Head of Academy letter 5th February

Thank you for your ongoing support during this unusual time. Staff have been delighted to receive so many messages of thanks from parents/carers and we are very proud of the resilience our students are showing in engaging with their remote learning. We understand this is a challenging time for parents/carers and appreciate all that you are doing to support your child’s education and keep them in their learning routines.

Half-term
Please can I remind you of my letter sent last week that the DfE announced on Tuesday, 26 January 2021 that schools would close as planned for the half-term break. Erdington Academy will close to those currently attending from Friday, 12 February and re-open to keyworker and other eligible students on Monday, 22 February 2021.

The government free school meal voucher scheme will not run over half term, but vouchers will resume following the half term break. Birmingham city council are planning to offer a voucher scheme through Sodexo and we will update eligible parents as we receive information.

If you have any concerns regarding hardship in this difficult period, please email: [email protected] marked confidential FAO Mr Halstead.

Information about accessing different forms of family support through Birmingham Children’s Partnership is available by following the link https://tinyurl.com/5f5q5tsv

Wider re-opening
The Prime Minister recently announced that he hopes to re-open schools from Monday, 8 March 2021, provided the rates of infection and hospital admissions are low enough to do so. The information regarding this re-opening has not yet been released. We will update you as soon as we are able to and very much look forward to welcoming all our students back as soon as it is safe to do so.

Changes to the timetable from after February half term

In order to support your child to manage their wellbeing during this period of remote learning, we have attached a home learning checklist  for your child to use each day.  The checklist encourages good routines and a healthy lifestyle whilst their ‘screen time’ is high, and we hope you find it useful.  Based on feedback you have given, we intend to adapt our remote learning offer, we intend to streamline the number of lessons per day so students find it easier to navigate and focus. 

The academy day will start at 08:45 for all students, with 15 minutes of reading time, please support by accessing the schools reading material offer below, followed by 5 x 1 hour lessons. The final lesson of each day is focused on Deliberate Practice, during this time students will have additional time to complete the tasks they have been set during their lessons on that day. Tasks will be due at 9am on the following morning, submitted on Show My Homework. The new timetable is being constructed and next week we will write to you with the amended timetable.

Well-being
Ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week, we are setting House challenges based around healthy minds. Please encourage your child to complete these challenges. Exercise is key to wellbeing and our PE team have been setting some exercise challenges for students to complete, please encourage your child to complete this physical activity. There are also lots of online resources at www.kooth.com that parents and students can access for support.

Supporting Literacy
A reminder that we would like as many students as possible to secure their Literacy. To support this, Year 7 and 8 reading lessons and writing skills lessons continue to be provided remotely, alongside the normal curriculum offer. They are also offered the opportunity to complete Accelerated Quizzes from home as well.  Their weekly reading homework continues as normal.  

Year 9 continue to receive their ambitious vocabulary lessons weekly, in order to support their work at GCSE, and are also provided a weekly link to the National Literacy Trust Virtual School Library, outline below.  GCSE students are also provided with a weekly short story as part of their regular homework.

Each week, there is also an opportunity for students in each year group to listen to a live reading of a modern fiction text.  They need to check their Teams calendars for the link to join in and participate.

The National Literacy Trust is running a Virtual School Library in partnership with Oak National Academy.  Year 9 are directed to this weekly, but all students are encouraged to access this fantastic resource: Virtual School Library | Oak Academy (thenational.academy)

Further literacy support for families from the National Literacy Trust include access to their ‘Words for Life’ resources: https://wordsforlife.org.uk/

There is an area for 9-12 year olds and an area for those aged 13+.

Jacqueline Wilson is our first Author of the Week of our relaunched Virtual School Library with Oak National Academy! | National Literacy Trust

Our remote library offer will soon have a selection of online books available for all students to access.  More details will come out via the MyEd app shortly.

Once again, thank you for your ongoing support of Erdington Academy and well done to all our students demonstrating the schools value of ambition through their remote learning.

Yours sincerely

S.Mallett

Head of Academy