COVID-19

This is the May 19th update

Here are two important documents. They contain important information regarding the return back to school for year 10 and year 12. 

Year 10 Parentmail re return to school from June 1st 

Year 12 Parentmail re return to school from June 1st 

This is the April 22 Update 

A Message from the Headmaster

Welcome to Term 5.  I hope you all have had a good Easter and that you and your families and safe and well. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a catastrophic effect with the cancellation of thousands of events and the loss of billions in income through fundraising events.  The Virgin Money London Marathon alone, which should have taken place on Sunday 26 April, is the world’s biggest one-day fundraising event, which raised more than £66.4 million for thousands of charities in 2019.  Many of these charities have had to reduce or stop services at a time when vulnerable members of society need them most; thousands of staff have been placed on furlough and many charities will not survive the next few months. Therefore a national 2.6 Challenge event has been established to encourage us all to do something this Sunday – from running 2.6 miles to holding an online workout with 26 of our friends.

Five students from Year 12 have all decided to take part in a 26km individual run to raise money for The Blackthorn Trust, a local charity that helps people with mental health issues.  The students will of course be following the social distancing rules ensuring they keep at least 2 metres apart, but I am sure after 26km, and knowing their level of fitness, they will be spaced apart anyway! 

If you would like to support them then please click HERE

Any help would be massively appreciated

This is the 23rd of March Update:

Message from the Headmaster:

Firstly, I would like to thank you for supporting the school over the past couple of weeks and understanding the actions we have had to take. I have received a number of supportive and positive messages from parents expressing their thanks, so it is pleasing to know that what we have done has been well received.

Secondly, I know there are some very worried students, particularly from years 11 and 13, who don’t know what the future holds. Please be reassured that, even though there are still many questions to answer, we are doing everything we need to do to support them. One of the most upsetting things about this situation is that students from years 11 and 13 won’t be rewarded for their hard work in the way they were expecting, and that their time at MGS ended so abruptly. They were not ready to say goodbye, but hopefully, the assembly on Friday afternoon was a small gesture towards this.

So, today is the first day of MGS Online - a new community of Maidstonians who more than ever are going to take greater responsibility for their learning. Students in years 7 to 10 and 12 now need to follow their normal timetable and complete the work set by their teachers through the VLE and Microsoft Teams. Teachers will be uploading work and resources on a daily basis, so I ask that you please ensure they complete it. Getting them into a routine is really important, and that needs to start from today. Students are well-versed in accessing the VLE and using Microsoft Teams and should have no problems, but if they do find some difficulty with it all then please email the school. Microsoft Teams also allows students and teachers to communicate directly. In addition to their studies, I also ask if you could ensure that they build in breaks, take regular exercise where possible and try doing something new - I have already students say that they might start gardening or DIY!

For students in years 11 and 13, even though they are now not having any examinations in May and June, it is vital that they continue with their studies - their learning is not yet complete. More details have now arrived in school from government giving us a better idea of what we now need to do to support these students. So later today, Mr Ferguson will be emailing students of years 11 and 13 and their parents to clarify our expectations and the line we are going to be taking, and provide ideas what those students could be doing over the coming weeks and months.

For those student in school: the children of key workers and our vulnerable students, it is vital that those parents who completed the questionnaire keep us informed of any changes that arise. Those students coming into school should register at Reception on arrival. No other student should come into school apart from those who have been asked to hand any work in.

We will be regularly communicating with you to keep you updated with things and I do ask if you have any concerns please to get into contact with us. Even with a skeleton staff, the school will be open as normal, so there will be someone in school who will be able to help. You can also always email us directly.

There are still going to be many questions, such as what will happen to the Year 12 UCAS exams and how will we as a school be tracking the progress the students are making; but I ask if you could bear with us while we make the necessary adjustments, and to initially focus on getting your child into the right habits and routines now for what could be a number of weeks at home.

Best wishes to you and good luck.

This is the 18th of March Update - Important information, please read.

From tomorrow the school day will move to the earlier daily finish of 2.10pm to enable staff to upload resources to the VLE for absent students.

Self-Isolating

If you have made the decision to self-isolate at home, all members in your household must also self-isolate, please do not send your child to school if this is the case. If any students whilst at school present with a cough or other flu- type symptoms, parents will be contacted and asked to collect. Any family member diagnosed with coronavirus, it is essential that you inform the school immediately so that we can carry out the necessary reporting and safety measures.

Nu-Venture Coaches – 55X to Kings Hill

For those students travelling on the 55X to Kings Hill we have been unable to change the departure time for this coach to the earlier closing time. This is because the coach is already pre-booked. In addition, any of the buses which our students catch after school are mostly shared with other schools so these cannot change.

We do not want your children to wander around Maidstone until 3.20pm so if you would like child to be supervised until 3.20pm please let us know via school@mgs.kent.sch.uk. Supervision will take place in the Library.

We are in an unprecedented situation and no two schools around the area will be managing their individual school issues in exactly the same way. From MGS’s perspective we have a four stage plan in place which best suits our needs, and finishing at 2.10pm from tomorrow, as mentioned in my letter to you yesterday, allows us to address the significant issues of large numbers of students not being able to access the curriculum.

This is the 17th of March Update.

A Message from the Headmaster:

 I am writing to update you with the action we are taking as a school with regards to the ongoing coronavirus developments. Firstly, I would like to thank you for accommodating our decision to shorten the school day yesterday to allow us to make the necessary plans in case of further developments – it was very helpful.

 Following the Prime Minister’s announcement last Thursday, we are now in the Delay Stage of the virus - anyone displaying flu-type symptoms, has a high temperature or a new persistent cough must self-isolate. And now, following yesterday’s announcement, anyone who lives in the same household as those with symptoms must self-isolate for 14 days. This could mean that very soon we have significant numbers of staff members and students absent from school. Already today we have seen an increase in those absent, from both staff and students, so we now need to make the necessary changes to ensure the core business of the school continues as best as possible.

 At the moment it is business as usual with regards to the school day, but from Thursday 19 March we will move to a more dual operating school. We will shorten the school day to finish at 2.10pm to give teaching staff the capacity to teach those students in school as well as supporting the many who are at home. Students will have 5 x 45 minute periods instead of the usual 1 hour. Despite less teaching time it still allows each teacher to see their students as opposed to cancelling certain lessons. Any students not able to get home at 2.10pm, or if you would like your child to remain in school, then they will of course be supervised. Our library will be remaining open until 3.20pm.

While the number of absent staff members remains low we will manage the school as we would normally, ensuring that all classes are covered and relevant work is set. However, if that number reaches a tipping point, and we are unable to cover all classes, we will then have to move to a different stage and partially close the school for certain year groups to free up staff to cover their colleagues. The decision to partially close the school will not be taken lightly, but priority will be given to keep those year groups completing public examinations in school.

 Regarding the public examinations, there has been no information as of yet about the impact of the coronavirus on them, and so the line we are taking is one of continuation. Coursework deadlines will still apply, the marking and moderating of that coursework will still take place, language oral examinations will go ahead, practical assessments will still happen, and study leave will still be granted. Until we hear otherwise, it is business as usual for years 11 and 13.

Our main priority now has to be the core business of the school – the business of learning. All non-essential events over the coming weeks are either being cancelled or postponed, this includes next week’s Year 13 Parents’ Evening, and those members of staff in charge of those events will be making the necessary arrangements. It is a shame that many of these events cannot happen as they add to the much-valued wider life of the school, but I am sure you will understand that our attention needs to be elsewhere.

 Today, I am leading on a number of assemblies to all of the students informing them of our plans, outlining our expectations and, what they can expect from us. It is ever so important that they take this matter seriously. Any form of closure should not be seen as a holiday, and if the scientists are to be believed, then we could be closed for some time. Learning must continue, and so I ask you to support me in ensuring that it does. Lessons will continue online and students must see their day at home like a normal school day. They should follow their normal timetable and complete work for each subject as they would in class. Teaching staff will be uploading work daily, and will be available electronically from 8.40am to 3.20pm.

I suspect that over the coming days, the business of the school will need to adapt more and more to cope with the situation we are in. We will probably reach a point when we are instructed to close, but I am hopeful that the Easter holiday arrives at just the right time. In the meantime, please be reassured that we have the necessary plans in place, and understand that some of the adjustments we may need to employ are there to ensure all students receive the best possible learning experience under the circumstances.

 13th March 2020- This is your daily email to keep you updated on the government’s response to COVID-19 (coronavirus).

Government announces move from Contain to Delay phase

Yesterday, the Government announced that we are moving from the Contain phase of the coronavirus action plan and into the Delay phase, in response to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Full details of each stage in the government action plan can be found here:

To support the delay of the spread of the virus, the Department for Health and Social Care has asked anyone who shows certain symptoms to stay at home for 7 days, regardless of whether they have travelled to affected areas. This means people should stay at home and avoid all but essential contact with others for 7 days from the point of displaying mild symptoms, to slow the spread of infection.

The symptoms are:

  • A high temperature (37.8 degrees and above)

  • A new, continuous cough

You do not need to call NHS 111 to stay at home. If your symptoms worsen during your stay at home period or are no better after 7 days contact NHS 111 online at 111.nhs.uk. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.

Current advice remains in place: no education or children’s social care setting should close in response to a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case unless advised to do so by Public Health England.

The Chief Medical Officer has advised that the impact of closing schools on both children’s education and on the workforce will be substantial, but the benefit to public health may not be. Decisions on future advice to schools will be taken based on the latest and best scientific evidence, which at this stage suggests children are a lower risk group.

COVID-19 travel guidance for the education sector

The Government has issued new travel guidance for the education sector. This advises against all overseas education trips for children under 18. This does not apply to domestic trips, or overseas trips which are already underway.

The full guidance can be found here:

 

 

http://youtu.be/bQCP7waTRWU

Educational resources

 

The e-Bug project is led by Public Health England and has a dedicated webpage for learning resources on hand washing and respiratory hygiene.

 

Resources are currently available for KS1, KS2 and KS3 and can be used in various settings including schools:

 

 

Department for Education coronavirus helpline

 

The Department for Education coronavirus helpline is available to answer questions about COVID-19 relating to education and children’s social care. Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline as follows:

 

Phone: 0800 046 8687
Opening hours: 8 am to 6 pm (Monday to Friday), 10 am to 4 pm (Saturday to Sunday)

 

Please note, we are currently experiencing high volumes of calls and apologise for any wait that you may experience. To ensure that we answer your calls as quickly as possible we have now extended our opening hours to cover weekends.

 

If you work in a school, please have your unique reference number (URN or UK PRN) available when calling the hotline.

 

Where to find the latest information

 

Updates on COVID-19:

Guidance for educational settings:

Guidance for social or community care and residential settings:

Travel advice for those travelling and living overseas:

Educational resources:

Latest Department for Education information: