Principal’s Blog

It has been terrific to have a full complement of students and staff in the academy this week for the first time since March.

Colleagues, self-isolating after another tested positive for coronavirus, have returned as have Year 8, who were home learning last week.

I am pleased to say the member of staff who caught the virus is fully recovered and back working.

The systems and protocols put in place to deal with the pandemic have gone like clockwork and are working well.

The students have been fantastic. In fact some of the more rigid structure and rules have gone down well.

Staff have been saying students are working hard to make up lost time which bodes well going forward. We are grateful to parents for their continued support.

I would also like to thank the senior leadership team and the rest of the staff who have been brilliant.

A huge amount of work was done over the summer to ensure the academy was ready and seeing everything come together has been rewarding. 

Staff, like the students, have had to adapt and their efforts are much appreciated.

Where tweaks were needed, they have been done over the past two weeks.

We have, of course, been listening closely to the Government and its advisors over the past few days.

Their decisions inevitably impact on what we do and how we do it.

However, you can only worry about things that are inside your circle of influence.

So much of what the future looks like is out of our hands, but we can all be reassured about our effective systems put in place.

Another element that has changed is the Year 6 Open Evening.

Instead, a Virtual Event aims to help those with a big decision to make before 31st October about their choice of secondary education next September.

The Year 6 Virtual Event will launch this Friday (25th September) with short films, featuring students and staff, and information. 

More will follow over the coming weeks and we hope Year 6 children and their parents / carers find it useful. 

Feedback is welcome and do not hesitate to contact the academy if you have any questions.

Please spread the word about the great work that our staff and students do at the academy.

As always, I hope you stay well.

 

 

 

Principal’s Blog

It is normally the time when we organise our Year 6 Open Evening – but ‘normal’ is different this year.

A virtual experience of the Academy is being put together and will be launched in the coming weeks.

We prefer prospective students and their parents meet current year groups and staff face-to-face.

But Covid-19 makes this impossible and we hope the short films and details on our transition website will give those young people a taste of what to expect. We will promote further when published.

In the meantime, if you have any questions about The St Lawrence Academy, please contact my PA Mrs Simpson at ssimpson@tsla.co.uk

It has been terrific to have Year 9 back into the building this week after their break was extended.

Year 8 are learning from home this week and should be logging on daily to Google Classroom and Class Charts for content and work.

The members of staff who needed to self-isolate have tested negatively and will, like Year 8s, be back on Monday (21st September).

I am pleased to say the colleague who tested positive is feeling okay.

We are all watching the national news and witnessing local lockdowns as numbers of Covid-19 cases increase again.

The strict protocols put in place to keep students and staff safe have worked well over the last two weeks.

We need to stay vigilant and minimise the risk of the virus spreading.

Everybody has adapted well to the bubbles and the new routines and I would like to thank students and staff.

I am also grateful to parents, particularly those with children in Years 8 and 9, who have supported our actions at short notice.

We will continue to work with Public Health and other partners if further issues arise.

I am afraid, learning from our experience and that of schools across the country, further disruption may be inevitable. We will keep you updated.

We are focused on producing the best possible teaching and learning in a safe environment.

As always, I hope you stay well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coronavirus update

I wanted to bring you up-to-date with our staffing situation following Monday’s communication.

You will recall colleagues were asked to self-isolate after being in contact with another who tested positive over the weekend.  

The results from these staff tests have all come back negative, which is good news for those concerned. 

Government guidelines still require these members of staff to complete their 14-day self-isolation.

Unfortunately then, this does not ease our staffing situation this week and next. 

Therefore, Y9 will remain at home for the rest of this week – we look forward to welcoming them back on Monday – and Y8 will be “home learning” next week. Other year groups remain unaffected.

We understand the inconvenience caused to families but, hopefully, this update reassures our academy community. 

Please be aware, we have followed government guidance at every stage of this process and we will keep you informed should there be any changes.  

Mike Adnitt

Principal

Principal’s Blog

I understand Year 9’s delayed return to school is frustrating and causes inconvenience – but I know parents will understand the decision has been taken for the right reasons.

More details are provided here but of paramount importance is the welfare and safety of our students and staff.

We send our best wishes to the colleague affected.

Our strict protocols are there for a reason. Conversations over the last 24 hours with Public Health England act as reassurance that we have the right procedures in place.

But it is frustrating they have been invoked so close to the beginning of term, just as we were all getting back to normality.

We have had fantastic support from parents throughout this crisis and in the first few days of term. We need this to continue.

Years 7, 10 and 11 remain unaffected and they can be assured of quality teaching in the classroom.

For Year 9 this week and Year 8 next, it is a return to online learning that worked well in lockdown.

It does not help our situation, but local flare-ups are happening across the country.

It is about how you deal with them.

The priority is that our students and staff remain safe and feel, should an issue arise, it will be dealt with appropriately and in consultation with Public Health England.

We have had an encouraging start to the term with a fantastic response from students and staff to our bubbles and other protocols, including the wearing of face masks / coverings in communal areas.

Parents too, have been most supportive with attendance hitting 95%.

I would like to thank everybody for their support and cooperation.

We will have blips – it is the nature of coronavirus – but we need to work together, showing respect and tolerance, to overcome them.

As always, I hope you stay safe and well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coronavirus procedures affect Years 8 and 9

Strict procedures and protocols are in place at The St Lawrence Academy to deal with any potential issue surrounding coronavirus.

They are there to protect students and staff in the event of a case linked to the academy.

A letter sent to all parents this afternoon explains that, unfortunately, a member of staff – who has not taught a class since their return – has tested positively for coronavirus.

They had no symptoms last week but booked a test after hearing on Friday evening that a contact they had previously been with outside the academy a few days earlier, had been confirmed with coronavirus.  Our member of staff had a positive result confirmed yesterday (Sunday).

While the member of staff had not taught children, they had been in contact with several other colleagues last week, all of whom I have asked to stay off work today and have been tested.

These staff have also now been identified through NHS Test and Trace and have been asked to self isolate.

Effectively, it means the school is without 20% of its teaching staff for the next two weeks.

The decision has been taken that the Year 9 return to school, which should have been tomorrow, will be delayed until next Monday (14th September).

To enable their return, Year 8 will be asked to learn from home next week, from Monday 14th, returning to school on Monday 21st.

Principal Mr Adnitt said: “We appreciate this will cause a great deal of inconvenience to Years 8 and 9 and their families at a time when everybody was just getting back to normality.

“Any students in Y8 or Y9 who accessed key worker or vulnerable provision during lockdown last term should email lnikolaidis@tsla.co.uk to arrange emergency provision. However, this is only open to those students who accessed this provision last term.

“Our primary concern is that students and staff are safe. The measures outlined above have been taken in consultation with Public Health England and following instructions from NHS Test and Trace.

“They are precautionary but necessary to prevent further spread of the virus.

“We send our best wishes to the member of staff affected.”

So, the following year groups will follow virtual learning at home for the following dates:

  • Y9 home learning during the week of Tuesday Sept 8th to Friday Sept 11th
    • – Y9 starting the the academy term on Monday 14th
  • Y8 home learning – Monday Sept 14th to Friday Sept 18th
    • – Y8 return to the academy Monday 21st

“I must stress that Years 7, 10 and 11 should attend school as normal over the next two weeks.”

The Academy has invested in additional staffing to ensure they will continue to receive quality teaching.

Year 9 this week and Year 8 next will be expected to follow virtual learning resources that will be accessed through Google Classroom and ClassCharts.

“It is frustrating we have had to invoke our coronavirus procedures so early in the term, but we are sure you will understand that the safety of students and staff is paramount.

“We will keep you informed with any further developments,” said Mr Adnitt.

 

 

 

 

 

Principal’s Blog

It has been a turbulent few months but we are looking forward to getting back to some form of normality.

 

All our students will have returned next week, and we will have a full academy for the first time since March.

Details of who comes back when plus plans and procedures are included in a letter sent out to parents by email over the Bank Holiday weekend. It can also be found here.

 

Please read it and if you have any concerns, contact your child’s relevant ATL.

 

I would like to reiterate we have done our best to plan the safest and the highest quality education provision for our students.

 

They need to be back in school and this is the best way forward for them and our staff.

 

I understand people’s nervousness and it will be strange to begin with. But we will learn to adapt together and all benefit as a result.

 

One of the biggest changes is the wearing of face masks / coverings in communal areas.

 

We have taken this decision because we think it is right. This is about protecting and respecting others.

 

The academy has staff and students from families who have been shielding during the pandemic. By wearing face masks / coverings in communal areas we are doing what we can to look after each other.

 

It will seem strange for students to be in year bubbles and stay in the same classroom all day.

 

But minimising movement and contact with other year groups will greatly reduce the chances of the virus spreading in our school community.

 

Returning to the academy for students should be an exciting experience.

 

The opportunity to learn face-to-face with teachers in classrooms is very valuable and we need students to take full advantage with a positive and cooperative approach.

 

Never has the support of parents and carers been so important. The academy’s leadership and staff need it but, more importantly, so do our young people.

 

They need to get back on track in their education as quickly as possible. We have put in a whole raft of measures to help them achieve that.

 

Now we are asking for theirs and your support to ensure they reap the benefit.

 

Thank you and, as always, I hope you stay safe and well.

Principal’s Blog

Congratulations to our students for their GCSE results after a most unusual year.

I am confident each have fair and accurate grades.

This year, more than ever, the results are about the students, not about how well we did as an academy.

It was right that to have centre-assessed grades (CAGs) determined by schools and moderated, but not downgraded, by exams regulator Ofqual.

Students can be assured their grades were determined by a fair and accurate system.

No single member of staff was responsible for any result. It has been a team effort with teachers’ grades moderated by departmental colleagues and senior leaders.

We are the people who know our students and are in the best position to determine what they would have achieved had they sat the exams.

They have each been rewarded with a set of grades that accurately reflect how hard they have worked over the past five years and that will best prepare them for their next stage in life.

However, if there are students who feel they might have performed better than the centre assessed and moderated grades, they will have a chance to sit GCSE exams in November.

The Academy’s Examinations Officer will be inviting students who wish to do so to contact her in the future.

In the meantime, staff are available in school to talk through any concerns about results or next steps.

While it is regrettable BTec results have been delayed until next week, it is important students receive the correct grades.

On March 19th, I wrote to all Year 11 students and families as we closed the academy due to Covid-19. I praised them for their positive relationships and said how proud we were of them.

The experiences and opportunities at the academy prepared them for sitting examinations and for future education, employment, and life in general.

The uncertainty over CAGs, national moderation processes and heated political debate has not changed what I felt and wrote in March.

The year group was a credit to our families, our community and our academy.

We are proud to have been part of your education and we wish you good luck and every success for the future.

 

Principal’s Blog

Welcome to my last blog of an extraordinary academic year.

March, when we last had a full complement of students and staff in school, seems a long time ago.

This week, we would ordinarily have been preparing for speeches and farewells.

Sadly, the restrictions mean we cannot get everybody together to celebrate achievements and acknowledge the efforts made by students and staff.

The pandemic has impacted on results day too. Normally, students would collect results and celebrate with staff.

Instead, our former Year 11s will be emailed their results at 8am on Thursday, 20th August, and colleagues will be on the end of a telephone for those wishing to discuss their options and any issues.

Letters have been sent to those affected outlining the details.

Our focus remains on the school’s full reopening in September.

By the end of the week, all parents will have received a letter about our plans.

We will be holding a staff induction day, to enable colleagues to familiarise themselves with the new school environment, as well as an inset training day, before we reopen on Thursday, 3rd September.

We are having a staggered start to the new term, with only Years 7 and 11 coming in on that Thursday.

Other year groups will follow over the next few days.

We will be using three different entrances and the school split into four separate zones, with one year group ‘bubble’ in each.

It is going to be different for students and staff and the staggered start will enable us to gradually build numbers back up in the academy and keep everybody safe.

The full details will be included in the letter home.

As I say, we have experienced an academic year the like of which I have not seen in my professional career.

We have got through it but not without the considerable efforts of my staff team.

I would like to thank them for what they have done during this difficult time and what they are doing in preparation for September and beyond.

I would also like to thank our parents who have been most supportive and understanding.

I hope you enjoy your summer break and I look forward to welcoming everybody back to a fully reopened, safe environment in September.

Mr Adnitt

Principal.

 

Principal’s Blog

Welcome to my weekly blog.

We are wiser than we were a week ago in terms of what school will look like in September – but we need parents to be patient please while we sort out the detail.

What we can say is the whole school will return for the new academic year, with all our students in full-time, compulsory education.

That is to be welcomed. We cannot wait to welcome all our year groups back.

But the 35 pages of Government guidance released last Thursday has left little time for schools to plan how it will be applied.

We only have so much space and so many staff.

Year groups need to be kept in bubbles away from each other. From a timetabling perspective, it is complicated.

Much has been left to school leaders on the ground as to how the guidance is applied. Every school will be different, not least because of their buildings.

We are working hard to put our plan together and we will do our best to get as much detail as we can out to parents / carers before the end of term.

What we do know is that the Academy will look and feel very different in September from a physical environment perspective.

What will not change is our commitment to give our students the best quality education we can in the safest way possible.

Those who know a little more about the different ways we are working in the building are the new Year 11s, who have been in the academy the past two weeks, and those students who have been entitled to a place throughout the lockdown period.

Numbers of the latter group have increased over the past week.

As for the new Year 11s, the initial group who came in a fortnight ago will be welcomed back today.

As I mentioned last week, we would like to see more of them attending the Academy over the next two weeks.

I know those who have taken up their invitation have enjoyed their time with us and it has helped with their home learning before the summer break.

We continue to appreciate the support of our parents and we will be in touch as soon as we can about September.

Mr Adnitt

Principal.

 

Principal’s Blog

Welcome to my weekly blog.

Our cautious approach to returning to school is working – I would now like to see more students take up our offer.

We are in the second week of the new Year 11s coming back for one day a week.

We have experienced a 50% take up, which is about the average across the country. By the end of this week, all Year 11s would have had the opportunity to spend some limited time in school.

Those students attending have enjoyed it and colleagues have been delighted to teach them.

It has been terrific to reopen formally although, of course, we have offered places to entitled children during the lockdown period.

Attendance of those new Year 11s is voluntary only until the end of this term.

Compulsory education, announced yesterday by the Secretary of State for Education, will resume in September.

I suggest this is even more of a reason for our new Year 11s to take up our invitation to attend before the end of term.

It will get them back into the habit of attending school.

We appreciate it is a big step – it has been for colleagues – and we are here to help them overcome any understandable anxieties about returning.

We will be repeating these last two weeks in the final weeks of term so there are opportunities for those Year 11s we have not seen to return. We look forward to welcoming them.

If parents have any issues they wish to discuss, please contact tutors or heads of year.

Colleagues continue to maintain contact with Years 7, 8 and 9. It is important they do not feel forgotten and we cannot wait to welcome you back formally in September.

We await details from the Government on how this will be done and will communicate as soon as we hear.

Colleagues and I continue to appreciate the support we are receiving from parents during these extraordinary times.

Mr Adnitt

Principal.