Important - January Update
Wednesday 6th January 2020.
Since my last letter on Saturday 2nd January 2021, you will be acutely aware that as part of the national lockdown all schools are now closed other than to children of critical workers and those who are considered vulnerable. We have made provision for these students with a staff supervision rota in place, based on the completed forms by parents who have notified us that their children will be attending school.
Remote learning commenced yesterday for all year groups. Our approach to remote learning has developed since the first lockdown and is a blend of pre-recorded TEAMS lessons, some live lessons and independent written and research tasks. Students are familiar with accessing work on SharePoint under Subject, Document, Remote Learning 2020/21, then teacher folder, then year group. If your child has any questions about the work, they can email their teacher using their school email address. Teacher email addresses use their first initial and surname e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org. Our approach to remote learning is on the academy website and can be found at Belvoir - A Priory Academy - Remote Learning (belvoiracademy.co.uk).
When your child Is invited to a live TEAMS lesson, they will receive an email with a link from their teacher, where they simply click on ‘join’ to access the lesson. We had a number of live lessons yesterday which generally went well. Please can I request that students are waiting in the ‘lobby’ a few minutes before the start of the lesson so that they can be admitted promptly. Attendance at some of yesterday’s lessons was extremely high, however, attendance at others was low and needs to improve. Students should attend all lessons delivered on Microsoft TEAMS and complete all work set.
In line with government guidance, subject staff will be tracking your child’s attendance, engagement and completion of the work. This will be reviewed on a weekly basis and we will contact you via email, in the first instance, to inform you if there is an issue, so that you can support in ensuring your child continues to access their education.
Digital Access Issues
Working remotely can be incredibly frustrating, particularly in supporting your child to navigate the plethora of technical issues in accessing the work. Please see below for some trouble shooting tips for some common difficulties.
1 – Issues with Citrix (eg, access, speed)
The Citrix system is struggling to cope with the extra demand being placed on it. Students’ work can also be accessed by bypassing Citrix and going into Sharepoint. Go to the school website www.belvoiracademy.co.uk and click on Home Gateway at the very top of the page. Click on Priory Federation Sharepoint (third in the list) and the student will be prompted to log in. Once they have done this, they will need to select Belvoir and then they should see the normal Sharepoint homepage and be able to navigate to their subjects from there.
2 – Citrix on Apple products
If Citrix is not working on Apple products, please try downloading the Citrix app and accessing through that. As above, it might be easier to access the set work straight through Sharepoint.
3 – Access to Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams seems to work better outside of Citrix and through the Microsoft Edge browser. It can also be more reliable through the phone/tablet app, so please try these options if possible.
4 – My child has not received a link to their Teams lesson
Our preferred remote learning model, based on educational research, is one of blended learning which will be a combination of pre-recorded and/or live lessons together with written and independent learning opportunities set by teachers. This means that not every lesson will be delivered via Teams. If you or your child is unsure, you should firstly check the homework app to find a brief overview of the lesson. Secondly, your child should check the relevant subject folder on Sharepoint to find the resources and thirdly, email the class teacher if still unsure.
5 – Collection Requests
We have had another number of requests from students to collect exercise books and items from school. Unfortunately, this is not possible under the lockdown restrictions. If students do not have their exercise books, they should work on the computer or on paper and make sure they put the date on each piece of work so that it can be glued into their books in the correct order on their return to school.
I am deeply sorry that we find ourselves in a situation once again, where examinations are cancelled and understand all too well the anxiety this will cause to our Year 11 students. It has now been confirmed that all GCSE examinations have been cancelled. However, BTEC examinations are still scheduled to go ahead for the winter series of examinations, at this point in time. This only affects our BTEC Enterprise students who are due to sit their examination on February 1st. As things stand, this examination will go ahead.
All students in Year 11 should continue to engage with the remote learning work and remain focussed. We await further information regarding how examination grades will be awarded but a significant part of that process is likely to be through teacher assessed grades, a process of internal and external moderation and there is the possibility that there will still be some form of examination. It is imperative that students continue to learn, work hard and complete their courses and assessments as these will form part of the evidence base for any awarded teacher assessed grades.
Our independent careers advisor will continue supporting students through the careers interviews programme via Microsoft TEAMS for students who have not yet had their interview and those requiring further support. Students and parents can access the Post-16 careers resources from a range of providers on the academy website Belvoir - A Priory Academy - Post-16 Information (belvoiracademy.co.uk) to keep their minds focussed on their next steps and future aspirations.
I will write to Year 11 parents and students directly when more information is released. Gavin Williamson, Secretary of State for Education is due to make an announcement today regarding examinations, so if anymore clarity arises from that, I will of course, keep you informed.
Thank you for your continued support.
Mr L S Newton