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Cotham School

0117 919 8000

Weekly Mailing - Wednesday 22 April 2020

Dear Parents and Carers
I hope that you and your families are staying well and that you were all able to enjoy some of the lovely weather we experienced during the Easter break.  School was open during the break for our most vulnerable children and children of key workers so the pleasant weather certainly went down well. We kept ourselves extra busy by producing Face Shields (PPE) for the NHS, care homes and other social care staff. Truly it’s been an amazing effort and something of a socially distanced production line down in the DT Block! We started by making about 25 face shields around 6 April with a delivery quickly made to Tyntesfield Hospital Group. Production has snowballed since then with well over a thousand face shields sent out to the BRI, BHI and Southmead Hospitals, to doctors, nurses, midwives, to Care Homes and a Hospice amongst others. Some have been picked up, some delivered by staff and parents and some flat-packed and sent to workers in other cities.
On 9 April we set up a GoFundMePage and have been overwhelmed and truly humbled by the response. A link to the page can be found here.  Donations to the fund have been exceptionally generous and will enable us to keep producing for as long as the demand is there.  We also have parents and other volunteers who have joined the Bristol effort to sew ‘Scrubs’ to support an organisation called the Bristol Scrub Hub. Any funds left over from the GoFundMe page will be donated to local health-care charities.
If you have time, do listen to Cotham DT teacher Sam Lawrence’s interview with the BBC World Service about Cotham’s contribution to alleviating the local PPE crisis here
Here are also just some of the thanks the Cotham community has received to date:
Click here
The DfE tweeted late on Saturday night that “No decision has been made on a timetable for re-opening schools. Schools remain closed until further notice, except for children of critical workers and the most vulnerable children. Schools will only re-open when the scientific advice indicates it is the right time to do so.”
This was followed by more information from Gavin Williamson in Sunday’s government briefing. The Secretary of State detailed five tests that the country would need to meet before schools could get “back to normal”. These are:

  • “First, we must protect the NHS’s ability to cope and be sure that it can continue to provide critical care and specialist treatment right across the whole of the UK.
  • Second, we need to see the daily death rates from coronavirus coming down.
  • Third, we need to have reliable data that shows the rate of infection is decreasing to manageable levels.
  • Fourth, we need to be confident that testing capacity and personal protective equipment (PPE) are being managed, with supply able to meet not just today’s demand, but future demand.
  • And, fifth, and perhaps most crucially, we need to be confident any changes we do make will not risk a second peak of infections.”

The Secretary of State was clear that we can think about getting more children into schools and colleges again only when the country has met these five essential points. He committed to working with the sector to consider how best to reopen schools, nurseries and colleges when the time is right.

As I write none of us know when the school will be expected to ‘reopen’ or in what capacity but please be assured that staff are working as hard as ever, albeit differently, and that we’re all doing our utmost to plan for the return of our students for when the time comes.  

Finally, the month of Ramadan will soon start and I want to take this opportunity to wish those of you observing it with your children a Ramadan al-mubarak.  

Please find below information which I hope will be of assistance to you.

I wish you, our students and your families the very best,
Ms Jo Butler


Good News


Cotham School gets a mention in Cosmopolitan Magazine!

Remember all the excitement at the end of January when Maya Jama came to Cotham School to promote a campaign involving Maya, Cosmopolitan Magazine and the Dept. of Education to encourage young people to get into teaching as well as help inspire and shape the future generation?  Maya met with Ms Baker, one of our long-standing teachers at Cotham School, who inspired Maya during her time at Cotham.  
Click here to see the article in the May Edition of the Cosmopolitan Magazine.

Keep us posted

It would be great if parents/carers could let the school know of any student achievements outside of school. It is sometimes only at parents’ evenings that we find out what students are doing in their own time. Email us:


Important Information for Parents/Carers

Processes for continuing to ensure the safeguarding of our students during school closure

If you have urgent concerns about the safety of a child, First Response (Bristol Children's Services) should be your first port of call. Information on how to make a referral can be found here or by calling 0117 903 6444 (or if the offices are closed call the Emergency Duty Team on 01454 615 165). If the child is at immediate risk call the Police on 999. 
To provide information to the Cotham School Safeguarding Team contact our dedicated email address: 
Where we have concerns about vulnerable students and families, we will aim to stay in touch with you by phone so please accept a phone call from a withheld number.

Important information involving the Coronavirus

Information about Covid-19 in Somali can be found here
An Important Parent Information poster from the NHS is here.

Stephen Lawrence Day - Wednesday 22 April 2020

National Stephen Lawrence Day on 22 April, celebrates the life and legacy of Stephen Lawrence, who was killed in a racist attack at just 18 years old. Stephen had a bright future ahead of him and, although his life was short, it is an example of a life well lived. Stephen Lawrence Day is about the part we all play in creating a society in which everyone can flourish. It is an opportunity for children and young people to have their voices heard, make the changes they’d like to see and create a society that treats everyone with fairness and respect. Through Stephen Lawrence Day we want young people to be inspired about what they can achieve in their own lives. We want them to get involved in creating the kind of community they want to live in and we want them to have a strong voice in building a fairer and more inclusive society. We want you to join us in creating a society in which everyone can flourish.
We are asking that students watch the video on this document to 'Learn about Stephen's story' and think of the answers to a few questions on the document about what you learned from his story.

Stephen Lawrence Day Competition

Watch the video on this document to hear some great spoken word poetry produced by teenagers to mark Stephen Lawrence Day. If you feel inspired to write your own, there are thinking activities to help you on this document. Record your spoken word poem and submit it to Ms Leong via email at by Friday 1 May. There will be prizes sent in the post for the Top 5 spoken word poems received, as judged by the Senior Leadership Team. 

Help With Your Child's Reading

Regular reading is so important to students' progress and enjoyment. We hope some extra tips, strategies and links to support you and your child during this period, and beyond will be useful. See documents here: "Your Child's Reading During Lockdown" and "eBooks and Audio Information". 
If your child is in Years 7 or 8, please encourage them to participate in the Cotham Reading Bingo Challenge via their tutor group page on Google Classroom.
Happy reading!

Bristol Plays Music Virtual Academy is open!

In response to the coronavirus outbreak Bristol Plays Music have created a new online music lesson programme to give hundreds of existing and new music students individual music lessons. 
The Virtual Academy gives lessons on most instruments for children and young people of all levels from ages 7-18 and is bookable in blocks of 10 lessons.
They are offering fully subsidised online music lessons for children of key workers, children in care and families financially impacted by COVID-19 subject to funding.
Online lessons will never replace 'in person' interaction, but they can be very effective in the short term. With their expert music tutors these online lessons are the perfect way to continue musical tuition during these challenging times. 
If your child has always wanted to learn how to play guitar, blow the trumpet or tinkle the ivories, then they can now do so even in lockdown. Click here to find out more and sign up to Virtual Academy.

Remote Learning Plans 

Remote Learning Plans for each of the year groups can be found on the school website

  • Remote Learning Plans will cover a 2 week period.  
  • We are currently in Cycle 2 covering the period from Monday 20 April to Friday 1 May.  
  • Each subject will create work that students should complete for each of the lessons that students will miss as a result of the school closure;  
  • Students should follow their usual school timetable and complete the work for each lesson that they miss using the instructions provided;
  • The school plans to continue to produce these Remote Learning Plans in 2 week cycles throughout the period of school closure; these will be posted to the website as we approach the cycle date.
  • Instructions for each lesson and the supporting resources will be posted on Google Classroom for students to access there.  The plans are intended to give parents an overview of the work being set so that they can support their children with their learning.   

Any questions that students may have about the work set should  be sent via Google Classroom or email to their usual class teacher so that they can respond appropriately. Staff will feedback to students individually or collectively where appropriate.
The website also contains links to these other resources which may be support: 

  • A Home Learning Guide for Parents and carers
  • Parent Guides to Exam revision 
  • A help sheet for parents and carers to support them in keeping their child safe online whilst they are at home


BBC offers biggest online education push 'in its history'

The BBC will offer daily programmes to help parents and children with schoolwork at home during the lockdown. Starting on 20 April, videos, quizzes, podcasts and articles will appear on BBC Bitesize Daily via the BBC iPlayer, red button, BBC Four and BBC Sounds. Further information can be seen here

Resources from Oak Academy

Oak National Academy has launched online lessons and resources, which has launched to support students, parents and teachers until schools re-open. The online classroom will provide free lessons and resources for pupils from reception through to Year 10. All resources, lessons and more information can be accessed here.
As part of a collective response to the crisis, 40 teachers will be producing over 180 free online lessons each week, which will cover a range of subjects from English and maths to arts and languages.
The resources are new, and we are currently considering how we might be able to integrate them into our Remote Learning Plans going forward.  Please bear with us as we consider this new package of resources.   

Parent Feedback to Remote Learning Plans

Our weekly mailing to parents and carers next week will include a questionnaire to gather feedback on your experience of our Remote Learning Plans so that we can continue to support all parents and carers with remote learning.    

Cotham School Learning from home links

Please see attached document here from Mrs Davies, Librarian which includes useful links for you to use. 


Student Wellbeing

Resources to support your child's wellbeing and online safety at this time

We have set up a Google Classroom called 'Mental Health and Wellbeing' and, three times a week, are posting bitesize chunks of useful information, tools, resources and strategies to support your child with their wellbeing at this time. You and your child will receive an email alert every time that something new is uploaded to this classroom but please do browse the classroom with your child as we build up our resources.
The Anna Freud website has a great section for young people on self care which is full of ideas. 
The National Online Safety website has made available all their easy to follow interactive resources which cover the following topics: Self Image & Identity, Online Relationships, Online Reputation, Online Bullying, Managing Online Information, Health, Well-being & Lifestyle, Privacy & Security and Copyright & Ownership. This video shows you how you can now access the resources from their website.
The Think U Know organisation are producing fortnightly activity packs that you print / use on screen to teach your child more about online safety.  The first packs for 11-13 year olds and for 14+ year olds are linked but you can find appropriate packs for other ages on their website here.

Other resources targeted at parents and carers

NHS Mental Health 24/7 Telephone Helpline: If you know of anyone who is experiencing significant mental health difficulties during the Covid 19 shutdown and cannot access their GP or A&E as a result of Covid 19 restrictions, please inform them of this helpline as it gives an opportunity for individuals to speak with mental health specialists in Bristol about what is going on for them and what pathways may be helpful to them. 
The Samaritans are there for you if you need someone to listen or call 116123 for free.

Resources to help with Stress, Anxiety and Depression

Please find attached some resources that help support during COVID 19, this booklet summarises information on stress, anxiety and depression (SAD) including self help measures, the other here is a flowchart of some key mental health services.

Coronavirus specific advice

For Parents and Carers
Some excellent and simple resources to support you as parents and carers to help your child make sense of what is happening in the world now can be found from the Common Sense media organisation which aims to sift through the misinformation and overexposure of some news coverage that might be causing anxiety in some children. Please click on the following website links, Child MindMind.orgBBC News
For Students
Young Minds
BBC Bitesize Article - keeping calm in difficult situations 

North Bristol Post 16 Resources

Please find some COVID 19 lockdown tips here, click here for information on Managing your Wellbeinghere for tips on Entertainment and Enrichment and here for tips on entertaining younger siblings.

Cyberbullying Guide

An online organisation called HomeGuides has developed guidance to help children, parents and teachers to understand what cyberbullying is and what can be done about it. Download the guide here. 

HappyMaps Website- Providing resources for Parents and Carers around Children's mental health

HappyMaps is a website providing a one stop shop of resources around children's mental health from babies to young adults and includes websites, videos, books, Apps and links to ways to find counselling and other support. The website was funded by NHS England with input from specialist services (CAMHS) and local charities and is supported by Bristol Mind. Please click here to view the website. 

National Online Safety- What parents need to know about Zoom

Founded in 2011, Zoom is one the world’s leading video conferencing software providers. It has a number of features, including video and audio conferencing, real-time messaging, screen-sharing and the ability to upload, share and search for content. Users can start their own meetings or they can join meetings set up by others. The app is available to use across PCs, laptops, tablets and mobiles phones and is free to download on both the app store and on Android. Please click here to view the guide and safety tips for parents. 

Online Safety Newsletter- April Edition 

Please click here to view this month’s online safety newsletter. 
Please click here to view an online Safety booklet which includes an overview of key parental controls.


Resources Update

Please see below for further information of some excellent resources that have been brought to our attention.

Online resources from the Public Library

All Bristol Libraries are closed as of Thursday 19 March but they have a fantastic selection of online resources (you do not need to have a library card to access them). Bristol Libraries are letting people join online and use the online resources for four months so you do not need to have existing physical library cards. 
To search the Libraries West catalogue click here
Free Magazines and Newspapers
All you need is a device.
Go to:
Free audiobooks and ebooks- these are REALLY GOOD!
Go to for more information.
The public library also pays for many online resources that you can access for free including:

  • Driving Theory Test software
  • Over 1.5 million academic articles and papers
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  • Naxos: free streaming music
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  • Oxford English Dictionary
  • Oxford Reference: over 135 reference works
  • Who's Who and Who Was Who: 1897 to date

Just follow the link and input your borrower details. 
We also have lots of (paid for) resources through our own library software which you can access from home using this link. Students have been sent their login information on their school email address. Please email if you are unable to access this from home.              

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

J K Rowling has opened up a new area on with loads of Harry Potter activities, click here for further information. Also, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone has been added to the audible collection of free audiobooks.

National Literacy Trust

As a response to school closures, the National Literacy Trust has developed a comprehensive web portal for parents to support during this time. Over the next days, weeks and months they will be updating this with new and useful content for parents.
Split up by age group you will find ideas and guidance for simple activities that will engage your children at home, while also benefiting their reading, writing and language development. Aimed at children from Birth to age 12.
You'll be able to access free reading and writing resources, audiobooks, videos, competitions and reading challenges. Every resource is available for free, although to access some you may need to create a free account.

Andrew Lloyd-Webber free musicals

Andrew Lloyd Webber has announced the new YouTube Channel that will be streaming a full-length musical every Friday at 7pm for free. It will be available for 48 hours. 

Free online Educational Courses

The Museum of Modern Art in New York is offering free Educational courses online, more details can be found here


Student Careers Update

Year 10 Work Experience Questionnaire

Even though it looks likely that Year 10 students will not be able to take up their work experience placement this year we would like us to let you know your thoughts about how the process was managed to help you to gain a placement (whether you found a place or not).  Please could we ask all year 10 students to complete the questionnaire here to help make sure we keep doing this better and better in the future. 

Sixth Form/College offers

City of Bristol College, SGS College and St.Brendan's Sixth Form College have all written to schools to reassure parents that all existing offers of a place will be honoured. For all students who would like a place but have not yet applied, applications can still be made on their websites. Reassurance that places are still guaranteed for all students 16 -19. Some short assessment tests may be administered at enrollment to ensure students are placed on courses at the right level for their learning. Please contact if you have any worries or questions. have produced this lovely song dedicated to all of you lovely parents doing an awesome job whilst we are all in lockdown. #WakeUpWednesday we're bringing parents & carers some fun! Teaming up with MusicAlternative, here's our brand new 'Lockdown Learning' #OnlineSafety song... ENJOY! 
Follow @CareersCotham on twitter and see the retweeted song. 

Post 16 and Year 11 students

Careers at Cotham School are following many useful organisations and retweeting interesting posts. Lucy Parsons is offering webinars to share her insights into applications to Russell Group Universities and with special emphasis on Oxford and Cambridge. Worth a look if you are unsure how to get started with your University preparations during the remainder of Year 12, click here for more information.  


"Careermap" is an organisation helping young people to find Apprenticeships at all levels. You can find Apprenticeships to apply for NOW, help and advice on how to complete application forms and what to say and do at interviews that are online as well as in person.  Take a look at their fabulous resources, watch videos from current Apprentices and perhaps take in a Webinar with top employers to speak directly about what it takes to be successful.  
Careermap has put together a research pack for you, which includes lots of information about degree apprenticeships, where to find them, what they are plus much more.  FREE Research packFREE worksheetVacancies to apply for.
Careermag for Parents is sponsored by NCFE, a National Awarding Organisation.
It's packed full of labour market information and qualification routes so teenagers can seek guidance from their parents to make well informed decisions on their futures. Please click here to view
Vital updates and exciting opportunities can be found on the weekly NBP16 Careers Bulletin updated every Thursday morning, here. 


City of Bristol College Apprenticeship Bulletin and South West Apprenticeship Company have apprenticeship vacancies here and here
Other apprenticeships can be found through the Gov website hereTarget CareersSuccess at School , Get My First Job and Not Going to Uni
Please click here to view the March 2020 Apprenticeship Information Parents Pack.
Please keep your eyes on the Careers section of the website for updates.  


 Community News

Friends of Alalay

Ex-Cotham student Annie Syrett has provided an update on her charity, Friends of Alalay. To read more about the work with the street children at Alalay at the moment, please click here.

ACORN Group- Looking for volunteers

ACORN is a group who are currently organising local volunteers to support people in the community during the CODID-19 crisis. They are in need of far more volunteers across the area to support their work – can you help? Please see their website and flyer here for more information.

Working from home: Your Wellbeing Action Plan

It’s fair to say that the outbreak of Coronavirus and the more recent ‘lockdown’ in the United Kingdom has had a significant impact on work for many of us, and for some that means working from home. 
In times of such uncertainty, many of us are understandably living with a heightened sense of anxiety. Many people are feeling worried and fearful of what will happen in the coming days, weeks and potentially months and having to quickly adjust to major changes in their lives. At the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust, they have adapted their Workplace Wellbeing Action Plan so that it can be used while working from home. Please click here to access more information and download the Wellbeing Action Plan.  

The Family Fit Club

The Family Fit Club have been working with some amazing children to create some fun themed workout videos that children and their families can access completely free on Youtube. The videos are for all the family, regardless of their age or ability and were designed by the children and PE teachers to ensure that that all children stay engaged and have fun!
There is no equipment needed and the children have come up with a variety of themes to keep them interesting. These themes include super heroes, the olympics, music, dance, sport and many more!!! Please click here to view the videos. 

Help regarding Energy Bills

The government has agreed with energy suppliers that they will make sure that vulnerable customers who fall into debt remain supplied with energy while in self-isolation. More generally, suppliers promise to help customers in financial distress. If you encounter any problems please contact your supplier. 
Help on energy related problems can also be sought from, CSE helpline 0800 082 2234.
We have created the linked document here to respond to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) raised by some of our parents and carers with links to other agencies that can support families in different ways, such as delivering free food packages, finding employment, accessing welfare benefits, mental health support and other agencies.
Information can be found here about accessing Universal Credit/Employment and Support Allowance for a loan.
Here is list of links to Mutual Aid (community support groups in Bristol by postcode area):
Bristol Community Care (via Bristol Mutual Aid)
BS1 Mutual Aid, BS2 Mutual Aid, BS3 Mutual Aid, BS4 Mutual Aid, BS5 Mutual Aid, BS6 Mutual Aid, BS7 Mutual Aid, BS8 Mutual Aid, BS9 Mutual Aid, BS10 Mutual Aid, BS11 Mutual Aid, BS13 Mutual Aid, BS14 Mutual Aid.

Support for those experiencing domestic abuse can be found here. 


Useful quick links

Click here to access GCSEpod which contains lots of revision resources for most GCSEs. Students self register through the website using their name and school details.
Diagnostic Questions
Click here to access. This site contains self marking quizzes with lots of templates including some from a range of exam boards. It’s easy to make your own questions in Microsoft PowerPoint too. Students sign up with their school Google account using the G+ button to automatically create a school account
Edmodo is an application that can be used on both mobile devices and in the web environment to create an online community of practice. Edmodo is a free social learning platform that allows students to access the course content uploaded by their teachers.
All students and teachers now have free access to Seneca - a revision and homework platform making studying more fun. Seneca is an interactive way to learn official course content. Their web app covers 150+ exam board specific courses condensing what students need to know for their exams. The software is able to identify gaps in learning. For instance, when you get a question wrong, the platform will repeat the topic in different formats and their smart algorithm has proven to make students remember topics 2x faster. Seneca is totally free for students, teachers and parents. You can sign up via
Library Access
The library system is available to access from home at . Please log in to the site to gain the full advantage of the online library resources, such as OneSearch. Please email us on for your username and password. 
Free School Meals
To apply or check if your child is eligible for Free School Meals please click on this link. 
If you have any questions or need assistance please do not hesitate to contact Mrs Hopkins at Student Reception. 
Contact Details 
Please note the following contact numbers and email addresses if you need to contact the school:
Main Reception - 0117 919 8000/ 
Student Reception - 0117 919 8013 / 
Absence - 0117 919 8019/ 
NBP16C - 0117 919 8100/ 
Finance - 0117 919 8016/ 
Exams - 0117 919 8024/ 
Admin Office - 01179198053/