Year 8

21/04/2020

To all students of Year 8,

What strange times we are living in at the moment! We hope you and your families are well and staying safe during these very unusual times. Remember, by following the government guidelines of staying inside, you are helping to save lives by stopping the spread of this virus. We’re sure there are many thing you miss about your lives prior to lockdown: spending time with friends or extended family, activities or hobbies or even helping your parents with the weekly shopping! It is only with the collective efforts of the whole country, that we can stop Covid-19 and return life back to normality.

Whilst you are being told that staying home is the ‘right thing’ to do, this doesn’t always mean it is the easy option. You may well have been experiencing a range of emotions over the past weeks: worry about your health or the health of others, frustration or boredom of being in the same location, isolated from friends or loved ones. All of these are natural and understandable. It is hugely important at times like these to find the positives in your new situation and appreciate the small things in life: maybe you’ve been learning to cook, maybe you’ve been learning to grow vegetables or flowers, maybe you’ve been creative, or maybe you’ve spent more time together as a family playing board games. We would love to see some of the positive things you are doing whilst at home. Please share these with us: j.donohoe@starbank.bham.sch.uk.

As we return from what would have been the Easter break, it is important for your mental health to return to a school like routine. To help support you with this, we thought it may be helpful to sign post you towards some quality resources and help you engage with your learning again. You should aim to complete 3-4 hours of school work per day. Remember to organise a break time and lunchtime for yourself. You might find that using your school timetable as a guide for organising yourself may help. If you have access to the internet, your teachers are putting work onto Teams for you to complete. They are also online to help and support you during this time. Please make use of this if you can.

Online Subject
09:00-10:00 Creatives: Art, DT, Music, Food, Photography
10:00-11:00 Higher Maths, Foundation Maths
11:00-12:00 Science: Triple, Higher, Foundation
12:00-13:00 English Lit, English Lang
13:00-14:00 Humanities: Geog, Hist, RE
14:00-15:00 Spanish, iMedia, PE

All the details for this can be found on the school website. https://www.starbankschool.co.uk/key-links/secondary-home-learning/. If you are having issues logging in please email ict@starbank.bham.sch.uk with your name, form and date of birth and the ICT team will get back to you.

The government have also announced the launch of the Oak National Academy, a new online classroom and resource hub created by teachers to support every pupil from Y1-10. They are providing a bank of high –quality sequenced video lessons and resources covering a range of subjects. Every lesson will be FREE to use for every pupil – no login is required. @Oak National is now LIVE at thenational.academy as of Monday 20th April.

If you don’t have access to the internet, we know some of you have been completing the work packs collected from reception at the beginning of the school closures. Well done for this! It was great to see so many of you coming to collect work. If you have completed these or would like something different, then BBC Bitesize have created daily lessons by age group online https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize, on BBC iPlayer (search Bitesize) and also on the red button.

Studying is helpful for maintaining a positive mental attitude by creating a sense of purpose and structure to your days. However, we do find ourselves in unusual circumstances and our physical wellbeing impacts equally on our overall health. Make sure that you are getting enough sleep, eating healthily and taking time to exercise as best you can: I’ve been trying the Joe Wicks PE workout sessions daily on YouTube with my children. I’m not very good, but we do have a good giggle at my efforts! Maybe go out for a short walk with your family, but remember to keep at least 2 metres away from anyone who doesn’t live in your house.

If you do have any concerns or worries regarding your emotional or physical wellbeing, we have compiled links on our school website that will direct you to support and guidance. Follow the link below: https://www.starbankschool.co.uk/information/emotional-health-well-being/

I know some of you may have questions regarding your Options this year. Please be assured that we are organising this and more information will follow.

We genuinely miss seeing you all, and especially seeing you all together; I haven’t asked anyone to take their coat off in weeks! Stay in touch with us, your teachers and with one another through Teams or email and let’s look forward to when we can finally go back to school.

Kind regards,

Mrs Donohoe
Deputy Head
SLT HoY 8

Mr Tatt
Head of Year 8

 

Year 8 Options

Video Transcript

Good morning Year 8
It’s me, Mr Tatt, your favorite head of year

Hello Mrs Donohoe here, we miss you all,
this video is here to explain the options process to you
but first…

We are into Week 6 of the lock down and its been a difficult process as we go through it, lets hope it doesn’t last for too long.
What I want to make sure from you guys is that first and foremost, you are safe and well, that your families are safe and well and that your following the government guidelines
to make sure that you are doing everything so that we can get through this as soon as
possible:
– Social Distancing
– Making sure we are washing our hands on a regular basis
– Not being our when you shouldn’t be out
If we do those things and everyone does those things and we work together, then we will get through this sooner rather than later.

In terms of the online curriculum, I want to make sure that you are accessing that as well. Its important that you keep up to date with all the work you have been sent, all the work that is available to you, so that when do step back into into school and you step back into your lessons, its an easy process for you, or its a better process for you.

We want to get you guys back into school as soon as possible, As you can see, behind me, this corridor me is really really quiet, the school is really really quiet, and that’s because you guys aren’t here. Once your here, we can all get back to normal, we can start doing our job, you can do your job, in terms of accessing the curriculum and making sure you get the grades that you need to get.

We have got some information for you in terms of your options that Mrs Donohoe is going to give to you once I pass over to her.

Again, I just want to make sure you guys are safe, we want you back here as soon as possible,
Can’t wait to get back to working with you all again, believe it or not!

I’m now going to pass onto Mrs Donohoe, she’s going to give you the information in terms of your options, and how that process works.

See you guys soon

Mrs Donohoe:

Oh thank you Mr Tatt,
Hello again Year 8, I hope you are staying safe and well as Mr Tatt said and I also hope that you are being kind and
considerate.

These are very strange times for everyone, and I’m sure the offer of making someone a cup of tea or helping with dinner would be really appreciated by your families.

Right, options… this is a really weird way of doing options. Normally we would do assemblies, parents evenings, taster sessions and there would be time for your teachers to talk to you about what their subject looks like at GCSE, never the less, we have a plan B.

The decisions you are about to make are really important.

And they are really important because, this is probably the first time you are going to make a major decision in your education. Its also really important because the choices you are about to make, mean that these subjects, you will be studying for the next 3 years.

Their going to be more challenging, your going to be working harder and there is probably going to be more pressure on you too. So make sure you choose wisely.

Pick subjects that you have a real interest in, it might be that you already have a career in mind. In which case, pick some options that link to that.

So – how does this all work? Let me explain.
In the post and also through your school email, your going to receive an options booklet.
The options booklet has 3 sections, the first sections is a letter, the middle section is subject information from your teachers and the final sections is the QR code that will link to a Microsoft Form for you to compete to option choices.

You need to read this information really carefully.

Why? Because the option process this year is different to any previous year. Why is that? Partly because we are becoming a STAR academy, but more importantly, decisions have been made in order to make sure that you get the best deal. So any changes you notice, have been made with your best interests at heart.

I’m going to take you through this step by step so bare with me.

STEP 1
I need you to read the letter at the front of the booklet. This will tell you what YOUR option process looks like, and it tells you how many choices YOU can make. This is different for everyone, so make you read this bit really carefully. It will also tell you about some subjects that are compulsory, meaning that we have to take them. These are:
English Language and English Literature
GCSE Maths and GCSE Science – your booklet will tell you if you are a triple student or combined student.
some people will have compulsory GCSE Spanish.
Everyone will have a compulsory GCSE RS.
You will notice that everybody will have Core PE and PSHE, these are not examined, these subjects are just for your well being.

You will notice the next choice you have to make is whether you are going to study GCSE History or Geography.

After that in the booklet it will tell you how many other other choices you have, read that part really carefully.

STEP 2
The next section you need to read is the middle of the booklet, this is where teacher have spent some real time preparing guidance for you around their subjects and what is expected at GCSE. Read these carefully, especially if your thinking of taking these as an option.

STEP 3
This, I guess, is your thinking time. I’ve come up with some suggestions to people you can talk to, who can answer questions, things that have helped people in the past.

The first port of call would be to go on Teams, your teachers are prepared and waiting for you to answer any questions about their subjects, it might be that you just want to know a bit more the course, or it might be that you want a personalized conversation with them about whether you think or they think this subject is suited for you.

A really important one is talking to your parents, it is your choice but they will have really good ideas about whether this is suitable for you and whether this matches your future aspirations.

You might know some other GCSE students and you may be able to speak to them on the phone to get some ideas about things they have enjoyed.

We have also created a personalized dedicated email address for you to ask questions to us. We will be manning this email address and answering any of your queries so if you are not sure, please ask. Do worry about scribbling year8options@starbank.bham.sch.uk now, its in the bio next to this video.

STEP 4
What do you do when you have made your decision?
You either need to click the link that was in the email, or, use a QR reader to use the QR code at the back of the options booklet. This will take you to a Microsoft Form that you need to complete. Once you have done that and submitted, it will come to us, we can then start compiling it all and start timetabling.

Its a big decision, I know, take some tim to think about it. Talk to people about it. Read about it.

You have one week from today to make your decision. Your deadline to submit your application is Thursday 7th May.

Happy Reading, Good Luck, See you soon, bye.

Questions or Queries?

We have also created a dedicated email address year8options@starbank.bham.sch.uk to answer any queries you may have.

Hello Year 8.

This is a short video to explain the options process. I’m going to walk you through the process, step by step. You should receive by post and/or by your school email account an Options booklet. This will explain your Options process and how many choices you can make. This is different for everyone, so please read this carefully.

Make sure you discuss any concerns with your Teachers/Tutor over Teams and take time to discuss this with your parents. We have also created a dedicated email address to answer any queries you may have. year8options@starbank.bham.sch.uk

Once you have made your decisions, you need to click the link in your email or use a QR reader to scan the QR code on the back of the options booklet. Complete the Microsoft Form and submit.

Your deadline to submit your option choices is Thursday 7th May 2020.

Happy Reading!

Mrs Donohoe and Mr Tatt.

Accessing Online Learning

GCSE Pod www.gcsepod.com:

GCSE Pod is an on-line learning platform. It hosts a wide range of subject and exam-specific resources including videos covering course content, assignments and self-check tasks. GCSE Pod also tracks the progress of individual students and personalises ‘next steps’ to best support your development and GCSE Progress. At time of writing, all bar 35 Y10 students have activated their GCSE Pod accounts – let’s have 100% activation by the end of the week!

Students can access a section on GCSE Pod called “My Courses.”  Here you can view upcoming exams (including exam dates) and view playlists of Pods covering the topics relevant to each exam.  I encourage you to review topics that have been taught in class and revise your prior knowledge: tick the star icon to ‘favourite’ any Pods you wish to return to.

Finally, in Maths and English Literature, you can test your knowledge independently using GCSE Pod’s fantastic ‘Check & Challenge’ feature.  To do so, visit any Maths and selected English Literature playlists and click the purple “C&C”.  This will start a short self-marking assessment.

If your parents would like to know more, please direct them to www.gcsepod.com/parents where they can find lots more information and resources.

Logging in to GCSE Pod:

  • Go to gcsepod.com and click “Login” in the top right-hand corner
  • Click “New here? Get started.”
  • Select “Student”
  • Enter your name, date of birth and the school name.
  • Create a username, password, and a password hint to help them remember the password.

If you have any questions regarding GCSE Pod please message support@gcsepod.com

Seneca www.senecalearning.com:

Seneca is a similar learning platform to GCSE Pod that will support students learning Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Hospitality & Catering. Your Science teachers may also direct you to specific tasks set up on Seneca.

Logging in to Senca

  • Go to senecalearning.com and click “students start here” on the first button
  • Click the title of the unit that you wish to study,
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to answer the questions.
  • Seneca will mark your responses and suggest next steps personalised to individual need.

Mathswatch vle.mathswatch.co.uk:

Mathswatch is an electronic learning platform dedicated to Mathematics. This is another excellent resource that also tracks your responses and sets tasks personalised to your own areas for development, based on your responses to questions.

Logging in to Mathswatch:

  • Go to vle.mathswatch.co.uk and enter ‘username’ and ‘password’,
  • Click the title of the unit that you wish to study to access the video,
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to answer the associated questions.
  • Seneca will mark your responses and suggest next steps personalised to individual need.

Active Learn www.pearsonactivelearn.com:

Active Learn hosts resources to support Spanish revision; a great platform to practice your skills and immerse yourself in Spanish language and culture.

Logging in to Active Learn:

  • Go to pearsonactivelearn.com and enter ‘username’ and ‘password’,
  • Click the title of the unit that you wish to study to access the video,
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to answer the associated questions.
  • Seneca will mark your responses and suggest next steps personalised to individual need.

BBC Bitesize Daily https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/dailylessons
(ideal for those without computer access)

BBC Bitesize Daily is a newly-established improvement to the existing BBC Bitesize resource. It includes videos, quizzes, activities, animations and practice tasks organised by year group and by subject, focussing primarily on Core subjects (English, Maths, Science) with four distinct ‘lessons’ per day. As much of the content is video based, this is accessible for students who have access to the internet but not necessarily a computer of their own to work on.

It is well worth a look and the daily update adds a pleasing sense of structure and progression. You can check it out here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/dailylessons

Microsoft Teams

Every teacher has set up individual Team pages on Microsoft’s Teams online platform. That means you will have a ‘virtual classroom’ coordinated by each of your timetabled teachers, for every subject that you would study in school.

These online classrooms are ideal for the following activities to take place:

  • Teachers to set tasks specifically for your group,
  • Teachers to post resources for you to download or links for you to follow up,
  • A chat host for you to ask questions and clarify details with your teachers…
  • …and with each other through (on task!) discussion and debate,
  • Students and teachers alike to share examples of good practice and to encourage one another to engage.

In addition, although your teachers may post at any time, we also have a time-table which specifies when we will be ‘active’ on-line: this means you could, if you so wished, complete a five-lesson day interacting with your teachers at the times listed below:

Online Subject
09:00-10:00 Creatives: Art, DT, Music, Food, Photography
10:00-11:00 Higher Maths, Foundation Maths
11:00-12:00 Science: Triple, Higher, Foundation
12:00-13:00 English Lit, English Lang
13:00-14:00 Humanities: Geog, Hist, RE
14:00-15:00 Spanish, iMedia, PE

Subject Leaders

Finally, if you have specific questions or concerns (or your parents do), you can contact Subject Leaders directly via email. Please allow 24 hours for reply.

Mental health and wellbeing

Studying is helpful to maintaining a positive mental perspective by creating a sense of purpose and structure to your days. However, we do find ourselves in unusual circumstances and our physical wellbeing impacts equally on our overall health. Make sure that you are getting enough sleep, eating healthily and taking time to exercise as best you can: I recommend the Joe Wicks PE workout sessions daily on YouTube as a great means of keeping yourself active and fit (I am completing these myself – half an hour doesn’t sound like a long time to exercise until you’re doing the actual exercises!).

Should you have concerns or worries regarding emotional or physical wellbeing however, we have compiled links on our school website that will direct you to support and guidance. You can find that here: https://www.starbankschool.co.uk/information/emotional-health-well-being/

Get in Touch

Visit our Contact Us page to find out the best way to get in touch with Starbank School, or fill in the contact form.