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Cotham School

0117 919 8000

Weekly Mailing - Monday 11 May 2020

Dear Parents and Carers
Following the Prime Minister’s message yesterday it would seem that there are currently no firm plans to bring back secondary schools to even partial capacity.  Therefore for the foreseeable future we will be still operating remotely except for children of key workers and those children who are our most vulnerable. Thank you for your responses to the questionnaire we issued last week to allow us to gather your feedback on remote learning.  Please find a summary of this and the actions we are able to take below.  Please also find a range of information which I hope will be of assistance to you over the coming week.
I wish you, our students and your families the very best and hope you are all staying well.
Ms Jo Butler


Opportunities for Students

Year 9- Would you like to have an article displayed in the June issue of Bishopston Matters?

Year 9 - would like to have an article displayed in the June issue of Bishopston Matters?
Write a story or a poem. Draw or paint a picture. It could be about how your life has changed during lockdown.
Send your work by the 18 May to 
Please cc me in so I can see your work
Mrs Arnold

Sigma House Competition- Design a poster: Switch it Off

Please design a poster that we can use in school to encourage staff and students to switch off lights and projectors when not in use. You can design it on the computer, hand draw or even make a collage. Whatever you feel makes a great poster with an important message. To see some example posters please click here.
All entries to be in by Monday 8 June. Please email Mrs Arnold your entries.
Good luck!
Turning off the lights when you leave your room can help save energy. It can also help reduce carbon emission and other harmful greenhouse gases. Hence, turning off your lights is a simple way to help protect the environment and save the planet.


Good News

Student Achievements

Alaya in Year 9 achieved a bronze art award in Music as a result of a 10 week music course she completed at creative youth network. What a fantastic achievement, well done Alaya!

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:


New Information for Parents/Carers

Parent and Carer Feedback on Remote Learning Plans

Last week we issued a questionnaire to gather parent and carer feedback on our Remote Learning plans.  
We asked parents and carers four questions.  

  1. Which of the following statements would best describe your child's experience of their school learning at home over the past two weeks?  

The vast majority of parents and carers said that their child had been able to access their remote learning with either no support or occasional support from their parent/ carer.  

  1. Which of the following statements would best describe your child’s experience of the amount of school learning that has been shared with them to support their learning?

Nearly a half of parents and carers said that the amount of learning was right but a significant number of parents felt that the volume of work had been too great.  
We would say that it is particularly important that students in Year 10 and Year 12 try to complete all of the work being set so as not to disadvantage them too much when they return to us.  
However, if your child is younger and struggling with the volume of work, please use your judgement to help your child prioritise the work being set. 

  1. Which of the following statements would best describe your child’s experience of their understanding of the school learning that has been shared with them to support their learning?

The vast majority of parents and carers said that the explanations had been clear and that students understood what to do.  We’ve now changed the format of our Learning Plans for Cycle 4 (starting next week) so that the instructions shared with students are even clearer.  We’ve also included some actions for those students who have struggled with the work, or those students that have enjoyed the work and would like to do more.  

  1. Which of the following do you think we should focus on with regard to school learning to be completed at home moving forward?

Nearly all of the feedback confirmed that work should continue to be set on the day of the lesson or over a short period of time.  We will continue to set work on google classroom at 8.00am for their lessons for the day.  This will hopefully support our students in prioritising their work for the day.
A number of parents and carers asked about the school providing either live video lessons or pre recorded video lessons. At this stage, we do not have plans to commence ‘live lessons’ as there are significant logistical and safeguarding challenges in doing this.  We are however currently working on providing more resources with a narrated ‘voice over’ so that students can listen to teacher explanations.  We hope to be in a position to include some of these from Cycle 4 commencing next week.  
Our tutors in Years 7 to Year 11 started to make welfare calls to our students last week and we plan to continue with these in 2 week cycles.  We hope that our tutors have been able to answer any questions that you may have but if not our Learning Coordinators are also available on email should you wish to contact them.      

FREE! Microsoft Office for all students

A reminder that all students are entitled to download the latest version of Microsoft Office for free on upto 5 devices for as long as they are a pupil at Cotham School. Instructions on how to complete the installation can be found on the school website under the useful links section. 

Government childcare offers

Temporary measures have been announced to ensure critical workers will still be eligible for childcare offers if their income has changed due to coronavirus. Parents who are normally eligible for the government’s childcare offers will continue receiving the entitlements during the summer term if their income levels fall due to the impact of coronavirus.
The Government has announced that any working parent usually eligible for 30 hours free childcare or Tax-Free Childcare will remain eligible if they fall below the minimum income requirement due to COVID-19. Subject to Parliamentary approval, parents who are critical workers will also remain eligible for these entitlements if their income has increased over the maximum threshold during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Can you help? - Acetate Donations Required

We are looking for donations of A4 acetate (150-300 Microns) to help us provide replacement visors for our face shields to colleagues in the NHS, local hospices, care homes. If you can help or know someone who can please email


Student Wellbeing

School Nursing Service

The school nursing service is still available to support you during this time, you can refer into the service on the usual number: 0300 1245 816, more information on areas they can help in can be found here

National Online Safety Information- TikTok

TikTok has now been downloaded over 2 billion times on the Google Play Store and the App Store and we seem to be seeing lots more TikTok videos during lockdown from doctors and nurses to Dame Judi Dench! It can be a fun app to use but it is important that appropriate privacy settings are used and you are aware of what TikTok is. Please click here for more information. 

National Online Safety Information- Houseparty

Houseparty is a great way to speak live-time to multiple people in different locations. It seems like the perfect way to keep in touch during these difficult times. But is the app safe? What should parents be aware of? And how can you protect your child’s privacy? Find out with this guide from the National Online Safety service.

The Safer Schools App

The online world can be a bit overwhelming at times but it is important we understand what our children are doing online so we can help make them safer. The Safer Schools App aims to help with this.
We are delighted to invite you to download our new Safer Schools App provided by our school insurance provider Zurich Municipal. See the letter here for more information.

Parent and Child Wellbeing

Top 10 Wellbeing Tips for Parents and Children, which can be found by following this link

Our Frontline

A new resource, Our Frontline has been launched today to support those under most pressure.
Our Frontline is a partnership between Shout, Samaritans, Mind, Hospice UK and The Royal
Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Our Frontline offers round-the-clock one-to-one support, by call or text, from trained volunteers, plus resources, tips and ideas to look after your mental health. There is tailored material for staff working in social care, essential roles, the emergency services and health workers.

Parent online radicalisation information

Let's talk about it have provided some parent/guardian online radicalisation information and support. Please click here for more information. Further resources can be accessed here.  

Supporting bereaved children through difficult times

Frightening events widely reported in the media, such as the coronavirus pandemic, can cause children to worry about themselves and others. It is normal for children to feel unsettled when something scary is happening or has happened, and many will be upset, sad or fearful at times. Children who have been bereaved are likely to show a stronger reaction and may worry that they or someone they know will die. Please take a look at the linked information sheet here from Child Bereavement UK for some tips around how to support a bereaved child. 


Resources Update

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

Library Update

Click the link for more Information about Teen Book Awards and for a reminder about our ebook subscription for students.



Relevant information also contained in our last mailing

Safeguarding students 

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.

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 3 covering the period from Monday 4 May to Friday 15 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


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.
These 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.
The BBC is delivering an education package across TV and online, featuring celebrities and teachers – helping to keep children learning and supporting parents.   

Tips for students using an ipad or iphone to access remote learning plans 

We are aware that many students are reliant on ipads or iphones to access their remote learning. Please find some tips on how to make the most of this set-up here. The document also includes some advice on how to use ipad/iphone accessibility features to support students with dyslexia, Irlen syndrome or low reading ability.



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.

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. 

Online Safety Newsletter- May 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.


Student Careers Update

Update regarding NCS Summer 2020 programmes

Have you signed up to join NCS this summer? If so - please read the following message from
"I just wanted to take the time this afternoon to provide you with an update regarding the NCS Summer 2020 programmes that were due to take place this year....we have made the difficult decision to repurpose our summer programme this year.
We understand that this will be very disappointing for all young people that have signed up, as well as yourself and others, but given the uncertainty of this time and the importance of social distancing, the programme in its traditional format, will not be possible to run.
Young people that were expecting to take part this summer will receive contact from us in the next few weeks to discuss their options, which are:
· Receive a full refund
· Transfer their place to Autumn 2020 programme
· Transfer their place to Summer 2021 programme
· Donate their fee to ‘The Mix’ (the UK’s leading support service for young people)
However, in a bid to help keep our young people connected and their spirits up, we have compiled a wealth of information and activities that any young person can access for FREE from our website called the ‘Staying Connected Hub’ ( The digital hub contains podcasts, blogs, games, support, self-care tips and much more. We hope this might provide a useful place for you to signpost your students to.
With the ambition that the world will return to normal and schools will be open by the start of September, we are still looking to continue recruitment for our Autumn 2020 programme, along with Summer 2021.  

Year 9 Fundraisers

A team of Year 9 students from Cotham School in Bristol are taking part in Envision's Community Apprentice programme which develops employability skills and confidence in young people through community participation.  Having raised awareness of their chosen charity in school. "Key 4Life" they were looking forward to a fundraising event at JLL offices.   
However, due to the pandemic, the event was cancelled. We are still passionate about the charity and completing our project, so please help us to reach our goal and support this charity! You can view the Just Giving page here. The page will close on 15 May 2020.

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 to know students’ thoughts about how the process was managed (whether they 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. 


"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

Help for educational tools during covid19 lockdown

Barton Hill Activity Club, in Bristol, is located at the heart of the community. It is situated in Lawrence Hill ward which is noted as one of the most deprived in the UK. They are fundraising in aid of children from local families who are struggling due to financial hardship, which has been caused by Covid-19. Many parents have lost income due to precarious self-employment and zero hours contracts, and the situation is severe. Their fundraising is to support children with educational learning packs which is relative to their needs, including those with sensory processing disorder. Please click here for more information and how you can help.

Child Poverty Action Group Survey

What’s working well for children and families during school closures? (Parents and carers survey)
If you are a parent or carer with children at school, we really want to hear what you have to say about how you are coping during this Coronavirus crisis.
Councils and schools are putting lots of things in place to try to support you and your children while schools are closed, such as help with the cost of food, and support for learning. We want to know what’s working well, and what else would help you at this time, particularly if you are facing money worries.
We will share the results of this survey with the government, councils and schools to let them know what is working well and what could be done differently to support families when times are hard.
The survey can be accessed here

Trying to keep boredom at bay while in coronavirus lockdown? 

Try out a free online course to discover a new hobby, learn a new language, or even change career.
Open University:

Online learning platform to boost workplace skills launched

Free courses are available through the new online platform, the Skills Toolkit. This platform signposts to free, high-quality digital and numeracy courses to help people build up their skills, progress in work and boost their job prospects and confidence whilst at home.
Courses on offer cover a range of levels, from everyday maths and the use of email and social media at work to more advanced training. All courses are available online and are flexible so that people can work through them at their own pace. The Skills Toolkit can be accessed here.

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.

StarLine home learning helpline

StarLine – a new home learning telephone helpline - is now live to support parents and carers nationwide.
A group of partners including David Ross Education Trust, Freshworks, Future Academies, Inspiration Trust, Mumsnet, Oak National Academy, PLMR, StarAcademies, Triple P Positive Parenting Program and United Learning have come together to create and deliver StarLine. Each partner has pledged their people, expertise and resources to support StarLine. 
StarLine can help parents and carers in the following ways:

  • By providing access to a team of qualified teachers, education and parenting experts.
  • By focussing on providing practical ideas, support and reassurance.
  • By offering tips, techniques and resources to enable parents to give their children the support they need to continue learning while schools are closed.
  • By supporting family wellbeing and mental health.
  • By covering all phases of education and subjects plus behaviour, pupil wellbeing and SEND.

StarLine is available to parents and carers of pupils from all schools nationwide. Free, confidential advice is available six days a week by phoning the StarLine team on 0330 313 9162. For more information, visit or follow @StarLineSupport on Twitter.
The team behind StarLine will also be broadcasting a weekly programme on YouTube. In each episode of StarLive, a guest presenter will share practical ideas for home learning. Further details can be found on the StarLine website.

Worried about buying food?

Thousands of emergency food parcels are being delivered by a network of council, voluntary and community organisations so no one in Bristol goes hungry during the coronavirus pandemic. However we are worried that over the coming weeks and months, more people will struggle with affording to buy food. We need more help with volunteers and donations.
If you, or someone you know can’t afford or get food please call the We Are Bristol support hotline on 0800 694 0184 open 8:30am-5:00pm, Monday to Friday and 10:00am-2:00pm Saturday, Sunday and bank holidays.
You can help in three ways: 

  1. Volunteer - we are matching volunteers up with people who need support, so please register on Can Do Bristol. Alternatively there are lots of networks of volunteers being organised in local areas on Facebook
  2. If you have food you want to donate, or are a business/community group that could help with distribution, please email:   
  3. You can donate money and food donations to individual Food Banks. You can also donate money to The Quartet Community Foundation Coronavirus Response Fund.


Frequently Asked Questions 

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.

Mutual Aid Community Support Groups

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/