The Grey Coat Hospital

Church of England Comprehensive School for Girls

 
 

 

Parents' Home Page

 

Message to the Grey Coat community on 15th January 2021

 

 

Dear students and staff, parents and carers,

 

 “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) 

 

As we settle further into the routines of remote learning, it is wonderful to read the many praise emails from staff to their classes, year groups and individual students. These highlight determined effort, thoughtful contributions and high quality work. They also demonstrate that students are making the most of the opportunities provided by the School.  

 

Please be reminded that RTCs are compulsory and that any sickness absence during term time should be reported through the normal channels by parents and carers. Cameras must be switched on by all students, with a neutral background, in order for staff to be able to monitor engagement. Parents and carers should report any technical issues. Staff will continue to contact home promptly with any concerns over attendance, work completion or lack of focus. We continue to evaluate the quality and effectiveness of our provision and welcome your feedback.

 

This week, the Music Department was extremely proud of the 28 students in Years 7-11 who successfully passed their Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music Exam with flying colours. Entries ranged from the beginner’s Grade 1 to the proficient Grade 8. To put this into context, a Grade 4 is the standard requirement for GCSE performance and a Grade 7 is required for A Level Music. These formal exams are extremely demanding and rigorous and are highly respected worldwide. Most of these students have been receiving their instrumental lessons online since March 2020. Their success is even more impressive considering the difficult circumstances in which they have been learning. We are hugely grateful to our instrumental teachers who have worked tirelessly on screens from home; and to Ms Bertolaccini for organising and running the exams brilliantly. Specific mention must be made of Charlie Swann in Year 11 who achieved their Grade 5 in Singing with the highest mark we have ever seen in a singing exam, dropping only 4 marks overall out of 150!

 

Today, we began the process of Year 9 GCSE Options Choices with an introductory assembly from Ms Watson and Ms Young. This will be followed by the full range of subject presentations and individual discussions with students to ensure that they make choices which suit their strengths and allow them the best possible progression to post-16 level.

 

Since the start of Term 3, our Caterer has been providing daily meal options at morning and lunch breaks for students and staff working in physical school. Students who are entitled to Free School Meals and who are attending our Nurture Group are catered for in School. Alongside this, whilst we await the re-launch of the nationally coordinated government voucher scheme, we are emailing out electronic Free School Meal vouchers again to those students who are entitled to this provision and who are working remotely. The vouchers are backdated to 5th January 2021 and can be redeemed in the same way as previously.

 

Early next week, we will begin trialling the Lateral Flow Testing for Covid-19, for our staff who work in physical school, after which we intend to extend this optional opportunity to the students in our Nurture Group. The aims of this testing are to control the spread of the virus by identifying and isolating asymptomatic cases quickly; and to facilitate a swifter return to physical school of those who were identified as close contacts of a positive case. Participation is voluntary and consent is required. Next week, we will be sending out information regarding this process, along with a link to an electronic consent form for you to complete, so that we know whether you wish your child to participate or not. 

 

The Education Secretary has written to OFQUAL’s Chief Regulator outlining the process to agree alternative arrangements for exams in 2021. Once this process has been finalised, we will be able to determine next steps and share information and guidance with you. Meanwhile, it is absolutely vital that students in the examination years continue to work with focus as in-school assessment and tests will continue to be set and will form part of the evidence base used to submit final grade recommendations. Please be assured that we know our students extremely well and that we will continue to do everything in our power to ensure that they are fully supported in learning and wider development and that they achieve their potential.

 

Best wishes and God Bless,

 

Susanne Staab

 

 

Message to the Grey Coat community on 8th January 2021

 

Dear students and staff, parents and carers,

 

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour.” (Isaiah 43:2-3)

 

You will have heard that London Mayor Sadiq Khan has declared a "major incident" today due to the fast increasing Covid-19 infection rate. Our compassionate thoughts and prayers are very much with those whose health or livelihood are affected by the pandemic or who have lost a loved one as a result of this virus.

 

At this difficult time, it is uplifting to see how effectively our arrangements for remote learning are working; how well our remote pastoral and mental wellbeing support is received; and how strongly our community spirit shines through. It is never more important than now to hold on to these positives, since the Prime Minister indicated in his announcement on Monday that the new lockdown may be in force for some time and that schools are likely to work remotely until at least February half term.

 

Since the first lockdown in 2020, we have issued a significant number of laptops from our own resources, which have since been augmented by additional devices from the Department for Education. Laptops are being allocated to those students who are most in need. We are now able to provide all students with remote live lessons (RTCs) in line with their timetable. There were very few technical issues reported  this week and student and staff feedback was very positive. Attendance at the RTCs was very high and engagement was very good. We have been able to respond to any reported issues swiftly and continue to welcome your feedback.

 

Please be reminded that RTCs are compulsory and that any sickness absence during term time should be reported through the normal channels by parents and carers, who should also advise us of any technical or other issues at home that might prevent a student from attending timetabled RTCs.

 

Learning online all day is a very intense experience and must be carefully balanced with breaks away from the screen. Additionally, dealing with technical issues may also take a little time. Our RTC schedule is tailored to take these factors into account and punctual attendance is therefore vital:

 

• 8.50 – 9.25 Period 1

 

• 9.35 – 10.10 Period 2

 

• 10.45 – 11.20 Period 3

 

• 11.30 – 12.05 Period 4

 

• 13.05 – 13.40 Period 5

 

• 13.50 – 14.25 Period 6

 

The real-time contact sessions with teachers are further supplemented by structured resources and homework tasks set on TEAMS, in line with our planned curriculum delivery, which must be completed on time and to the best possible standard. As always, staff are carefully tracking attendance at RTCs as well as monitoring the completion of set tasks for all year groups. Regular assessment and feedback continue online and our usual high expectations apply. Staff will contact home promptly with any concerns over attendance, work completion or lack of engagement.

 

All year groups have had online assemblies with their Head of Year this week and Father Myles has been sharing his Thought of the Day to boost our spirits. The PE department has encouraged students to partake in online yoga in order to promote wellbeing. These and other events will continue throughout this period of lockdown.

 

Our in-school Nurture Group comprises students from key stages 3, 4 and 5. The size of our Nurture Group suggests that everyone is taking the government’s message of “Stay at Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives” very seriously. Only those who cannot work from home should request to be supervised doing their RTCs in School. This approach allows us to implement social distancing and our other protective measures very effectively, which helps to make everybody on site feel safer and more comfortable. We have organised students in their separate year groups for their RTCs and also for their break and lunch spaces. We are grateful not to have had any cases of Covid-19 in School this week.

 

Our Sports Hall in St Michael’s has now been prepared so that we can carry out testing of staff and students in School soon, in line with government expectations. We are currently finalising staffing and training and will write to you with further detail once we are ready to begin this process.

 

Please note that with effect from Monday 11th January 2021, St Andrew’s Building will be closed until further notice and all our activities will take place in St Michael’s Building.

 

Earlier this week, the Education Secretary announced that GCSE, A Level and BTEC examinations cannot take place in the way they had been planned, due to the disruption caused by Covid-19. We now await detailed guidance so that we can develop our approach and share it with you as soon as possible. Meanwhile, it is absolutely vital that students in examination years continue to work with focus as in-school assessment and tests will continue to be set and will form part of the evidence base used to submit final grade recommendations.

 

These are anxious times - but please be assured that we know our students extremely well and that we will continue to do everything in our power to ensure that they are fully supported in learning and wider development and that they achieve their potential.

 

Best wishes and God Bless,

 

Susanne Staab

 

Message to the Grey Coat community on 31st December 2020

 

Dear students and staff, parents and carers,

 

“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

 

I hope you have been enjoying a peaceful Christmas break as much as possible at this turbulent time! Amidst ongoing anxiety and uncertainty, there is now also some hope of a better year ahead and we need to take courage from that.

 

Following yesterday’s government announcement and subsequent written guidance, I write today with a full update regarding the start of Term 3.

 

Please note that the arrangements outlined below REPLACE any previously communicated arrangements including those for the Nurture Group.

 

Protective measures from 5th January 2021 until further notice:

  • Enhanced cleaning and “fogging” (a disinfection technique) has taken place during the Christmas break in both buildings.
  • All previous measures will continue to apply - including meticulous hand hygiene, regular clean-down of work spaces and frequently touched surfaces, one-way system to manage crowds, maximum possible ventilation, and social distancing where possible.
  • Face coverings will once more be compulsory in all situations and spaces indoors, except when people are eating and drinking, or when they are working individually and are apart by 2m or more. This includes classrooms, corridors and communal areas. Those who were previously exempt will continue to be exempt.
  • Clinically extremely vulnerable persons will once more have been asked by the NHS to shield and should liaise with the School to arrange working/studying from home.

 

Please note that School will continue to start at 8.30am and end at 2.30pm each day until further notice. RTC timings will be as attached.

 

Arrangements for Week 1, starting 5th January 2021:

  • The Senior Leadership Team and selected support staff will be in physical school.
  • Almost all other teaching and support staff will be working remotely that week to reduce transmission of Covid-19.
  • All activity will take place in St Michael’s Building only. Students must not enter St Andrew’s Building.
  • The Nurture Group (mixed ages) will be supervised in physical school following remote timetabled lessons.
  • All other year groups will follow remote timetabled lessons at home.
  • Selected sixth form students will be invited into physical school to support them with online university interviews.
  • The remote lesson timings will apply (attached) to facilitate management of the technology and allow short breaks away from the screen.
  • Preparations will take place for delivery of mass testing in School and the process may begin that week, depending on resourcing, training, staffing and receipt of consent. More information will follow next week in a separate communication.
  • Mass testing/serial testing will require the Sports Hall and this facility will therefore be out of bounds until further notice.
  • Canteen service will be provided in St Michael’s Building only.
  • No extra-curricular activities will take place.
  • The library at St Michael’s will be in operation.

 

Arrangements for Week 2, starting 11th January 2021:

  • Almost all teaching and support staff will be in physical school. 
  • The Nurture Group (mixed ages) will be supervised in physical school following remote timetabled lessons OR physical timetabled lessons if in Y11/13.
  • Year 11 and 13 will be in physical school following timetabled lessons; all those who cannot attend School for a Covid-related reason will be remoted in and resources/instructions will be placed on TEAMS.
  • All other year groups will be taught remotely at home using TEAMS.
  • Mass testing may be in progress in the Sports Hall and more detail will follow.
  • All teaching activity and form activity will take place in the normal timetabled rooms in both buildings.
  • There will only be form time that week. No assemblies will take place.
  • Canteen service will be provided in St Michael’s Building only.
  • No extra-curricular activities will take place.
  • The library at St Michael’s and St Andrew’s will be in operation.

 

Arrangements for Week 3, starting 18th January 2021 (these are subject to a further government review)

  • Almost all teaching and support staff will be in physical school.
  • All year groups will be in physical school following timetabled lessons; all those who cannot attend School for a Covid-related reason will be remoted in and resources/instructions will be placed on TEAMS.
  • Year 13 mock examination will begin in accordance with the previously published schedule.
  • Mass testing may be in progress in the Sports Hall and more detail will follow.
  • All teaching activity and form activity will take place in the normal timetabled rooms in both buildings.
  • Assemblies will resume.
  • Canteen service will be provided in both buildings.
  • Extra-curricular activities will resume.
  • The library at St Michael’s and St Andrew’s will be in operation.

 

Attendance at Nurture Group from 5th January to 15th January 2021

Regrettably, due to the current very high rates of transmission of Covid-19, we will have to minimize the numbers attending our Nurture Group. Please disregard the previous invitations sent. All students should work at home if at all possible. If you feel that it is impossible for your child to work at home during this period, please complete the very short questionnaire below by 12pm on Saturday 2nd January 2021.

 

Fill | The Grey Coat Hospital - January Supervision Request Form

forms.office.com

 

I wish you all a much better year in 2021!

 

Best wishes and God Bless,

 

Susanne Staab

 

 

 

Message to the Grey Coat community on 17th December 2020

 

Dear students and staff, parents and carers,

 

“Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.” (Corinthians 13:11)

 

The autumn term has drawn to a close and the Christmas season is upon us!

 

The Year 11 mock examinations ran their full course without any disruptions, which was a great relief. We will hold our Year 11 parents’ evening virtually on 19th January 2021 where strengths and areas for improvement for each student can be discussed.

 

Our attendance remained high at over 95% this week in spite of the four confirmed positive cases of Covid-19 (three in Y10 and one in Y7); those Year 7 and Year 10 students who had to self-isolate were able to continue their learning remotely via TEAMS.

 

Our second Newsletter of this year, which will be posted on our website shortly, celebrates some of the incredible individual achievements that so inspire our school community. It also highlights the wonderfully rich learning experiences we have continued to provide for our students here at GCH despite the ongoing challenge of observing protective measures. Our students have been writing messages of thanks to their staff for all that they do for them, and these messages have been very gratefully received.

 

We enjoyed an incredibly beautiful Virtual Carol Service this afternoon, which we recorded at St. Stephen's Church last Thursday. As you will see, students are singing whilst being socially distanced, which makes things much more difficult for them. They are showing great artistry and real resilience in this strange time. Our student readers performed confidently and our Student Chaplain led us in thoughtful and compassionate prayer. Our particular thanks go to our School Chaplain, Fr Myles and our Head of Music, Ms Ambrose who jointly put the Service together. They were supported by our Art technician, Ms Manning and our team of music staff including Ms Waters, Mr Bird and Mr Burgess. They have dedicated many hours to rehearsals and to the final recording and polishing of the video. It is their professionalism and passion which inspired and motivated our students to perform to such high standards.  

 

If you get a chance, please listen to this performance with headphones or through good speakers; the recording quality is excellent and this will give you the full effect.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFquoTHAdUw&feature=youtu.be

GCH Carol Service

www.youtube.com

 

Furthermore, we were treated to a serene and moving rendition of Britten's Ceremony of Carols, performed by our Sixth-form Chamber Choir at St Stephen’s Church. I am sure you will agree that their singing is superb. You can enjoy that wonderful performance at:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rz4YQw6TQBs&feature=youtu.be 

Ceremony of Carols

www.youtube.com

 

It was a great pleasure for me to preside over the Head Girl selection process which has taken place over the past two weeks. Students who wished to be considered had to prepare an application; make a virtual presentation to the whole school community; and attend a panel interview. Following this rigorous process, I am delighted to congratulate the following girls on their appointments:

 

  • Head Girl – Clementine Aagaard
  • Deputy to the Head Girl – Christina Adane
  • Senior Prefects – Grace Humphreys, Georgia Aiken, Manon Elliot, Rachael Adeniran

 

This promises to be an incredibly strong team and we look forward very much to working with them once they come into post.

 

The government has asked school leaders to be on stand-by until 23rd December to assist with any contact tracing that may be required if a new confirmed case of Covid-19 in the school community should be advised. With this in mind, please note that I may have to telephone you at home during the Christmas holidays in order to gather information.

 

We have had news this week of government plans for a mass testing programme to be rolled out to all secondary schools in England from the start of Term 3; we await further guidance on this. We will let you know more detail as soon as we are fully informed and have plans in place.

 

This afternoon, we also had confirmation of a very different start to the new term from the one we had planned for, namely that:

  • secondary schools should commence Term 3 with examination groups, vulnerable and critical workers’ children in physical school at the beginning of term
  • other secondary year groups should be offered remote education during the first week of term; these pupils should return to face-to-face provision in school from 11th January

 

Once we have learnt further details, we will be in contact to advise you accordingly. Please note that we may send email messages to you during the Christmas holidays as we develop our plans based on anticipated government guidance. We would be grateful if you could respond promptly when asked for information that will allow us to plan, particularly for membership of our Nurture Group.

 

These three months have been challenging and inspiring in equal measure, and it is now time to look forward to a peaceful, reflective and restorative Christmas break.

 

Best wishes and God Bless,

 

Susanne Staab

 

Message to the Grey Coat community about online safety: Thursday 2nd April 2020

 
Dear Parents and Carers,
 
I hope you and your families are all well given the difficult circumstances that we find ourselves in at present.
 
I wanted to get in touch with you all to share some guidance from the Department for Education that you may find helpful during this time where your children will be using the computer and Internet more than they usually would. It is important that all children are safe when online and there are a range of different organisations that can support you with this:
  • Internet matters - for support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online
  • London Grid for Learning - for support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online
  • Net-aware - for support for parents and careers from the NSPCC
  • Parent info - for support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online
  • Thinkuknow - for advice from the National Crime Agency to stay safe online
  • UK Safer Internet Centre - advice for parents and carers

Furthermore, we understand that parents and carers may choose to supplement their child's education with support from online companies and in some cases individual tutors. If this is something you have been considering, we would like to emphasise the importance of securing online support from a reputable organisation/individual who can provide evidence that they are safe and can be trusted to have access to children. 

We also received the two letters below from the Westminster Safer Schools Police team that they have asked us to share with you:
 
 
We will continue to update you with any relevant information when it becomes available.
 
With very best wishes,
 
Jennifer Morton
Senior Leader - Designated Safeguarding Lead

 

 

 

 

 

The word “guild” has its origins in Old Norse though it is more often associated with the medieval world, defined by the OED as “an association formed for the mutual aid and protection of its members or for the furtherance of some common purpose”. And so it is with The Grey Coat Guild. We are an association of parents, carers, staff and friends who help organise fun, social events to raise funds to cover items that make your child’s time at The Grey Coat Hospital that bit more special. All parents and carers are automatically members and we are always delighted to see and hear from you.

The Guild is sincerely grateful for the generous support of parents/carers. We are also only too aware that your contributions of time are voluntary and we rely on your goodwill. Further details of our support and fundraising initiatives for the students and school are available on the VLE or you can send an email to: 

thegreycoatguild@gmail.com