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  • Update to Parents - 20 November 2020

    date posted: 20/11/20

    Dear Parents and Carers

    Re: Update letter

    I hope that this letter finds you and your families well. I wanted to share some updates with you around a variety of topics.

    We continue to be impressed with the focus and application of students in their lessons and it has been a pleasure to celebrate student achievements through the awarding of ePraise points and subject specific ‘stars of the week’.

    There have been over 170, 000 points awarded to students since September, with the top tutor groups in each year being, 7A, 8H, 9Y, 10T and 11R. Congratulations to these groups and to everyone who has received points.

    Well done also to our stars of the week; Milly, Neave, Lily, Callum, Summer, Emilia, David, Hannah, Chloe, Fenton, Kian, Danielle, Maisie, Karina, Jarryd, Cameron and Zoe, who have been awarded by their subject teachers for their commitment to their studies.

    Covid Measures

    Face coverings are now mandatory in school when moving in communal areas. We would ask that you ensure that students come to school with a face covering each day. The government has directed schools to implement this additional measure to help reduce the risk of the virus spreading in areas such as corridors and other shared indoor spaces, other than classrooms.

    Face coverings are also mandatory on school transport and we would ask that you remind students to wear one before boarding their bus and to keep it on for the duration of their journey to and from school.

    We understand that there are students who are medically exempt from wearing a face covering. If your son/daughter falls into this category, please contact their Head of Year to let them know. We are asking students who are exempt to wear a yellow lanyard so that staff can easily identify those who are not required to wear a facial covering, and this will reduce the risk of them being challenged in areas that require one.

    We recently had an inspection from the Health and Safety Executive to monitor and advise us about our implementation of the guidance issued to schools regarding Covid-19. I am pleased to share that this visit went well and that concerns were not raised. The visit provided us with a useful opportunity to gain insights into best practice and we are continuing to refine our processes, to ensure we are doing all we can to keep our community safe in these uncertain times.

    I would like to thank school staff for all their hard work that they are doing, on top of their normal duties, in order to ensure your child’s learning and our working environments are as safe as they can be.

    Year 7 - Head of Year

    Mrs White, our Head of Year 7 is returning to us over the coming weeks, following a period of absence and during this time we are pleased that Mrs Farbus has agreed to support Year 7, as acting Head of Year.

    Walking and cycling to and from school

    We have had some messages of concern from members of our wider community regarding the care which students are taking on their way home from school. It has been brought to our attention that some students are placing themselves and others in danger by not taking the time to cross roads carefully. Reports of students not checking the road for traffic or staring at their phones with headphones in are a concern. Please do remind your son/daughter that they need to remain vigilant when near roads and to cross with care, and to use the crossing points where available.

    Similar reports have been received regarding some students cycling in a way that places them at risk. These include sudden changes of direction in the road or sudden entry onto the road from paths in the surrounding area. If your child cycles to school, please do reiterate the need to cycle with care and please also encourage the wearing of a helmet. Many students do wear helmets which is great to see however there are still students who do not, and it cannot be overstated how essential these really are.

    Conduct on the way to and from school

    The vast majority of our students are a credit to themselves and their families and we are confident that they conduct themselves in a positive way on their way to and from school. We have however had some concerning reports that a small number of students have let themselves down by using inappropriate language on the way to or from school. This was particularly disappointing when we heard that younger students and parents at a local primary school had encountered Heathfield students swearing on their journeys past their school.

    We will of course act on any information that identifies individuals, however this is unfortunately not always available. Please could I ask you to remind students of our shared expectations around their conduct and for you to also reiterate our messages encouraging the reporting of any such poor behaviour, so that we can work with parents to stop such incidents.

    Assessment points

    We are approaching the first main assessment point for each year group and Mr Grant will be sharing further information with you regarding this in the near future.

    Year 11 Mocks

    This week has seen the start of the Year 11 mock examination period and I would like to thank students for how well they have approached these important assessments. We understand that this is a particularly anxious time for students in examination year groups and for their families. The English government are currently indicating that GCSE and other formal examinations will go ahead at the end of the summer term, and we are preparing students accordingly with this in mind. We will update you with any changes to the government’s guidance in due course.

    I hope this information update has been useful and I would like to wish you and your family a restful and safe weekend.

    Yours sincerely

    Karl Husband
    Acting Head

  • Aspire Updates - Autumn 2020

    date posted: 18/11/20

    Beyond The Classroom

    Last January, 39 Heathfield students signed up for the Beyond The Classroom project. A new addition to the school's Aspire programme, the project encourages students to pursue a project of their choice over a period of six months. With chosen project titles ranging from Photographic Portraits of Birds to Spanish Language and Culture, our scheduled Showcase Day in June was promising to be a wonderful celebration of students' projects. Unfortunately, as the Covid pandemic continued, it became obvious that our showcase day would not go ahead. We are now accepting finished projects in early January and plans are in place to showcase the wonderful work of our students in video form once the projects have been submitted.

    The next Beyond the Classroom project will be launched in February 2021.

    The Brilliant Club Scholars Programme

    In January 2020, Heathfield entered 12 students into the Scholars Programme which is co-ordinated and delivered by the university access charity The Brilliant Club. As part of the 6-week course, selected students were scheduled to visit a local University for an induction day before completing a University-style study project delivered by a graduate. The university visit would then be repeated at the end of the programme so that the students could experience their own graduation ceremony having completed their set assignment.

    Inevitably, the Covid lockdown meant that all plans were suspended. Upon returning to school in September we worked with the Brilliant Club to arrange weekly on-line tutorials which are now taking place on a Monday evening.

    By the time Christmas arrives, twelve students in years 8, 9 and 10 will have experienced a University-style course based around a literary topic which challenges their academic abilities, organisational skills and resilience.

    Having witnessed the students participating in these tutorials, I have been incredibly impressed by their focus, ability and desire to embrace literary theory that they may not necessarily encounter in school. It’s wonderful to see all the students stepping bravely outside of their comfort zones to embrace challenging, yet stimulating material.

    Well done to all involved!

    The Aspire Challenge Programme

    A little later than planned due to the Covid-19 situation, I am planning to re-launch the Aspire Challenge Programme in the run-up to Christmas. The Aspire Challenge Programme is a Heathfield school scheme designed to inspire our students to achieve beyond their potential and celebrate their ability throughout their school years.

    The Aspire Challenge Programme is comprised of a number of challenges which aim to stretch, challenge, engage and motivate our students in a wide range of skills and subjects. There is no limit to the number of challenges a student can undertake and achieve.

    The challenges can be completed in any order. Certificates are awarded once students have completed blue, red and green challenges and if they complete the bronze, silver, gold, platinum or rhodium challenges, they receive a pin badge to wear on their school jumper.

    More updates on the Aspire Challenge Programme will be available soon.

    Maths Aspire Booklet

    Click here to download the Maths Aspire booklet for Years 7 & 8.

    Mr Bament
    Aspire and HPA Co-ordinator

  • Swifts at Heathfield

    date posted: 18/11/20

    Swifts at Heathfield

    5 years ago a small group of staff and the student Eco Team built and installed 12 swift nest boxes to the east end of the Humanities building. Swifts are incredible birds that sleep, eat, mate and bathe in the air. They have evolved to fly continuously, and when they leave our shores in August, they spend the next 9 months winging their way down to sub-Saharan Africa and back without landing. With long pointed wings and a forked tail, swifts often scream around roof tops in large groups on warm summer evenings.

    Unfortunately, building renovations mean that the old buildings that swifts rely on for nest sites are becoming less accessible for these birds as owners modernise and refurbish their properties. The nooks and crannies that swifts like to nest in are becoming increasingly rare and swift numbers in the UK have plummeted by almost 50% in the last 25 years. Our nest boxes were designed to attract swifts and create a new colony of nesting birds. We knew that swifts nested nearby in neighbouring houses and we hoped that younger visiting swifts would soon take a liking to our boxes. Mr Walker and Mr Friend helped to set up a speaker system from which we would play swift attraction calls and over the years we have had numerous fly-bys from curious swifts.

    Frustratingly, we couldn't entice any swifts into the nest boxes. In June we noticed a solitary swift paying close attention to the speakers next to the boxes but it didn't seem at all interested in the box entrances.

    Finally, in July I decided to check the boxes one more time before making plans to change the boxes for a different design. I set off across town towards Heathfield on a hot summer's morning and it seemed that swifts were everywhere. All over town groups were screaming around the roof tops. July sees many juvenile birds arriving in the UK and they boost swift numbers while they look for new nest sites to begin breeding the following year. As I approached school, all was quiet. Within minutes however, a group of screaming swifts arrived and made straight for the boxes; this time they were aiming for the entrances and amongst the confusion a single swift dropped out of a nest box. I blinked. After five long summers it seemed as though we finally had a resident.

    I visited again later that day and at 9pm two swifts appeared from nowhere, circled the ROSLA block and bulleted into two separate boxes. This was their bed for the night and now I was sure that swifts had taken up residency at Heathfield School. The wonderful thing about swifts is that they are very loyal to a nesting site once they have found one. Over the next nine months, the swifts that roosted in our boxes will fly down over the Sahara, The Congo Basin and beyond before heading back to two specific wooden boxes at a school in Taunton next May.

    These birds are a wonderful addition to the school site and for a few months of the year, between May and August, they should provide a regular, fast-flying display over our heads. We also hope to install cameras within some of the boxes which will enable us to study and follow our swifts as they use these boxes to raise their young.

    Roll on May 2021.

    Mr Bament

  • Bridgwater & Taunton College - November Online Showcase - Wednesday 18 November

    date posted: 16/11/20

    This is the last opportunity to take a look and find out more about BTC before Christmas is happening this week.

    What’s different? This showcase provides pupils with the opportunity to speak directly to curriculum staff and get their questions answered. The times of each live curriculum staff led Q & A session and the link to join will be found on each subject page.

    For a look at our facilities there will be the 360 degree virtual tour but now we have added short videos from most curriculum areas giving pupils a closer look.

    So please pre-register https://www.btc.ac.uk/events/november-virtual-showcase/ We look forward to welcoming you.

  • END OF HALF-TERM LETTER

    date posted: 23/10/20

    END OF HALF-TERM LETTER

     

    Dear Parents and Carers

    I hope that this letter finds you and your families well, I am writing to share some information with you as the first half term draws to a close.

    We have enjoyed having our students back with us since September and are proud of how our community has worked to reconnect relationships and returned to in person learning whilst adapting to what seems, for now at least to be our ’new normal’. It has been pleasing to see students back in classrooms and also engaging in a range of extra-curricular activities which we hope will become a greater feature for students over the coming months.

    Heathfield students have entered a regional visual arts competition and we would like to celebrate Ben, 1st in the Photography category, Mychael, 1st and Grace, 2nd in the 2-Dimensional category and Tilly, 3rd in the 3-Dimensional category. They beat off stiff competition from schools and colleges from across the south west. Well done to all who entered. Pictures of the students’ work will be uploaded to our Facebook site.

    Well done to all our students involved in the Duke of Edinburgh walks and training activities that have happened this half term. We were also happy that we could provide a version of our annual year 7 trips to the Pinkery outdoor centre on Exmoor, where year 7s have a chance to strengthen their tutor group friendships whilst taking part in a range of outdoor activities. These were a great success and the memories made will last a lifetime.

    The Princes Trust group have also been busy making Perspex screens for desks that will help to keep people safe and have also made some smaller portable ones too. This is a really valuable enterprise activity that involves budgeting, planning and creating a new product that is very much appreciated by the people using them. Well done to all involved.

    Well done to our stars of the week from this half term, it’s a real joy each week to see the students receive their certificates and to see them gain the recognition they deserve for their hard work. Photos of the winners are on our Facebook site.

    Below you will find some further information on a range of topics, which I hope you will find useful.

    Video showcase

    Look out on Facebook and our website for a video showcase which celebrates some of the fantastic work produced by a range of our hardworking and talented students. The video showcases were popular during lockdown as a way of highlighting great work and we will create one each half term.

    Reading

    Reading continues to be one of the key activities undertaken in year 7 and 8 tutor times and has been proved time again to have broader beneficial impacts beyond the content of the book itself. Year 11 tutor groups are reading Charles Dickens’ classic book ‘a Christmas Carol’ which as well as being an excellent book, has the added benefit of being one of the set texts for the English GCSE examination.

    New staff

    We have been busy recruiting additional staff this half term and are pleased to say that we have made several very pleasing appointments. These include 4 additional learning support staff, a member of the site team, 2 Maths teachers and a SENCO. These new colleagues will further strengthen our team and will enable us to provide your child with additional support and learning opportunities. These staff will all have started with us by January 2021.

    Uniform

    Following the half term break we will be moving to winter uniform which means that students in years 7, 8 and 9 will need to wear shirt and tie rather than the school polo shirt. Years 10 and 11 can continue to wear the Heathfield polo shirts. Thank you for your support with uniform this half term, students are looking very smart.

    Covid -19

    On our return to school after the half term break, we would ask that students wear a face covering when moving around school within indoor communal areas. We will be asking staff to take the same precautions. We do understand that there are some members of our community who cannot wear a face covering and we would of course not force them to wear one.

    We would recommend that students come to school with a warm waterproof coat, preferably with a hood, as the weather will no doubt become colder and wetter over the coming weeks. We will be prioritising ventilation in classrooms which may make them cooler than normal, as a result teachers are likely to allow the wearing of coats inside classrooms at appropriate times. Outside line ups, before entering classrooms will also be more comfortable if your child is wearing a warm coat.

    Reporting a positive Covid-19 test result

    With school reception closing for half term we would like to share a means of reporting a positive Covid -19 test result within our school community during half term. We have launched a new email address that we would like to share with you. Please email details of any student positive test results to:

    ConfirmedCovid@Heathfieldcommunityschool.co.uk

    Please only email this address if your child has a positive test result. The senior leadership team will monitor this email throughout the holiday. There are key pieces of information that we would need to share with our colleagues at Public Health, which they use to advise us on the appropriate course of action. We would then contact you to gain this relevant information.

    Remote learning

    Unfortunately, we do have a number of students who cannot attend school currently due to isolating as a precaution following close contact with a person who has had a positive Covid test result. We miss our Year 11s and the students isolating in other years and look forward to welcoming you all back soon.

    Isolating students are supported to continue their learning remotely using one of our online platforms. Years 7,8 and 9 are currently using ePraise and Years 10 and 11 are using Microsoft Teams as their learning environment. The provision of high-quality remote learning is a priority for us and if your child has been isolating, we would like to hear your feedback on their experiences of remote learning so that we can continue to refine our provision.

    The link to the feedback survey is here: 

    Click here to access the feedback survey

    I feel as a school community, we should all reflect with pride upon what has been achieved since our return to school in September. We are still very much learning and working in unprecedented times with challenges to families and schools which no one could have predicted, however between us we will ensure that our young people are supported and can enjoy as much normality and routine as possible.

    We have been so impressed by how the whole school community has supported each other during this period and do not take this for granted. Together, we will overcome the challenges that lay ahead, and in the meantime, we send our best wishes to students and colleagues who are away from school unwell for whatever reason and wish them all a speedy recovery.

    Thank you also to the students and staff currently isolating, who in doing so, are helping keep our school and wider communities safe.

    Wishing you and your families a restful and safe half term break.

    Yours sincerely

    Karl Husband
     Acting Head

     

  • AUTUMN TERM SHOWCASE

    date posted: 23/10/20

    AUTUMN TERM SHOWCASE

    Happy half term everyone! We hope you all enjoy the break after another wonderful term at school. This video showcase shows a sample of the excellent work produced by our hardworking and talented students. Well done to you all.

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