News & Events

To see all of the wonderful things our students have been up to, please check out our most recent newsletters. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook where you can keep up to date on all that happens at John Spence.

Concerns about Coronavirus

Year 11 Update 03.04.20

OFQUAL have now published details of how they will be awarding qualifications. Please click here for a letter from OFQUAL to all students about how the process will work and what they can expect. I wanted to get this out to you asap so once we have processed all the information we will update you further.

Best wishes

Jonathan

03.04.2020 Update

Please note that Free School Meal deliveries will continue to take place throughout the Easter holidays – Contact us today if you do not require a delivery throughout this period as we will be unable to update deliveries during the holidays. We are still waiting for contact from the voucher provider that we will be using after Easter so we will get that information out to eligible families as soon as we can.

A full end of term update can be found here. We will be sending a copy of this letter in the post to you along with a couple of flyers from the Local Authority and Northumbria Police about staying safe.

The school office will be open between 9am and 3pm every day, but if you do not manage to get through by phone then please email jschs.office@ntlp.org.uk

Best wishes and stay safe.

Jonathan

01.04.2020 Update

Yesterday the government announced a voucher system for students eligible for Free School Meals. We are currently waiting for an email from the voucher provider that will provide us with full details of how to implement the system following which we will contact parents of eligible children. We intend to end the current delivery service on Friday and I would like to thank Radar Taxis once again for their generosity in delivering the meals for us. The voucher system will commence after the Easter holidays.

The Local Authority have asked us to identify families where both parents are frontline NHS workers or if you are a single parent in one of these critical roles. If this is the case, please can you click this link and answer some quick questions so that we can share this information with the Local Authority.

We do continue to have a small number of students in school on a daily basis, but thank you once again for following the government guidelines that where possible children should be kept at home. We will be open throughout the Easter holidays for the children of critical workers, although I know that virtually everyone has been able to make alternative arrangements. We will be closing registers for this provision on Friday so that we can finalise staffing for the next two weeks.

I will post a further update on Friday, but in the meantime if you have any questions please contact the school office between 8.30am and 3.15pm.

Best wishes and keep staying safe!

30.03.20 Update

I hope that your child is managing to login to ShowMyHomework and accessing the work available for them, there should be more than enough to keep them going until the Easter holidays. If you do need paper versions of the work then please contact the school office between 8.30 and 3.15 and we will arrange for the work to be delivered to you. Teachers are currently putting together work for all year groups for after the Easter holidays and we will publish further details in a later update.

Mrs Entwistle, from the Art department will be issuing daily Art challenges on Instagram from today so please follow jschs.art and use #jschsart to share some artwork. It would be great to see our students getting creative and producing some amazing work over the coming weeks!

As mentioned in Friday’s update we are expecting to hear more from OFQUAL by the end of this week about how Year 11 qualifications will be awarded and another development this week should be more information on how Free School Meals will function after the Easter holidays. We continue to deliver meals via Radar Taxis until the end of this week.

Next update will be on Wednesday, but please do contact the school if you need any information.

Best wishes

Jonathan

27.03.20 Update

We have received some further queries from parents regarding how qualifications are to be awarded for our Year 11 students. We are expecting full details of this process from OFQUAL by the end of next week at which point we will have a much better idea of how it will work. The guidance at the moment is based upon two key areas:

  • Teachers’ predictions
  • Students’ prior attainment

The teacher predictions will be based upon a range of evidence including classwork, homework, performance in assessments and coursework where appropriate. A student’s prior attainment will be their KS2 SATs scores as these are a reliable indicator of what students should achieve by the end of KS4. There will obviously be variability in terms of rates pf progress across 5 years so our teacher predictions will reflect this, but when analysed as a full cohort rather than at an individual student level, we would expect that that prior attainment to be a reliable indicator meaning that the system is as fair as it can be in these exceptional circumstances. Once we provide this information to OFQUAL they will then analyse it at a school and national level before reaching a decision on what grades each individual student will be awarded. I would also like to reinforce the point that I made to Year 11 before they left that it is highly likely that they will be studying the courses or engaged in the training that they had planned to prior to the cancellation of exams.

It is also worth noting that current Year 11 students will be able to opt into examinations in the Autumn Term if they wish to do so, of which more details will follow next week. Bearing this in mind, we encourage all Year 11 students to access the work set on ShowMyHomework so that they are able to access these exams in the future. Work for Year 11 will be updated after the Easter holidays with a combination of revision tasks and activities helped to prepare them for September.

I’m sure you’ll all agree how moving the ‘Clap for the NHS’ was last night. To stand outside our front door and hear the community come together in appreciation of the work being done by NHS workers was inspiring. As a community we are standing together and following the rules of the lockdown to slow the spread of infection and protect the most vulnerable. As a school, we will continue to do what we can to support our families during this time.

My very best wishes and stay safe.

Jonathan

26.03.20 Update

One of the best things that you can encourage your child to do over the coming weeks is read. Reading not only develops vocabulary, knowledge and communication skills, but it also offers an escape into another world which, 4 days into home schooling, may be a welcome proposition for parents as well! North Tyneside Libraries are obviously closed, but they buy into a service called BorrowBox meaning that all NT Library members can download up to 8 e-books or audio books. Follow these simple steps:

  1. If you are already registered with the North Tyneside Library Service and have a Pin then go to step 8
  2. Click on the following link:  https://my.northtyneside.gov.uk/category/1009/join-library
  3. Click Join Online
  4. Complete the registration form
  5. Make a note of your Barcode
  6. Check you emails and click on the link to confirm registration
  7. Enter a pin number that you will remember
  8. Download the BorrowBox App or search BorrowBox online
  9. Search North Tyneside in the app/BorrowBox website
  10. Enter your North Tyneside Library barcode and pin
  11. Your’re good to go, but remember you’ve only got 8 free e-books!

I believe that every member of the household can register as long as each individual has a personal email address.

As an alternative for younger readers follow this link to access over 6000 free books: https://bit.ly/2WJ4qjP

Let’s stay safe and get reading!

Jonathan

 

25.03.20 Update

Very little to update today as we all adapt to the new rules in place around the lockdown.

We are investigating ways to connect with our students throughout the school closure. Form tutors will be doing this through ShowMyHomework, but we are looking at other platforms where this would be much easier.

We dealt with a number of queries regarding ShowMyHomework yesterday and have hopefully resolved most of the problems. Please do contact your child’s Head of Year if they are unable to access the platform or the work for any reason and somebody will get back to you with a solution. Follow the link here for a reminder of the instructions to access ShowMyHomework.  We will be publishing some details regarding activities for Year 11 as well as an update on qualifications in the next day or so.

Heads of Year email addresses:

Finally, it was great to see the work of Radar Taxis recognised in The Chronicle yesterday.

https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/taxi-firm-delivers-free-school-17970622

Please note that from now on school office hours are 8.30am – 3.15pm.

Stay safe everyone

24.03.20 Update

We will all be coming to terms with the lockdown announced by the Prime Minister last night and do not doubt that we will all do our best to follow these instructions. I know that it will be a struggle for some children to understand the necessity of staying at home so I have included a graphic in today’s update that really shows the impact of reducing contact between people. The concept behind the graphic is that if a lockdown doesn’t occur every person infected with the virus would infect on average 2.5 other people; the lockdown will cut this number by half. This will dramatically reduce the spread of infection.

an image showing the spread of infection

The school does remain open for the children of key workers and vulnerable children. Again, thank you all for your support in keeping your children at home in line with the Government advice If you have arranged for your child to attend this provision, but you change your mind or need to self-isolate please contact the school office by 8.45am.

We are aware that there have been some issues with ShowMyHomework and Hegarty Maths. Unfortunately, the demand on these platforms across the country means that they can be a bit more sluggish than usual. Both companies are working hard to address this issue. Please contact your child’s Head of Year If your child has any specific issues accessing the work set for them on ShowMyHomework and we will find an alternative for you.

The school office is open between 08.30 and 15.30 every day if you need to get in touch.

Our continued best wishes

Jonathan

23.03.20 Update

I hope this update finds you all well and managing to adapt to the strange new world that we are currently living in. Our provision for key workers’ children and vulnerable students is now up and running and I would like to thank you all for helping us to keep numbers to an absolute minimum in line with government advice. We do understand that circumstances may change so please do get in touch with the school office between 8.30am and 3.30pm if you would like to discuss the school’s provision during closure.

Thanks again to Radar Taxis who are today delivering 80 packed lunches to students entitled to a Free School Meal. If you have requested a packed lunch please make sure you are listening out between 12.15 and 1.45 as the drivers will not be able to wait around for long on each delivery. If you have requested a packed lunch, but would like to cancel, please contact the school office.

The latest Stay at Home advice can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection

We will continue to post updates every morning this week, but will not be texting to inform you of the updates from now on unless there are significant changes.

As a community we can beat this if we all follow the advice so please stay safe.

My very best wishes.

Jonathan Heath

20.03.20 Afternoon Update

It was a sad moment to say goodbye to the students today not knowing when we will see them again and it was especially difficult to say goodbye to Year 11 who in all likelihood will not be returning to school. The government have just announced the way in which qualifications will be awarded to students, which will be via a combination of teacher assessment and predicted grades; once we get further detail we will be able to put this information together and I am presuming students will receive their qualifications in the normal way in the summer.

Our provision for Monday is now ready to go and parents of children who will be attending school will be notified by text about the arrangements. It is worth noting that this provision is supervision and not education as the remit of schools has now been changed.

If you are eligible and have taken advantage of the Free School Meal offer then expect a delivery by Radar Taxis between 12.15pm and 1.45pm on Monday. It is amazing that Radar are supporting the school and our community by offering this service free of charge.

This week has been a week like no other in living memory and I would like to thank all our staff for the absolutely amazing job they have done in supporting the students and the senior leadership team; they really are a fantastic group of people to work with.

Finally, once again thank you for your ongoing support and understanding.

My very best wishes and stay safe.

Jonathan

20.03.20 Morning Update

The Government has now updated the advice for parents around job roles and whether or not they fall into the category of key worker. The key worker list and information can be found at the following link. Please read it carefully and get in touch with the school office by 12 noon today if you feel that this criteria applies to you and that you would like your child to attend our provision from Monday morning.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision

I have also copied the main details into a document that can be found here.

The letter found here  is the official confirmation that the school is closing until further notice from 3pm today. We will continue to post updates over the coming weeks, but please get in touch if you have any queries. We are here to help our community get through this.

I will post a final update for the week after the children go home today. A very sad time for us all.

19.03.20 – Evening Update

Unfortunately there is little more to report at this time following my earlier update. I was hoping for some clarification of the provision that we need to put in place for vulnerable students and the children of key workers so we will continue to plan based upon the announcement made yesterday by the Prime Minister. There has also not been any further clarification around key workers so again we will continue to plan based upon yesterday’s announcement that I referred to in my previous update. Please do contact the school by 10am tomorrow if you feel your job role falls into one of the categories

I will publish a letter on the website tomorrow morning detailing the official closure of the school until further notice. Very sad, but unfortunately a necessary step at this time.

19.03.20 Afternoon Update

We are continuing to put in place our response to the Government’s announcement last night and in particular planning our provision for vulnerable students and for those students whose parents fall under the Government’s key worker categories. We are still seeking clarity on the definition of vulnerable students and  will be in touch with parents directly once we have this clarification. We are also still awaiting the Government’s definition of key workers, although we do have a broad idea. With this in mind, if you feel that you fall into one of the following categories, please can you contact the school office who will put you through to a member of the senior leadership team.

  • Key Workers – If necessary, I will update this list following the government announcement later today

o   Healthcare Workers

o   Emergency Services

o   Teachers

o   Logistics, e.g. supermarket delivery drivers

If both parents or, if you are a single parent you, fall into one of these categories then we will be able to supervise your child during the school day. Please contact the school office on 0191 296 1432 as soon as possible and no later than 10am tomorrow morning if you will need to use this provision. Sadly, no other students, apart from students identified as vulnerable or those with an EHCP, will be able to attend school as it would heighten the risk of infection and as such contradict the Government’s advice on the reasons for school closures.  I hope that you understand the position of the school in that we are adhering to the advice to help the fight against Coronavirus. I do appreciate the profound difficulties that many of you will face over the coming days and weeks.

I will post a further brief update at the end of today, but from now on updates will be posted at 9am every day.

Thank you for the kind messages of support that many of you have posted.

Best wishes

Jonathan

19.03.20 Update

This page will be updated throughout the day with more information as and when we receive it; especially regarding critical roles and plans for Year 11 pupils.  We very much appreciate your patience and support as we deal with these unprecedented events.

18.03.20 Afternoon Update

The decision made by the Government to close all schools at the end of this week for all students other than those with parents in critical roles or the most vulnerable students has far reaching consequences, but I would like to reassure that it is a scenario that we have been preparing for. As of this moment we have no further details around which job roles are considered critical, although there are some obvious occupations e.g. healthcare and the Police.  As soon as we have this information we will update you.

This is clearly a worrying time for us all, but we will do all we can to support our community through this period. One thing we will do is continue to provide a daily bulletin so that you are always updated with the latest information from the Local Authority as well as updates on provision for our students. The following points are a brief initial response to school closure, we will provide more detail tomorrow as further details are released by the Government:

  • A leaflet will be posted home tomorrow for all parents and students with contact information for school. The main contact will be the school email jschs.office@ntlp.org.uk which should be used for general enquiries about student work and updates about the school closure. Other contact details will be shared for any issues around support and guidance for students.
  • Work is now published on ShowMyHomework (please look at the document link on the 16.03.20 update for information on how to login if your child is experiencing problems)

o   KS3 projects are available for all subjects.

o   KS4 revision materials are available for Year 10 and 11

o   KS4 lessons will be available for all subjects from Monday and will be updated at least 24 hours before a lesson would be due to take place on your child’s timetable.

The news that the May/June exams are cancelled is hugely significant and I know that many students will be upset that this has happened following the work, effort and commitment that they have put in over the years. As yet, we do not have the details of how students will be awarded qualifications, but as soon as we do we will update students and their parents. We will obviously be available in school over the next two days to support students following this decision.

Finally, I would like to express my thanks for the support that you have given to the school as well as acknowledge how fantastic our students have been in school during the last few weeks as this situation has developed. We will all continue to work hard to provide the very best provision we can in these exceptional circumstances.

My very best wishes to you all.

Jonathan Heath

18.03.2020 Update

As expected we saw a significant increase in the number of students self-isolating yesterday meaning that we will no longer be setting work for students at an individual level, but instead will be setting a range of tasks for different year groups.

In KS3 there will be a project for each subject for each year group that can be completed independently at home. Full details of each project can be found in ShowMyHomework and will be titled ‘KS3 Project – Subject’

Projects are currently available for:

Technology, History, English, Cultural Studies, Maths, ICT, Music and Art.

In KS4 we are supplying a range of revision materials. In Year 10, revision materials and activities will be linked to the focus of the Year 10 exams and in Year 11 they will obviously be much more wide ranging. The materials are titled ‘KS4 Year 10 – Subject’. 

Revision materials are currently available for the following subjects:

Technology, History, English, Ethics, Maths, ICT, Business Studies, Music and Art.

There is obviously a lot of concern from all parents, but in particular Year 11 parents will be worried about the implications of current measures on exam preparation and the exams themselves. A letter from Mrs Wylie can be found here.

We remain in a strong position with very few staff absences compared to other local schools. We are able to operate normally today, but will obviously review our provision on a daily basis in response to inevitable increases in staff absence.

Finally, the advice is clear – if any member of a household displays any symptoms then the whole household should self-isolate for 14 days even if symptoms disappear relatively quickly. These are a challenging set of circumstances, but hopefully these measures will limit the spread of infection and the ultimate impact of the virus both locally and nationally.  Thank you for your support.

17.03.2020 Update

Following the new guidance issued last night there are obviously some changes that we need to take into account today.

  • Self-isolation is now for 14 days for the household and not just for the individual with the symptoms. Symptoms remain a new continuous cough and/or a high temperature.
  • If your child self-isolated in the last couple of days the period of that self-isolation now needs to extend to 14 days.

We do fully understand the level of concern in our community, in particular where family members are elderly or have underlying medical conditions that are considered high risk. In these situations you will be making very difficult decision about what is the right thing to do and we would again direct you towards the latest information from the Government to help you make these decisions:

https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response

As well as keeping you up to date with the situation in school, we are also talking to the students. The link below is a message that will be read out during form time this morning offering advice and guidance:

Information for Students 17.03.20

We continue to monitor the situation very closely and adapt our planning as the days progress. We currently do have a number of students self-isolating, but fortunately the vast majority of staff are in school so we are able to operate normally in school with minimum disruption.

Please note all trips out of school and sporting events have been cancelled.

Updates will continue to be provided at 8am every morning until further notice.

16.03.2020 Update

As yet we are still unaware of any confirmed cases of Coronavirus linked to John Spence staff or students. Having said this, we do have a very small number of students self-isolating following the update to guidance at the end of last week. Just to remind you, if your child develops a cough or a fever (above 37.8 degrees) then they should self-isolate for 7 days. Currently the guidance does not extend to self-isolation of families where one member has a cough or fever. Government guidelines on self-isolation are available below:

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

 If you find yourself in the position of needing to self-isolate your child please follow these steps:

  1. Contact the school office rather than use the student absence line.
  2. Ask to speak to your child’s Head of Year. If they are unavailable you will be put through to our Home School Liaison Officer.

You will be given advice on how your child can access work during their self-isolation. All work will made available via ShowMyHomework so we are currently checking all student login details, but if your child is unable to login please follow the steps in the link below:

https://www.johnspence.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/ShowMyHomework-Advice-for-Parents.pdf

If an issue remains then please contact the school office.

We are operating as normal in school and will continue to follow the guidance from Public Health. We do not intend to cancel any school events or local trips in the short term, but will obviously consider the risks of any activity on a case by case basis and take advice where appropriate.

Please note that the Year 8 Parents’ Evening planned for tomorrow night has been postponed until the summer term. Please contact your child’s form tutor or Mrs Knight if you have anything you would like to discuss in the short term.

Please continue to encourage your child to wash their hands for the recommended 20 seconds before school, during the school day and when they get home.

 

13.03.2020 Update 

No doubt you will have heard the update on the Government’s approach to the outbreak of Coronavirus in that we have now moved from the ‘Containment’ to the ‘Delay’ phase. We ask all parents to read the advice found at the link below around self-isolation, in particular that if any student who develops a new cough or fever should self-isolate for 7 days. At the moment this advice does not state that families should self-isolate if one member of that family develops a cough or fever.

Please follow the normal absence procedures if you need to follow the advice to self-isolate your child. We have work available for students who need to self-isolate on ShowMyHomework, in the short term this will be updated by your child’s class teachers, but if numbers increase we will be providing project based work for KS3 students or extensive revision materials for students in Years 10 and 11. We also have an enormous number of communication resources on ShowMyHomework meaning that students will be able to access plenty of learning opportunities. We will provide advice sheets for parents around ShowMyHomework access in the near future and we are checking that all students have their login codes. Please contact your child’s Head of Year if you have any queries regarding ShowMyHomework.

We do expect further information from Public Health this morning and will update the website as and when this happens.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance

 

12.03.2020 Update

We recognise the concerns that parents may have around the potential spread of coronavirus over the coming days and weeks. The school is briefed on a regular basis by Public Health England who inform us of any confirmed cases in North Tyneside; we will be contacted directly if there are any connections between a confirmed case and John Spence students or staff. To date there are no connections to John Spence.

We have been planning for all eventualities including the provision of work for any students who may be required to self-isolate. We are confident that we can respond to any changes in advice as and when it occurs, but in the meantime we will continue to follow advice from Public Health in that we continue to function as normal and encourage hand washing to prevent the spread of infection.

The following link provides you with the most recent information from Public Health England: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public

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