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Hundreds more children have become Flu Fighters and will be joining the battle against influenza this winter as the free vaccination programme continues in Wolverhampton’s schools.

All pupils from Reception to Year 7 are eligible for the free flu vaccination this year, delivered via a quick and painless nasal spray, and parents should return their child’s consent form as soon as possible to ensure they don't miss out. Vaccinations are scheduled to take place throughout the autumn term.

This week, nurses from Vaccination UK have been to Aldersley High School, North East Wolverhampton Academy, Broadmeadow Special School, Tettenhall Wood School, Penn Hall School, The King’s CofE School, Wolverhampton Grammar School, Berrybrook Primary School, Westcroft School (primary phase), Moreton School, Stowlawn Primary School, Dovecotes Primary School, Smestow School, St Chad Catholic Academy and Tettenhall College.Next week, they are scheduled to visit Northwood Park Primary on Monday 19 October, Bushbury Lane Academy and Bushbury Hill Primary School on Tuesday 20 October, St Patrick's Primary Academy and Wodensfield Primary School on Wednesday 21 October, Corpus Christi Catholic Primary Academy, Graiseley Primary School and Wood End Primary School on Thursday 22 October and D'Eynecourt Primary School and St Thomas' Church of England Primary Academy on Friday 23 October.

Full details of the Vaccination UK schedule, including which schools are due to be visited when, along with more information about the vaccine is available at www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/flufighters. Parents can also download a consent form online if they have mislaid theirs.Any child who has missed their free vaccine at schools which have already been visited by nurses from Vaccination UK should get it at one of a number of catch up clinics which will be arranged later this autumn, or by contacting their GP.

The award-winning Flu Fighters campaign is back for a third year to encourage children to get vaccinated, with free copies of this year's out of this world storybook, Flu Fighters in Close Encounters of the Germed Kind, being distributed to all primary-aged pupils. All pupils, including those in Year 7, will also receive consent forms and information about the nasal spray.

Councillor Jasbir Jaspal, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "We're delighted that the flu vaccination campaign is well underway in local schools and this year, more than ever, it's vital that you ensure your child doesn’t miss out.

"Flu can be deadly and easily spread by children and adults. The vaccine is the best way to protect your children and other family members from becoming ill with the flu, particularly more vulnerable relatives like grandparents or those with underlying health conditions.

"I would urge parents to return their consent forms as soon as they receive them so that their children can have their free vaccine and become a Flu Fighter!"

To find out more about the vaccine, and to read and download free copies of the first two Flu Fighters books, Flu Fighters Versus Chilly, Achy and Snotty and Flu Fighters in The Battle of Planet Bogey, please visit www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/flufighters. A short video can be seen here https://youtu.be/lVcF21DhAN8.

The free nasal spray is also available to children aged two and three, and children aged 11 and over with some long-term health conditions, via GPs.

Adults people with long-term health conditions, people who were shielding from coronavirus and their families, the over 65s, carers and care staff, people in long-stay care and pregnant women are also eligible for free flu jabs through their GP or pharmacist.

 

Next summer's A-levels and GCSEs in England are going ahead - but with reduced content for some subjects and a start date pushed back by three weeks with most exams now starting from June 7, rather than mid-May, in an attempt to make up for lost teaching time.

 

Head teachers accused ministers of an "inadequate response" to the scale of disruption facing pupils and teachers.

 

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said further back-up plans would be decided later for "all scenarios". The Department for Education says it expects vocational qualifications to also align with this changed timetable.

 

There were warnings that running a full set of exams would be unfair to schools in the north of England, which have faced particular disruption from Covid outbreaks.

 

Sarah Mulholland of the Northern Powerhouse lobbying group, s"They are the ones most likely to have baid: een impacted by school closures following year group bubbles of pupils having to be sent home."

 

Exam boards, represented by the Joint Council for Qualifications, said the "trade off" of a later start would be a more "compressed" exam timetable, with the same number of exams across a shorter number of days. But Mr Williamson said: "Exams are the fairest way of judging a student's performance so they will go ahead, underpinned by contingency measures developed in partnership with the sector.

 

"Students have experienced considerable disruption and it's right we give them, and their teachers, the certainty that exams will go ahead and more time to prepare."

 

The promised "contingency measures" will address how exams will be further adapted in the face of local lockdowns and if exams cannot go ahead as planned.But head teachers were angry at the lack of a decision over what those contingency plans might be - and what information they should be gathering in case exams are cancelled again and grades have to be estimated.

 

The delayed start date - proposed by ministers in June - was described by heads' union leader Geoff Barton as of "marginal benefit" compared with the amount of lost teaching time from the pandemic.

 

He said it had "taken an eternity" for the government's response - which he warned still did not address how exams could be a level playing field for pupils who had faced different levels of disruption.

 

Pupils due to take exams have already have lost months of teaching time - and many are still facing further disruption, with almost one in five secondary schools sending home pupils because of Covid cases.

Mary Bousted, co-leader of the National Education Union, said it was a "dereliction of duty" that there was still no decision on a "fall-back" plan if exams are further disrupted.

 

She said the announcement was an "appalling example of political ideology trumping practical reality". But Glenys Stacey, interim head of Ofqual, said the announcement would "optimise the time now available" and provided certainty over what schools needed to teach.

 

"Of course, we will need contingency plans. We are discussing with government, exam boards and the sector, the detail of that - taking into account the risk of disruption at an individual, local and regional level," she said.

 

Her predecessor had resigned after the chaos of trying to produce replacement grades, when exams had been cancelled.

 

The modifications to exams will be those previously put forward by the Ofqual qualifications watchdog - which Mr Barton, leader of the ASCL head teachers' union, had described as "only tinkering at the edges". These included removing field trips from geography and reducing the areas needed to be covered for English literature.

Teachers' unions had suggested that questions should be structured differently next year - such as providing more options so that pupils would be able to answer a question on a topic they had studied, no matter how much of the course their school had managed to cover.

 

Mr Williamson said results days for A-levels and GCSEs next year will be in the same week - 24 August for A-levels and 27 August for GCSEs. The universities minister has already said that universities could change their autumn term dates if they needed to accommodate school exams being pushed back.

 

The announcement for England is a less radical approach than Scotland, where last week exams for National 5 qualifications were cancelled, replacing them with teacher assessments and course work, while still going ahead with Higher exams.

 

Scotland's education secretary had said it was "too big a risk" to plan a full set of exams when there was so much uncertainty about the impact of the pandemic in the months ahead. In Northern Ireland, exams are going ahead but with reductions in course content and a delayed starting date - plus the promise of a contingency plan.

 

 

A City of Wolverhampton Council worker is counting on starting a new career in Social Work after passing her Maths qualification for her Degree Apprenticeship at the University of Wolverhampton.

 

Rosemary Busby, 56 from Wolverhampton, passed the Functional Skills Level 2 qualification in Maths for her Degree Apprenticeship in the University’s Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing. The University supports Apprentices to achieve their Functional Skills qualifications in Maths and English so that they can study an Apprenticeship at degree level to further their careers.

 

Rosemary, who works for City of Wolverhampton Council’s Family Services, has five children and left school with no qualifications when she was 15, getting married at 16 and having her first child. After raising her family, she worked in a variety of roles for 20 years, both volunteering and working, supporting teenagers and children in outreach services before becoming an Intensive Family Support Worker at City of Wolverhampton Council, working closely with Social Workers to keep children out of care.

 

She said: “I have always wanted to pursue my dream of becoming a Social Worker but leaving school early, getting married young and having five small children, it just never seemed like the right time. I was offered a place on the Degree Apprenticeship programme by my employer and was offered support from the University to get my English and Maths Level 2 qualifications. What was interesting is that lecturers noticed that I was slightly numbers dyslexic and they offered additional support to help me.

 

“I passed my English qualification in January and it took me four attempts to pass Maths and I’m so pleased. The wonderful tutor, Paul Barber, who delivers the course on behalf of Serco, guided me throughout the progress and answered questions when I got stuck on how to solve something, he also broke down solving methods in order for me to fully understand what was required to gain the answer. He had so much patience.”

 

Rosemary is studying for the Degree Apprenticeship part-time, spending one day at University over three years and working on a placement for 7 weeks. She said: “I love studying and am surprised about how much the learning relates to the work I’ve been doing.  I am learning more about how the theory links to working practices and how the law works – it makes much more sense to me now and I find myself able to challenge more and being able to evidence things. There is a lot of reading and a lot of homework but my family has been very supportive as has the University.  I’ve had lots of advice and guidance in terms of the academic side of things and, as it’s a brand new programme, the first cohort of students has been shaping the process so we are all learning together.

 

“I’m passionate about keeping families together and keeping children safe and this is an amazing opportunity offered to me at this time in my life.  My kids and grandkids are really proud of me!” Rosemary has 14 grandchildren aged between 3 and 22.

 

Councillor John Reynolds, Cabinet Member for children and young people at City of Wolverhampton Council, said: “This is a fantastic achievement and I would like to congratulate Rosemary on her hard work and dedication.

 

“Rosemary is an invaluable family support worker at the council, so it is wonderful that our partnership with the University of Wolverhampton under the Degree Apprenticeship programme has helped her achieve this recent success. By offering our staff the opportunity to take up the programme, we can give many more people the chance to develop the right skills to further their careers. Social work is an incredibly important role for families in our city and we are thrilled that we have been able to support Rosemary as she works towards her ideal job.”

 

Michele Roberts, Head of the Apprenticeship Hub at the University, said: “Despite the pandemic, we still have a healthy Apprenticeship cohort starting at the University in this new academic year and there are signs of recovery in key areas such as health, digital, construction and legal. Degree Apprenticeships continue to be valued by employers in supporting staff technical and professional skills development to help grow their business and employers, without a doubt, see the rewards of increased loyalty and return on investment.

 

“Rosemary’s journey has been amazing and shows how we are providing opportunities for people of all ages to further their careers, even supporting them to achieve their English and Maths Level 2 qualifications to help them start their journey.”

 

Sonia Mahay, Principal Social Worker at City of Wolverhampton Council, said: “‘We are delighted that Rose has wholeheartedly taken this opportunity to achieve her aspirations in the field of social work. This programme provides a platform to grow and develop staff. It has been a pleasure working with the University to provide a programme that equips people like Rose with the right skills to further their career.”

 

The University of Wolverhampton has grown its work based learning of Higher and Degree Apprenticeships with growth at more than 250% since they were introduced three years ago.

An 18-year old senior at Springfield High School of Science and Technology in Massachusetts, has made history after being accepted into all of the 8 Ivy League schools.

 

The surprising news came amid the coronavirus pandemic that unexpectedly altered the course of events for the Class of 2020, giving her a reason to celebrate despite that.

 

Roberta Hannah, who is a student-athlete who plays track and field, said it was really not that easy to achieve what she did. But she worked hard and took honours and AP classes to be ready for it.

 

She is currently preparing for 7 AP exams.

 

Hannah said she initially wanted to apply to just 3 schools, but her mother and sister encouraged her to apply to all of the 8 Ivy League schools. She did so without much expectation and thought that she would only be accepted into 4. But she actually got accepted to all eight.

 

She said: “I was really anxious getting up to the day, and then I started opening the letters, and I was like ‘oh, I keep seeing ‘yes.'”

 

Hannah is grateful for her sister and mother who motivated her to achieve more. Her mother, Valerie Williams, was not able to attend college but she made sure to push her children “a little extra hard” to have the opportunity she didn’t have before.

 

Out of all the Ivy League schools she could choose, Hannah plans to attend Columbia University and major in biochemistry and African-American studies.

 

“So my goal is to be a medicinal chemist, but with making medicine and kind of the one researching it,” she said.

 

“I want my focus to be on increasing accessibility and making the medicine more affordable.”

 

 

 

After a period of consultation with partner schools, Wolverhampton Grand Theatre has made the decision to continue with the annual Intro to Panto Tour, a Theatre in Education platform, produced by the Grand, which has now sold out its school allocations for a period of three weeks in December.  

 

The normal format has been adapted so that it can perform to multiple bubbles in school throughout the day. With thanks to sponsors The Friends Of The Grand and The Steve Bull Foundation the cost to schools has remained minimal. 

 

There is an opportunity for a Wolverhampton performer to join the experienced cast and The Grand is seeking an energetic, warm, vibrant professional female actor who can sing to play the Fairy.  

 

The Fairy is the magical connection to the audience and is loved by all children. She speaks in rhyme and is a key element to the development of plot. 

 

The show is split into two halves, the first 30 minutes is an interactive workshop led by three performers and the Grand Theatre’s regular Panto Dame, Ian Adams. 

Actor Specification:

  • Experience with workshops/performance for children is desirable but not essential. 
  • An enhanced DBS will be required for the role which will be provided for by the Producer. 
  • Playing age: 20 - 35 
  • Height: Any 

Castings will be held on October 26 and the casting breakdown is currently live on Spotlight, for those professional performers who do not currently have Agent representation, CV’s can be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Associate Director of Creative and Production Nathan Brine said, “We are thrilled to be continuing with our wonderfully successful and vitally important Intro to Panto schools tour this year. It has also provided us with a great opportunity to reach out to the professional talent that exists right on our doorstep and will ensure our community remain thoroughly woven into the work we create here at The Grand.”
 
In July 2020 the theatre regrettably announced that this year's pantomime Cinderella would be postponed until December 2021.  

 

The University of Birmingham has been unveiled as an official partner for Birmingham 2022, signing the most comprehensive university partnership agreement in the history of the Commonwealth Games.

 

The University will be a competition venue for both hockey and squash, the principal campus village during the Games (as announced last month) and a major partner - demonstrating the University’s engagement with and commitment to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

 

The agreement also confirms the University as an Official Partner of the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay – International Leg, offering international promotional opportunities as the ceremonial baton travels through Commonwealth nations and territories in the run up to the Games.

 

Birmingham 2022 will also work closely with the University of Birmingham to offer volunteering opportunities for staff and students on campus, providing them with valuable experience of working at a major sports event and guaranteeing that the teams staying there have the support of volunteers who are extremely knowledgeable about the university site.

 

The Games, which is expected to have a global TV audience of 1.5 billion, attract more than one million spectators and welcome competitors from 72 nations and territories, will also provide an important platform for the University of Birmingham to promote its impressive teaching and research capabilities.

 

University of Birmingham Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir David Eastwood said: “Our place as both a civic University and as a global institution makes us well placed to partner with the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and we are looking forward to playing our part in this success story for our region.

 

“Our partnership with the Birmingham 2022 Games is the most comprehensive university partnership in the history of the Commonwealth Games. Through this partnership we are delighted to be able to share our outstanding sports facilities and accommodation with athletes from across the globe as well as providing opportunities for our staff and students to engage with the Games through their research, through volunteering, and through participation.

 

“As a University we have a long and proud history of sporting success with staff, students and alumni competing at an international level and I wish the very best of luck to the Commonwealth Games hopefuls in our community.”

 

Ian Reid, Chief Executive of Birmingham 2022, visited the University of Birmingham campus on September 23 to support the partnership announcement.

 

Reid said: “We are absolutely thrilled that the University of Birmingham has decided to take their involvement with the Games to the next level.

 

“Obviously we’ve already been working very closely with the University, as we’re taking advantage of its world-class sporting facilities to stage two of our sports and its fantastic accommodation to use as our main campus village.

 

“By becoming an Official Partner, the University of Birmingham has truly underlined their considerable support for the Games.”

 

The University of Birmingham has a strong track record in sport science research, offering the UK’s first Sport Science degree course in 1946. The University also already has strong links with the Commonwealth Games, with six students and 18 alumni taking part in the Gold Coast edition of the Games in 2018.

 

Other alumni who have previously competed at the Commonwealth Games are husband and wife duo, Luke Gunn and Hannah England. Both competed in the athletics competitions in Delhi in 2010 and Glasgow in 2014 and Luke also took part in the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.

 

The University of Birmingham is the fifth official partner for Birmingham 2022, joining Official Legal Advisers, Gowling WLG; Official Timekeeper, Longines; Official Recruiter, GI Group and Host Broadcaster, Sunset+Vine, in supporting the biggest event ever to be held in the West Midlands.