Dear Parent / Guardian.
In light of the most recent announcements from the Minister for Education, I am sure that for many of you, there will be concerns regarding your son / daughter’s education over the next few weeks and months. In order to try to address some of your anxieties, I would like to provide you with a summary of the key points and the approaches we at Abbey Community College are currently taking to address the issues raised. Please be aware that we are working at the pace of change imposed due to the evolving nature to the Covid pandemic and the changes being made at the level of the Stormont Executive and the Department of Education (DE). Whilst we will keep you up to date with changes as they happen, I do not feel that it is appropriate to respond to all items reported through Social media or the various news platforms as this can often lead to incorrect or overly rapid responses to issues. As decisions are made which clarify our approaches, we will keep you informed. The current position is;
- All pupils in Years 8 – 14 are now being educated through the medium of Remote Learning. There is no face to face teaching until Feb 22nd at the earliest. Please note that this includes the half-term holiday. (Date under review at DE level)
- All external exams for GCSE and GCE exams have been cancelled for the January and June series. Vocational courses (BTEC, Occupational studies, OCN, Asdan, Cambridge Technical) have currently been postponed.
- Statutory assessment for Key Stage 3 is suspended.
- Remote Learning: You will already have received correspondence with respect to remote and on-line learning. In summary, all students will be working through the Google Classroom platform. Through this, they will receive teaching and learning resources including digital links, audio links, staff ‘voice-over’ teaching, written teaching resources and subsequent work to complete. It is important that all students access these resources daily and keep up to date with submission dates. To ease some of the concerns with ICT hardware, the technical staff at school are currently investigating the use of additional resources for students such as access through Xbox and PlayStation. As this develops, we will keep you informed. (see the school website).
- Pastoral concerns can be raised through Google Classroom links with Registration tutors. Additionally, you can contact the school by phone or through the school info account.
- Examinations: This will be the primary concern for students in Years 11 – 14;
i The Department of Education have assured us that guidance will be issued over the coming weeks as to how schools will proceed in determining assessment for students. They have stated that they are developing ‘alternative arrangements for awarding grades’.
ii At this time, it is crucial that you keep up to date with all work set by your teachers and that you submit all assessments set on time. Staff will be setting work in line with your programmes of study to ensure that you have the opportunity to cover as much of the content of your courses as possible. We will be unable to answer individual parental concerns regarding the process for determining grades for any students at this stage. We are mindful that for students in Years 12 and 14, their education has been disrupted in Years 11 and 13 also.
iii For students, especially in Years 12 and 14, we are aware that this will be a stressful and emotionally demanding time. Please be mindful that this set of difficult circumstances is not yours alone. All students at your stage will be facing the same issues.
iv Internal school assessment: The school reporting schedule would normally have a reporting date for the end of February. It is likely that this will take an adjusted format. It is nevertheless important for students in all year groups to remain up to date with all work in Google classroom.
- Year 10 and 12 Options: At school, we conducted an initial survey of students interests in December. This was not for final choices. This was designed to give the school a direction of travel for 2021. Further information, including specific subject information and option pathways will be provided over the coming weeks. This will be in a digital and remote structure.
Undoubtedly these are uncertain times for all of us, but I am aware that as concerned parents and guardians, you will be most worried about your own children. Please be assured that we share the same concerns in these difficult times and we will seek to provide the best support we can, both academically and pastorally.
Finally, please remember to keep yourselves and your families safe by following the current Covid guidelines of washing hands, wearing face masks and observing social distancing. All of us are hopeful that the next few months may provide us a way out of this pandemic so that we might return to something approaching the ‘normal’ we all so desire.
David Laney (Deputy Principal)
MySchool can be accessed by following this link http://www.c2kschools.net
Pupils can change their expired passwords at the following link: https://services.c2kni.net/ums/
Once changed, pupils will also have to log into Google Classroom and update their password. To do this they must use their c2k email. For example firstname.lastname@example.org, followed by their new password.
A SCHOOL IN THE COMMUNITY
As ‘a school at the heart of the community with the community at the heart of the school’ Abbey Community College works in partnerships with parents, local business and community based groups to build opportunities for community education, sports participation and family support. Current partners include:
- Business in the Community
- Monkstown Boxing Club
- Monkstown Village Centre
- Start 360
- Henderson Group
- Danske Bank
- Young Enterprise
As an active member of Newtownabbey Learning Community, collaboration with other local schools and Northern Regional College will enhance the curriculum by providing students with access to a wide range of academic and vocational courses at GCSE and Post 16.
Bridge Youth Club will operate for local children and young people of all ages in the evenings over the course of the week.