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Friday 27 March 2020

Welcome to the
Family Information Service
Newsletter

Visit the Family Information Service website for a wide range of information and advice for families with children and young people aged 0 to 25 across Warwickshire. 

For support, call the Family Information Service on 01926 742274 
(available Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm)

To make sure that parents, carers, professionals and partners stay informed over the coming weeks, the Family Information Service newsletter will be issued on a regular basis to ensure that information and advice relating to Coronavirus (also known as Covid-19) is readily available and easy to access. 

In this edition of the Family Information Service Newsletter you will find information on mental health support during the Coronavirus outbreak, new activity and learning ideas for children, money advice relating to Coronavirus, child accident prevention in the home and much more. Please also stay informed on the social distancing guidance here.

If anyone you know would like to subscribe, they can sign up here

Follow the latest advice on Coronavirus (Covid-19):
 
What's new?
Claiming free school meals during school closures
Parents should beware of a scam email in circulation which asks for bank details in order to fund free school meals while children are off school. The Department for Education has confirmed this is a scam and advised parents not to respond and to delete the email immediately. For information about how to claim free school meals while your child is not attending school visit the WCC welfare scheme here.
 
 

Useful tips about money during Covid-19

Martin Lewis has put together some useful tips and need-to-know information for lots of financial related queries including advice for the self-employed, contractors, renters and more.
 

Learn more >

Tips to keep your kids safe during self-isolation

At this time families are spending most of their time at home so it is important to give some extra thought to general home safety and accident prevention.

Warwickshire County Council have put together some top tips for keeping your family safe.

Read more >

Useful advice for staying safe online

Safe in Warwickshire have pulled together a list of resources and information to keep everyone safe online.

There is advice for parents and carers as well as information for young people and how to report abuse.

Read more >
 

Advice on Covid-19 from The National Autistic Society

The National Autistic Society have produced information and guidance on Coronavirus, including signposting to social stories to support children and young people with Autism.
 

Read more >
 
 
 

Smoking in pregnancy - support available

Pregnant smokers can help to protect themselves from the increased risk of serious health consequences associated with Covid-19 by quitting smoking and Quit4Baby can support you along the way.

Learn more >

Coronavirus advice for carers

As the situation with coronavirus evolves, it's important to know what support is available to you as a carer and those you look after.

Carers UK have set out the current government guidance as it relates to carers and offers suggestions for making plans.

Read more >

Covid-19: Guidance for parents and carers

Warwickshire County Council (WCC) have lots of information on their website to support parents and carers throughout the Coronavirus pandemic including useful FAQ's about school closures and free school meals.

If you have any further questions, you can call the WCC parental helpline on 01926 412021 between 08.00 to 18.00 (Mon-Fri).

Read more >

Coronavirus information for families with disabled children

With so much out there about Covid-19 and confusion about the virus and its impact on families with disabled children, Contact want to make sure parents and carers have the most important information they need in one place.

Read more >
 
 
You might be worried about coronavirus (Covid-19), how it could affect your life and having to stay at home to avoid other people. This might feel difficult or stressful. But there are lots of things you can try that could help your wellbeing during this time. 
  1. Warwickshire County Council has put together some mental health resources and local services available in Warwickshire to support you. Find out more.
  2. Mental health charity, Mind, have some useful information and advice if you're feeling anxious or worried about staying at home during this time. Read more.
  3. Children and young people's mental health charity, Young Minds, also has useful advice on looking after your mental health during self-isolation, talking to your children about Coronavirus, tips on coping with OCD and eating disorders during the pandemic and much more. Learn more.
  4. Coventry and Warwickshire's emotional wellbeing and mental health service, Rise, have advice on how to talk to your children during this unsettling time including a downloadable story book that provides simple and truthful information in a child-friendly way. There is also support for children with autism including visual aids as well as lots of other support. Find out more.
 
New activity and learning ideas for families!
  1. Every day at 11am you can listen to one of David Walliam’s Worlds Worst Children stories. Learn more.
  2. Greg James & Chris Smith have released an audio book version of their new Kid Normal book, free of charge. Find out more.
  3. The National Literacy Trust have created a 'Family Zone' where families can access free reading and writing resources, audiobooks, videos, competitions and reading challenges. Read more.
  4. Take a look at a live webcam of Peregrine Falcons nesting at Leamington Town Hall! Watch here.
  5. Warwickshire Museums are posting articles twice a week to give families a taste of the museum at home. Read more.
  6. There are so many different Blue Peter badges so CBBC have made a page to show how you could get your hands on one! Can you collect them all? Find out more.
 
Affected services for families

Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)

CAB are working to provide the best, most sustainable service during the Coronavirus outbreak. They are no longer providing face to face appointments, drop in sessions, outreaches or home visiting projects unless in an emergency, however you can still speak to them over the phone or via email.

Contact South Warwickshire Citizens Advice Bureau

Contact North Warwickshire Citizens Advice Bureau

Contact Rugby Citizens Advice Bureau by calling 01788 566238 (Mon-Weds & Friday, 10:00 - 14:00) or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Contact Nuneaton and Bedworth Citizens Advice Bureau by calling 02476 494393 (Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri, 10:00 - 14:00) or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

All local Citizens Advice Bureau services can be contacted out of hours via the national call centre on 0300 3301163.
 

Libraries

All Warwickshire libraries are closed and all library events cancelled until further notice. The mobile library service will also not operate, however, the home library deliveries service will be maintained as much as possible. Fines will be waived, and customers do not need to worry about returning items in the short term so please stay safe at home and keep your library items with you.

Libraries online services are still available. More information can be found here.


Children and Family Centres

Where possible, Children & Family Centres will remain open, however services will be limited and all group activities have been cancelled until further notice. For details on what support you can receive and the opening times, please see the Facebook page for your area here.

Health Visiting Service

All Health Visiting clinics are closed until further notice.

By Your Side stay and play sessions

The sessions (for parents struggling with perinatal mental illness to talk amongst themselves) are on hold until further notice. To access support online, visit the Facebook group here (please note this is a private group that you will need to join via Facebook).

Keep up-to-date with Warwickshire Family Information Service
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Copyright © 2020 Warwickshire County Council, All rights reserved.

Headteacher’s Blog  Friday 27th March 2020

Working at home – how to support your child and managing expectations

I am writing to you at an unprecedented time for all of us.  We are all having to adapt the way in which we live our lives and I know this will be presenting some real challenges for many of you, as it has for staff at school.  Today I am writing with some thoughts about how you can support your child in working from home, as well as some guidance about keeping your children safe online as they may be spending more time than normal accessing the internet. 

With three children at home myself, in years 6, 9 and 11, I can assure you that I have seen first-hand both the amazing work that teachers are putting into ensuring children continue to get high quality resources and the challenges of supporting children to complete them.  I hope the following can act as some support in managing expectations in the coming weeks.

Please be aware that there are currently NO NEW TOPICS being covered. All of the work we are setting is to review, revise and embed the learning that has already taken place in schools with topics that we have already taught.   This may change later in the Summer term, but this is the case for now.  It is for you as a family, and individual students, to pick and choose from the work available to help keep minds active and to keep their learning live.  We are simply providing enough for you who want to do more, but no one will be judging anybody on how much is done. As staff we are aware that every family will be facing different circumstances and challenges at different times . We also know that individual students will be learning at different paces, just as they would with their teacher in the classroom. You may want to build a wide variety of activities which may include physical exercise (my 11 year old is loving Joe Wicks every morning at 9am!), reading, creativity, cooking, gardening, watching films, chatting with others as a family and with friends online. Make the most of enjoying the opportunities that this enforced grounding is offering. Please don’t worry about completing all activities and trying to return them to us. Guidance can be seen in the FAQ sheet which is linked at the end of this blog.  Our current focus is on Year 11, who should be completing work as set as this may form part of their predicted grade, as well as any outstanding BTEC work, and ensuring any outstanding Y13 coursework is compete.  After Easter we will increase our focus on Year 10 and 12. As the weeks progress we will communicate further about marked work, but we are all feeling our way with the situation as it stands now. If you are having difficulty with using the online resources, we are developing new packs of work for those that need it after Easter and we will be sending information out about this next week.

The FAQ sheet will hopefully provide some more answers to some of the common questions that have been asked over the last week. 

Everyone is dealing with the current situation differently.  We know and appreciate this and ask for the patience of our families as we also adapt what we are doing.  Teachers and support staff are being asked to work in ways we never have before.  This week the school has been open for children of Critical Workers and we will continue to be open, throughout the Easter holiday and through to the time this crisis is over, for these families as well any families who feel their children are vulnerable and in need of our support.  This should of course be an absolute last resort, where you are unable to support your child at home.  We would ask you to contact our school reception, which is open during normal school hours, if you are in need of this service so that we can plan, as we have minimal staffing operating and cannot manage many students.

Teachers are adapting to the new way of working with an incredible level of creativity and innovation and we are actively seeking out the latest applications and technology to support with student learning.  There will be communication coming out after the Easter holiday about this.

At the bottom of this blog are some links to useful links:-

FAQ – this goes into more detail about some of the common questions families have had this week

Frequently Asked Questions

Social Media Guidance – as some children will be spending more time online and will understandably want to socialise with their friends via social media there are some reminders here about staying safe online.

I hope that you have found this information useful.

Take care of your families and stay safe.

Ian Smith-Childs

March 27th 2020

A statement from the DFE was issued on 20/3/2020 following the cancellation of GCSE and A level examinations. This statement (below) provides some further information on how grades will be awarded.

Schools do not yet have any further details. We are committed to ensuring that we work with the awarding bodies to ensure that students’ hard work and dedication is rewarded and fairly recognised.  In order to ensure this process is fair and transparent, subject staff have been asked not to respond directly to any parental or student queries relating to individual student or subject grades.

We will continue to update this page as we are given more information.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/further-details-on-exams-and-grades-announced?utm_source=96f31727-1fb9-408b-a7fa-d91d4ceaeb6b&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate

A message from AQA’s Chief Executive, Mark Bedlow, on how they will be awarding grades this summer can be viewed here:

 

https://www.aqa.org.uk/coronavirus-updates

 

Letter To Year 11 & 13 Parents - 23th March 2020

 

Letter To Year 13 Parents DHo - 23th March 2020

Cyber Crime Update

 
Dear all, 

Welcome to an update.

Due to COVID-19, students will be online a lot more often than before with school closures. We have compiled some internet safety and gaming advice sites and guidance for both students and parents.

There is also some Crime Prevention Advice Leaflets covering topics such as two-factor authentication, antivirus, backing up data, recovering an infected device, malware and ransomware, passwords, and phishing emails. 

You will find links to helpful advice from the NCSC regarding working from home and also a link to an article stating that Coronavirus-related fraud reports have increased by 400% in March. 

Many of you may be seeing this come up in your junk email folder, we are in the process of getting this fixed however have been urged to suggest that subscribers  add This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to their address book.

Many thanks, 

Abbey and Joe.

 

Students:

If a young person needs help or wants to speak to someone regarding something that has happened online or offline – use the following helplines on this webpage: https://www.childnet.com/young-people/secondary/need-help

If a young person wants to report abuse on a specific site, or in more serious cases, report to the police or other bodies that regulate bodies on the internet, they can use the following site: https://www.childnet.com/resources/how-to-make-a-report

This online reputation checklist is a simple way for young people to learn what a digital footprint is and how this this can be either negative or positive and can even influence their future: https://www.childnet.com/ufiles/Online-Reputation-Checklist.pdf

The Safer Internet Centre Site provides information and advice if students are unsure how to stay safe online (the site caters for ages 3-11 and 11-19): https://www.saferinternet.org.uk/advice-centre/young-people

Some small guide checklists for students if they’re not sure how to set privacy settings/blocking someone on certain apps:

Some extremely important Top Tips to remember are: 

  1. Protect your online reputation: use the services provided to manage your digital footprints and ‘think before you post.’ Content posted online can last forever and could be shared publicly by anyone.
  2. Know where to find help: understand how to report to service providers and use blocking and deleting tools. If something happens that upsets you online, it’s never too late to tell someone. 
  3. Don’t give in to pressure: once you’ve pressed send you can’t take it back.
  4. Respect the law: use reliable services and know how to legally access the music, film and TV you want.
  5. Acknowledge your sources: use trustworthy content and remember to give credit when using others’ work/ideas.

Parents: 

For parent’s, National Online Safety have a campaign called Wake Up Wednesday whereby they release a pdf guide every week discussing a social media app or online game. It gives a brief description of what the app/game is then lists what risks it has as well as top tips for parents. They have also released guides for topics such as pressures online and mental health in young people. You have to create an account in order to download the guides, but this is all free: https://nationalonlinesafety.com/guides?utm_source=Twitter&utm_campaign=School-Closures-GuidesSocial

As well for parents Internet Matters provide information on parental controls and offers clear and concise step-by-step guides for how to set these up on apps/devices and even as far as blocking certain websites from being accessed wifi:  https://www.internetmatters.org/parental-controls/

Online Safety Tips and checklist for Parents 11-13:  https://pwxp5srs168nsac2n3fnjyaa-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Internet-matters-Parent-Age-Guides-11-13.pdf

Online Safety tips and checklist for Parents 14+: https://pwxp5srs168nsac2n3fnjyaa-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Internet-matters-Parent-Age-Guides-14.pdf

For some families it might be useful to have a ‘Family Agreement’ whereby you talk through how they use the internet and how to behave positively online. There is also an ‘Online Safety Agreement’ option to cater for non family settings e.g. foster carers and youth groups: https://www.childnet.com/resources/family-agreement

Gaming

As well as social media there is also online gaming where the same rules to stay safe apply, however, there are many concerns that come along with this, for instance:

  1. Online Gaming Addiction
  2. Contact with Strangers
  3. Online gaming health
  4. Online Video Game Costs and Gambling
  5. Online Gaming Effects on Behaviour

Internet matters provides information on parental controls and more information to do with online gaming from the basics, the risks, the benefits and the resources that are available: https://www.internetmatters.org/resources/online-gaming-advice/the-basics/#advice

Further to this there is also more information regarding online gaming : https://www.internetmatters.org/about-us/our-partners/supercell-internet-matters-corporate-partner/gaming-advice/

Online Gaming Safety tips and checklist for Parents 11-13: https://pwxp5srs168nsac2n3fnjyaa-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Internet-Matters-Guide-Gaming-advice-PreTeens.pdf

Online Gaming Safety tips and checklist for Parents 14+: https://pwxp5srs168nsac2n3fnjyaa-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Internet-Matters-Guide-Gaming-advice-Teens.pdf

Mobile Gaming: https://www.internetmatters.org/resources/online-gaming-advice/mobile-gaming-tips-for-parents/

Crime Prevention Leaflets

Cyber Crime Prevention Leaflets can be found on the Safe in Warwickshire Website
 
Read more >
Are you working from home? Due to many of us working from home to help manage the Covid-19 outbreaks NCSC have produced the guidance below to help protect you, your businesses, devices and data.
Read more >
 

Coronavirus-related fraud reports increase by 400% in March.

 
Read more >