I do hope that you / your child(ren) have had a good week and have kept yourselves safe and well! As you have no doubt seen on the news, secondary schools in Wales are operating differently from tomorrow.
School is open to Years 7 & 8 as normal and pupils in these year groups should bring everything they need with them in order to follow their normal timetable. All basic equipment, books, etc… as appropriate.
For pupils in Year 9, 10, and 11, normal school activities will be taking place online. Pupils will be following their normal timetable but from their relevant Google classroom. All pupils should already be enrolled in their relevant classrooms – if for whatever reason they don’t appear to be, they can get the code from a friend (easiest and quickest option) or by contacting the school (this will take longer). Parents / carers can check that they are enrolled by asking their child to sign into Google classroom using their hwb account. (There are videos online / on our social media that can help you do this). Google classroom can be accessed by any internet enabled device including laptops, tablets, and mobile phones (the app can be downloaded from the google, android or apple app stores).
Staff will be offering a variety of lessons and activities throughout the week, it is therefore important that children are up, out of bed and ready to start at 9:00am. Lessons will consist of a mixture of the following:
- Live streaming – this is where a teacher is broadcasting live – they will not have their camera on but will have their microphone on and will be able to be heard, they may share resources or present a powerpoint on screen. Pupils can ask questions via a chat facility. In order to safeguard everyone – webcams and microphones should be turned off for pupils. I have asked teaching staff to give advance notice where possible via the Google classroom ‘stream’ when live lessons will take place.
- Pre-recorded Videos – some staff will provide access to a pre-recorded video, this will often explain new concepts or a demonstration of how to do something. This type of video is often accompanied by a task to be completed. These videos can be played outside the lesson and can help with revision too.
- Task setting – teachers will post an activity to be completed but it will not contain any video / audio.
Regardless of the method used, teachers will only set work that contain activities that your child can complete within the space of the lesson. Most lessons will last no more than 50 mins in order to provide a short break before the next lesson.
Year 10 and 11 were already working this way prior to half-term, and I had the privilege of sitting in on a number of live lessons. We are currently waiting for the Education Minister to announce her plans for GCSEs in Wales for 2021. Qualifications Wales (the regulator) and the Independent Review have both published recommendations in the last few days. It is therefore really important that pupils engage with their distance learning with positivity and complete every activity.
I am mindful of the amount of time that pupils will be spending online. I have therefore asked teaching staff not to set any additional homework unless it is absolutely necessary for their examinations.
If your household has genuine issues in accessing online learning, please contact us via email and we may be able to seek help from Wrexham County Borough Council.
I’m sure you share my gratitude to the staff of St. Joseph’s for their efforts to ensure that your child gets the best possible experience and education at this most disruptive time. They have learnt new technologies, engaged with new equipment, redesigned the curriculum, and spent a lot of time creating new digital resources that seek to provide your child with everything they need to succeed – all of which has been accomplished to perfection and with optimism! (Fingers crossed there aren’t any power cuts, phone lines down!)
Here’s to a good half-term as we head towards Christmas and everything that lies ahead!