Principal's update: Friday 7 May 2020
Published on 11/05/20
I hope that you are well and keeping safe.
I want to start by recognising the extraordinary efforts of families and to thank you for your ongoing support during these challenging times. I really do appreciate how you are working with us to try and support our students. In this message I’ve tried to bring together a range of information which I hope you will find helpful.
From now on, the setting of work will include the use of Microsoft Teams and other online platforms. We are trying to explore more interactive ways of working with our young people but understand that families have very different circumstance - so we are trying to achieve a balance that allows all students to access work.
Please reassure the young people that we are not expecting them to complete everything we set and that their mental health and well-being is our uppermost concern. If tasks are unfinished, now is a good time to start again with current work and not to worry about earlier work. We are working to understand how we can delete previous work from Classcharts – more to follow on this.
Teaching staff are now planning a more regular approach to feedback and should be making it clear when and what they would like students to complete and submit – we are aiming to do this on Teams as it works really well in class groups.
We continue to post work home where you have requested this – please post back any work that needs feedback from teaching staff.
Support for Students
We hope that the regular contact from tutors and Senior House Tutors is working well – please encourage the young people to respond to their tutors and to raise any issues with them. Some families are experiencing difficulties that we can help with as a school, please talk to your Senior House Tutor or tutor by email if you think we can help. This week we have shared stationery and dictionaries with students who needed these items.
Support for Families
FREE SCHOOL MEALS
The COVID-19 pandemic is identifying new vulnerable families within Derbyshire. Many have seen their personal circumstances change dramatically, have lost income and may be finding it difficult to claim benefits and seek assistance.
We are concerned that there may be some families now be eligible for Free School Meals but unsure how to apply or who don’t know if they are entitled. It is important to remember that families who become eligible now will be protected and continue to receive free meals until March 2022 under a new ruling following the rollout of Universal Credit. Taking up this allowance can save a family budget over £400 for each child every year.
Please encourage all potentially eligible families to contact the friendly Free School Meals team at firstname.lastname@example.org School staff or parents can ring the team on 01629 536400/01629 535743, where they will receive instructions on who can be contacted on that given day. Families can also apply on line at https://www.derbyshire.gov.uk/education/schools/your-child-at-school/meals/school-meals/free-school-meals.aspx
Any queries about FSM vouchers, please call school and select finance from the main menu or email@example.com – we have posted all the vouchers but know that the system isn’t perfect.
Derbyshire Local Authority can help you if you have no friends or family you can call on and:
- you are self-isolating because you or a member of your household is at risk
- you are struggling to meet your basic needs because of financial, social or health restrictions
- you are pregnant
- you have underlying health conditions
- you are aged 70 or over.
They can help you with shopping, or fetching your prescription or finding someone to have a chat with.
Year 6-7 Transition
Y6 to Y7 transition information is coming out next week. Please look out for this on email and in the post – we will be in touch with each child over the next weeks. We are also contacting our Primary School colleagues to begin the process of collecting information about our new Y7 cohort.
Year 11 Transition
Y11 transition information is now complete – thank you for keeping us up to date. We are here to support anyone who needs help with transition to A Level or other Level 3 courses. We have also been in touch with all the known providers and have an understanding of their next steps. If you are being asked to complete bridging work, your class teachers in HVC are here to help – just drop them an email.
Seeking Community Governors
We are seeking volunteers to become community governors on our local governing body. You can find out more about the role and how to apply at: https://www.hopevalley-chorustrust.org/governance
Information about applying to be a parent governor will be sent out in a few weeks’ time.
Finally, you may see some activity in the school building when you are passing. We are open every day between 9am and 10.30 for post, unless we have young people in the building when we are opening for a normal day 9am to 3.30pm. Like you, we await news from the government about any changes to this and will of course let you know of our plans.
In the meantime, I am really grateful for all the positive messages and the work that you are sending me – keep it coming! We miss the young people and our ‘normal’ school routines.
With very best wishes,
Mrs Gaynor Jones
Principal, Hope Valley College