The Welsh Government announced recently https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-52895374 that state schools will have a phased re-opening from 29th June based on the following criteria:
- The primary concern is the health and wellbeing of pupils and staff. The school will use this opportunity for children to check in, catch up and prepare for September
- Only a third of pupils can be in school at any given time
- All pupils, from all year groups will be able to access school for limited periods during the week
- State schools are extending their terms until 27th July
- Staggered start times throughout the day
This gives some clarity on how Welsh Government propose to move forward and allows us to plan our phased re-opening to onsite learning. As such, I met with the Academic Board to discuss how we should move forward as a school and plan our provision between now and September. This plan needs to take into account the overarching priority of the safety and security of our pupils and staff being at the forefront of everything we do as well as the five criteria agreed with the Academic Board are for starting onsite learning:
- Welsh Government agree it is safe for schools to re-open.
- We do not want to jeopardise the excellent work being done online and will only move to onsite learning once it outweighs the benefit of online learning.
- Public Transport is at a stage where staff and pupils can get back and forth to school safely.
- All risk control measures are in place, well-resourced and staff are trained and well prepared for opening.
- The learning environment is a positive and welcoming experience for our children, who are prepared for the new ‘normal’.
Kings Monkton School will continue with its online learning until the 10th July 2020, when we will break for summer holidays. From the 29th June we will be running a Wellbeing Reconnect Programme for all our pupils.
As you know, Kings Monkton School has continued to teach its pupils on-line from the very start of lockdown and we have enjoyed great success, ensuring that pupils have not fallen behind in their learning and have continued to make progress.
Kings Monkton School does not follow the state school term dates as we teach longer days to ensure we can offer more curriculum time for our pupils in our 36-week term.
Sixth Form Teaching – This started on the 1st June with good attendance from the pupils and a high uptake from pupils not returning to our Sixth Form in September. Feedback has been positive, and staff have been very proactive in developing a core skills curriculum to develop learning.
Transition – Year 6 into Year 7 Transition will be held online over four weeks with the faculties running projects work for the pupils, some of which is linked to our 150th Anniversary. The projects will be skills based that will engage the pupils in innovative learning and help them work together in groups.
Summer Assessments – all secondary assessments are set for week commencing 22nd June. The timetable will be collapsed, and pupils will sit online examination in real time through google classroom. These will form part of the summer reports.
Primary assessments – Key Stage 2 primary pupils will have a literacy and numeracy assessment during the week of 22nd June. These assessments will take place during their online lessons. Along with the ongoing classroom assessments carried out over this term these will be used for end of year levels.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will KMS be reopening on 29th June?
Please note that school has not closed, and we have not stopped our lessons. Our online learning has been in place since March and pupils have continued to be taught. However, the school building will not reopen to pupils until September.
What is the Wellbeing Reconnect Programme?
The Wellbeing Reconnect Programme will run for all our pupils from 29th June and will involve our pupils meeting their class/form tutor at either Bute Park or Mountain View Ranch. The pupils will have wellbeing sessions to support them with their transition out of lockdown, deal with any issues they have faced over the past three week and prepare them for a return to onsite learning in September. Most importantly, the children will have fun and see their friends. Both venues have been hugely supportive of this programme and the work the school is doing.
Why aren’t you opening with other schools in Wales?
Schools are not obliged to open if they do not think they can fully guarantee, without exception, the safety of pupils, staff and support staff – and we need to consider every aspect of re-opening from travelling to and from school, to managing social distancing on site.
Our online provision has continued without pausing unlike other schools that have struggled to put a full programme in place for their pupils. Opening onsite learning would cause big disruptions to this online programme and damage all the hard work pupils and staff have done over the past three months.
Not all children can come onto site even if we did open. Only a third of pupils will be allowed in the school at any one point in time. This will mean lots of children who are currently enjoying online learning will miss out if we move to onsite learning.
We feel that the learning and teaching of our children has been excellent over the past three months and now we need to focus on the emotional wellbeing. Seeing their friends and class/form tutors and having fun is far more important that sitting in a maths classroom at this time.
Is there going to be any sort of assessment or report so I know how my child has progressed during this academic year?
All pupils will have a summer report, with full reports for every year group, except Year 10 and 12 who had full reports at Easter and so will have interim reports.
Key Stage 1 pupils have all be assessed via PiPS and staff have been assessing their progress through lessons all year so they will have an end of year level on their reports based on this ongoing assessment. Year 2 pupils will have an End of Key Stage Level.
All pupils from Key Stage 2 upwards will have a formal assessment session during the week of 22nd June. Key Stage 2 pupils will have a numeracy and literacy assessment and Year 6 will have an End of Key Stage assessment based on these tests and the continuous assessment throughout the year. We are collapsing the timetable for Key stage 3 and Year 10 pupils who will be assessed in all their subjects, so they have time between the assessments to revise and prepare.
My child is supposed to transition from primary to secondary. Are they going to miss out on their transition day experience?
We have a wonderful transition programme in place for our Year 6 into Year 7 pupils. The programme will run over four weeks from the 15th June where the pupils will continue having their numeracy and literacy lessons in the morning and then have a full range of secondary classes in the afternoon.
The pupils will meet all the staff who will be teaching them next year and get involved in different projects and classwork to prepare them for the transition to Year 7. We will ensure they have everything they need and Mrs Norton and myself will be delivering Transition Packs to all pupils during the weekend of 13th June so they will be well resourced for this programme.
Pupils will also have time with their Form Tutors and meet our Wellbeing Team who will take them through the support we have in place and ways we can help them prepare for this change in year group. They will then meet their new tutors and Wellbeing Team during our Wellbeing Connect Programme from the 29th June, where they will also meet their other classmates in person and spend time having fun and getting to know each other.
We have also made a Transition video for the pupils so that they can see the school and get a feel of where their classrooms will be https://youtu.be/2U0F_sZvMbI
Does that mean our children will end the year without saying goodbye to their teachers and friends?
No, this is really important and the reason why we have created a Wellbeing Reconnect programme of learning, which will allow the pupils to meet with their class at twice before the team ends. Working with Bute Park and Mountain View Ranch we are following social distancing guidance and safeguarding procedures to allow pupils to meet as a class with their teacher/form tutor.
This will allow teachers to check in on pupil’s face to face, and for pupils to unwind with their classmates and experience a bit of normal social interaction after being apart for so long. These sessions will be enjoyable and memorable and recorded in our Rewrite Your Story journal.
When exactly do we return to the KMS building?
Pupils will return to onsite learning from 3rd September 2020.