COVID -19

25th May, 0900

Moving the goal posts - Sophie Grace Kellaway - Lyme Disease UK

Do keep checking these pages – we will continue to update parents as and when we know more, although it does now appear that we will not be partially reopening any earlier than the 15th June, and only for a quarter of the students we had planned for.

In the meantime, enjoy a restful half-term holiday.

22nd May, 1500

Here is this week’s newsletter, which contains important information about:

  • Our value of Relationships
  • Our plans at this stage for partial reopening for Years 10 and 12
  • The announcement of our new head students
  • The half term holiday
  • Careers
  • Thinking about university
  • The Duke of Edinburgh Award
  • The Brilliant Club
  • St John Ambulance
  • And another bumper batch of R4s

 

20th May, 1100 hours  – A very important message for parents with children in years ten and twelve

I have written to you today as your child is in year ten or year twelve and I need to gauge your opinions and suggestions to assist with the next stages of our planning.  As you know, nearly two weeks ago now the Prime Minister announced that from the 1st June, year ten and year twelve students ‘may have some face to face time with their teachers’.  As we rapidly approach that date, we have still had no guidance from the government on what that means.  Consequently we have been planning very hard for a number of different options.  I now need your help and guidance on what options might work best for you and your children.

Please only complete this survey if you have a child in  Year 10 or 12.

At this stage we are only planning.  No date has been set for any reopening.

I know that parents would require a lot more detail around safety and logistics and intended outcomes before returning their children to our care.  We have to decide on a direction of travel in order to be able to build up that level of detail for you, so your guidance in this early stage is vital.  The survey can be completed here: .

Thank you
19th May, 1500 hours

This week’s assembly which focused on ‘Relationships’

15th May, 1330 hours

Here is this week’s newsletter – which details very important changes to our online deliver from next week and confirms that the online school will close over the Half Term Holiday.

From Mr Hassell:

I promised you last week that we would explain to you the next phase of our online school.  We have listened hard to feedback from parents, staff and students.  We have considered what children are missing and what they will need to get back up to speed as quickly as possible.  We have considered which year groups have been impacted most by the school closure and what repairs will have the greatest impact on them.

We have planned long and hard to make sure we are providing the very best possible solution to the COVID-19 pandemics effects on education.  We have made sure that we are getting the balance right – recognising that working at home is really difficult and that students nor staff can do as much as they would normally do.

At ‘normal’ school students get fifty hours per fortnight, plus up to two hours homework per day.  This level of provision would be totally impractical during lockdown, when we know that people are juggling laptops, time, space and other commitments to family.

So, from Monday 18th May our online delivery will look like this:

  • Year Thirteen:
    1. No further teaching
    2. Fortnightly form tutor contact
    3. A package of online careers, university and ‘next steps’ advice
  • Year Twelve:
    1. Two hours of online face-to-face Google Meet lessons, per fortnight, per teacher
    2. Fortnightly form tutor contact
    3. This is around 30% of their normal contact time
  • Year Eleven students who have opted for Sixth Form (including those from other schools):
    1. Two hours of online face-to-face Google Meet lessons, per fortnight, per chosen subject at A Level
    2. The work will support transition to their A Level courses
    3. Fortnightly form tutor contact
    4. This is around 20% of their normal contact time
  • Year Eleven students who have opted for college or to go into work after GCSEs:
    1. No further teaching
    2. A package of online careers, employment, education and ‘next steps’ advice
  • Year Ten:
    1. Three hours of online face-to-face Google Meet lessons, per fortnight, in English, mathematics and science
    2. Two hours of online face-to-face Google Meet lessons, per fortnight, per option subject
    3. Fortnightly form tutor contact
    4. This is around 40% of their normal contact time
  • Year Nine:
    1. Two hours of online face-to-face Google Meet lessons, per fortnight, in English, mathematics and science
    2. Two hours of online face-to-face Google Meet lessons, per fortnight, per chosen key stage four option subject
    3. Option choices have been confirmed by email this week 
    4. The work will support transition to their GCSE courses
    5. Fortnightly form tutor contact
    6. This is around 30% of their normal contact time
  • Years Eight and Seven:
    1. Two hours of pre-set online independent work, per fortnight, in English, mathematics and science
    2. One hour of pre-set online independent work, per fortnight, for all other subjects, except;
    3. that there will be no compulsory work for the performing arts, or physical education, although these teams will still set optional enrichment work
    4. Whenever possible this work will continue to be set via Show My Homework, but it may often be the case that your child gets additional instructions via email
    5. Fortnightly form tutor contact
    6. This is around 25% of their normal contact time

Please note that in order to make this level of provision possible:

  1. Teachers will place Google Meet lessons in the students calendars and contact them by email.  We will continue to encourage teachers to set reminders on Show My Homework as we know that parents find this easiest to access, but this may not always be possible.
  2. Teachers are now working to quite a strict timetable (so that students do not need to be in two places at once!) so unfortunately  there is no flexibility in when lessons can happen.
  3. The timetable will operate on a fortnightly basis, like it would in school.

How, you might ask, does this fit with the Prime Minister’s announcement that children in years ten and twelve may have ‘some face-to face time with their teachers before the summer’.  The short answer is that we have been doing face-to-face time with those year groups since the very first day of school closure, via Google Meet, every week.  It has been hugely successful and very well received and that is why we aim to continue it and expand it to other years.

If, and that the moment it is only an IF, we are instructed to bring students from those two year groups into the school the constraints we will have to work under cannot be underestimated.  Some classrooms can only hold 10 students with social distancing rules applied, there is no one place where a whole year group could sit and eat at the same time, access to toilets for essential hand washing would have to be scheduled and carouseled.  In short, we would have to consider very controlled ways of teaching face-to-face in the school which may in many ways be inferior to what we are able to provide, and ARE providing online.

That said we have robust plans in place to do just that, if we are told to by the DFE.  We will make it work if that is what we are asked to do.  At this stage however, I would urge caution and patience.  The plan described by the Prime Minister on Sunday was an aspiration and the reopening of secondary school requires many criteria to be met first.

Parents may understandably be worried, many questions remain unanswered and we will not reopen as a school either partially or fully until those questions have been answered, those fears allayed and we have done everything we need to prepare the school and to make it safe for children and adults alike.

Neil Hassell

Headteacher
The Hemel Hempstead School

12th May, 1030 hrs

This Friday’s newsletter will explain how we are responding to the Prime Minister’s statement on Sunday night.

Please be assured that there is nothing that parents or children need to be doing differently  right now and that we have been planning for what Mr Johnson announced for many weeks.

For now children should be access their education online exactly as they were last week and we are immensely grateful to you all as parents for your support and guidance to your children in doing this.  Please do consider the advice which we gave in last week’s newsletter:

  • Routines are really important. Those who are struggling to complete work are often those who are getting into habits which don’t help us, like not getting up in the morning, like not getting dressed and being prepared for what is a working day. Students tell us that having a routine and a plan for the day really helps to make the work manageable.
  • Reading the guidance carefully. Some students have inadvertently been doing too much by not realising that some projects have long deadlines and the work can be spaced out over many days, or weeks to make it manageable. Please don’t give up on difficult work, instead show the Independence we see you show at school and use resources like BBC Bitesize to help you.
  • Know your limits and communicate. We are aiming for you to be doing two to three hours of work per day (much less than the five hours, plus homework, you normally do) as we know that circumstances are difficult and you might be having to share space or IT facilities with others in your family. If work is taking you much more than this, communicate with your teacher, using your school email so that they know and can help or adjust what they are setting you.

The Library School remains open too, but only for those entitled to access it, and those criteria have not changed either.

We look forward to being able to give you the next steps for our online learning and our responses to Sunday’s briefing this Friday.

11th May 2020

Here is this week’s fantastic assembly

And Friday’s newsletter, in case you missed it

6th May, 1430 hours

GADE family support newsletter, with some great activities.

6th May, 1200 hours

This Friday we will be joining the rest of the nation in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe, in the Second World War.  As such, we will not be setting any work for that day or running any online lessons.  If you wish to do some home learning with your family on the day then there are some excellent resources from the British Legion here:
The Library School will be open as normal.

5th May, 0900 hours

  • We know that there have been some real issues with the government led free school meal scheme.  This has affected people all across the country. 
  • To help address the problems we  have already issued families in receipt of Free School Meals with vouchers via the Edenred System for each of the following weeks: 06/04, 13/04, 20/04, 27/04 & 04/05.   
  • The Department for Education has agreed some changes which will help to make the system operate more efficiently and schools are now able to place an order for a family to cover a period of up to four weeks in one order.  
  • Therefore the next voucher that we send you will cover the 4 week period 11th May – 7th June, e.g. if you have one eligible child you will receive £60 and for three eligible children you will receive £180.

4th May, 1700 hours

If you have applied to university this year you should be receiving (or have received) a letter from the Universities Minister, Michelle Donelan.  Please take the time to read it carefully as it updates you on a number of issues such as:
  • Replying to offers deadline
  • Clearing
  • Student Finance.
Please remember if you have any questions or need some advice please email f.dayton@hemelschool.com to discuss.

4th May, 1430 hours

Here is this week’s fantastic assembly.

1st May, 1215 hours

Happy May Day!

Here is this week’s newsletter which talks about:

  • Responsibility
  • The kitchen sink challenge winners
  • Our consultation of relationships and  sex education

27th April, 1500 hrs

It is with regret that we have had to cancel the four big trips planned for Activities Week in July.

Please see this letter for the full information.

27th April, 0900 hrs

Good morning everyone – here is this week’s assembly – focusing on our Responsibility

24th April, 14oo hrs

Here is this week’s newsletter which talks about:

  • Our Values
  • Our Houses
  • And celebrates what it means to Esse Quam Videri

We also did not let lockdown stop us celebrating World Book Night.  Here are some of our staff enjoying the joy of reading:

       

21st April, 1000 hrs

World book night has gone digital for the lockdown.  Join in the fun this Thursday at https://worldbooknight.org/

20th April, 1500 hrs

As promised the BBC have launched today their new online lessons to support homeschooling.

20th April, 1330 hrs

An important letter for parents who have children booked on large trips during activities week.

20th April, 1030 hrs

Here is this week’s assembly, from Mr Heward.  Enjoy!

And for Year 12, please follow these instructions to complete your self reference forms:

  1. You can access it through Google Classroom: UCAS.  You need to sign up to the class by using the code kmowuh4 – all lower case.
  2. Once your form is completed then please share with your form tutor.
  3. Remember this is for everyone to complete & will help in the completion of your reference which will be used for university, job, and apprenticeship applications.

And for Year 13 some updated support for progression to university.

17th April, 1330 hrs

This week’s newsletter, which includes:

  • A thank you to our fantastic staff
  • A reminder of the provision we continue to offer during lockdown and school closures
  • Some links to inspiration
  • Sad news about a former colleague
  • An update on free school meals

15th April, 1100 hrs

A useful guide from Gade Schools Family Support on how to talk you children about their emotions at this difficult time

15th April, 1030 hrs

Looking for some inspiration for your children; something to ‘light a fire in them’?

With nearly five billion pages of information on the internet all you have to do is nudge them to some of the more reputable ones and let them do the rest.  We would recommend:

      1. The week magazine – a weekly news digest
      2. Khan Academy – not for profit mission to educate the world
      3. TED Talks – ideas worth spreading
      4. National Geographic Kids – digital magazine
      5. New Scientist – digital magazine
      6. Project Gutenberg – the 100 greatest works of literature, free
      7. Stories Help – free audio books from Audible
      8. Duolingo – language learning app
      9. BBC Bitesize – revision, with online lessons from 20th April
      10. QuizLet  – memory development and revision
      11. Seneca – revision website ideal for GCSE
      12. S Cool – revision website ideal for GCSE and A Level
      13. GCSE Pod – which uses your school Google Login

10th April 2020, 1100 hrs

This weeks newsletter, which contains:

  • News from Mr Heward about the Hemel Hempstead Experience!
  • News of our donations to the NHS and local care homes
  • The analysis and actions from our online school survey
  • This week’s Virtual R4s
  • Some advice on safely using online hangouts such as Zoom and Houseparty
  • Support from Hertfordshire NHS

7th April 2020, 1500 hrs

The latest advice from UCAS about their deadlines and processes for application to university can be found here

6th April 2020, 1400 hrs

Thank you to everyone who has completed our online school survey, the feedback has been incredibly valuable and will be summarized in this weeks newsletter.

  • I will leave the survey open until the end of Tuesday, for any parents who have not had a chance to complete it
  • The survey is here

OfQual have published this letter to all parents explaining the guidance that they have now given to schools about how summer grades will be awarded in GCSEs, A Levels and the EPQ

3rd April 2020, 1330 hrs

This is this weeks Newsletter, it contains information on:

  • vitally important survey which we need all parents to complete
  • What we are doing over the next two weeks, in what would have been the school Easter holiday
  • A reminder of what we need you to help us with to make online lessons work

If you need to email a teacher we have simple system.  Every teacher’s address is their first initial, then a dot, then their full surname then @hemelschool.com

So for example, Joe Smith would be:  j.smith@hemelschool.com

You can see what a teacher’s first initial is either from a student timetable, Show My Homework, or Google Classrooms.

1st April 2020, 1830 hrs

In our collective response to the COVID-19 crisis the Department for Education has asked us to keep our ‘library school’ for key workers’ children  and especially vulnerable children open, over the next two weeks, which would have been the school Easter Holidays, including Good Friday and Easter Monday.  We are more than happy to do this.

Given that we are also in national lock-down we felt it would be helpful to try and provide as many online lessons and pieces of work as possible (especially for years 10 and 12)  during what would have been the Easter Holidays.  Whilst we have not compelled our staff to do this we have asked them to if they can, for the following reasons:

  •  Many parents are also having to work over the next two weeks, especially those in critical roles such as the NHS.
  • We are really worried about years 10 and 12 in particular getting behind in their education, as even the very best home learning simply cannot replicate what we can do in schools.
  • Consistency and routine is really helpful to people during times of change, anxiety and risk.
  • The message from the government is clear – stay at home – so we hope to be able to provide something to do with that time which might otherwise have been spent on day trips, with other family, or on a holiday.

Of course, it is for you as parents to decide if you want your children to take time off from the lessons and learning on offer during this period, having carefully considered all of the reasons above.  Our aim is to offer the very best we can, for as many children as we can in order to do our bit in this national challenge.

1st April 2020, 1400 hrs

The government is now launching its Free School Meals scheme.  This week you will get an ASDA voucher, from us, in the post.

But from next week:

  • Your voucher will be delivered by email (please tell the school if your email has changed!)
  • The email will contain a 16 digit code
  • Which you will be able to reclaim at www.freeschoolmeals.co.uk
  • Full details are in this government document

1st April 2020, 1000 hrs

A useful weekly newsletter from GADE who can help families who are finding the lock down difficult.

31st March 2020, 1500 hrs

If your child normally gets a Free School Meal in school then this week you will receive a £50 ASDA voucher from us:

  • This will come in the post
  • It is redeemable at any ASDA, the one in Hemel Hempstead is in the Town Centre
  • It covers this week and last week
  • In future weeks it will likely be replaced by a government funded scheme run by Edenred
    • This will be delivered online and shown to the vendor on your phone
    • Will be usable in any supermarket
    • And be worth £15 per week

30th March 2020, 1230 hrs

Some brilliant resources for staying mentally healthy during these challenging times from a great organization, Just Talk Herts

30th March 2020, 1030 hrs

If you are finding that your child has completed all the work set for them each day/week and needs some more then here are two options:

  • For all year groups they can set themselves tasks on SAM Learning. 
    • To do this go to ‘Activities’, and type in a subject or topic area.
    • This can be filtered by things such as ‘key stage’
    • Students can then select and complete these task, which are assessed by the system in the normal way.
    • Parents guide to logging on to SAM Learning

27th March 2020,  1430 hrs

Hemel News 27th March 2020

What parents need to know about House Party

Important news in the newsletter today about online lessons for Year 10 and 12 – you must read the newsletter carefully

All year groups – your login details for SAM Learning are:

  • School ID:    HP1HH  (must be in capitals)
  • Username:    Your date of birth and then your initials in capitals.  So John Smith, born 9th January 2007 would be 090107JS
  • Password:    Same as your username

26th March 2020 1215 hrs

The latest VITAL message from the government which we must ALL follow

26th March 2020, 1130 hrs

Some more useful sources of help and advise for families supporting children to work at home:

25th March 2020, 1500 hrs

SCAM ALERT – some vile individuals are contacting families who are entitled to free school meals and convincing them to hand over bank details for the purposed of fraud.

We, nor the council, nor the Department for Education will NEVER ask for bank details in this way.

If you child is entitled to Free School Meals, then you will receive, from us, an ASDA food voucher every two weeks by post.

If your child is in school with us then they will receive a free hot meal and unlimited water every day

25th March 2020, 1330 hrs

Two new resources to support those at home with children who have SEND

24th March 2020, 1430 hrs

Parents – please do not ignore calls from blocked mobile numbers it might be us!

The vast majority of our staff are working from home and for safeguarding have to block their numbers when they call.

We promised you we would keep in touch with our children when we said goodbye last week, and we meant it, everyone will be getting a call from their form tutor in the coming days, some will be offered online counselling/mentoring, and we need to have important conversations with others of you about examinations and coursework.

Please keep checking your emails and answering the phone, even to blocked numbers.

24th March 2020, 1000 hrs

Announcement from the Prime Minister, “You should stay at home

Full guidance from the government about what ‘stay at home means’ – who, and when, what you should not do, what you can do

What to do if you have lost or forgotten your Show My Homework PIN or password

Thank you for your feedback.  Thanks to kind notes and emails from parents we are going to reduce the amount of work we set each week by about 50%, for Years 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12.  This is because:

  • All of the major online platforms are running very slow.  There is nothing we can do about this.  There are a little over 10 million primary and secondary school children, from over 30 thousand schools are trying to access the same platform, and they are inevitably struggling.
  • Working from home children are finding it more difficult to complete work as fast or as easily as they can do, with teachers, in school
  • Families are understandably putting arts, craft, sport and down-time into their ‘home school day’
  • We will continue to provide a lot of work for Years 11 and 13 because, as my letter yesterday explains, examinations later in the year may still be an options for a number of students

You, as parents know your children best, and can of course help them mange their workload and anxieties in these difficult circumstances.

Every family will over the coming days get a short welfare telephone call from your child(rens) form tutor.  For some children these will be full mentoring session, which could last up to 30 minutes.

This advice from UNICEF is also useful

https://www.unicef.org/coronavirus/how-teenagers-can-protect-their-mental-health-during-coronavirus-covid-19

23rd March, 1800 hrs

A guide for students who have lost/forgotten their passwords (to lots of online learning platforms)

23rd March, 1515 hrs

Parents guide to logging on to SAM Learning

Letter to parents and students about Year 11 and Year 13 summer examinations and grades

There will be a newsletter published each week on a Friday

23rd March, 1200 hrs

The surveys have been completed and we have established which children should be in school.

Our school is now closed except for a skeleton staff and a small group of children of key workers and those identified as especially vulnerable.

Unless your child is one of these they should be working from home – work is being set every week, including over the holidays on SAM Learning and Show My Homework.

Please monitor this page closely over the coming days and weeks.

Please do not visit the school site without having made an appointment, via parentmail@hemelschool.com

19th March 2020, 1530 hrs

The previous survey was hugely useful to help us plan – thank you – BUT EVERYONE must now complete the decision survey above

18th March 2020, 1800 hrs

Important letter for parents regarding the government decision to close schools

Letter from Mr Hassell to all students