School Closure: Frequently Asked Questions

You can read the latest mailings from the Academy here.

How long will the Academy be closed?

At present, schools are expected to return after half-term on Monday 22 February; however, the Government has said that they will keep this date under review.

My child uses mobile data to access online learning and it keeps running out. Is there any support available?

There is now a national scheme available where parents/carers can request additional mobile phone data to support their child’s education if:

  • they don’t have access to a fixed broadband connection
  • you cannot afford the additional data needed to access educational resources or social care services
  • you have access to a mobile device that uses a participating network
  • are facing disruption to their face-to-face education, or have been advised not to attend school

At the moment, six network providers are participating in the scheme, although more may join in the future. Network providers involved are:

  • EE
  • Sky Mobile (not available to pay-as-you-go customers)
  • Smarty
  • Tesco Mobile (not available to pay-as-you-go customers)
  • 3
  • Virgin Mobile (not available to pay-as-you-go customers)

Please be aware that each network provider’s offer is available to a limited number of customers. We can make the request on your behalf but cannot guarantee it will be successful.

To apply for the data offer please complete the following form by Sunday 10 January 2020. The link can be found here: https://www.sandwellacademy.com/page/mobile-device

How do I find out if I am a Critical Worker or my child is classed as vulnerable?

The Government has produced a list identifying Critical Workers and vulnerable children:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision

My child is eligible for Free School Meals. What arrangements are in place?

The Government has committed to ensuring a national voucher scheme is in place so that every eligible child can access Free School Meals while their school remains closed. We await details of the national scheme but will continue to provide vouchers under the same arrangements as prior to the Christmas break, pending guidance.

For queries regarding Free School Meals, please contact Mrs Chapman JChapman@sandwellacademy.com

If I have any concerns about my child’s progress, wellbeing or other school-related issues, who should I contact?

The first point of contact for personal and academic issues relating to the progress and welfare of your child is their Personal Tutor. As the Academy will have a reduced level of staff on site, you are advised to use email. Staff email addresses can be found on the Meet the Staff section of the Academy website. The Academy will endeavour to answer correspondence within 48 hours; however, delays may be inevitable. Further points of contact can be found in the Points of Contact section of the Academy website.

Can my child come to the Academy and be tested for Covid?

Testing at the Academy is currently only for staff and key workers’ / vulnerable students who are attending on site. Testing is designed to identify individuals with Covid-19 who do not have symptoms (asymptomatic). If your child or anyone in the household develops symptoms, they must not attend the Academy but follow the Government guidelines for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection

Who should I contact if I have safeguarding concerns?

The safeguarding and welfare of students will always be at the forefront of our priorities. Should you have any safeguarding concerns, please visit: http://www.sandwellacademy.com/page/safeguarding

What is happening with exams?

The Government has announced that GCSEs and A Levels will not go ahead as planned and there is the expectation that teacher assessment will be used. At present, no details have been released as to how assessment will take place. We will inform students and parents as soon as we are able. In the meantime, we would ask that students and parents do not contact teachers with grade enquiries.

What grade will be child be awarded for GCSE/A levels?

At present, no details have been released as to how assessment will take place. We will inform students and parents as soon as we are able. In the meantime, we would ask that students and parents do not contact teachers with grade enquiries.

What time should my child log on to remote lessons?

Students must ensure that they are logged on, ready to learn promptly and in line with the following timings for the day:

  • Lesson 1a 8.30am to 9.50am
  • Breakfast 9.50am to 10.05am
  • Lesson 1b 10.10am to 11.30am
  • PT Time 11.35am to 11.50pm
  • Lesson 2a 11.55pm to 1.15pm
  • Lunch 1.15pm to 1.55pm
  • Lesson 2b 14.00pm to 15.20pm

What if my child is struggling to log on or they cannot gain access due to a technical reason?

Please refer to the following links for additional support:

Microsoft Teams and Remote Learning, including Expectations

http://www.sandwellacademy.com/page/remote-working

Using Office 365, Email, MCAS and the Online Curriculum

http://www.sandwellacademy.com/page/office-365

MCAS

http://www.sandwellacademy.com/page/mcas

IT Support

For any IT support needed including forgotten usernames and passwords, please send an email to the following address: support@sandwellacademy.com

What is my child expected to wear?

The dress code for students accessing live lessons remotely is smart casual. Students on site must wear their full Academy PE kit. They are also advised to wear extra layers as we continue to follow guidance that advises keeping windows and doors open.

Does my child need to have the camera on?

Students are expected to have their cameras on to help the teachers to monitor student progress and support as appropriate. MS Teams allows the camera background to be blurred and students are recommended to use this feature.

What are the behaviour expectations for my child?

We continue to expect the highest standards of conduct and behaviour. Students accessing live lessons remotely are expected to log-on to lessons on time and be fully prepared to learn with the correct equipment. Students will be expected to participate and engage fully in all lessons, including contributing to class activities and completing all tasks set.

Students on-site are also expected to adhere to the usual behaviour protocols. This includes wearing a face mask in all communal areas of the school when they are not in a lesson. In addition, students should wear a face mask on the hard play areas at lunchtime if they are unable to maintain a 2 metre distance. We reserve the right to send a student home if they do not adhere to the Covid-19 protocols in place. All students must use ICT safely and in accordance with our ICT use policy / requirements as set out in the Student Charter.

As a parent, can I ask the teacher questions during the lesson?

We would ask that parents do not ask the teacher questions during a lesson. However, should you have any queries or wish to contact a member of staff, please refer queries to your child’s Personal Tutor in the first instance as they will be able to co-ordinate communication.

If my child cannot attend online lessons, what should I do?

If your child is ill and unable to access remote lessons, please report absence in the usual way by emailing our Attendance Officer Emma Grindley at EGrindley@sandwellacademy.com

How will I know if my child is engaging with online learning?

Information about your child’s attendance for remote live lessons is available on MCAS. The Academy will continue to provide module reports in line with the usual calendar.

Who should I contact if I have a query about the coaches?

Coaches to Sandwell Academy are run independently by Thandi Coaches. All enquiries regarding the coaches should be directed to Thandi.

If I have any further questions which are not answered above, who should I contact?

Please contact your child’s PT. It is the Academy policy to answer any communication within 48 hours. However, as the majority of staff are working remotely, we would ask parents to be understanding during this difficult time. If you do not receive a response from your child’s PT within 48 hours please contact the Head of Year in the first instance.

Below are the resources you can access from home.

Forgotten Logins

If you have forgotten your login, please email IT Support at the following address:

support@sandwellacademy.com

In accordance with data protection, we can only send the login details to your “contact” email addresses that we already hold in our records.