Collaboration on Conflict

 Art, Community Links, Curriculum, English, Humanities, Whole School  Comments Off on Collaboration on Conflict
Feb 242017
 

In the Spring term, year 9 had to connect their English, Art and History skills during an activity day on conflict.

They had already explored the theme of conflict in their English lessons, and written some fantastic poems. This helped them as they explored WW1 artefacts in a workshop led by Wycombe Museum.

 

wycombe museum

 

They also explored the local monuments, helping us remember conflict, in a mini bus tour of the local area.

In the afternoon, they then participated in an art work shop to produce their own visual expressions of conflict, and why we should remember key historical events, to make sure we have a better future. Some really thoughtful work- well done year 9!

Screentime and Wellbeing – Guidance for Parents

 Community Links, esafety, Student Council, Uncategorized, Whole School  Comments Off on Screentime and Wellbeing – Guidance for Parents
Feb 212017
 

Screen Time and Wellbeing

Introduction

There has been much interest in the amount of time our teenagers spend online and looking at a screen and speculation about the possible impact on their wellbeing.  Particular concerns have arisen about the light that is emitted from our mobile devices and how these affect our brains and our ability to sleep.  This concerned us here at Alfriston because lack of sleep affects the memory and learning capability of our pupils.

However, recent research, from Oxford University, suggested that screen time can have significant beneficial effects on young users.  They found that digital connectivity enhanced creativity, communication skills and development.  They suggested that there is an optimal amount of screen time or a “Goldilocks” zone as they put it, about two hours on a smartphone each day, for example.

 

Our Survey

We decided to ask our pupils what they thought about some of these issues and to formulate some guidance for parents.

 

The Student Council formulated some questions and issued a questionnaire to our pupils.

Do you enjoy using the Internet?

Do you think the Internet is mostly safe or unsafe?

Do you think using a computer or tablet etc late at night interferes with your sleep?

Do you talk to your parents or other adults about the things you do on the internet?

How long do you think it is reasonable to be using your device each day?

From what time do you think it would be reasonable for parents to say you must stop using your device?

Is it OK to use your device at the dinner table?

Is it OK to use your device when there are visitors to your home?

Is it OK to use your device secretly (eg without your parents knowing)?

Is it reasonable that your parents or other adults should be able to look on your device to see what you have been doing?

Have you ever been bullied online?

Have you ever been mean to somebody else online?

 

Our Findings

We were not surprised to find that the vast majority of pupils enjoyed using the Internet.  However, it was surprising that so many of them considered that, on the whole, the Internet is unsafe.

chart 1 chart 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

This seems to underline the importance of making sure that parents and other adults are equipped to support our pupils through their online experiences.

Most pupils also assessed that using their devices late at night did affect their ability to sleep well

chart 3

 

 

 

 

 

Additionally, the majority of pupils were also accepting of the idea that it was reasonable to limit the amount of time and the latest time that they should be allowed to use their devices.

chart 5 chart 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

When it came to questions of netiquette, our pupils also had some clear cut views, although they were divided on whether parents should look on their devices to see what they were up to.

 

chart 6 chart 7 chart 8 chart 9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was pleasing to find that the number of pupils who consider that they have been bullied online is relatively small and the number who admit to being mean to others is even smaller.

 

chart 10 chart 11

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nonetheless, any amount of bullying is too much and we should all work hard to ensure that the Internet is a positive and pleasant place to visit.

The theme of Safer Internet Day 2017 was “Unite for a better Internet” and we encouraged our pupils to do just that.  They can assess their own contributions by asking themselves 3 simple questions:

  • Is it true?
  • Is it necessary?
  • Is it kind?

If the answer is no at any point then they should not post, share or send.

With the results of this survey in mind, and other research findings, we have put together some guidance notes for parents and carers and hope that you will find these useful.

Screen Time and Wellbeing

Guidance for parents

  • Don’t prevent your daughter from going online and don’t block everything that might interest her
  • Be a good parent. Know where your daughter goes online, what she is doing and who with
  • Engage with your daughter in the online world – keep a dialogue going about what you each do on the Internet. Create an environment where she is happy to talk about what she does online.  Don’t wait until there is a problem before you start talking about it.
  • Respect one another’s privacy as far as possible – the extent to which you do so will depend on your relationship with her and her maturity
  • Share your knowledge about how to keep safe and your expectations for kind and positive behaviour
    • Be a good role model in everything from privacy settings to the content of your posts
  • Have rules which you both agree to:
    • No devices during dinner
    • No devices in the bedroom
    • Limit the use of devices when you have visitors
    • No devices after 9pm – or earlier if your daughter goes early to bed – allow 1 hour of screen-free time before bed
    • No pictures of others unless they have agreed
  • Aim for a daily limit of 4 hours of computer time, 2 hours on a smartphone and less on online games
  • Know how to react to instances of cyberbullying
    • Don’t over react, never retaliate: report, block and keep a record

 

 

In addition, please read the topical and very helpful blog from Parent Info which is streamed to our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/alfristonspecialschool, where you can also see our Twitter feed and read the school blog.

 

References

http://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2017-01-13-%E2%80%98goldilocks-amount-screen-time%E2%80%99-might-be-good-teenagers%E2%80%99-wellbeing

http://www.techtimes.com/articles/127500/20160126/this-is-how-your-tablets-smartphones-can-affect-your-sleep.htm

Jan 162017
 

The School Council members have been talking about our use of technological devices and how it impacts on our lives.  We are thinking of writing some guidelines for parents about the sort of rules they should impose at home.  The girls are collecting opinions via pastoral groups and some girls are completing more detailed questionnaires.

 

It seems to be a very hot topic at the moment and there were articles in the national press just this weekend.  There has been concern about how screen time affects mental health and general wellbeing.  Here at Alfriston, we have been particularly concerned about effects on sleep patterns.

 

However, this latest research, from Oxford University, suggests that screen time can have beneficial effects on young users.  They claim that digital connectivity may enhance creativity, communication skills and development.  They suggest that there is an optimal amount of screen time or a “Goldilocks” zone as they put it, about two hours on a smartphone each day, for example.

 

It will be interesting to see what our pupils think on the matter.  If you have any strong opinions or just want to comment on your experiences with your own children, I would be pleased to hear from you.

 

We hope to publish our guidelines in time for Safer Internet Day on February 7th.

 

 

Please address any comments to Ros Shorrocks on

office@alfristonschool.com

The Hour of Code is here!

 Community Links, computing, Curriculum, Uncategorized, Whole School  Comments Off on The Hour of Code is here!
Dec 062016
 

 

There aren’t many computer science weeks so we decided to make a big thing of it by inviting students from Stony Dean to join us for shared activities.   At first the boys joined Year 10 to explore the Hour of Code website and try out some of the coding activities.  The choices ranged from Disney’s Moana, Star Wars and Frozen, Minecraft and Flappy Bird.  Both the girls and the boys were nervous about working together at first but they soon forgot that they didn’t know each other and got down to coding.

Digital Camera

By the time the lesson changeover was ringing everyone was enjoying what they were doing and making good progress with the task.  The girls moved on to the next lesson but the boys stayed on to work with
a Year 9 class coming in to Computing.  By now they really were the experts and rose admirably to the challenge of sharing their skills with the beginners in Year 9.  These new pairings made rapid progress, completing activities and earning certificates.

Digital Camera

It was great to see pupils from the two schools working together so well and impressive to hear them chatting about computer science; solving problems and making things happen.

Digital Camera

Sound like fun? Visit https://hourofcode.com/uk/learn

Report from the Hockey Festival

 Community Links, Sport  Comments Off on Report from the Hockey Festival
Nov 302016
 

Hockey Alf 7

On Wednesday 23rd November, Chiltern Way Academy hosted a Hockey Festival for schools in the local area. The Festival was run by Alfriston School Sports Leaders alongside Miss Johnson.  All of the participants had a great day while getting engaged with the games as well as introducing themselves to pupils of neighbouring schools. The participants were divided into teams and the sports leaders led each team in an activity. These teams included players from each of the four schools. After a short break the pupils were put back into school teams and they all participated in a Hockey Tournament.

Alfriston drew two matches and won one.

The morning was a success as pupils were encouraged to communicate with each other during and between the games. This was a good method for them to “break the ice” with new people and be able to work as a team. Everyone involved enjoyed the afternoon and hopes to do it again soon.

The next event will be the year 7 and 8’s dance festival.

Do you want your Christmas to start early?

 Community Links, parental involvement, Whole School  Comments Off on Do you want your Christmas to start early?
Nov 242016
 

On Friday 2nd December our school will be holding a Christmas Bazaar in the hall. There will be fun games and food to eat. We will be raising money for our school and local charities. You will be able to buy crafts, cards and calendars. We will also have a tombola, hamper raffle and a cafe. The students get to go in first and need to bring a plastic bag. Parents can come along at 10.15 to 12.45. Come along and join the fun!

 

by Ionie

Nov 012016
 

When the fabulous boyband Boycode agreed to visit Alfriston, we were delighted not just because of their entertainment value but also because of the important message they brought about online safety and cyberbullying.

They didn’t claim to be experts but since they were at school just a few years ago, they felt they knew first hand exactly what pressures the girls might be under and they urged the girls to make the right decisions in life with respect to online safety, bullying and discrimination.
Their top tips for online safety were:
• Never give out personal information, such as telephone numbers, home address or details about your school, college or place of work – sometimes you don’t know who will end up with this information and what they could do with it.
• Never agree to meet someone you are in contact with over the internet. Remember, not everyone is who they say they are. If you don’t know who they are, how do you know they are a real person? People can easily set up fake profiles, with a picture that isn’t of them (use a story) – Catfish the TV show on MTV – Shows how many people actually pretend to be other people on the Internet, you don’t know that you are actually speaking to that person
• If someone says something that makes you feel upset, uncomfortable or threatened, save the messages but do not respond. Then tell a parent/carer/or report it online – If you respond you can make things worse and escalate the situation. Make the right decision and be the bigger person
• Never send pictures of yourself or any of your friends or family to anyone you meet online that you wouldn’t want other people to see. Once you send it, it could be sent/shown to other people, so if you wouldn’t want other people to see it – don’t send it!
• Follow the rules your parents/carers have set when using the internet
• Remember – spending too much time online can effect concentration, education, sleep and health
• Keep your profiles private – Check your privacy settings and keep everything private so not strangers can see any of your personal information
Report it and block it if you find something on the internet that makes you feel uncomfortable or worried.
They also offered some helpful advice just in case the girls do fall victim to cyber bullying:

What to do

• Ignore— If you’re the victim of “minor teasing or name calling” ignore it if you can avoid it. Sometimes bullies are encouraged by seeing a reaction and the situation can become a lot worse.
• Record—Keep a record of bullying messages you receive. If you can show an adult either the messages themselves or a diary of when you received them, it may be easier to verify what went on and who the bully was.
• Reach out—Your parents, your teachers, your friends, and even police officers can help you deal with cyber bullying or discrimination. Speak to people that you trust. There is no reason to suffer alone when you are the target of bullying.
• Cut off the bully—The National Crime Prevention Council advises victims to stop all communication with the bully when possible. If it’s cyber bullying you may be able to block their phone number so you no longer receive their calls or texts. Facebook and twitter etc allow you to block other users so that they can no longer interact with you.
Report It— You can also report If you’re being bullied via a website, chances are that the bully is going against the website’s terms of use. Youtube, facebook etc have safety centres where you can report the activity and sometimes get the bully kicked off the site.

ceop

What Not to Do
• Sink to the bully’s level. Starting your own cyberbullying campaign against the bully will get you nowhere, it will only potentially make the situation worse
• Forward bullying content or messages. If someone sends you a bullying message, forwarding it to a friend only expands the problem. You never know how far an email chain can go.
• Believe the bully. Don’t let bullies destroy your self-esteem. No one deserves to be harassed. Bullies are cowards and their actions are often more about their own problems than they are about you. When bullying gets you down, talk about it with someone you trust who can build you back up.

Since the boys’ visit we have had an internet safety week in school when all the girls reflected on questions related to cyberbullying. In the upper school, pupils heard about the tragic story of Felix Alexander and the heart breaking open letter his mother wrote to the press. We all agreed that we should commit to BE KIND online and that if we are feeling bullied or lonely, it is so important to talk to someone about our feelings.
This is what Sophie wrote to Felix’s mum:

Dear Mrs Alexander

I am really sorry for your loss. I will try to be the better person and be kind to my friend and not hurt their feelings I will support my friends in every way even if they are going through hard time. If they are being bullied and together we can tell someone or ChildLine. I will do everything to stop them killing them self. I will never post any unkind messages to anyone.  If we all remember to be kind there will be no more cyberbullying ever. It is very important to talk to someone if you are worried or getting bullied and remember there is always someone you can talk to.

From Sophie

 
Meanwhile, if you want to hear Boycode for yourself of follow their progress you can find them on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Be Safe When you Trick or Treat!  

 Community Links, Extra Curricular, Student Council, Whole School  Comments Off on Be Safe When you Trick or Treat!  
Oct 182016
 

 

Hallowe’en is fast approaching and you’re probably thinking about going out trick or treating.  BUT before you do, think about keeping yourself and others safe.  Read through these guidelines and organise a safe outing

 

  1. Consider only approaching neighbours you know

This will keep you safer and make the experience more sociable

 

  1. Only head to houses that are decorated

People who decorate their houses are more likely to be interested and to have planned some treats.

 

  1. Be respectful of people and property

Not everybody celebrates Hallowe’en and not everybody will open the door or give you a treat.  That’s their choice and you must respect it. Do not cause any damage to their property and be respectful to them.

 

  1. Be wary of time

Don’t go knocking too late – even people who were feeling generous early in the evening may not be so keen in the late evening.

 

  1. Be grateful

Just as some households might have hoards of sweets ready for trick or treaters, others might be less prepared. If they go raiding through their cupboard to find something, and you’re not impressed by what they find, take it and be grateful anyway.

 

  1. Remember manners

Trick or treat aren’t the only words you know!  Make sure you remember to say please and thank you.  People value politeness.

 

  1. Take an adult with you or nearby

Hallowe’en falls after the clocks go back which means it will get dark very early.  Don’t put yourself at risk; invite an adult to supervise your outing.

 

Have fun trick or treating this year!

From Hope

On behalf of Student Council

Oct 032016
 

Your daughter has brought home a leaflet about the Love in a Box campaign.  If you haven’t seen it you can see the leaflet here.  Schools, churches, other organisations and individuals collect and pack items into shoeboxes for the Mustard Seed Relief Mission to send to under privileged children throughout Eastern Europe. They have sent on average 40,000 boxes each year and each one is individually received by a child.

This campaign is endorsed by our Student Council and we really urge you to take part.  You can create your own gift box or you can donate something for a class shoebox.  Your daughter will tell you what age group her pastoral group has decided to support.  You can see some ideas for what to send in as your contribution in the list below:

Boys 3 ‐ 5 years old. Toy cars / Ball / Jigsaw / Picture Book / Soft Sweets / Crayons / Pencils / Soft Toy / Soap / Flannel / Toothbrush / Toothpaste / Hairbrush / Comb/ HAT / GLOVES.

Girls 3 ‐ 5 years old. Toy dolly / everything else as above.

Girls 6 ‐ 11 years old. Toy Dolly / Skipping Rope / Jewellery / Ball / Playing Cards / Sweets / Book / Felt Tip Pens / Pencils / Paper / Soft Toy / Flannel / Toothbrush / Toothpaste / Soap / HAT / SCARF / GLOVES.

Boys 6 ‐ 11 years old. Toy car / Yoyo / Everything else as above.

Boys 12 ‐ 15 years old. Marbles / Travel games / Juggling Balls / Baseball Cap / Playing Cards / Geometry Set / Note Book / Pens / Pencils / Soft Toy / Sweets / Soap / Flannel/ /Toothpaste / toothbrush / GLOVES / SCARVES.

Girls 12 ‐ 15 years old Hair accessories / Jewellery / Mew make up / Perfume Stick / Talc / Deodorant / Dolly / Skipping Rope / Everything else as above.

 

If you haven’t got time to go shopping then you could simply send a donation towards the postage as each gift box costs £3.00 to send on its journey.

If you make up your own shoebox there are a few points to note:

  • Please wrap the box base and lid separately as they will need to be checked en route
  • Hats, gloves and scarves are the only items of clothing allowed
  • Please attach the sticker part of the leaflet to the box
  • If you can, please enclose a minimum £3 donation
  • Place an elastic band around the box to hold the lid on
  • Christmas cards and messages are encouraged but do NOT include private addresses
  • Completed boxes must be returned to school by 4th November ready for collection by Mustard Seed Missions

The Big Bang @ Bucks

 Community Links, Extra Curricular, Science  Comments Off on The Big Bang @ Bucks
Jun 272016
 

Y 10 pupils had a very busy day at The Big Bang @ Bucks on Monday.  The day featured many workshops and activities for visiting primary school pupils all presented by many different organisations. One such organisation was five of our very own year 10 pupils from Alfriston: Courtney, Charlotte, Nadia, Ayesha and Hope.

They worked brilliantly in leading 180 primary school pupils through activities to excite their interest in physics. The Alfriston pupils guided the primary school pupils through fun experiences involving electromagnetism. For some the highlight was ‘thinking putty’ although the Gauss gun (led by Courtney) was also very popular. image1

Why don’t you see what you can find out about ‘thinking putty’ on the internet?