Dear Parents/ Carers
I hope you and your families are keeping well.
I am aware of some (and I am sure unaware of others) who have been affected directly by the virus, my thoughts are especially with all of you that have suffered during this time or lost loved ones.
As we near the end of term it is vital that we finish the term with any unresolved issues as far as possible being dealt with now. Please do contact us if you have any concerns.
Mr Stokes has prepared a safeguarding newsletter which will be published shortly. This provides invaluable information in relation to support networks for both parents and pupils to access over the summer break (and any other time).
School will be closed during the summer holidays unless government plans change. This will give a good opportunity for deep cleaning and enable us to make final preparations for September.
Currently the government have stated that all pupils will return in September. We will await further guidance as to how this might look and I will be updating you when plans are established between now and September.
The tutorials over the last two weeks have gone really well and I believe that pupils in years 10 and 12 benefitted from having the opportunity to review their learning, establish their next steps and talk openly to their mentor. Thank you to those who gave such positive feedback.
Preparations are underway for group teaching next week. There have been some minor amendments and additions to the offer from the previous plan. Please note these in the following link.
Please also read the safety notes page again and talk this through with your child. It is imperative that all the guidelines are followed so that everyone feels safe and confident and we can actually focus on enjoying our learning again back in the classroom!
You will have been notified already and seen the updated risk assessment but it appears below again. This is ensuring that everyone understands that there will be some crossover of groups. This affects year 12 A level lessons and tutorials where classes will comprise of different students and also years 10 and 12 key worker/ vulnerable students who will cross from their keyworker/ vulnerable group into lessons and tutorials.
Year 10 mentors will send out medical questionnaires again before students attend their year 10 teaching sessions and tutorials.
Year 12 teachers will contact students directly with the medical questionnaire. Year 12 mentors will also contact their mentees ahead of the tutorial group (not all students will be attending a lesson)
Only one further medical questionnaire (two for some year 12s) will be completed so it is imperative that you contact the school if there are any changes to your child or household.
Thank you to all of our parents and carers for the way in which you have worked with us during this time.
The staff have been remarkable with their creative approaches and relentless hard work and we are fortunate to have such a strong staff at our school.
Our students have been extraordinary during this time and I am proud of how they have adapted, and how committed the majority have been to keeping on track and find new ways of learning. We hear lots about ‘catching up’ and ’falling behind’. I will be bold and disagree as I believe our students will have developed exceptional skills for life and characteristics that will be immeasurable.
Please also see this link regarding “The Wider opening of schools – open letter to parents and carers” from Philip White Cabinet Member for Learning and Employability
June 10th 2020
I am pleased to inform you that the Governors have approved our plans for Years 12 and 10 pupils commencing June 15th.. It has also been passed to the LA.
I hope that the plan is self-explanatory and that the notes page at the end of the plan will address any questions that you may have. If anything is not clear please contact the school office. Please read this through with your child as it addresses key safety points whilst in school.
We have had a health and safety committee working hard to complete the risk assessment which has been approved by governors and also forwarded to the LA. Please read this also:
In the next five weeks leading to the end of term pupils in both year groups will come into school for an individual tutorial session followed by small group teaching in English Maths, Science and a group tutorial. Year 12 will be offered some A level lessons. We are hoping to ensure that your child has a really clear understanding of what they should be doing at home to ensure good progress is being made and that we can resolve any barriers to their learning. We ae really looking forward to seeing our pupils again!
Your child has been placed in a group A – J (1- 3 for year 12) and you will be contacted by the teacher in charge of the group via email to arrange an appointment time for your child. The appointment will be given after completion of a medical questionnaire. Please be aware that the staffing situation in school is a changing one and therefore any staffing plan is subject to change. Pupils in year 10 who are already attending school should continue to do so and join the appropriate sessions.
It is really important after the initial completion of the medical questionnaire that you inform school if circumstances change.
Pupils are not expected to attend if they are in the extremely vulnerable group or live with someone in this group. If a pupil is within the clinically vulnerable group medical advice should be taken first. If a pupil lives with someone who is clinically vulnerable they can attend if they can adhere to strict social distancing and your GP approves this decision. Of course a pupil cannot attend school if they or anyone in the household are confirmed Covid or are showing symptoms or waiting for test results or have been contacted by NHS test and trace. This applies if they or a household member have been in contact with anyone that any of these factors applies to.
It is your choice as to whether your child attends school and we will support your decision if you choose to keep your child at home.
Are you in the Extremely Vulnerable group? Those usually in receipt of NHS letter or advice from clinician.
Are you in the Clinically Vulnerable
See Gov.Uk. Further information.
The booklets that have been prepared will be available as a hard copy for your child and will also appear on the website on June 15th.
Details for the assessment week are being formulated now and will be forwarded to you in due course.
There is a wealth of guidance on the Gov.uk site. You may want to read the ‘Guidance for Parents and Carers’ publication. We have followed the ‘Actions for Wider opening of schools’ ‘Secondary School Guidance’ and ‘Implementing Protective Measures’ which you may also want to refer to.
Please do not hesitate to contact school if there is anything that you are concerned about. Staff are working really hard through challenging circumstances to offer the best remote learning experience possible being mindful of individual family circumstances and the wellbeing of our families and pupils.
Thank you as always for your support.
Wishing you and your families good health.
Thursday June 4th
Dear Parents/ Carers
I hope that you are keeping well and staying safe.
You will be aware that the government have asked that years 10 and 12 potentially return as from June 15th. The current guidance states that schools should offer ‘face to face support to assist with remote learning with up to 25% of the year groups in at any one time.’
We have completed a draft risk assessment that covers the 5 week period to the end of term. When this has been approved by governors it will be on the website for you to look at and provide feedback on. We have not risk assessed beyond this as we do not know what the situation will be in September.
We plan to continue with the safest approach possible so for the first two weeks we will offer individual tutorials (as outlined before) to all pupils in years 10 and 12. The focus will be on academic progress and wellbeing with clear guidance issued from all subject areas.
In week 3 pupils in years 10 and 12 will undertake assessments remotely and then in weeks 4 and 5 there will be taught lessons in a group of approximately 8 in English, Maths and Science.
Pupils will also have a further tutorial session in week 5 in their assigned group (same one that they were taught in) to ensure that any issues arising from their previous tutorial have been resolved and that they are confident and secure in moving forward with a clear plan before we break for the summer.
The arrangements for the eligible pupils who are currently attending will continue.
It is of course your choice whether you send your child to school and if you choose not to, no fines will be issued. If your child or anyone in the household is in the clinically vulnerable or extremely vulnerable (shielding) group it is not advisable for your child to come to school unless you have consulted with your GP.
Pupils, parents, staff and visitors are also not to come on to site if they or any member of their household has symptoms, has been in contact with anyone else with symptoms, are awaiting test results or have been contacted through test and trace.
I will contact you next week with further details, hoping that they do not change but in the meantime please contact the school with any questions or concerns.
Rest assured that as always the safety and wellbeing of your child and your family is paramount.
22nd May 2020
Dear Parents/ Carers
Thank you for your patience during this uncertain time. I know that you will be anxious as we all are to receive some clarification of what exactly is happening from June 1st.
Thank you to all parents who responded to the survey. It was apparent from the results that you are uncertain as to whether you would send your child to school and that it would depend on circumstances.
The government have stated that schools ‘should offer some face to face support to years 10 and 12 to assist with remote learning’.Years 7-9 will continue to learn from home.
We are planning to offer an individual tutorial session for your child at school with an allocated teacher to discuss their next steps in learning across all subjects and to discuss their wellbeing and mental health. Hopefully we will then offer some small group learning later in June.
We are producing a booklet to support these tutorials which will provide advice on all aspects including a support page for parents. The teacher would be the main point of contact to support your child and resolve any issues raised through to the end of term.
The tutorial time will be booked by the teacher on receipt of a clear medical questionnaire in relation to Covid 19 and your child will be met at the room 1 entrance by the teacher.
If it were not possible for your child to visit school we would carry out the meeting via Microsoft Teams.
Governors have approved this plan. The start date would be no earlier than June 3rd for year 12 students with tutorials for year 10 starting June 8th.
There is still however an ongoing debate with government and unions and it is possible that this could still be delayed. No guidance has been issued for Secondary schools yet.
Please see updated guidance published by Gov.Uk for parents and carers and a family health newsletter that has also been put onto the website. There is also useful guidance from the RCPCH offering advice in relation to pupils who are clinically extremely vulnerable and clinically vulnerable. Please look at this if you think your child is in one of these groups.
We will do everything possible to work within government guidelines and to support your child with their transition into year 11, safety for everyone is our priority and any steps taken are very carefully risk assessed.
Your child’s designated teacher will contact you after half term and I will update you as soon as there is further clarification.
Please contact the school office via phone or email with any concerns.
Next week is half term. School remains open for pupils of key workers but work will not be set remotely by teachers.
Please also take time to read the Open Letter to Parents and Carers from Staffordshire County Council
Wishing you good health.
14th May 2020
Following the Government Announcement on May 9th
You will all have listened to the latest announcements and will have many questions as to what this will mean for our school and for your child.
The timeline for secondary schools is unclear. We understand that there is an expectation for some Primary school year groups to return as from June 1st and some face to face contact with years 10 and 12 pupils to start at this time.
We are considering various models as to how we can work most effectively to support your child whilst maintaining the safest possible environment. This could include one to one tutorial meetings to assist with both next steps in learning and wellbeing with the potential for some small group work.
Governors are fully involved in the decision making and we will ensure that every possible measure is implemented before any return is announced.
It would be helpful to find out how you are feeling as parents. You will receive a text message later today asking you to complete a short survey. It would be appreciated if you could respond to this.
I would like to reassure you that the safety and wellbeing of our pupils, families and staff will continue to be our first priority.
There are a lot of support networks to assist with wellbeing, learning from home and financial assistance which we can signpost you to. Please remember that we access all phone messages and office emails on school days. We want to support you in any way we can.
Thank you for your continued support and understanding, sending you my warmest wishes and thoughts to your families.
27th April 2020
Hope you are managing okay. I know that some of your families are affected by this awful virus and my thoughts on behalf of the whole school are with you and and wishing those affected a full recovery.
I enjoyed seeing some of your rainbow work. It certainly lifted my spirits. Watch out for examples on the website on Wednesday and also something that might make you smile from the staff!
This week as you will be aware we have changed the timetable to make it hopefully more manageable for you.
As I said before, do your best, keep your brain active but every one of you have different circumstances and we understand that. You are probably finding out things about yourself that you didn’t know about before, hidden talents and personal qualities. I know you will be supporting your family members and friends who are in need and appreciating those qualities in others perhaps more than usual.
Norton pupils have courage and kindness and I know you will be doing the right thing through this. It would be great to hear about some of the things you are doing.
Like you, I follow the news and am looking out for key announcements about when and how schools might return. Please be careful that you don’t read too much particularly on social media because it will confuse you and also just worry you unnecessarily.
No decisions have been made about reopening or who will attend, of course we all have our own thoughts about how it might be but the media like us are just guessing. Don’t get drawn in to it!
You will look back at this time and always remember it. However grim it seems I promise that in later years you will have good memories too. This will not hold you back it will spur you on!
Remember that the staff are all working, we are trying to adapt like you and doing our very best. Contact us about anything, worries or good news stories. We are here for you.
The school phone and email is checked regularly during school time.
There are a lot of really helpful links on the website for you and your parents about online learning, staying safe, financial assistance etc. Please ask your parents to have a look and you have a look at the learning websites too.
Stay safe, look for the positives and keep well,
20th April 2020
I hope you have managed to have a break from school work and spend some time doing something a bit different.
This week your teachers are going to set everyone work based around rainbows which we will call ‘The Norton Rainbow’ .
Mr Farley is going to showcase your work on the website on the 29th April. Let’s see how creative your teachers can be and how you can rise to the challenge. I am looking forward to seeing your work.
Thank you to those of you who completed the survey on line, I have read them all and will sort out all of the things you mentioned that concerned you.
It is right for you to be doing school work and keeping to a routine but it is not right if you get too anxious about it. This way of school is new for everyone and you can only do your best with the resources you have and the situation you are in which will be different for all of you.
You are not behind with anything, you will not be at a disadvantage, every child in the country is at the same stage so please don’t stress! We will get you to where you need to be, just stay well mentally as well as physically and we will get through it together. During this time you will be learning, experiencing, and appreciating things that school could never teach you and that other generations will never have witnessed. This learning is something special.
I hope that your tutors have made contact with you. Remember you can email any member of staff or contact staff through SMHW. We are all still here to try and support you as best we can and sometimes a chat with someone at school can make a difference.
There are lots of helpful links for you in the safeguarding section of the website too. (See parents tab/ safeguarding/ helpful apps etc)
These tough times will pass and we will all be stronger as individuals and as a community afterwards.
Take care of yourselves and your families,
8th April 2020
Dear Parents/ Carers
I sincerely hope that all of you are staying in good health and managing to cope during this difficult time. The sunshine is most welcome.
Hopefully your child is having a break from school work now and can think of these two weeks as ‘holiday weeks’ as far as possible.
School currently remains open although we may be closed on the Bank Holidays; we are still awaiting confirmation from some people as to whether provision is required.
My overriding mission as always is to keep everyone safe and ensure that our procedures are impeccable. Please can I ask you to read the following:
Do not send a pupil in to school without prior consultation. There are health questions that we must ask in advance. Contact the school office if you are considering requesting a place for your child.
If your child is already attending school please do keep us informed if your chid has or develops any health issues or may fall into the vulnerable or shielding groups (please note that vulnerable in this sense means in relation to health, the government talk about vulnerable children but also those who are vulnerable health wise)
Please tell us also if anyone in the household falls into these groups.
Please do not send your child to school if they develop symptoms, if anyone else in the household develops symptoms or they have been in contact with anyone displaying symptoms. You must follow the isolation guidance as set out by the government and must not come to school.
Pupils attending school have started to ‘relax’ a little with social distancing and they put themselves and others at risk by doing so. Please read the Coronavirus (COVID19) Implementing social distancing in education and childcare settings updated 7.4.20. This document explains in detail about social distancing and what parents can do. There is also a Q and A which the government have asked parents to read.
At school we are doing the following:
Asking pupils to use one entrance only by Room 1and meet in the canteen at 8.45
Observing 2 metres distance from each other and staff at all times
Washing hands before school, before and after break and lunch, whenever anyone has coughed or sneezed and at the end of school. Pupils should wash hands one pupil at a time
Pupils should only the visit the toilet one at a time. They can only use the toilets by room 1
We have limited the rooms to 17, 18 and 19 and operate these on a rotation basis.
Pupils should use the same workstation and chair at all times including in the canteen.
If equipment is used a member of staff should know so that it can be wiped and disinfected.
Pupils can also use the canteen area and outside areas.
No other area in school is permitted
Doors should be left open wherever possible
Visitors are not allowed on site including parents except for the car park.
Pupils will be briefed every morning by the senior member of staff on duty but I would really appreciate it if you could support us with these critical messages.
The document Coronavirus Covid 19 Guidance for schools and other educational settings updated
7.4.20 has a wealth of information and links for you as parents regarding staying at home guidance, guidance for households with possible Corona virus infections and many other useful links.
There is also information for pupils in years 11 and 13 regarding the grading of GCSEs and A levels. I hope this information from the government will give some reassurance to these pupils.
Pupils in year 11 should be having a call from Gaelle Holford our careers advisor and guidance has been given by Mr Windsor regarding sixth form places and work that both 11 and 13s can be doing to help them prepare for the next stage of their education.
The school answerphone is monitored every day as are emails.
We are working tirelessly to address the voucher scheme issue and the refunds on to Parent Pay. These issues are beyond our control but please be assured we are resolving it as best we can.
I know it is such an anxious time for everyone and a difficult time for parents. I hope that our children look back at this time and feel proud of the person they were through this crisis. We hear so many stories of children congregating, upsetting vulnerable elderly people and risking the lives of people in society. As I read these I am confident that our Norton children ultimately know what it is they should be doing at the moment and will continue to make us proud.
Keep in touch I may not always have the answers but I will do my very best!