Headteacher's Blog 29/01/2021

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Head Teacher’s Blog 29th January 2021

This morning, we have had our Shoah Assemblies, marking as we do each year Holocaust Memorial Day. Perhaps you have been able to join with our remembrance this year.

As he marked holocaust Memorial Day, Pope Francis said this year “Remembering is an expression of humanity. Remembering is a sign of civilization. Remembering is a condition for a better future of peace and fraternity.”

Pope Francis continued, saying, “Remembering also means being careful because these things could happen again.” He warned that we must be attentive “to how this path of death, of extermination, and brutality begin.”

I share a prayer written by Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Senior Imam Qari Asim, intended to be shared by people of all faiths in this week.

Loving God, we come to you with heavy hearts, remembering the six million Jewish souls murdered during the Holocaust.

In the horrors of that history, when so many groups were targeted because of their identity, and in genocides which followed, we recognise destructive prejudices that drive people apart.

Forgive us when we give space to fear, negativity and hatred of others, simply because they are different from us.

In the light of God, we see everyone as equally precious manifestations of the Divine, and can know the courage to face the darkness.

Through our prayers and actions, help us to stand together with those who are suffering, so that light may banish all darkness, love will prevail over hate and good will triumph over evil.


Thank you for your feedback to our home learning survey last week. This feedback went along with the weekly feedback we collect from the students and work across all teachers reviewing how things have been going so far to help us take stock, share practice and adapt planning for the next few weeks. Mrs Woodward, our Senior Assistant Head who is leading on Home Learning has produced a brief summary of the findings of this work which is included in this Blog. She and her team have led some online sessions for all teachers to share some of these findings and also to enable sharing of practice between teachers.

Looking ahead, we have had this week the government announcement that students will not return to school until 8th March at the earliest. We do know, at least, that we will have two weeks’ notice to ensure that things are ready. We will be watching carefully for guidance and continuing to talk to other schools and to local public health so that our planning is as well informed as possible.

For now, I would just continue to encourage each of us to focus on what we can control each day and try to avoid the ‘catastrophising’ that can occur when we try to control things that are beyond us. While I do not downplay the challenge of lockdown on our young people and families, there are so many signs of great resilience and ‘getting on with it’. For anyone who is finding it particularly tough, or who is worried about the impact on their child(ren), the link below takes you to an article that I certainly found interesting and helpful. I hope it is of some help to you.

“Top tips for understanding your teenager in the ‘new normal” -

God Bless
Mr Davies


Feedback on Review of Home Learning from Mrs Woodward

Many thanks for your valuable feedback on remote learning. It is good to hear the things that are going well for you and your children during this time, as well as gathering your thoughts on areas where we can refine what we are doing and offer further support. In most of your responses, you told us that the new schedules are working really well to provide manageable routines at home, and that the Microsoft Teams sessions are valuable in supporting learning. It was encouraging to hear how your children are valuing the interaction with their teachers, both through the live lessons and through the form time slot at the start of the day. Your experiences also show that the mixture of Teams lessons and allowing time for independent work is going well. There were positive comments about the quality of the lessons, the strength of the relationships being maintained remotely, as well as appreciation expressed for the online parent evening provision. Many thanks for the warm gratitude that came through in your responses, which has been a real boost to teachers in school.

Your feedback has highlighted the motivation that children are taking from the positive points and badges awarded on SHMW, so we know that we should continue to do more of this. Some responses raised questions about how your children are receiving feedback on their work, so I will take the opportunity to share some of the strategies currently being used for this. Students will receive verbal feedback during Teams lessons, through responses to their contributions made via the chat function. This aims to replicate, as closely as possible, the usual classroom routines for feedback that occur in real time. Online quizzes are used so that students can quickly check their understanding and teachers are kept informed of progress and of any misunderstandings, so that subsequent teaching can address this. Where students are completing written tasks, these will be monitored by teachers, with whole class feedback or more personalised comments used to keep students informed of what they are
doing well, and what their next steps for improvement might be.

Please be reassured that all your feedback has been helpful, and your experiences have been shared, so that we can work together to improve things further for your children.


Free School Meals during half term

Sheffield City Council will be providing Free School Meal vouchers over half term for eligible

They have said that they intend to send letters out containing the ecodes needed to redeem the vouchers by the end of January. If you believe your son or daughter is eligible for Free School Meals and you have not received this voucher by the 5th February, please contact sgiles@notredame-high.co.uk

The Council have produced a short video that may be useful. - https://youtu.be/n8B8y-PeF8U



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