Coronavirus KIT 7 April 30th (“Keeping in Touch” letter 7)

Dear families

I hope you are well and remaining positive in these difficult times.

Education continues, albeit remotely, at Oulder Hill. Our support staff are very busy organising free school meals, laptops, work packs and many annual SEND reviews are still going ahead remotely. Technology staff have been making use of our school facilities contributing almost daily to the NHS PPE stocks (clearly labelled as thank you NHS from Oulder Hill School!) and of course Teachers are very busy juggling their own home circumstances whilst preparing current and future sequences of learning, lessons and resources so that we can hit the ground running when we are eventually allowed back to school again. I would like to publically thank all of our wonderful children who the school can see through the Doddle platform are very busy doing their best during the lockdown and especial thanks to those students who have sent lots of completed work or queries back to our teachers. A particular thank you as well to those of you who have contributed to the Rainbow remote House competition. I look forward to seeing your entries! Most importantly, I’d like to thank the many parents who have contacted us to say they appreciate the work being done – it does make it all worthwhile to hear from you – and reciprocated huge thanks to parents and carers for your patience which I am sure you may well have had to show on more than one occasion trying to home school! I know from our staff you are doing a great job so do keep going! Once again, a polite reminder that you can find all the information about how to contact individual subject areas on the school closure section of our website. Thanks for your support!

Safeguarding – I have made the main focus of this letter to be Safeguarding and to draw your attention to our website where Mr Bramwell as Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) has written an addendum to our Safeguarding policy responding to the current Coronavirus crisis. It details how we are maintaining our statutory duty to safeguard children through this pandemic such as who the named members of staff are on site every day and how other staff and parents can contact them if they are worried that a child is being harmed or at risk of harm either on or off premises. It also details how we will monitor attendance and support parents in keeping their children safe online and protecting their mental health. I would appreciate you reading it so that you know how we can support you and our community with any are worries about any child.

Internet safety – One of the key issues whilst children are being home schooled is the use of technology and making sure that children are both safe and using the equipment responsibly. We have written to families before offering advice on this subject but it is worth bearing in mind some key principles during this crisis:

  • Talk regularly with young people about their technology use and explain any decisions that you make about their online or technology use.
  • Take care that you know the online contacts and connections of your children. Be aware of whom they are speaking to over social media and the groups that they belong to.
  • Choose your technology tools carefully and make sure that you know the age restrictions and privacy settings on particular sites. There are age restrictions on them for a reason.
  • Keep personal information private – this includes giving out information and sharing information (including photos) that could lead others who you don’t know to identify or locate your children.
  • Stay alert to online scams during the pandemic.

The “thinkuknow” website run by CEOP has detailed sections of information for both young people and parents and is well worth a look. The web address is: https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/

The current lockdown will bring out different responses in different people and it is important to take positive steps to look after your own and your family’s physical and mental health. We did list some resources to support you with this in KIT letter 1. However, we have recently added some more wellbeing and mental health resources to the school closure section of our website and we have included them as an appendix to this letter. I would recommend investigating them further with your children and I hope that they prove useful.

Free School Meals (FSM) – If your employment or financial circumstances have changed during the COVID-19 pandemic, you may now be eligible for Free School Meals (FSM) and therefore eligible for the supermarket vouchers we are providing. If you are currently in receipt of any benefits, you may be eligible for FSM. If this is the case, please contact us.  If your child becomes eligible for FSM, they will also automatically become eligible for Pupil Premium when we return to school. This will enable them to gain access to extra support in lots of areas: for example, financial support for educational visits, uniform assistance, free lunch in the canteen, revision guides and textbooks in Y11 as well as extra support in Maths and English.

We are making great efforts to keep in weekly touch with all families and are contacting over 70 families on a daily basis. In addition, we are in daily contact with both Rochdale Local Authority and the Department for Education to report on attendance and safeguarding arrangements for our more vulnerable families. If you feel your family would benefit from more contact from school then, as ever, please use the email address: contactus@oulderhill-school.com .

Finally, here are some education quotes for you to think about with home learning – hopefully there is at least one of them that rings a bell with all the great things I know you are doing at home J:-

“Educating the mind, without educating the heart is no education at all.” Aristotle

“We need to bring learning to people, instead of people to learning.” Elliot Masie

“Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is.” Isaac Asimov

“The greatest sign of success for a teacher is to be able to say, ‘The children are now working as if I did not exist.’” Maria Montessori

 

Best wishes and stay “responsible, respectful and safe”… and if I have not already been clear remember you are doing a great job!

 

John Watson                                                Mr B Bramwell (DSL)

 

 Appendix 1 – Mental Health and Wellbeing

Please check out the links below to fantastic resources for young people, parents and carers and advice to support young people’s mental health during periods of disruption. 

Looking after your mental health (NHS UK)

Anna Freud: Self-Care and Coping Strategies
BBC: How to protect your mental health
CBBC: Video and Questions
ChildMind: Talking to Children
ELSA: Coronavirus Story for Children
National Association of School Psychologists: Parent Resources
Young Minds: Feeling Anxious about Coronavirus

PiXL Coping With Change: Please find below links to the PiXL resources coping with change.

Video title Link

#1 Kindness

 

Click here

#2 Resilience

 

Click here

#3 Leadership

 

Click here
#4 How to ease stress, anxiety (live in the moment) Click here

#5 Communication

 

Click here

#6 Confidence

 

Click here

#7 Initiative

 

Click here

#8 Organisation

 

Click here

#9 Self-care and wellbeing

 

Click here

 

Early Break – information poster

Kooth.com – online support for young people

Kooth sign up (pdf)

Kooth would like to remind you of the availability of their online service to support the wellbeing and resilience of students. Kooth is a web based confidential support service available to young people. Kooth provides a safe and secure means of accessing mental health and wellbeing support designed specifically for young people. Kooth offers young people the opportunity to have a text-based conversation with a qualified counsellor. Counsellors are available from 12noon to 10pm on weekdays and 6pm to 10 pm at weekends, every day of the year on a drop-in basis. Young people can access regular booked online counselling sessions as needed. Outside counselling hours’ young people can message our team and get support by the next day.

When students register with Kooth they will have support available to them now and in the future. Support can be gained not only through counselling but articles, forums and discussion boards. All content is age appropriate, clinically approved and fully moderated.

To find out more visit www.Kooth.com where young people can register and others can find out more about the service.

You can also view a short video about the service at: https://vimeo.com/318731977/a9f32c87de.

Books

Draw on Your Emotions
Margot Sunderland. A resource to help people express and communication their emotions.
What To Do When You’re Scared & Worried: A Guide for Kids
James Crist. A help guide to processing fears and worries (ages 9-13).
Have You Filled A Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids
Carol McCloud. Encourages positive behaviour and expressing kindness and appreciation.
How are you Peeling: Foods with Moods
Saxton Freymann & Joost Elffers. Explores how emotions look through pictures of Foods. A good way to talk about emotions with young children.

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