At the end of what has been an eventful week, I bring this short update to you.
This week, Lurgan Junior High School pupils have all been taught through our chosen online platforms. It has been extremely pleasing to see our young people engage in their learning and structure their day so that the most is being made of their time at home. The fact that they are doing this, is testament to the level of resilience that they have and is also reflective of the fantastic parental support that they are receiving at home. I express my thanks to all parents and guardians in your endeavour to encourage your children to focus on learning and not to get too distracted.
I know, having spoken with several parents, that you are appreciative of the efforts that our expert teachers are making and I therefore take this opportunity of thanking them, on your behalf, for everything that they are trying to do in order to enhance the lives of the pupils entrusted in their care. No one could have predicted that we would be in these circumstances, but flexibility on everyone’s part is allowing for great things to be done and the level of kindness that I have witnessed is really heart-warming and uplifting.
All of the staff have appreciated the many words of support and encouragement extended to them. It is reassuring to know that our teachers continue to change lives for the better and there is no doubt that the school family has entered into this situation with a determination to succeed. Indeed, I am extremely grateful for the fabulous work that teachers have undertaken to get the online learning platform up and running so quickly and effectively. Without exception, they have gone above and beyond to offer our pupils an excellent distance learning experience.
But truly, I am also very proud of our pupils, and the capacity with which they are facing this new challenge. On the whole, they have embraced it and many children are working in as disciplined a manner as possible on the material set. I have enjoyed listening to stories from staff about how pleased they have been with certain classes and year groups – pupils who are working hard, who are communicating any queries that they may have, and who are also sending words of thanks through the system to their teachers. All this is nothing less than I have come to expect from our excellent pupils – Respect, Responsibility and Resilience, indeed!
Routines & Expectations
As we move forward into another week, God willing, I would re-iterate some suggestions that may help:
Pupils are asked to check SMHW regularly - two or three times per day so that they can keep up to date with work set;
Pupils completing MyMaths tasks, must log in using the school login and the ‘MyPortal’ login in order for teachers to be able to see results and therefore track progress.
Pupils should stick to their timetabled day, as far as possible, in relation to their learning.
We appreciate that for some pupils who may need to share technology, for example, this will not always be possible. Teachers, therefore, are being realistic about the amount of work completed. However, we would be very grateful if parents could monitor work being done at home, to avoid school having to ring homes about the issue at what is already a critical time.
PARENTS ARE REMINDED THAT IF THEY ARE HAVING ANY DIFFICULTIES WITH ANY OF THE WORK, THEY SHOULD CONTACT STAFF, WHO ARE ONLY TOO WILLING TO HELP, BY EMAILING THEM AT:
IT Helpdesk (for any issue with passwords/computer access):
Curriculum Support (for any subject questions/queries):
Pastoral Support (for contact with any member of our pastoral team – eg: Form Teacher, Year Head, VP):
The best routines will probably involve trying to complete the work on the day it is set - please establish agreed routines and expectations with your child to manage each day.
Please try to keep daily routines intact with your child, including when they get up and when they go to bed.
In the past week, there appeared to have been an issue in relation to the uploading of work by pupils: it was clear that work was being done, but sadly, that it was not being uploaded correctly. In order to remedy this for the incoming week, I would encourage you to watch the demonstration video outlining how work should be uploaded correctly. The video can be found in the ‘LJHS Community Classroom’. In addition, there are a number of videos also relating to how to open documents from the classroom and how to submit completed work to be marked.
Free School Meals
On Thursday, The Communities Minister said, “Families will receive £2.70 per child per day for each day of term the schools are closed. This money will be paid to families on a fortnightly basis.” The Education Minister, Peter Weir, said, “Starting next week, the Education Authority will process payments in the same way they do for uniform grants. The Education Authority already has the bank details for the vast majority of those in receipt of free school meals so there is no need for anyone to apply. There are, however, a number of families for whom bank details are not held. These families will be contacted via a text message early next week and advised to complete an online form which will then be available on the Education Authority website. It is vital that people respond to any request from the Education Authority to avoid delay in payment.”
You can read more about this here: https://www.education-ni.gov.uk/news/ministers-takeaction-relation-free-school-meals-payment-0
Following a number of concerns about school reports for pupils in all year groups, I would like to inform you that our Senior Leadership Team is working very hard to ensure that all pupils will receive a report this year. At this stage, it is likely that Year 8 pupils will receive a numerical report, having already received their Annual Written Report (with comments) at Christmas.
We aim to send pupils in Years 9 & 10 an Annual Written Report (with comments) in due course. Year 10 will be completed first to allow for information, pertinent to the transfer process, to be communicated to parents in a timely manner.
Finally, I again express my gratitude to you all for your effort and commitment on so many levels. It is good to know that our parents are so supportive of the school that serves your children and all of us here at LJHS remain dedicated to teaching our young people to the highest standard.
With best wishes.