Uxbridge High School
Autumn term 2020 newsletter
A MESSAGE FROM THE PRINCIPAL
Thank you all for working with the school during this difficult time. Parents, students and staff have risen to the challenge of helping to keep school open throughout this extraordinary term.
I am sure we are all relieved that there appears to be progress in moving towards a COVID vaccination. Hopefully this means that restrictions will be gradually lifted in the spring. Meanwhile, we continue to have the safety and wellbeing of our staff and students in mind. Students remain in bubbles with staggered movement to and around school. They enjoy break times in their own year group areas. We all continue to wear face coverings in busy parts of the school. As the threat of school closure remains, we constantly remind students and ourselves of our COVID procedures.
If students feel ill whilst in school they must inform a member of staff immediately. If they are displaying symptoms that could be COVID, they will be treated by our welfare officer and, if necessary, the parents will be contacted so that the student can go home. It is important that if students are displaying COVID symptoms before they leave home, or are awaiting the results of a COVID test, they must not come into school. Absences should be reported via the student absence line by calling 01895 234060 and choosing option 1.
The colder weather is bringing us a new challenge in that it is less comfortable for staff and students alike. To reduce the risk of COVID infection, we have to keep classrooms well ventilated with doors and windows open, which makes it cooler inside. We have made sure that the heating systems are working as hard as they can.
We ask that students 'layer up' clothing beneath their normal school uniform. Some students are choosing to wear an extra T-shirt or leggings underneath their school uniform. Students also have the option to wear a school jumper as well as their blazer. We ask that all students have a good winter coat for use when outside.
We have reduced the lunch period on days when the weather is extreme and are looking to provide us all with as much shelter as possible. This involves rotational use of our bigger outdoor spaces where we can ensure distancing. We also have ambitious plans to add some outside canopies to the site over the forthcoming break.
YEAR 7 PARENTS' EVENING - MISS MANGAT
On Thursday 26th November the school held its first virtual parents’ evening with Year 7 parents. Parents booked appointments using our online booking system. The appointments were 15 minutes in length and took place via video call between the form tutor/head of house and parents. Prior to the parents’ evening, parents received their child’s progress report. This was discussed at the appointment as well as targets and areas for improvement. The event was a huge success and we will continue operating parents’ evenings this way for the foreseeable future.
Mr Kerrisk presented a video about Year 7 progress at the parents' evening which you can view here.
Due to the ongoing COVID situation, we were unable to host our annual open evenings this year for prospective Year 7 and sixth form students. However, we produced some short videos which show the school in action. To view the Year 7 videos, please click here. To view the sixth form video, please click here.
FREE SCHOOL MEALS - FINANCE TEAM
If your family circumstances have changed in the last few months, you may be eligible to claim free school meals. If you think that this may be the case, please complete the application on our website (the link to the form can be found at the bottom of the webpage). Once completed, even if not currently eligible, the system will notify us if you become eligible in the future. Also, if eligible, this will attract additional funding in the form of pupil premium for the school to support your children.
If your child is in the sixth form, please also enquire with the sixth form team about the sixth form bursary that may be able to support their studies.
YEAR 11 AND 13 EXAMS
Our year 11 and 13 students have been doing mock examinations in preparation for their formal examinations in the summer. We have now had an indication from the Secretary of State confirming that these formal examinations will go ahead. We have been told that:
- Exams will be delayed by up to three weeks to free up extra teaching time
- Exam boards will consider grade boundaries carefully
- Students will receive advance notice of some topic areas covered in GCSE and A levels to focus revision
- Exam aids - like formula sheets – will be provided in some exams
- Additional exams will be scheduled to give students a second chance to sit a paper if the main exams or assessments are missed due to illness or self-isolation
We expect further details in January. Meanwhile, the Department for Education has produced a Q&A document for parents which has more details of the announcement and aims to address any queries you may have. The Secretary of State has also written a letter to all students taking exams this year to explain these changes. The letter can be viewed here.
SIXTH FORM OXBRIDGE INTERVIEWS - MR CHURCHILL
This year we have a record breaking 98 UCAS applications. We are delighted that several students have been successful in securing interviews for Oxbridge places. Numair, Simran, Holly, Patrik and Thomas will all attend interviews. Thank you to Mr Janar who has organised several mock interviews for these students. We wish them the best of luck with their applications.
SIXTH FORM ADMISSIONS FOR 2021 - MR CHURCHILL
Year 11 students were recently introduced to the application process for the sixth form and looked at their post-16 options. Students and parents should visit the dedicated section of our website which includes ‘informed choices’, a useful website which helps students decide which A levels they should take.
SIXTH FORM CAREERS - MR CHURCHILL
Due to the current climate, we have adapted our work experience activities by introducing virtual experiences. These opportunities will provide our students with an insight into what it's like to work in an industry or job role whilst at school. The experiences will range from half a day to one week depending on the nature of the work experience. Some will be open to everyone and provide a platform for students to discover more about the job, view pre-recorded videos on what it is like to work within an organisation, go on virtual tours and take part in some live Q&A sessions. Others may require the student to go through an application process and offer regular online meetings with a supervisor, individual project work, networking sessions, training opportunities and video tutorials.
JACK PETCHEY COVID-19 YOUTH SURVEY - MR CHURCHILL
The Jack Petchey COVID-19 youth survey took place during lockdown and was open to all young people aged 11-25 from London and Essex. Over 6000 young people took part, including students from UHS. The survey allowed them to share their experience of the lockdown and what they wanted to see in the future. Three-quarters of young people said that they missed going to school during the lockdown. You can read the full report here.
STUDENT LEADERSHIP - MR KERRISK
Here at Uxbridge High School we place great importance on developing young leaders. We give students the opportunity to develop key skills which will be essential for many aspects of their lives. We also promote the development of a sense of social responsibility in our students by encouraging them to be meaningful contributors in the local and global community. Many of our young people have outstanding leadership potential and, throughout their school career, we provide the opportunity for them to develop leadership qualities and skills.
One of the ways in which we do so is through the student leadership team. Students apply for roles which include house captain, vice-house captain and prefect in order to become leaders of the student body. Following a rigorous selection process involving a written submission and interview, they are allocated roles within each house team. These students bring many positive qualities and attributes to their role and represent the rich diversity of talents that make up the Uxbridge High School community. They are given the opportunity to develop key leadership skills while feeling their voices are being listened to and their opinions valued and respected. We are delighted to announce that the UHS student leadership team for 2020-21 is:
Following the disappointing cancellation of our annual awards evening in March, we hosted our awards day on 5th November with students receiving awards in their year group bubbles. The event recognised students’ successes and achievements with the 55 winners receiving a trophy and certificate. Students were nominated by their subject teachers for either commendable effort, exceptional progress or outstanding achievement. There was also a house winner from each house, nominated by their head of house. Congratulations to all students who won awards and thank you to Nathan who played the piano during each ceremony.
AUTUMN TERM AWARDS
Well done to all students who have won subject awards so far this term – keep up the good work!
Art – Ionit, Milana, Aabid, Tiara, Julia, Talloula, Kowthar, Keira, Ella, Jack, Yash, Gracie, Jonathon, Emilia
Business – Sariah, Thomas, Saira, Manshi, Yassir, Natasha, Gulled, Jeshrun, Nasrin
Computer Science – Elijah, Mason, Jasmine, Abdullahi, Taheem, Tiana, Chelsea, Munisa, Callum, Seyed, Victoria, Yash, Isabella, Shivaum, Gosia
DT – Arnela, Zahra, Labiba, Abeeran, Tiana, Manolo, Charlie, David, Mithra, Nathan, Vachan, Daisy
Drama – Leo, William, Karnveer, Deimile, Gabriel, Kerryanne, Ella, Thusitha, Treivi, Rayaan, Keira
English – Ionut, Ragvir, Keira, Jessica, Daniel, Khameel, Mason, Dimah, Sameeha, Maymunah, Nagina, Aimee, Fahmida, Ellie, Sara
FLC – Ethan, Fiona, Jacob, Depak, Charlie, Rawan, Faysal, Kyle, Jack, Michael, Rina, Giuseppe
Geography – George, Milana, Paula, Abdullahi, James, Matthew, Manolo, Yassir, Karim, Abdulnafa, Batal, Faatimah, Gosia
History - Kelsey, Sana, Thomas, Dakota, Shoikot, Khameel, Bethany, Sabor, Henry, Fahmida, Yuvika, Emilia
Languages - Khatira, Yaishna, Abdul, Lisa, Aahad, Zahra, Mithra, Nagina, Ayaan, Elle
A reminder that we ask that you ensure your son/daughter carefully checks that they have all equipment, lunch/snacks, correct school uniform, PE kit, etc. before they leave home. As mentioned in the September newsletter, we are no longer able to meet parents at our gates to collect items that have been forgotten. I am sure that you will understand our reasoning for this.
UHS LITERARY CANON - MISS SEYMOUR
Why do we have a literary canon? By the age of 8, a child who reads for 35 minutes a day will be reading two million words a year. A child who reads for 30 seconds will read 8,000 words a year. Those students who say they do not like reading have not found the right book yet. All tutor groups in the school have a class set of a book that they read together 2 to 3 times a week to foster a love of reading and improve their reading fluency.
Reading fluency is the ability to read with speed, accuracy and proper expression. This is demonstrated by speed, stamina, effective blending, prosody (scoop phrases, punctuation, etc.), intonation, picture forming, comprehension and inferences. Tutors ask questions about inference or comprehension and picture forming. When tutors read aloud with their class, they emphasise the scoop phrases. We build stamina each week and encourage students to explore other books at home by setting challenges. It is one of the proudest moments at the school that we now have a reading canon and seeing so many young people engaged in a book. It is now time for us all to work together to take this to the next level. We ask that parents encourage students to read at home and support young people with finding a book they love. Tutors love reading with their students. All leaders are readers.
Remind your children that Marcus Rashford is an incredible leader and his latest campaign is to get young people reading. He recently tweeted “Reading is cool. Books are cool. That’s it. That’s the tweet.”
DROPPING OFF/COLLECTING YOUR CHILDREN
Can I please remind any parents that drive their children to school that there are no pull-in facilities at the school. We request that you drop off and pick up your son/daughter in a safe place away from the school, allowing them to walk to school. This will lessen congestion and delays for everyone in The Greenway. Parents collecting students on foot are asked not, under any circumstances, to congregate around our gates. Please arrange to meet students at a location a short walk from the school.
URBAN SCHOLARS - MR KERRISK
On Saturday 5th December Brunel University held a fantastic virtual graduation for Year 13 students as they came to the end of their journey as urban scholars. Students who had been part of the urban scholars programme since Year 10 and graduated having completed a 4-year study programme. Students attended these sessions on Saturdays and experienced interactive workshops in a range of subjects in order to help with their school work, get them thinking about and planning for the future and inspiring and motivating them. We are very proud of the progress they have made and wish them well as they move on to getting ready for their final exams next summer.
ADVICE FROM THE SAFER SCHOOLS TEAM
Our safer schools team has asked us to remind students and parents of the importance of young people’s personal safety and the steps that can be taken to help make young people less of an attractive target for criminals. Outofyourhands.com provides some useful resources and information. The Metropolitan Police Service website also has prevention advice available.
FACE COVERINGS IN SCHOOL
I would like to take the opportunity to remind you that all students need to wear face coverings in some circumstances. At UHS this will be:
- On arrival to school and in transit to bubble areas
- When moving around the school during the school day, e.g. to attend practical lessons
- When in some special school settings at the discretion of staff such as the library, main hall, etc.
- On leaving the school site and at bus stops in preparation for bus travel
- Our sixth form students should wear face coverings whenever they arrive at school, move around the site and when they leave at the end of the day
We would like to encourage students to use reusable face coverings in conjunction with a re-sealable plastic bag. This will be used to safely store the covering between uses. If students are using disposable coverings, they will need to place them in a special bin after each use and carry a supply of replacements for use throughout the day.
Face coverings will not be worn during lessons, outside at break or lunchtimes or when students move around in their own bubble. We would ask that students wear plain or simple patterned face coverings. I am sure that you will agree that we will need to ask students to remove face coverings that are inappropriate for the school environment. A replacement will be issued.
Public Health England has produced a simple guide on how to make a face covering which you can view here. Should any children be exempt from wearing a face covering, I would be grateful if their parent/carer contacts their child's guidance leader.
WELLBEING - MR PALMER
Merry Christmas from the wellbeing association at UHS. Please see below for some wellbeing tips to share with your son/daughter to make the holidays easy and stress free.
- Plan ahead to avoid unnecessary stress by planning as much as possible - get homework done before the end of term to free up time.
- Make time for you this holiday, de-stress and do what makes you happy. Make sure to keep a few days just for yourself and your hobbies.
- Avoid comparisons. If you do decide to use social media over the festive season, avoid comparing your experience to those of your friends. Remember that most people only share the best parts of their lives online and you don't know what's going on behind the smiling selfies and present photos.
- Get outside. Going for a wintery walk - even if it's just around the block - can be the perfect way to get some fresh air and exercise. Being in the same house for too long can get a bit intense so a change of scenery will do everyone good.
- Try to eat healthily. While it's normal to overindulge a little over Christmas, try to keep your diet as balanced as possible with plenty of fruit and vegetables. This will help you to avoid energy lows that can have an effect on your mood.
END OF AUTUMN TERM/START OF SPRING TERM ARRANGEMENTS
As you be aware following my letter last week, the school has brought forward the end of term by one day. This follows advice from Nick Gibb, Minister for Education, who said that schools should consider ending term for students one day early. The last day for students will now be Thursday 17th December. Students will be dismissed at the following times:
Year 7 – 12.05pm
Year 8 – 11.55am
Year 9 – 11.45am
Year 10 – 11.35am
Year 11 – 11.25am
Sixth form – 10.55am
Staff will undertake remote online learning on Friday 18th December.
We all return to school on Tuesday 5th January 2021. Students are asked to arrive at their usual gates at the following times:
Year 7 – 10.40am
Year 8 – 10.40am
Year 9 – 10.45am
Year 10 – 10.55am
Year 11 – 10.50am
Sixth form – 10.55am
TWITTER & INSTAGRAM
Please feel free to browse our Twitter and Instagram accounts for up-to-date information and updates on the variety of activities taking place at Uxbridge High School. Our Twitter accounts are @UxbridgeHighSch, @UHSPrincipal, @UHS_VAPA and @UHSPE. Our Instagram account can be found here.
Please note that our accounts are public and you can browse them at any time without having to sign up for an account.
Please see some of our recent tweets below.
May I wish all staff, students and members of our wider school community a very happy and safe Christmas. I look forward to us working together in a very much brighter 2021.