As we begin to welcome all year groups back onsite this week we wanted to send you the newsletter from Lockdown 3.0. This is a celebration of all that the staff and students have achieved during this most challenging of times as we look forward now to the warmer, brighter days of Spring that are around the corner.
It has been our pleasure to have supported you all whether your children have been at home learning or here onsite. As we celebrate International Women’s day today I hope you are all rightfully proud of what our students have achieved thus far and the lessons of courage, kindness and hope they will take with them into their future. Thank you to all those staff who have contributed to this edition.
Please click this link to access a video message from Andrew Alty, Governor.
School Streets Scheme - Have your say!
As the School Street Scheme is being trialed at Ricards, Merton Council is consulting on this until 26th March 2021. School parents and staff, as well as local residents, are being encouraged to share their thoughts via this website:
We are incredibly proud of how our SEND learners have transitioned to remote learning and would like to share their top 5 tried and tested tips of how to become an independent, confident and resilient learner:
Try using voice-typing on any google sheet/slides to get all your ideas ‘on paper’ - it saves time and you don’t need to think about spelling!
Some students find that putting on the captions when watching videos helps them to remember the information more easily.
If eye strain is an issue make sure your child experiments with using an extension such as colour veil, it will apply a coloured tint across the screen which can reduce screen brightness, helps reduce eye strain and makes reading much easier.
Please encourage your child to reach out to their teacher/TA for support. Remind them that they can use the private message function in Google Classroom or ‘add comment with the @name of your teacher’ function on Google docs .
Does your daughter prefer to hear text being read aloud? Have a look at the website Natural Reader to hear text being read aloud, for some this facility improves focus and understanding of the text.
Department Spotlight: Business & IT
One of the lifelines for many people during the COVID-19 pandemic has been IT, and digital skills have been essential to many of us during this time. In Computing lessons at Ricards, students are learning the skills they will need to work and play in the future.
We have recently introduced a new curriculum in Key Stage 3, based on the National Centre for Computing Education's Teach Computing curriculum. We're off to a great start with it and students have been producing some fantastic work, particularly in the current remote learning circumstances. Although we never know what the technology of the future will look like, we know that their problem-solving skills, creative thinking, and flexibility will be key.
Our Year 9 students have been gaining skills and knowledge in two important topics that are relatively new to our curriculum: cybersecurity, which is one of the fastest-growing sectors in IT; and data science, which many business leaders currently feel is one of their biggest skills gaps.
Programming is one of the central strands of our Computing curriculum, and Year 8 has been decomposing and solving problems using the Scratch programming language. Programming also indirectly develops many other transferable skills, such as designing, modeling, testing and evaluating. Scratch is an excellent "gateway" to high-level languages such as Python, which they will go on to study in Year 9.
Many businesses will have to reimagine the services they currently provide so that they can continue to survive and thrive in an increasingly digital world. This means that they will be looking for digitally creative people to find new ways to serve their customers and clients. Year 7 have been collaborating online using Google Tools and developing their communication and presentation skills, learning that every digital product has a purpose and a target audience.
Amidst all of the urgency to gain digital skills and the excitement about the advantages of remote learning and remote working, it can be hard to achieve a good work-life balance. A constant theme of our Computing curriculum is safety and security, including how to maintain a healthy relationship with the digital world. Our students are learning to be confident, safe and effective users of IT; well prepared for an uncertain future.
Department Spotlight: History
The History Department has missed teaching in person. However, throughout remote learning they have planned engaging live lessons and activities for the students. Year 7 has been continuing their study of the Middle Ages and have been learning what life was like for everyday people. Recently, the Year 7s designed their own towns! Year 8 have begun their study of the Civil Rights Movement here in the UK and America. Throughout the unit, they will look at the similarities and differences in the struggle for equal rights, while also considering what we can still do to make society a better place for all. Year 9 are currently exploring World War II. They have examined the inter-war years and now will go on to see how World War II impacted all those involved.
For the month of February the History department led an assembly on LGBTQ+ History month to celebrate the history of those who identify as LGBTQ+ and have contributed to history. The focus for this year was mind, body, spirit.
Department Spotlight: RE
The RE department started off this half term back in January by engaging in spirited discussions around World Religion Day, where we focused on questions of diversity and unity, and how we can both find and further develop them in our communities. Students made fantastic cross curricular links, exploring the place of religion in our society, as well as the ways different faith groups come together in times of need.
This half term has been an eventful one as both students and staff have adjusted to remote learning, displaying resilience in the face of these unusual circumstances. The (digital) classrooms have been as busy as ever with a varied range of amazing, creative student work. Students have made use of various digital platforms, producing analytical written essays, voice recorded explanations and engaging with their peers to design digital posters that can be used by everyone.
From artistic storyboards of the lives of crucial religious leaders, to passionate discourses on equality and representation as well as a multitude of innovative forms of revision displayed by our exam year groups, RE has been home to some wonderful conversations.
Mrs Hayward and Ms Kirk, Joint Head of Year 7
Year 7 have settled into their learning routines and have approached all their schoolwork with enthusiasm and dedication. Students have been writing, researching, cooking, sewing, designing, learning a musical instrument, singing, dancing, entering competitions, quizzes and of course playing in the snow. It has been lovely seeing everyone saying hello to friends in our live assemblies and tutor time activities. The students have shown tremendous resilience and we continue to be proud of their fantastic attitude and effort.
Ms Kirk and Mrs Hayward
Mr Englefield, Head of Year 8
Since Christmas, Year 8 have not disappointed when it comes to home learning. I have been overwhelmed by the positive messages from teachers and staff praising the year group for their diligence, work ethic and enthusiasm and for that I thank all the Year 8 students, parents and teachers. We ended last term with a lovely online celebration assembly, which really helped to showcase some of the incredible talent we have within Year 8 and they continue to make me proud to be their Head of Year.
Year 8 also nominated Cancer Research UK as our chosen charity, to whom we have donated the funds raised in Year 7 and for which I would like to thank all of those who managed to raise some funds in the time that we had.
I look forward to seeing all of Year 8 again very soon. In the meantime, stay safe and keep up the good work!
Miss Hodge, Head of Year 9
This half term has been jam packed while the students start to consider what subject options they might take through to GCSE. Each week, the students have been watching really informative assemblies detailing what each subject is about at GCSE and, outlining the differences in course content for those that have BTECs on offer too. Students had until Friday 5 March to submit their choices. Students have been dropping into lunchtime support sessions all week in the run up to making their final choices – I am hopeful that they are all feeling well informed!
I have been thrilled with the engagement to learning this term and the commitment to their subjects; it is a real testament to their strength of character and resilience and I am incredibly proud of each and every one of them.
I cannot wait to welcome everyone back next week; I am looking forward to seeing you all very much.
Mr Uddin, Head of Year 10
Year 10 continue to amaze me during this challenging period of time. They are now remote learning experts and the number of achievement points awarded in the past 6 weeks has been incredible!
All students continue to show a love of learning towards their respective subjects and also demonstrate further self-discipline skills by reflecting on themselves as learners.
I cannot wait to welcome our students back to school whenever that may be – hopefully sooner than later.
The next set of reports will be published later in the Spring Term and I am looking forward to analysing these with great expectation.
Well done Year 10 during the present. I know Y10 will continue to do even better moving into the future.
I hope all the Year 10 community had a restful half term.
Mrs McKenna, Head of Year 11
Yet again year 11 have had another incredible half term. Their commitment to lessons, their work ethic and their ambitions to keep improving have been remarkable. The exceptional mock exam results were a just reward for all the hard work that was put in. Their unwavering positive attitude in the face of all the uncertainty that this year has thrown at them is inspirational and we are incredibly proud of the year group. In addition the year 11 leadership students continue to support the school and the younger students by offering online support at every opportunity. Describing year 11 in the words of one of our year 11s:
‘Being a year 11 student feels like taking one step closer to your aspirations and once you do reach it, you will see a matured version of yourself. There are many things you experience in school over the years you spend in it, but I feel as though once you hit year 11, there’s an entirely different atmosphere and excitement that takes over. By being in a year group that has collectively worked hard and been through the same things, I know that I have so many people to relate to and rely on. There’s a true sense of togetherness that comes in year 11, through both the good and bad times. I have friendships that I cherish greatly. And although I’m dreading it, I know there’s a bittersweet end coming soon when I’ll have to move on to a new step in life, but until then, I can enjoy being a proud year 11 student who was hopefully able to set an example for the younger years but most importantly give something back to the school that has helped me learn lifelong lessons.’
RR6 – Spring Term 2021
The RR6 students have continued to work extremely hard and engage with their learning. We are continuously sharing a wide range of opportunities with our students for them to broaden their knowledge, experience and perspective. At the end of last term, we congratulated three of our Year 13 students who wrote fantastic pieces for the Wimbledon Bookfest writing competition and a number of Year 12 and 13 students who successfully completed and received recognition in the UKMT senior maths challenge.
This term, alongside the academic focus, we are sharing a plethora of resources for National Apprenticeship Week and National Careers Week and will begin the exploration, research and guidance for Post 18 options with Year 12 students. Well done to all the Year 13 students who have submitted their UCAS and apprenticeship applications and are now getting some good offers in. I would just like to remind you that there is no need to make any decisions at any time soon. If you get ALL your UCAS offers by 20th May, UCAS needs you to choose a Firm and Insurance offer by 10th June – universities will not withdraw their offers before that time.
As we continue to see the way in which the workplace is changing, regardless of the roles our students will undertake in the future, they are going to need the following skills:
Curiosity and imagination: asking good questions
Agility and Adaptability: being able to change constantly
Good Oral and Written Communication: being understood
Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: being able to see solutions
This term, we look forward to seeing our current students continuing to grow and develop with their learning and confidence, the interviews with our prospective new students and hearing about the various educational opportunities the students are engaging in and building on their experience.
We are looking forward to welcoming back our students very soon.
Mrs E Day
Head of Sixth Form
KS5 Careers and UCAS Advisor
Currently, we are unable to invite you into school to collect your certificates due to Lockdown guidance. As soon as we are able and it is safe to do so, we will offer you a series of dates for collection.