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Guidance, Advice & Updates for Parents & Students

 

Update 29 May 2020

Please see communication letters on our website sent to parents/carers via email today, Friday 29 May 2020. Thank you.

Update 21 May 2020

Re: Possible reopening of school to more pupils in June

You will have heard the announcement that phased reopening of schools in England could begin, at the earliest, from Monday 1st June 2020 to year 10 and Year 12 students, if the government think it’s safe to do so. This is unlikely to be on a full-time basis, but will allow students to get some face-to-face contact with teachers to support their home learning.

It is a very unsettling time for us all, but rest assured that we are doing everything we can to make sure we are ready to receive these year groups if it’s safe for our school to reopen in the coming weeks. We have been working tirelessly in in assessing the risks and in the process of creating a detailed action plan. Precautions we’ll be taking will include:

  • Limiting class sizes
  • Staggering break times, and pick-up and drop-off times
  • Increased cleaning
  • Keeping pupils and staff with coronavirus symptoms at home

These precautions are underpinned by the following priorities we feel are important for our pupils and staff at the Academy.

Protecting & Restoring the Mental Health of Pupils

The pastoral aspect of your child’s schooling is now more important than ever. During these uncertain times that has caused stress, worry and anxiety for all, including children - our pastoral team, teachers and trained Designated Bereavement Leads will be at the forefront to support your child on their return. Returning to a routine will be hugely beneficial in terms of their wellbeing, as will face to face contact with their friends and teachers.

If your child is clinically extremely vulnerable, or living with someone who is in this group, they should not come back to school and should continue home learning. If your child is clinically vulnerable (but not clinically extremely vulnerable), you should follow medical advice to decide if they should come back to school. Please refer to government guidance for further details of these groups. Visit our Mental Health & Wellbeing page for further details on supporting your child’s wellbeing.
 

Ensuring a Safe & Hygienic School Environment
During the partial closure, the school has undergone an enhanced clean of the site. Routine daily cleaning will continue and increased frequency has been implemented. We are currently planning how we will maintain social distancing as much as possible by reducing class sizes and reviewing staggered

break times. We will also maintain the additional hygiene measures we established before lockdown, including regular handwashing, and access to tissues and hand sanitisers in each classroom as far as possible.

We are confident that parents will be conscientious and sensible about keeping their child at home if they or others in the household are unwell. We will keep a close eye on pupils too, dealing with any suspected symptoms promptly, safely and sensitively that gives pupils and parents the reassurance they need.

What does this mean for your child?
When your child returns to school, it will be very different to the school they left. The Government guidance suggests (in the first instance) to:

  • Keep cohorts together where possible – this means children will remain in the same small groups everyday and will not necessarily work with previous classmates.
  • Ensure that the same teacher(s) or member of staff are assigned to each group – this means your child may have a different teacher to their normal class teacher for the duration of the half term on their return.
  • Ensure that wherever possible children and young people use the same classroom or area of a setting throughout the day.
  • Reduce mixing within school – this means each group may have a different breaktime from other students on site.
  • Use outside space – this means children should be prepared for outdoor learning in all weathers.
  • Adjust transport arrangements where necessary – this means there may be different start and finish times for different groups

When guidance is fully implemented, many of the routines, lessons, aesthetics and relationships our children have come to know and love will be very different. One thing that will certainly not change is our values of Love, Hope & Trust which underpin the St Mark’s culture and the nurture your child receives from each and every member of our staff. Our staff remain committed and united to ensure that your child’s mental well-being remains a priority during this transitional period.

In the meantime, the school is still open only for vulnerable pupils and the children of critical workers. We know some employers will be encouraging you to return to work, but we’re not in a position right now to extend places to other pupils until we receive further government guidance.

The guidelines released by the Government leave the school with much to consider in order to meet the full demands of returning Year 10 and Year 12 students from Monday 1st June. Hopefully you will now have a better understanding of how different school will be in the first instance and we would appreciate your patience at this time as we formulate the safest way forward for the children at St Mark’s CofE Academy.

Year 10 and Year 12
It is important that you let us know whether you will be sending your child into school or not from 1st June. Please note you will not be penalized if you choose not to send your child to school. Please follow this link to our Survey form, it will take less than 5 minutes to complete. Please can you complete by Monday 25 May 2020.

With half term next week, we will be suspending the home learning time table until we return to school virtually on June 1st.

During this week there will still be some optional stretch tasks set by teachers but completion of these tasks is not compulsory. This is to allow parents and students to prioritise health and wellbeing should you wish.

As always, if you or your child have any problems accessing the home learning materials on showmyhomework, please email homelearning@stmarksacademy.org.uk

If you your child has any difficulty understanding or completing specific home learning tasks, please communicate this in Showmyhomework via the comment function to the relevant teacher.

We will be in touch again with parents of children in the aforementioned year groups and priority groups with further details and a provisional plan for return. That you for your continuing support at this challenging time.

Update 13 May 2020

We know you’ve seen in the news that schools may reopen on 1 June to reception, year 1 and year 6 pupils if the Government feels the current rate of infection remains stable or declines.

As school leaders, we’re waiting for further guidance and clarification from the government and how any future plans will impact our students and staff within our school. Further clarification will help us create an action plan for our phased reopening. We’ll share this with you as soon as possible so you know what the school’s reopening will look like in practice.

It’s a very unsettling time for us all, but rest assured that we’re going to be doing everything we can to make sure we’re ready to receive our students, if it’s safe for our school to reopen in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, the school is still open only for vulnerable pupils and the children of critical key workers. To our knowledge the key worker definition has not changed since the Government’s first publication. We know some employers will be encouraging you to return to work, but we’re not in a position right now to extend places to other children until we receive further government guidance.

We’d like to thank you for your continuous support in helping your child learn from home. We’ll need to keep going with this for a while yet, so please do continue to do what you can and stay in touch with us about how your child is doing. On our return to the Academy, we will work closely with you for your full support, to ensure your child feels safe, secure and ready to settle back into education on site.

Update 12-05-2020

Re: Knowledge Organisers

We hope that you and your loved ones are well.

With the recent government announcements that it will still be some time before all students can return to school normally at secondary level, the whole staff team at St Marks continue to work incredibly hard to try and ensure that home learning for your child is as effective as possible.

It can sometimes be hard for students and parents to find the help they need to support with home learning, so we would like to make you aware of a new resource on our website. Teachers have carefully considered the most important information for their subjects and have collated it in some documents that we are calling Knowledge Organisers – the most powerful knowledge required for success in that particular unit of work for each subject. These can be used by both students and parents to support home learning tasks, or as revision aids. These knowledge organisers can be found in the links on the right-hand side of the curriculum area of our website here: https://bit.ly/3dDQeOo

If you or your child has any difficulty accessing home learning tasks on Showmyhomework, please email homelearning@stmarksacademy.org.uk.

If you your child has any difficulty understanding or completing specific home learning tasks, please communicate this in Showmyhomework via the comment function to the relevant teacher.

If you have any concerns over your ability to access these online materials, please email me,

lhampton@stmarksacademy.org.uk

Yours faithfully,

Mr L Hampton

Vice Principal

lhampton@stmarksacademy.org.uk

Update 29-04-2020

Dear Parents and Carers

I am writing to let you know that with effect from September, I am stepping down from my role at St Mark’s to take up a new post with responsibility for a group of schools at another multi-academy trust. However, due to the current circumstances and uncertainties regarding schools’ reopening, I will be staying on as Advisory Principal on a part-time basis through the Autumn term to support the school at this challenging time.

St Mark's, I know and believe, is in a very good position to go from strength to strength, with our leaders ready to embark on the next and important chapter. Andy Yarrow, CEO of Anthem Schools Trust, and his executive leadership team are working hard to recruit my successor. Whilst this process in underway interim arrangements will be put in place and St Mark’s fantastic senior leaders will continue to ensure the smooth running of the school.

St Mark's has become a significant part of my family and I will leave with a warm heart and the greatest memories. It has been my very great privilege to serve as principal since my appointment in 2013, and I have enjoyed working with the fabulous students, dedicated parents, inspirational staff and committed wider community. I feel honoured to have had the chance to touch the lives of so many children and adults - I do hope the communities have been enhanced through the service I have provided. It has been as much a pleasure to learn from all of you as it has been to serve. 

At the time of writing this letter we are all working through the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a time for us all to prioritise family and friends, and remember those who have lost loved ones during this international crisis. As we ensure our values of Love Hope and Trust live through of all us, please take time to look after your mental health and wellbeing.

With Love, Hope & Trust
Lisa Peterkin
Principal

Update 23-04-20

Welcome to Summer Term. We hope you all had a restful Easter break and welcome to our very first remote summer term!

We’ve all had to adapt to new ways of working, so I wanted to take the chance to say what an amazing job you’re doing supporting your child’s wellbeing and learning during this time. It’s definitely been a strange and challenging time, so it’s understandable if you and your child feel anxious and frustrated at the moment. We’re here for you every step of the way as we figure this all out together.

We miss having the students in school, but we must continue to follow the government’s guidance to keep everyone in our community safe. So, we’re carrying on with remote learning for our students and providing school access provision for our vulnerable students and children of critical workers.

Virtual Learning
Our staff will be setting plenty of tasks for students to get stuck into over the summer term and have been working hard to create educational resources for them whilst they cannot be physically in school. These resources can be found on Show my Homework. We recognise that it is not feasible for many students to complete a full school days’ worth of work at home and so have prepared a reduced timetable of lessons.

Our research tells us that offering a reduced number of lessons will allow students to engage and learn more easily.   Do remind your child to take breaks away from screens as well, and also make time for having fun and connecting with friends and family.

Through careful consultation, the Anthem and Education Trust have determined that the best format for lesson materials is to provide pre-prepared materials rather than live stream lessons from year 7-11. By offering pre-prepared materials that can be viewed flexibly, we can ensure that students who may not have access to individual devices at home are all able to access the resources provided. These resources are being carefully designed to collect feedback from students interactively and allow teachers to gauge student understanding. This is in line with the Trust’s safeguarding policy.  

As part of our carefully designed approach to home learning, we will gradually be rolling out lessons and resources using Microsoft Teams. There will be guidance and support offered throughout this process to ensure you and your child are able to access all materials.  

Whilst we are keen for all of our students to continue their education at this unusual time, our top priority is that all of our families remain safe, happy and feel supported. Please be assured that activities like having conversations, cooking, reading, exercising and spending time together as a family are all of huge benefit to your children. Our staff will be ready in school to support your children in their return to formal education when this crisis is over.  

While we can’t say yet when we’ll be able to open the school fully, rest assured that we’ll continue doing our utmost to keep students learning and the school connected.

Update 18-04-20

Dear parent/carer and student in Year 11 and 13, We understand how unsettling the past weeks have been for you, since the announcement that exams have been cancelled this summer. We have all been urgently waiting for news which arrived last week. The aim of this letter is to let you know what we are doing to award grades this summer for GCSEs, A Levels and the EPQ in line with the official guidance from Ofqual (The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation). Their over-riding aim of their agreed process for awarding grades is to be fair to students this summer and to make sure no student is disadvantaged in their progress to sixth form, college, university, apprenticeships, training or work because of these unprecedented conditions. I have taken the guidance straight from the official website, so please be reminded that these are Ofqual’s words and do not refer to decisions the Academy has made to award grades. In light of this, we cannot do anything to change this process.

How will grades be calculated?

The Academy will be asked to send exam boards the grade they believe any given student was most likely to get if teaching, learning and exams had happened as planned within each subject. Schools have been asked to consider a range of things like classwork and homework; results in assignments and any mock exams; any non-exam assessment or coursework students might have done; and general progress during a course. This information will allow Ofqual, with exam boards, to standardise grades across schools and colleges, to make sure that, as far as possible, results are fair and that students are not advantaged or disadvantaged because their schools or colleges are more generous or harsh than others when making those judgements. That means the final grade you get could be different from the one your school or college sends to the exam board.

Do I need to have completed the course?

The answer to this is no. The Academy, in line with the official guidance, understands that many courses will not have been completed in March when schools closed. As stated above teachers will submit the grade that reflects what that student was most likely to achieve in their exam if teaching, learning and exams had happened as planned within each subject.

Can I see the grades St Mark’s submits for me?

No, this information will be confidential. Please don’t ask your teachers, or anyone else at the Academy, to tell you the grades they will be sending to the exam boards. We are not be allowed to share this with you.

When will I get my results?

Ofqual are working hard to get results out as soon as is possible – results won’t be delayed after the dates they were expected in August, and ideally they will be issued a little earlier, so you can have the certainty you need.

Can I take my exams another time?

It is clear from the guidance that students who feel that their grades do not reflect their ability will have the opportunity to take their exams in the autumn or in summer 2021. If they choose to do this, both grades will stand. Ofqual are working with exam boards to offer additional exams in the autumn term as soon as it is possible to do so. The Academy will let you know about these in the coming weeks when more information is released.

What about BTECs and Tech Awards?

Ofqual have stated that they will share details about vocational and technical qualifications as soon as they can, so please keep an eye on their website (https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/ofqual) for this or wait for a similar letter to this one from the Academy once the information has been released. Please be reassured that the grades you get this summer will look exactly the same as in previous years, and they will have equal status with universities, colleges and employers, to help you move forward in your lives as planned.

Virtual Learning/ICT Survey

We are working hard to create some exciting new ways to work with students online. To help us plan and provide the right support to your child, please ensure that they complete the survey set on ShowMyHomework by Friday 10th April.

They can also access the survey here: http://bit.ly/StMarksICTSurvey , using their normal school email address and password.

Update 03-04-20

Home Learning Timetable

Working from home during Easter

An update on Home Learning over the Easter Holidays We hope you are well and want to thank you for supporting your child and us the teachers, to successfully continue your child’s learning at home. So many students have been successfully engaging with the work set on Showmyhomework – it’s great to see. Over Easter, we will be suspending the home learning timetable, to allow students, staff and parents to prioritise health and well-being. Work on Showmyhomework will still be set in the normal way for a school holiday. The home learning timetable will resume on Monday 20 April 2020. Thank you to all parents who have been asking for further support and clarification around accessing home learning through the email address HomeLearning@stmarksacademy.org.uk – please continue to email us if you need any help and support.

Home Learning Timetable 

Year 7, 8 and 9

 

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Core Lesson 1

(50 mins)

English

Maths

Science

English

Maths

Core Lesson 2

(50 mins)

Science

French/Spanish

History

RE

Geography

Core Lesson 3

(50 mins)

Art

DT

Music

IT

Lifeology

Optional

Stretch Task

Humanities (Hi, Ge, RE)

Lifeology/ Drama

 

French / Spanish

Dance

PE

Year 10

 

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Core Lesson 1

(50 mins)

English

Maths

Science

English

Maths

Core Lesson 2

(50 mins

Block A History/ Geography/IT

Block B

Film Studies/ French/Art/ Spanish

Block C

Film Studies/ RE/Music/Art

Block D

Drama/ Business/ PE/DT

Science

Core Lesson 3

(50 mins)

RE

 

Block A History/ Geography/IT

 

Block B

Film Studies/ French/Art/ Spanish

Block C

Film Studies/ RE/Music/Art

Block D

Drama/ Business/ PE/DT

Optional

Stretch Task

Maths

Science

English

Lifeology

PE

Year 11

Lesson

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

1

Option A: Hi/Ge/Fr/Sp

Option B: Ge/Fr/Sp/Art/Film/IT

Option C: DT/PE/Sociology/Art/Business /Music/Drama

Maths

English

2

Science

Option A: Hi/Ge/Fr/Sp

Option B: Ge/Fr/Sp/Art/Film/IT

Option C: DT/PE/Sociology/Art/Business /Music/Drama

RE

3

English

Science

Option A: Hi/Ge/Fr/Sp

Option B: Ge/Fr/Sp/Art/Film/IT

Option C: DT/PE/Sociology/Art/Business /Music/Drama

Our expectations

  • We expect you to complete all the core lessons set within 24 hours, but you can complete them at any point during the day (this should allow you to share computers/ quiet spaces with your families)
  • Every lesson will end in a quiz, which you can complete on either a computer or a smart phone. This must be completed at the end of each lesson, so that your teacher can check how much you have learnt and plan your next lesson carefully
  • We will use the quizzes to check student engagement and to run a new reward system to celebrate excellent home learning
  • If you do not complete the quizzes set by your teachers, this will trigger our support systems which will mean we call home, or even visit to check that you have what you need to work at home

Reward and Support System

How can I help as a parent or carer?

Parents and carers can play a very important role in helping their children to work effectively from home. We suggest the following:

  • Creating a clear routine for working each day. E.g. 8.30am log in to Show my Homework and complete lesson 1 and 2. 10:30 am- have a short break and do some exercise. 11:00am complete lesson 3. 12:00pm have lunch and help at home. 2:00pm work on a stretch task
  • Ask your children about ‘shout-outs’ and reward assemblies—has their name appeared?  You could even offer your own reward at home when this happens
  • Talk to your children about the work they are completing each day. Here are some helpful questions:
    • What is the first task you have been given today? Can you explain to me what the task is? Is there anything I can do to help?
    • Would you like to share with me what you have worked on and learnt today? What are you most proud of? What is one thing you would like to return to later or tomorrow that you found challenging?
    • Have you completed all the quizzes for each of your lessons? I’d like you to be getting some positive phone-calls home! Did you get any shout-outs this week?

Further Support and Next Steps

If you have any problems with Show my Homework, accessing or completing the work, or you need support with home learning, please email HomeLearning@stmarksacademy.org.uk

We will be developing this plan and sharing more information as the weeks go on, so please look out for further communication.

Good luck with your home learning, and work hard!

Update 25-03-20

Summer Examinations

We wanted to write to you personally to echo the important messages you have received from your Headteacher over the past few weeks and to clarify what the Government has shared with education sector leaders regarding this summer’s examinations. The coronavirus has plunged the world into a state of chaos, and we are all trying to navigate through these unprecedented times and trying desperately to understand how to support each other whilst focusing on the minimising the terrible impact of COVID19. You are particularly affected as you have been working hard preparing for your GCSE, A level and vocational examinations this summer and that will undoubtedly cause you uncertainty and anxiety – this is completely natural as you will be concerned about the next phase of your life; be that into Post-16 education, university or into the world of work.

The Government has provided the following guidance https://www.gov.uk/government/news/furtherdetails-on-exams-and-grades-announced In summary, your teachers will submit predicted grades that they believe “fairly reflects the work that they have put in”. The guidance also states that teacher will “take into account a range of evidence and data including performance on mock exams and non-exam assessment – clear guidance on how to do this fairly and robustly will be provided to schools and colleges. The exam boards will then combine this information with other relevant data, including prior attainment, and use this information to produce a calculated grade for each student, which will be a best assessment of the work they have put in.” There will be an opportunity for those who wish to appeal against one or more of their predicted grades to sit an examination early in the Autumn Term, although it is unclear how or when that will be organised at this stage.

This is one of several reasons why it is important that you keep up with your studies over the months ahead. We completely understand there are many questions yet to be answered and everyone involved in your education is anxiously waiting additional information from the Government. Please be assured your teachers and Headteacher will do everything possible to ensure you get the grades you deserve based on your efforts up to this point. Some of you will be completing coursework and will be submitting that in the normal way, as this is likely to be part of the evidence that your school will have to submit to support your predicted grade, and your school will help you to ensure your efforts are appropriately acknowledged and rewarded. However, it is important to consider that learning is more than just gaining examination results and I would urge you to continue with your studies during this uncertain phase of your education.

Learning is a life-long skill and the current situation provides an opportunity for you to develop some of those skills you will use in the next phase of your life. Developing skills such as independent learning, research and A place to thrive 2 conceptual thinking, improving revision techniques, honing a variety of communication skills, developing I.T. capability, including those that support remote/virtual learning, will stand you in good stead for the future and I would encourage you to find the right balance of looking after yourself and those close to you whilst continuing to focus on your future. Your school will update any news regarding your examinations on the school’s website and I would encourage you to follow the Department for Education (DfE) website for the latest updates.

The website address is https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-education 

Update 20-03-20 

Closure of School due to Coronavirus. We have been instructed by the Department for Education to close the school to all students except those students whose parents are critical (key) workers.

national strategy to delay the further spread of Coronavirus. With effect from Monday 23 March, St Mark’s Church of England Academy will be closed until further notice.
The most recent scientific advice on how to further limit the spread of COVID-19 is clear.
If children can stay safely at home, they should, to limit the chance of the virus spreading.
More information for parents can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings information-for-parents-and-carers/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers
That is why the government has asked parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and asked schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend.
It is important to underline that schools, colleges and other educational establishments remain safe places for children. But the fewer children making the journey to school, and the fewer children in educational settings, the lower the risk that the virus can spread and infect vulnerable individuals in the wider society.

Key Principles that the Government have set out:
Please follow these:

1.    If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.

2.    If a child needs specialist support, is vulnerable or has a parent who is a critical (key) worker, then educational provision will be available for them. Currently this will be at our school. But please be aware that this may change if we cannot provide sufficient and appropriate staffing.

3.   Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions.

4.  Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.

     5.   Residential special schools, boarding schools and special settings continue to               care for children wherever possible.

If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be. If a child needs specialist support, is vulnerable or has a parent who is a critical (key) worker, then educational provision will be available for them. Currently this will be at our school. But please be aware that this may change if we cannot provide sufficient and appropriate staffing.

Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions.

Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.

Residential special schools, boarding schools and special settings continue to care for children wherever possible.

I realise that not attending school causes potential disruption to your child’s learning and routine. The school has put in place steps to help students continue to learn whilst at home through ShowMyHomework

This year’s summer examinations for Year 11 and 13 will also not go ahead, with the government pledging to work with the exams regulator “to ensure children get the qualifications that they need”. We are awaiting further clarification on how qualifications will be awarded and will let you know once we have further information. The school will continue to set work for any Year 11 and 13 students via ShowMyHomework

During the school closure, your child’s non-attendance will not be marked as an unauthorised absence. This will not affect your child’s attendance record.
I will keep you informed of any changes to the school closure via the school website and parent e- mail. If you have any questions on whole school arrangements, please e-mail the school school@stmarksacademy.org.uk.
If you have any safeguarding concerns please contact dsl@stmarksacademy.org.uk via email.
I would be grateful if you can keep up to date with the Public Health England guidance on Coronavirus so that you can keep yourself and your family safe. Use the website below, which is currently being updated daily:
https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response
The government has asked schools to only remain open to students whose parents are critical (key) workers or children who have an Education Health and Care Plan or social worker. If your child falls into one of these categories they are eligible to attend school.
For safeguarding and planning reasons we must know in advance which students are intending to come into school during the school closure.

If you wish for your child to continue to attend school, please complete the response form using this link by 2pm on Friday 20 March. Once we have received your form we will confirm that you have a place.
School will be open for these students only from Monday 23 March. For replies received after 2pm noon on Friday 20 March, students may be given an alternative start date. This to aid us in planning the correct staffing levels.
Students attending school on Monday 23 March should be in suitable clothes every day or full school uniform and report to the main hall at 8:30am. Please note that the normal school behaviour policy applies whilst children are in school.
The school will be open and students will be supervised completing the work set by their normal teachers.
For next week until we know the number of students attending school our break and lunch dinner service will continue as usual. We will not be holding a breakfast club, however all students who attend will be provided with a free break time option. Those who receive FSM will continue to receive a meal at lunch time free of charge.
Parents should assume there is no/limited public transport available and should make their own arrangements for their child to travel to and from school. Please contact Merton Council if you require any further information on school transport.
The school will be open Monday to Friday from 8.30am – 2.45pm. As our usual behaviour policy applies, any student detentions could be held on site until 3pm.
Free School Meals
If your child is not attending school and is eligible for a free school meal, they will receive a packed lunch for the next two weeks until Friday 3rd April. If you are eligible for Free School Meals your child can pick up a packed lunch each day between 11am – 12midday. We will update those eligible for Free School Meals separately with further plans or changes to this.
It is important to underline that schools remain safe places for children. But the fewer children making the journey to school, and the fewer children in educational settings, the lower the risk that the virus can spread and infect vulnerable individuals in wider society.
I appreciate that this is a difficult time for families and children, but I can assure you the school is taking every step possible to follow government guidance.
Our staff are working incredibly hard to play their role in supporting the government in their strategy to contain this virus. I know that you will join with me in thanking them for their dedication and commitment. Please do all you can to support them and help them at this time. Please work with us to protect them too and follow all Public Health Guidance.

As the situation evolves, we will continue to update you on how our plans change. May I take this opportunity to thank you in advance for your continued support.

Update 19-03-20

We write further to the earlier Prime Minister’s briefing and statement made to the House of Commons last night by Gavin Williamson, Secretary of State for Education. Covid-19 is undoubtedly one of the greatest global challenges of our time and we in education must now also adapt and adopt profound changes to our methods of working.
The Academy will close on Friday 20 March - until further notice – to all students other than those in the key worker category as identified by the Prime Minister. We are still waiting for the confirmation from the cabinet office about who is in this group and who isn’t, and we will write to you as soon as we can with more information.

For these children and young people identified, we are anticipating that we will be running - for as long as we are able - provision on our school site, including over the Easter Holidays. This provision will not be the usual timetable or the National Curriculum, however we will endeavour to ensure your children and young people are safe and cared for during this period.
At the time of writing we are not able to confirm whether school transport will continue in its current form and will let parents know as soon as we have more information. Please keep checking the School website and emails regularly as these will be our channels for communication.
For those pupils and students not in these priority groups, who unfortunately will not be attending school for the foreseeable future we are working on continuing to provide learning resources and guidance. We will provide more information about this in due course.
Please could we respectfully ask for your support in not calling us with questions at this stage. We know that you have many questions that need to be answered. You have our reassurance that we are working as quickly and effectively as we can, in order to be able to present a clear plan to you as soon as we can as soon as we get detailed guidance from Government. We will provide a further update later today.

Update 18-03-20

From tomorrow, Thursday 19th March until Friday 20th March the school will be closed to pupils in Year 9, 10 and 12 only. Any students in Year 9, 10 and 12 who are entitled to FSM can come to the school on Thursday 19th March and Friday 20th March to collect a “grab and go” meal at 1pm from the picnic area.

We apologise for the inconvenience but our priority is to keep our students safe and we cannot do that if we do not have enough staff on site. If you cannot keep your child at home safely, please contact us on 020 8648 6627 and we will make every attempt to accommodate your child by group teaching.

We are reviewing the situation as it evolves and will notify you as early as possible of any decisions we make. Please keep your children at home when the school is closed to their year group and ensure that they complete the work on showmyhomework.

Update 16-03-20

You will be aware that we are putting provisions in place should we have to close or partially close the school, as directed by the Government or due to staffing reduction. To aid our planning, please can you complete a quick survey by following this link:
St Mark’s Parent Employment Survey

This is entirely optional, however it will enable us to plan for pupil learning and appropriate pastoral care, as well as contingency planning. Please see our school Privacy Notice if you want to know more about how we use information. This is available here: St Mark’s Academy Policies. At this stage we are still waiting for firm guidance from the Department for Education, however as soon as we know more, we will communicate with you. The information we are gathering will just help us respond quickly. 

As it stands, there are still no known cases of COVID-19 among our staff or student groups. As a precautionary measure, a number of families have taken the decision to self-isolate in accordance with the current advice about what to do if you experience possible symptoms – namely:

•    A high temperature (37.8 degrees and above)
•    A new, continuous cough

We continually advise our families to follow the guidance as directed by NHS which can be found here https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ 

We continue to be advised by the Government, Public Health England and Anthem Schools Trust, and will update you via our school website and Parent Mail of any further developments.

Please bear with us through these challenging times and be assured that we are doing our very best to respond to this rapidly evolving situation in the interests of everyone in our school community. I understand that this is a very concerning time for everyone and I wish all our families good health during these uncertain times.
 

Update 15-03-20

Academy open


We hope you’ve had a restful weekend. The Academy is open tomorrow, Monday 16 March 2020 and look forward to welcoming our students at 8.25am. If your child is absent please call 020 8648 6627 (option 1). In these uncertain times, we hope that our families are well and in good health.

Update 13-03-20

Advice&Guidance
I understand that many of you will be feeling very worried at the moment, so I wanted to update and reassure you about what we are doing to safeguard our school community against the COVID-19 coronavirus. Thankfully, we have not yet had any confirmed cases of the virus at our school, and we continue to follow the Public Health England (PHE) guidelines very closely. Yesterday, the Government advised that that if you develop a new persistent cough and/or high temperature (37.8 degrees or above), to please self-isolate your child at home for 7 days.

The advice from the Government for people with symptoms has changed. You do not need to call NHS 111 but should follow advice on the NHS website and also the stay at home guidelines. Please see links included in this letter.

What to do if your child develops the symptoms

  • Call the School Attendance Office on 020 8648 6627 (option 1)
  • Inform the Attendance Manager of your child’s name and symptoms
  • Self-isolate for 7 days from the point of your child displaying mild symptoms
  • You do not need to call NHS 111 to go into isolation
  • If your condition worsens, call NHS 111 or in an emergency call 999
  • If after 7 days your child no longer has any symptoms, he/she may return to school

Virtual learning in the event of school closure

In the event of a school closure and to minimise the disruption of learning for your child, we have arranged a virtual learning platform to enable continued learning from home. You and your child will be able to access further guidance from the school website, in the event the school has to close.

We will utilise the virtual learning platform ‘Show My Homework’ and where required, will send communication to students via their school email account. Please check with your child that they have their login details for both accounts.

If the school has to close, we will contact you via Parentmail, text and update our website. I would strongly advise that if you have recently changed your contact details (mobile and/or email address) to please inform the school office of the changes as soon as possible. Please call 020 8648 6627 or email school@stmarksacademy.org.uk

Travelling overseas during Easter break and/or other term breaks

  • For your safety, we strongly recommend that you do not travel to countries listed as ‘against travel’ as advised by the FCO
  • You should consult the latest travel advice from the FCO and Public Health England
  • Subscribe to email alerts for the country/territory you’re planning to visit. Get email alerts here https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

Preventative Measures at the Academy

I would like to take this opportunity to reassure you about the steps we have taken to ensure good hygiene and limit the risk of viral infection at school.

  • Hand washing facilities with soap for all students, staff and visitors
  • Enhanced cleaning regime carried out by our cleaning contractor
  • Deep clean of the Academy carried out by our cleaning contractor
  • A ‘no hand shake’ approach during our greetings
  • COVID-19 guidance posters around the Academy
  • Screening declaration form for all visitors on site
  • Safe isolation procedures in place to deal with suspected symptoms
  • Communication and guidance provided to students during coaching time
  • Alcohol based surface wipes for each department and key areas
  • Tissue available for every classroom
  • All students have and continue to receive briefings on keeping safe & healthy during these uncertain times.
  • Staff are regularly briefed on updates and actions to take to ensure the safe and wellbeing of St Mark’s community

These measures will remain in place for the foreseeable future.

I understand this is a very concerning time for everyone, but it is important that we all remain calm and respond appropriately according to official advice and guidance. I wish all our families good health during these uncertain times.

NHS Website 
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Stay at Home Guidance
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-people-with-confirmed-or-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection

Public Health England
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public

Government Action Plan            https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-action-plan

NHS 11 Online                       
https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19

NHS Guidance                       
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Travel Advice                         
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus

Update 10-03-2020
To protect the wellbeing of all our visitors, staff and pupils, we have introduced some precautionary measures for all visitors to our Academy site. These remain subject to change, according to Government advice. Ahead of our event, if any of the following statements apply, we kindly ask that you follow the Public Health Guidance and quarantine yourself for 14 days – this would mean that you do not come into school but instead, call NHS 111 for further advice.

  • You have travelled to a category 1 area
  • You have travelled to a category 2 area and have developed symptoms
  • You have, within the past 14 days been in contact with anyone with suspected or confirmed Coronavirus (COVID-19)

We welcome all visitors to the Academy but have agreed to review our welcome to all visitors and exercise a no hand shake’ greeting. In light of the additional precautionary measures, we still look forward to seeing you at future Academy events.

Update 03-03-2020
NHS 111 has an online coronavirus service that can tell you if you need medical help and advise you what to do. Use the NHS 111 Corona Service
https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19 Use this service if:

  • you think you might have coronavirus
  • in the last 14 days you've been to a country or area with a high risk of coronavirus – see our coronavirus advice for travellers
  • you've been in close contact with someone with coronavirus

 Update 02-03-2020
Please see joint statement from Merton LA and Public Health England
https://news.merton.gov.uk/2020/03/02/joint-statement-with-public-health-england-following-confirmed-case-of-coronavirus-at-wimbledon-college/

Update 27-02-2020
A letter was sent home via ParentMail to all parents. See letter below. Please inform the main office if you have changed your email and/or contact details to ensure you continue to receive updates from the Academy. Thank you.