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The Norwood School

Letters to Students and Parents 2020

Dear Student & Parent /Carer

I trust that this letter finds you and your families well.   Normally I would not be writing this letter until the start of June and right now you would be busy preparing for your GCSE examinations.  This is the strangest of times, I appreciate that we are all facing considerable challenges in adapting to the current lockdown measures.  Rest assured my Sixth Form team are busy teaching online and preparing for the transition from Year 11 to Year 12.

At this stage, we would have met with many students to help guide and support their decisions regarding their options. Covid-19 cut short our opportunity to do this.  However, I want to reassure you that your place at the Norwood School remains secure on the condition that you meet our criteria.

At interview, I would guide you to the following expectations/recommendations:

  1. All applications are subject to students meeting the school entry criteria (see below)
  2. ALL students are on probation (4 weeks until the start of October), meaning that their status in subjects is determined by their effort, application, conduct and ability to meet standard baseline assessments.
  3. Most A-Level pathway students start on 4 A-Level subjects – but move to 3 A-Levels
  4. Mixed Pathway students (A-Level & a Btec/RSL) choose 3 subjects, but are likely to move to 2 (Btec/RSL’s are equivalent to 2 A-Levels)
  5. Btec/RSL Pathway students ONLY take 2 subjects.
  6. Many students change their minds from initial application to the moment they receive their results in August. YOU DO NOT NEED  to contact the school, rather check the Options Block to see if your choices are appropriate.
  7. Students who do not pass English or Maths MUST retake (Block C) They will automatically be blocked from the A-Level pathway ONLY.
  8. Btec/RSL subjects MUST be taken across 2 blocks e.g. Business St in Block A & D
  9. Btec SPORT is now offered as an Extended Diploma equivalent to 3 A-Levels

Entry Criteria: A-Levels = 6 x Grade 9-5 in GCSE or equivalent with a grade 6 in the subject they wish to take at A-Level.

Entry Criteria: BTEC/RSL + A-Level/Combined pathway = 5 x Grade 9-5 in GCSE or equivalent  - A-Level subjects require grade 6 at GCSE in the subject they wish to take.

Entry Criteria: BTEC Public Services – 4 x Grade 9 – 2 in GCSE minimum, English/Maths retake required.

Members of my team and Ms Dennis’ Year 11 Team are working together to continue to advise students about their choices. Please do not hesitate to contact should you have any questions or concerns.

As mentioned earlier, we are busy preparing resources and materials to help you meet the demands of A-Level & Btec courses (Level 3). These will be made available in a staged process in order to prevent students from being overwhelmed and will be published on the Sixth Form section of the Norwood School website (Look for Summer Transition 2020).  Already subjects are contacting students and requesting them to join Google classrooms as well as providing other links and resources. There will be a range of ways students will be able to communicate and complete tasks that prepare them for Year 12.

Resources available from 12th May:

Curiosity sheets - these are meant to spark interest, engagement and enthusiasm.   Students can pick and choose from a variety of activities that promote the subject and its wider curriculum.

BeReady careers platform for Year 11  - Launching with Year 11 specifically (later to the rest of the school) this website supported by a wide variety of employers is currently expanding to also include a great deal of subject –related and age specific resources that can be used both at this time and on into the future. You will find a guide attached.

Norwood Gateway resources will be available from the start of June – these are being designed this half term to bridge the gap for Year 11 students and support them in hitting the ground running in September. They include an overview, key terminology, concepts that will need to covered, a wide variety of activities to promote learning.  Expectations on the content that MUST be completed will be shared.

VESPA home learning  - We promote the idea of growth mind-set in the Sixth Form. Using the key principles of Vision, Effort, Systems, Practice and Attitude we aim to develop resilience, improved time management, study skills and increased levels of effort that are critical in supporting independence.  I am pleased to be able to share a valuable introduction to these principles that can help students (and parents!) in working during the long period of self-isolation and beyond.

Further induction materials will be shared with you in June; these include our Sixth Form Handbook and enrolment advice and guidance.  By July, our traditional Summer Homework Pack will have been revised and published.  It looks unlikely that we are able to offer taster sessions and complete our induction in late June.  Therefore, we will be adapting our plans to embed these over this term and the start of September.

We are fortunate to have so many different learning platforms during this time, I would like to remind you that using your (student) school email (@thenorwoodschool.org) is essential to help us communicate and continue to build our relationship in the Sixth Form, particularly at this time.  I believe that our strong sense of community and understanding of our students needs makes us unique and I am proud of the efforts that staff are making to engage with learners at the Norwood School.  If you are unable to access resources, or are concerned about downloading resources please do not hesitate to contact our Sixth Form Administrator Ms Cunningham (cunningham.j@thenorwoodschool.org) or via the school office.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Ms Dennis or myself.  I will be in touch later this term to update you on the transition process.  In the meantime, I hope you take advantage of the resources published and please contact subject leaders if you have any specific questions.  Their details are available on the website.

Thank you for your immense encouragement and support you are providing for your children at this time.

Yours sincerely

Mr J Cox

Associate Assistant Head Teacher (Sixth Form)

Cox.j@thenorwoodschool.org