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Cotham School

0117 919 8000

Weekly Mailing - Monday 15 June 2020

Dear Parents and Carers
We welcomed our first groups of Year 10 students back on site today. It was absolutely brilliant to see and chat with them and we’re looking forward to welcoming all our other Year 10s throughout the week.
I have had no further updates from the DfE in respect of their intentions for schools from  next September but as soon as I am in the position to provide more information I will.
In the interim, please find below this week’s important information as well as updates on school events, activities and opportunities for your reference. 
With very best wishes,
Ms Jo Butler


Welcome back Year 10 students!

We know many of our Year 10 students will be very excited to come back to school and some may also be anxious about it. We have created a booklet to outline the procedures which have been set out to ensure the highest standards of hygiene are followed, and that students' time with their teachers is as productive as possible. Please click here to view the booklet. 

Good News

Sigma Competition Switch it Off Competition Results

Thank you to everyone who entered the competition. We had some great entries, everyone who entered has been awarded 5 house points.
Congratulations to the winner Kushal in Year 9 £5 who received a £5 Amazon voucher, click here to view Kushal’s winning entry. 
Click here to view all of the brilliant entries received.

Cotham Houses Twitter

Follow our new Cotham Houses twitter-  @CothamHouses Where students, staff and parents can find updates on our events, competitions and fundraising. Celebrating all the fantastic achievements in Omega, Gamma, Delta and Sigma.- Give us a follow!

We have launched the Inter-House Isolation Sports Challenge 2020!

We have 3 different inter-house sports competitions for you all to get involved in!
The overall house competition is a race to see which house can travel the furthest distance walking/running/cycling/swimming during lockdown between now and the 10 July.
Please open and read through the slides here to find out more and how to compete for your house! 
We also have two more individual competitions for those of you who are shielding.
[Please follow all social distancing guidelines whilst participating] 

It is Inter House Competition time - Get Creative!

Lets see how Creative Cotham students and staff can be.... You can all find lots of recycled bits and pieces around the home, can you make a bird feeder, a bird house or pen pot from them?
What about a money box or plant pot from an empty bottle?
Do you have Lego at home, what can you create from that?
Take a look at the slides here for more information. 
Closing date for entries is Tuesday 30 June. Take a photo and send it to Mrs Arnold House points awarded for all entries.

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


New School Communication System being launched from 22 June 2020

After careful research, the school has chosen to move to a new system of communication which will allow information to flow smoothly between home and school in the easiest way possible.
We propose switching over to the new system from 22 June 2020. You do not need to do anything but you will notice school communications will come from mailbox and will have the name Cotham School against them. If parents/carers cannot immediately find school emails they should check their SPAM boxes.
We will also be launching a SIMS Parent App for parents/carers, which will allow you to see “live” information at the touch of a button via the App and/or website at your own convenience via a smartphone, table or PC  - anytime, anywhere. The App allows parents/carers to easily update their details in a secure and confidential manner. For instance, in the past when a parent changes a mobile phone number it may be some time until the school is contacted regarding this. Now, with a few clicks of a button, you can send through your new contact details directly to the school system for processing by our office staff.
Click here for further information, instructions on how to download the App and FAQ’s
We really encourage parents/carers to use the SIMS Parent App. 


ePlatform by Wheelers Books

Please click here for further information about how to read and listen to your chosen book while libraries are closed. There are over 2000 ebooks and audiobooks titles for you to choose from, and access wherever you are.

'Be the Future' National Competition!

Has your child got an idea that could make a difference to the world? Then now is the time to share that idea in the Social Enterprise Challenge! This is a national competition and we would love for your child to get involved and take part. Please ask them to check out the Google Slides posted on their House Google Classroom page for some initial information. If your child would like to take part, let Miss McDonagh know by sending her an email so she can enter them! 
The all important deadline for entries is Monday 1 July 2020. 

Bristol Education Partnership... could you help inspire students citywide?

As part of our ongoing commitment to the Bristol Education Partnership we are asking whether Parents / Carers would be interested in contributing towards a series of short online careers talks over 2021-22. The talks could be broadcast as Zoom webinars from your own home or place of work. If you would be interested in taking part, please contact Miss McDonagh via

New Information for Parents/Carers

Reporting Bullying and Safeguarding Concerns

We have brought our methods for reporting bullying in line with the South West Grid for Learning. This means there is now a link to something called Whisper on our website here.
Please use this to raise any concerns you have about the safety or wellbeing of a child. There is a function to do so anonymously. 

Parent and Student Wellbeing

Asking for help is one of our Top 10 Tips for Wellbeing and a key skill for building independence in our young people. This week’s wellbeing resource is a recorded webinar where Dr Mary StanleyDuke explains how parents can support children to ask for help in a practical and accessible 30 minute video. The webinar can be viewed here.

Bath University Online Survey

Bath University is looking for parents and carers of children aged 6 -16 to complete an online survey about how the lockdown is affecting them and their children. 
The study is being led by leading child clinical psychologist, Professor Paul Stallard from the University of Bath’s Department for Health; and is being undertaken with academic colleagues across five countries which have experienced extensive lockdowns and school closures: the UK, Portugal, Spain, The Netherlands and Romania.
The researchers want to understand more about how children and their caregivers are coping with social distancing, school closures and other challenges imposed by covid-19.
The one-off, anonymous, online survey asks parents and carers about how their child is coping and how they think this period is impacting their overall wellbeing; as well as for reflections on their own parenting, and the different ways families are managing. It takes approximately 20 - 30 minutes to complete.
Direct access to the survey can also be obtained via the following link here.

Support for young people and their families

Supportive Parents - SENDIASS (Special Educational Needs & Disabilities Information, Advice and Support Service) for Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset. SENDIAS are statutory services, providing information, advice and support to children, young people and their parents and carers. 
They help Children and Young People, parents, carers and professionals to work together. They help young people with SEN to have their views heard.  
Examples of the types of information advice and support they can give include:-

  • Listening to young person’s views and concerns and supporting them to be heard
  • Providing information to make informed decisions
  • Understanding SEN support,
  • Help with applying for an Education Health Care Plan & checking a draft plan
  • Preparing for Annual Reviews
  • Preparing or accompanying young people to meetings about SEN provision
  • Reasonable adjustments for those with disabilities
  • Transition needs when changing KS or going to college
  • Advice about travel provision and personal budgets

Their website is:  

10 top tips for Wellbeing of students translated into Somali and Urdu

Please see here a Somali and here a Urdu translation of our top 10 tips for wellbeing for students during this  difficult time. 

What Parents Need to Know About PS4

Since arriving on the market in 1994, PlayStation has become one of the most recognised names in the gaming industry. Its current model, the PlayStation 4, is an all-in-one entertainment hub, offering much more than just the ability to game with internet access, streaming services and online chat features. Please click here to view a guide created to help parents and carers understand exactly what the PlayStation 4 is all about.

National Online Safety

In the past few months we have sent lots of resources form the National Online Safety. This organisation provides lots of valuable support for parents (including online training modules). If you would like to access any of this please follow the link here to create a login (free of charge):

Online Safety Newsletter- June Edition 

Are you concerned about your child's online gaming? Want to educate yourself about the risks/ what you can do to keep them safe? 
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.

Online Safety Newsletter: Online Bullying

Please click here to view the Online safety newsletter regarding Online Bullying.


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.

Facebook Group for Parents and Carers of Students Joining Cotham School in September 2020

A Facebook group has been set up for parents and carers of children starting Cotham in 2020. The group offers a place to introduce yourself, ask questions, post information and chat. If you would like to join the group the following link will take you to the page 2020 entry Cotham School Parents and Carers Facebook . 
The Facebook page is run by parents of Cotham School and none of the comments on the page are endorsed by the school. 

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. 

Important- Google Classroom email summaries for parents and carers

We have become aware that some parents and carers are no longer receiving the email summary from Google Classroom. This is due to an issue at Google.
It is very easy to re-establish your daily or weekly summary email - Simply follow these steps: 
1. Please visit 
2. Next to each child, toggle the drop down menu to the "No summaries" option.
3. Close the webpage.
4. Return to 
5. Next to each child, toggle the drop down menu to either the "Weekly" or "Daily" option.
6. Close the webpage.
This will reestablish the email summamaries. In the event you still have issues please email and we will be happy to assist you.

Information previously circulated regarding Google Classroom email summaries for parents and carers

We have now launched Google Classroom email summaries for parents and carers. Most parents have signed up without an issue however we are aware that a small number of parents are having teething issues.
To outline, the parental aspect of Google Classroom is an email summary - This will be sent to you on either a daily or weekly basis depending on the option that you selected when you signed up. You can check and amend the frequency of your emails by visiting If no work has been set for your child since your last email, you will not receive an email until the next piece of homework is set.
Google has written a comprehensive user guide which can be found here. There are also answers to the most common parent and carer queries below. 
I have downloaded the Google Classroom app and am being asked for a class code - What does this mean?
Unfortunately, the Google Classroom app can only be used by Students at this time. The parental aspect of Google Classroom is an email summary of the work set. Google are proactively developing Classroom and the app may be available for parental use in the future.
The set work in my email summary refers to some attachments but I cannot see them, what do I need to do?
The parental aspect of Google Classroom is currently an email summary - This will not include attachments which have been uploaded to your child’s assignments. This is normal behaviour. If your child logs into Google Classroom they will be able to see all of the attachments that are needed to complete the task.
I have lost my invitation link and have not signed up - Please can you invite me again?
If you have misplaced the invitation link, please email us on with the name of your child and their tutor group and we will resend the invitation to you.

SENECA Parent Portal

Many Faculties have been using the online learning platform SENECA, students are also able to use SENECA independently in all key stages without an assignment being set by their teacher.  
SENECA has just released a free parent monitoring platform, so that you can see how long your child has spent on their different subjects, their average score & number of questions answered.
Here are some instructions for getting started:

  1. Click here to create a parent account (if you arrive at a login page, make sure to click on the 'Sign up' option)
  2. Click 'invite child'
  3. Share your code with your child(ren) and ask them to click on the link
  4. Login to review their progress.

Please also see the attached PDF showing you how to link a student account to a parent account.SENECA Parent Portal

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 5 covering the period from Monday 8 June to Friday 19 June. 
  • 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.   

We have changed the format of our Remote Learning plans so that the instructions are presented sequentially, and so that there are opportunities for support and challenge.  
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

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. The entry code for parents is  7675. 

FREE Practical resources to support your child's wellbeing 

Bristol City Council's Educational Psychologist Team have put together some simple, effective and evidence-based resources to help support wellbeing during COVID 19. Each week this resource is posted on the Bristol City council Twitter page and will be emailed out in the parent mail. 
This week’s resource for parents and children to use at home focuses on connecting with, and appreciating, the present moment.  
Just click on the link here to go to the page and then click the link under the "Downloads" section.

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.

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 

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. 


Student Careers Update

Future Bright  - Free career, coaching and training support for adults during the Coronavirus outbreak

Many people’s work and income have been affected by the Coronavirus outbreak. To support more people during this difficult time, the Future Bright criteria for those who want to take the next step in their career has been temporarily widened.
For more information on who is eligible for the Future Bright programme, visit or email: or call 0117 922 2250.

A guide to help parents and carers steer their children through the confusing world of careers choices

With the support of our sponsor JP Morgan, we are creating a guide to help parents and carers steer their children through the confusing world of career choices. From university and apprenticeships to work experience and gap years, our guide has it all.
Please see this lovely Parents & carers eBook: The full guide will be out next academic year - but we wanted to share a preview version to help you as lockdown continues. 
To access the eBook, parents just need to sign up to our special mailing list for parents. Please click on this link to access thel sign-up form which explains the eBook.


"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.
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

Youth Challenges media release

Are you looking to engage young people with the Global Goals? Global Goals Centre are inviting groups to participate in their Youth Design Challenges, for age groups 9-13 and 14+ to share their hope and inspiration for a better future. For more information please click here

Upcoming improvement works on the railway

Track renewals and essential maintenance will be taking place at weekends during the summer that may affect some train services via Bristol Parkway, Swindon and Gloucester. For more information visit

Babbasa - Beyond COVID Appeal

The Babbasa Beyond COVID appeal aims to raise £60,000 to prevent vulnerable young people from losing hope and purpose, developing severe mental health difficulties or becoming dependent on the welfare system. With the funds raised so far, they have been able to run a series of virtual skills and information workshops, engaging over 1,000 people online. They have also been able to continue offering much needed virtual 1-1 and group support to over 130 young people on their caseload. For further information or to donate to this cause please click 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/