself fit through activities such as long distance walks, running and attending the gym. Mr Cole is also an avid reader, particularly of sporting biographies, his favourite is My life and Rugby – Eddie Jones. He very much looks forward to seeing you in PE lessons and taking part in any of the numerous after school clubs.

 

Scholars of the Week

Congratulations to this week's top scholars for achieving the most golden tickets in their year groups. Each student has exemplified the school values of Ambition, Growth, Fellowship and Scholarship.

Dates for the Calendar

28 September

Open Day

29 September

Open Day

01 October

Black History Month