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Year 10

Wednesday 23rd June 2021

Good morning,

Within the last 48 hours we have had two confirmed cases via PCR test and 1 case confirmed via Lateral Flow test (PCR test being taken to confirm).  

Case 1 - Year 8 - Symptomatic

Case 2 & 3 - Year 11 - Asymptomatic

Yet again the speedy action of our families has limited the impact and, therefore, the number of students that have had to Self-Isolate (all of those needing to self-isolate are in Key Stage 4 and have been contacted separately).

We urge you to stay vigilant and keep testing to make sure that you that we do not have more asymptomatic cases within the community.  If you require more LFD tests, please book them here: https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests.  We are chasing our next order and will as before provide students with kits once they have arrived.


Friday 18th June 2021 

Covid Update

In light of the latest announcement on Monday about the continuing Covid restrictions, some of you may be understandably anxious about the growing numbers of cases that are being reported locally, particularly amongst young people. We would like to reassure you that our continued measures in school seem to be holding fast and helping our school community to stay safe. Masks, hand sanitiser, the one-way system, staggered breaks and lunches, amongst other measures, are the mainstays of protection and we would like to thank parents for your continued support in encouraging our boys to persist with these, despite all of our frustrations. It remains vitally important that students complete their Lateral Flow Tests on Wednesdays and Sundays, and that the results are reported to us via this form here.

It is clear that the latest Delta strain is especially virulent and once it gets into a community it spreads swiftly. We are in a good place and do not want to go back to bubbles isolating. Therefore, please ensure that any positive cases are reported immediately. Additionally, we would ask you to be extra vigilant with spotting symptoms as new additions to the list are runny nose and headache. We appreciate that in the middle of hay fever season this is not particularly helpful but would ask that you are extra cautious – we all want to end the school year with a full complement of staff and students and with everybody safe and well.

Year 10 Pre-Public Exams (PPEs)

Year 10 core exams (English, maths and science) will be taking place next week in the Sports Hall, with other subject exams to take place during normal lesson times in the following week. Please encourage your son to use the revision resources that he has been given by his teachers to prepare effectively for the exams, as they offer an opportunity to check his progress and for us to create personalised targets to help him to improve in the coming months.

INSET day 28th June Reminder

We will be holding our final INSET day on Monday 28th June. School will be open to staff on this day but closed for all students. Please make a note of this in your diary.

English Curriculum Update

GCSE students in English have traditionally studied The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson for their required 19th century text. As part of our ongoing drive to review and improve our curriculum and tailor it to suit our cohort, for the current Year 10 and beyond, students will now study A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens instead. This text will be studied in Year 11, unless there are announcements regarding updates to final Year 11 exam arrangements due to Covid.

Sports Day

At this time of year, there is normally a frisson of excitement at the prospect of our eagerly awaited whole school Sports Day. Following Monday’s announcement, it would be imprudent of us to go ahead with our planned event, so we have decided to undertake year group bubble afternoon events to reduce the risk of Covid transmission. These will take place, weather permitting, in the week commencing 28th June. Please encourage your son to get involved, either by taking part in the events or as an enthusiastic supporter; everyone has a role to play when the Sports Day trophy is up for grabs!

Design Technology Controlled Assessments

The OCR exam board has recently released the design briefs for the Non-Exam Assessment (NEA) section (which used to be called coursework) of the Design and Technology GCSE for 2021/22, and our students have now started working on this in earnest. The NEA makes up a crucial part of the assessment for D+T as it is responsible for 50% of each student's final grade. It has been fantastic to see the level of effort and determination that students are already putting into this formally assessed work. We will be in touch over the next few weeks to let you know about after school support sessions if we feel your son would benefit from some extra time to complete these tasks.

Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance - an update from Mr Kirk

Halesowen College Campus Tours

Halesowen College have been offering Campus Tours for students to allow them to get a feel of the campus and see the facilities they have on offer. There are still a few places left on Wednesday 30th June and Thursday 1st July on the bookable Campus Tours for parents/carers and students - please find the link below to book: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/in-person-campus-tours-tickets-156886147691

Work experience – your help is needed

Please remember that if you know of a business that is willing to take your son for a one-week work experience placement, ask your son to come and see me with the details of the placement.

Friday 11th June 2021 

Thanks

We have been impressed with how most students have once again taken to the wearing of masks in communal areas in school. They have been sensible in their conduct and gracious in accepting our gentle reminders of the importance of masks to reduce the risk of spreading Covid. While it would have been nice to end the school year mask-free, we remain committed to keeping our school community safe and feel this continued measure will help us to do so.

INSET day 28th June

We will be holding our final INSET day on Monday 28th June. School will be open to staff on this day but closed for all students. Please make a note of this in your diary.

Curriculum Enrichment Week – advance notice

The week commencing Monday 12th July is Curriculum Enrichment Week. We have a wide range of activities planned for students across all year groups and are excited about the opportunities that our boys will have. We are currently finalising details of the week and will share more information with your son in good time.

New appointments

We would like you to join us in congratulating the following existing members of staff who have been successful in securing new roles in school for the coming academic year:

Head of PE: Mr Turner

Head of Music: Miss Naylor

Assistant Head of Year: Miss Yussuf

Assistant Head of Year: Mr Francis

They are very excited and chomping at the bit to get started!

Wellbeing Newsletter

The latest edition of our online Wellbeing Newsletter, Keeping Well @ KNBS, has some insightful comments from Ms Gowreesunker about the benefits of art therapy, as well as information about Pride Month, which is celebrated in the month of June. Click here for access.

New Head of Year – a message from Mr Hanson

Although I officially take over as Head of Year from next week, I have been meeting with some Year 10 students this week to start to get to know them and I will be continuing with this in the coming weeks. Please remind your son that Period 6 lessons will start in some subjects from next week – these are compulsory, so it is imperative that he attends as many as possible. Your son’s preparation for the PPEs, which commence on 21st June, should be underway now. The timetable for the first week of exams, which will take place in the sports hall, can be accessed here.

Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance - an update from Mr Kirk 

Virtual Taster Sessions – Halesowen College

Many Year 10 students have started thinking about their post-16 choices and, to help with their thought processes, Halesowen College have now released their virtual subject taster sessions for students who might want to find out more. You can access these by clicking on the link here: https://indd.adobe.com/view/03848841-32a5-428d-a55e-276a127559eb. There is a range of material, including videos about lots of different courses.

Work experience – your help is needed

Due to the impact of COVID-19, many local businesses may continue to struggle with safely providing our students with work experience placements in the near future. Health and safety measures, including the correct insurance, need to be in place for a student to be successfully granted a placement and unfortunately these measures are even tighter with ongoing social distancing restrictions in the workplace. 

If you know of a business that is willing to take your son for a one-week work experience placement, please ask your son to come and see me. The details of the business will need to be taken and Health and Safety assessments will need to be carried out before permission can be granted. Some students have been granted a work experience placement, demonstrating that it is indeed possible, if more than a little tricky to secure something.

If your son is unable to secure an in-person work experience placement this year, it is recommended that he uses the virtual experience opportunities, sent to you in previous weeks and also available here. He has already been granted access to NexGen/Speakers4Schools; the email is located in his school email account. These opportunities will not only give your son an insight into different sectors of business or industry but will also provide him with the chance to expand his CV and to impress educational institutions or employers in the future.

Monday 7th June 2021 

Good morning,

We hope that you have been able to take advantage of the good weather over the half term - it was lovely to see sunshine rather than rain.  

We have had very few confirmed cases in our school community since returning on the 8th of March.  In fact, we have only had 4 confirmed cases involving our students (1 in Year 11, 1 in Year 10 and 2 in Year 7).  One of these confirmed cases led to approx. 30 students needing to self-isolate and the other three students had already been at home for a good period before becoming symptomatic - so no other students had to self-isolate.  We would like to thank our community for their vigilance, as it has been a key factor in so few students needing to self-isolate.

With new variants being confirmed in parts of Birmingham, we ask again for your vigilance and support.  I am sure that you will have seen the press coverage around such variants and the suspicion that they may be more prevalent in those aged 12-18.  Public Health Birmingham have identified parts of the city where schools have had outbreaks leading up to half term, and we know how important it is to work collaboratively with our community to aid a safe return to school tomorrow (8th June).

How can you help?

Lateral Flow Tests

Please make sure that you complete a lateral flow test with your son(s) before they return, as requested in Friday's text message.  You can log those results here.

Masks

Please make sure that your son brings a clean mask to school.  Although the Government has removed the requirement for masks to be worn in schools, we will continue with our procedures as outlined before half term.  We will expect students (who are not exempt) to wear their masks in indoor communal areas (corridors, canteen, dining rooms, hall etc.). 

Once seated in lessons, students will be able to remove their masks if they want to.  We have seen a significant benefit to learning and student wellbeing since students have been able to remove masks in lessons but, of course, students can keep their masks on in lessons if it makes them feel more comfortable.

Expectations

We held virtual assemblies in the lead up to half term, reminding students of our shared expectations.  We will continue this drive to raise standards as this helps all our students' safety and achievement.  Please help us by reminding your son of the staggered times of the day and the importance of the one-way system (click here for a reminder about staggered times).

Thank you in advance for your support in helping our return to school run smoothly and safely.

Friday 28th May 2021 

At the end of the most ‘normal’ of half terms this academic year, we remain hugely impressed with the way that the vast majority of our students have just got on with things and taken all the ups and downs in their stride. We would like to wish all of our families a restful and relaxing half term break. 

INSET Day reminder 

Please remember that we are having an INSET day on 7th June. School will re-open for all students on Tuesday 8th June. 

Staying Safe Online 

School have been made aware of a citywide increase in the number of young people engaging in the posting and/or sharing of indecent and nude images via social media platforms. Today we have presented a news report to our students providing them with key information and facts around the risks and consequences of such actions. Please take the time to look at the clip on our website (click here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEJFH3qKaUE) and discuss the content with your son. We will be holding follow-up activities as part of our Personal Development curriculum after the half term break. Should you require any further advice or guidance around this matter, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Safeguarding Team. For further information on matters relating to online safety, please visit www.ceop.police.uk or www.childline.org.uk.

New Head of Year – Mr Hanson 

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself to parents and carers of students in Year 10. I am Mr Hanson and I will be your son’s Head of Year in Year 11. I will be slowly starting to take the reins from Mr Rehman in the coming weeks and be getting to know the students in preparation for working with them next year. I very much look forward to working with you and your son in the future. 

Yesterday, I held an assembly with Year 10 students, during which I shared more information with them about their upcoming PPEs, which start on Monday 21st June. In preparation for these exams, and to give students the best possible chance of doing their best, it is imperative that they come fully equipped to each exam. We know that you may need some time to help them to get prepared, so here is advance notice of what they will need for the exams: two black pens, a ruler, a pencil, a rubber and a scientific calculator. Calculators can be purchased for £8 through Parent Pay. 

Students are being directed by their teachers regarding what revision they should do over the half term holiday but they can also find lots of useful resources in our GCSE Hub: www.knbs.co.uk/y11hub

We are well aware that our Year 10 students will not have had to approach exams in this way before, so we will be spending time with them in school discussing study skills in the coming months. Some of our students are keen to get ahead with their preparations so please find attached a revision timetable that might be useful for son. 

Further to the information that you were given last week, we can confirm that in the first week back, students will be notified of their period 6 timetable for the final summer term.

 

Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance - an update from Mr Kirk 

You will be aware from the updates over the past few weeks that Year 10 students have been turning their attention in form time and Personal Development lessons to their post-16 pathways. Recently, students have been investigating colleges and sixth forms local to their home postcodes, 

researching how far different providers are from where they live and the methods of transport they could take to get to different institutions. 

The KNBS school website has a Careers section which contains information pertinent to parents/carers and students: www.knbs.co.uk/careers. Students have already used the ‘Useful links’ page to expand their knowledge about the range of local providers; they then learnt how to compare the entry requirements for similar courses at different institutions. 

As your son draws closer to the most important academic year of his school life, we understand that the decisions ahead for him may be challenging as well as exciting. The conversations about his future that you have at home will greatly support the work that we are doing in school. If you need any further information to assist you with these discussions, please do not hesitate to get in touch via enquiry@knbs.co.uk

Some of our Year 10 students have already begun to plan their virtual work experience ‘placements’ and are excited about the opportunities that these may afford them in the future. If your son has not already done so, please encourage him to check out the huge range of experiences that are detailed on the list attached.

Friday 21st May 2021 

INSET Day reminder

Please remember that we are having an INSET day on 7th June to allow us to finalise the grading process for Year 11 students. School will be open to staff but closed to students on this day.

Wearing of Masks

Further to information last week about the wearing of masks no longer being compulsory in classrooms, please remind your son that students are still expected to wear these when they are moving around school, in corridors and in communal areas that are indoors.

Year 10 Pre-Public Examinations (PPEs)

As usual, Year 10 students will get their first taste of GCSE exam conditions when they sit their PPEs towards the end of this academic year. These will take place in the two weeks commencing 21st June. Core exams (English, maths and science) will be sat in the Sports Hall and other subjects will be sat during lessons but under exam conditions. It is important that your son prepares well for these so that his results are a true reflection of his progress, to allow teachers to accurately plan for next steps. Students will be receiving more information about exam content from their subject teachers, along with revision materials for over the half term holiday. We thank you in advance for supporting your son in his preparation.

Period 6 lessons

It is usual for Year 11 students to commence their period 6 additional lessons in September to maximise the preparation for their GCSE exams. Given the year we have had, we are keen to make the most of the time we have in school so will be officially starting period 6 lessons for Year 10 students after half term. Where these are taking place, they will be compulsory, with English starting on 16th June from 3.15 - 3:55 pm. PE have already commenced theirs; students are aware of when these take place. More period 6 lessons will follow once Year 11 assessments are wrapped up. Please speak to your son about the importance of these sessions and encourage him to make the most of them.

Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance - an update from Mr Kirk

Unifrog

Following on from last week's CEIAG (careers) update that explained how KNBS are providing activities to Year 10 to stimulate their thought-processes about their post-16 options, we would like to again encourage you to begin that conversation at home with your son about what he would like to achieve in the long-term and the potential pathways he can take to attain his goal career goals.

Over the past few weeks, tutor groups have been using the Unifrog careers platform. This has a wide range of applications, from providing labour market information (LMI) about job sectors, details of Further Education (FE) and Higher Education (HE) institutions, CV writing frameworks and skills builder tools. The students have been directed to the section on completing their ‘personality and interests’ profile and then analysing the results, with the aim of expanding their views of the jobs that are open to them in the world of work.

KNBS parents and carers have access to Unifrog – just go to the sign-in page at https://www.unifrog.org/sign-in and click on the ‘Form code’ icon. You can then use the code ‘KNBSPARENTS’ to gain access to the site to see how it works and what tools are available.

In the coming weeks, students will be exploring FE providers local to their home postcode and how to search for apprenticeships. It is our hope that through these weekly sessions students should build up a picture of what institutions are within an accessible radius to them and a knowledge of how to gather information about their post-16 options, as they turn their attention to choosing courses of interest to them.

Virtual Work Experience

Year 10 students have been unfortunate in missing out on their face-to-face work experience opportunities due to COVID-19. We are keen to ensure that our students have every chance to engage with this vital experience, albeit, in a virtual way.

We have a list of virtual work experience opportunities (click here to access) for students to take part in up until the end of July. There are a wide range of businesses and industries that they can gain an insight into. If students can demonstrate to employers that they have used their initiative in seeking out virtual experiences, it will be hugely advantageous to them when applying for colleges and sixth forms in the autumn. These opportunities will also give them more to write about on their CV, particularly referencing the skills they have learnt or enhanced from completing different activities. Please encourage your son to check out some of the many links attached – it is surprising just how many varied experiences and opportunities there are to be had!

Friday 14th May 2021 

Wearing of Masks

Following the recent announcement by the Government that face masks will no longer be required in secondary school classrooms in England after 17 May, we can confirm that your son will no longer need to wear a face mask during his lessons from this date. However, we must point out that we will still be expecting students to wear these when they are moving around school, in corridors and in communal areas that are indoors, and we thank you in advance for your continuing support of this safety measure.

Enrichment week

We would like to give you advance warning of our Enrichment Week which is taking place in the week commencing 12th July. This is a chance for students to work outside of their usual timetable and to engage in a wide range of activities, including collaborative work across the curriculum. This is an opportunity to enhance and enrich their academic understanding and to cement some of the key features of learning in their key stage. We will share the programme for the week in due course.

Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance - an update from Mr Kirk

You will already be acutely aware that your son is about to embark upon his last twelve months of secondary education, so it is important that you both start to tentatively think about life beyond KNBS. Each year things get that little bit more serious and important and, while this fact may take a while to sink in with some boys, their next steps are already a priority for us, especially as all young people now need to remain in education or training up to the age of 18. Whether this is at sixth form, college or in an apprenticeship will depend very much on your son’s personal journey. It is important that students take their time to explore the different routes open to them and are made aware of the entire range of options they have.

Unifrog is an online platform that we encourage all of our students to access as it contains a wealth of information about post-16 pathways for them to look at, helping to ensure that they make informed and appropriate decisions. Year 10 are currently exploring their post-16 choices in both Personal Development and form time, so by the end of this academic year, all students will have been provided with the opportunity to learn about vocational and academic subjects that they can study, as well as apprenticeship pathways. Apprenticeships have had strong support from the Government in recent years and are now the most competitive post-16 pathway; they offer significant benefits to successful candidates who will have the opportunity to earn a salary whilst gaining both education and experience in a specific industry.

It is important that you are involved in this process with your son, and, to support the conversations that you will want to have at home, we will be adding Careers information to the Year 10 update in the coming weeks. This will include:

  • Uploads of the careers information your son has been looking at
  • An introduction to the Unifrog platform, how we use it in school and how you can access it with your son at home
  • Information about meetings with the Careers Advisor and the required preparation for these to ensure that your son maximises the impact of this.

Look out for more information in the Year 10 updates coming soon.

Severn Trent Big Difference Initiative

The impact of Covid 19 upon some families has been far-reaching, and we are aware that some may be experiencing financial hardship as a result of this. We want to make you aware of an initiative that Severn Trent have introduced to support their customers who are finding it difficult to manage their household bills – the Big Difference Scheme. Click here to access their flyer for further details.

REMINDER: INSET day will take place on Monday 7th June. School will be closed to all students.

Friday 7th May 2021 

INSET Days

Many of you will be aware of the changes to Year 11 exams and assessments, which are now being marked by subject teachers rather than externally by exam boards. The additional processes arising from this change are many and all with time constraints. To ensure that we are robust in our judgements and that all students' final grades are representative of their achievements, we are undertaking a rigorous process of standardisation and moderation prior to submitting the final grades. Therefore, we are having an INSET day on 7th June to allow us to finalise the process. School will be open to staff but closed to students on this day.

We still have one more INSET day to allocate for this year and this will take place after half term. We are yet to confirm the exact date but will let you know as soon as we do.

September start dates on website

Many of you may be tentatively thinking about booking summer holidays in light of the slightly more positive national picture. You can now access provisional dates for the 2021-22 academic year by clicking here. Please note, these dates are only provisional at present and may be subject to change depending on how the school year ends. We will give you as much notice as possible about any changes that may need to happen. Obviously, if you book using the provisional dates, we will not expect you to change your booking if the dates end up being amended.

Year 10 Pre-Public Exams

We would like to give you advance warning of the Year 10 Pre-Public Exams (PPEs) that will be held over the two weeks commencing 21st and 28th June. PPEs take place under exam conditions and are held in the Sports Hall. For Year 10s this is the first time that they will experience conditions akin to their final GCSE exams, and there is definitely a sense of gravitas about the whole process. They are a chance for students to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding, and for teachers to accurately assess students' progress. Your son's class teachers will be informing them what they will be assessed on and guiding them in their revision in the coming weeks. We appreciate the support that we know you will provide for you son during this period.

Hoodies

Please remind your son that hoodies, either the zip up or pullover kind, are not to be worn in school, even on the days that he may have PE. If students want to wear a hoodie to keep them warm on the way to school, this needs to be taken off and put away before they enter the school gates. Any student wearing a hoodie will be asked to remove this and will incur a sanction if they fail to comply. We would appreciate your support with this.

Extra-Curricular Timetable

You can now access the latest extra-curricular timetable by clicking here.

Sickness and contact with home

Please remind your son that if he is feeling unwell in school, in the first instance he should ask to be seen by one of our fully trained first aiders. The triage process will ensure that we make an informed decision about whether a student needs to be collected by parents or whether they are well enough to remain in school. A small number of students have been contacting parents before seeking medical assistance, and we would not want you to be concerned unnecessarily.