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SCHOOLS

These are truly extraordinary and uncertain times, and we appreciate that our schools are facing unprecedented challenges. We are hugely grateful to all of our schools for how they are supporting our pupils in this difficult time, and in turn want to be here to support you as best we can.

We are aiming to ensure that our pupils’ needs are met in four key areas: basic, educational, technological, and psychological. If you have concerns about any of your Royal SpringBoard pupils in any of these areas, then please get in touch with one of the team. 

We have been in touch with the Royal SpringBoard rep or Head Teacher in each of our schools to share further details of what we can offer at this time. Here is a summary of our Covid -19 offer for Royal SpringBoard students.  Further detail on our emotional and social well being can be found here

Equally, if there is anything else we can be doing to support you, our schools, then please let us know.

We are keen for this to be a dynamic space, in which our schools can share best practice. If you have any ideas, resources or inspiration in how best to support Royal SpringBoard pupils during this time, then again please do let us know and we will share it across our network.

Things to consider

We have been filled with admiration for all that our schools have managed to achieve in the most challenging of weeks and know that they will continue to be dealing with the unprecedented tests to follow for some time. We thank you for the support we know you are putting in place for all pupils, but particularly for those on bursaries.

In order to ensure the most disadvantaged and vulnerable pupils have access to support, remain optimistic about their future, work hard and continue to have their basic needs met through the next few months, we ask our schools to give consideration to the following:

  • Are our pupils’ basic, educational, technological and psychological needs being met?
  • What about pupils with SEN and/or who receive extra educational support whilst at school? Are they receiving help to meet these needs? How can learning be altered if these pupils struggle to sit at a computer screen all day?
  • What contact are you having with the pupils? How regularly?
  • Are pupils receiving support with their academic studies from their family? For example, is English spoken as an additional language in the home?
  • What pressures could pupils be facing at home? For example, are they acting as carer for parents or siblings; are there significant physical or mental health difficulties in the home; what struggles might the family be facing in terms of basic needs? How can the school support the pupil, practically or emotionally, if any of these are the case?

Please do share any concerns that you may have regarding Royal SpringBoard pupils with the team, or via website@royalspringboard.org.uk.

STEER

As most of you know, all Royal SpringBoard pupils who started at school in 2017 or later, take the STEER AS Tracking assessment twice yearly. STEER is a precious resource in helping us to understand how our pupils might be responding to this international crisis, and how we can best support them through it.

Now that all pupils are at home, STEER are encouraging schools to facilitate AS Tracking assessments remotely.  We would encourage you to consider how you might be able to arrange for pupils to take the assessment at home. Please see an email from us in the week commencing 27th April for more information about this. 

STEER are offering one-to-one pupil surgeries freely to all tutors, and have written specific advice tailored to vulnerable pupils during this difficult time. This is to help provide – while they are at home – targeted messages for priority pupils, with specific steering biases. Please let any member of the Royal SpringBoard team know if you would like to utilise this opportunity, and we will send you more information.

STEER are also focussing on supporting teacher wellbeing during this difficult time, with a range of targeted and freely available opportunities. Please get in contact with one of the team if you are interested in finding out more, and we would be delighted to put you in touch with STEER. 

Free School Meals

If pupils are eligible for Free School Meals (FSM), then the Government expects that schools continue to provide those meals, during term time, while schools are closed. 

Please see here a useful article explaining the different ways that schools are finding to honour this obligation. We have been recommending to schools that, where necessary, they buy food vouchers for families using Wonde. Wonde is a straightforward system, allowing the family to select which supermarket they would prefer, and alerting them automatically when you have bought them a voucher. Wonde’s FAQ pages are really helpful at talking you through the logistics.

We understand that you may be many miles removed from your pupils’ home communities. However we do suggest that in absence of support provision, you get in touch with the pupil’s previous or local school, to discuss what might be possible regarding FSM.

 

Other resources

EtonX is a platform offering self-taught online courses in the soft skills – such as resilience and critical thinking – which are so crucial to success both at school and in the working world. Available to Year 10s and above, pupils are able to download a certificate on completion of a course. If you are interested in promoting this opportunity to your Royal SpringBoard pupils, please get in touch with Claire Hodgkiss to find out more and collect pupils’ logins. The educational consultancy RSAcademics are offering a free survey service to help schools understand how remote learning is working for students, parents and staff.

The Education Endowment Foundation has a page of support resources for schools to help support home learning, including effective communication with families. They also published a guidance report in September which now seems particularly relevant, offering four key recommendations to schools and teachers on how to support parental engagement in children’s learning.

The NSPCC has advice on how to keep children safe while we are in lockdown. 

Place2Be provides guidance on how to support children who may be especially vulnerable.

The Institute of Positive Education has free wellbeing resources available to download, for children aged 5-18.