MHS Update 29-1-2021
It’s beginning to feel a lot like groundhog day in school, just as I am sure it is in your homes especially if everyone is stuck indoors. I don’t underestimate how lucky I am to be able to actually go to work every day, even though school is a weird and empty place. Still, this week I had the pleasure of delivering a live assembly to Year 11 and Year 9 and absolutely loved it. It would have been nice to see 300 faces in front of me but you can’t have it all! I’m planning to run assemblies for Years 7, 8 and 10 soon, and hoping beyond hope that Boris’ plan of starting to reopen schools from 8th March actually happens.
Our remote learning provision is now very well embedded and student attendance and engagement remains exceptionally high, and rising even higher in some year groups as the pastoral team and teachers contact home and resolve barriers to access. We know that there is still a demand for laptops and broadband for some students and the Chair of Governors and I wrote again to our local MP last week, and then I spoke to him at a virtual meeting, to seek his support in securing more devices.
It's no secret that I’m proud of our remote learning plan and I believe that it is up there amongst the very best on offer. Aside from the academic angle and the fact that we are very much limiting ‘learning loss’ compared to some schools, I believe the routine and structure that our plan provides is essential for wellbeing and good mental health. However, whilst I am sure some prefer it, we are aware that for a number of reasons some students are struggling with the different pressures that 25 live lessons a week bring compared to being in school itself. Even those who may otherwise be fine might sometimes be fatigued from quite a lot of screen time each day.
In response we’re going to trial a couple of new initiatives that may help break up the monotony and place an emphasis on good mental wellbeing. Next week is a national ‘Children’s Mental Health week’ and so it seemed a great opportunity to raise awareness of this issue. Like I say, I think that we’re providing a lot of opportunities for students to interact with each other and with school staff, but lockdown is tough no matter what is on offer and there is no harm in promoting good wellbeing and mental health as much as we can. Next week will see the launch of a brilliant new Pastoral Hub for students too, but more on that another time.
1) An ‘Offline Day’ on Friday 5th Feb
We have decided to try and break up the final two weeks of this half term with an ‘Offline Day’ which will take place on Friday 5th February.
Throughout next week as part of Mental Health Week
- Form tutors will share information on 20 optional challenges that students can complete over the week and/or on Friday 5th. The challenges are designed to promote positive wellbeing, appeal to different tastes, get students being more active, creative and are almost all ‘off-line’
On Friday 5th February
- There will be no form time. Students will be asked to check in on Satchel One/SMHW and then hopefully spend as little time after that online
- Students in Years 7-9 will be encouraged to complete as many of the 20 wellbeing tasks as they can, building on what they may have done during the week. There are prizes!
- Students in Years 10 and 11 will be encouraged to use the time to take stock of their work, complete any outstanding assignments or indeed take part in the activities mentioned above.
- All students could take the time to look at the FANTASTIC new Lockdown Library which has been launched and is available here Lockdown Library