End of Year Tutor Reports

Students in Years 7, 8, 9 & 10 will be emailed their End of Year Tutor Reports next week. Parents whose email address are on the Academy system will also receive a copy of the report.

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.

 

Principal’s Blog

Welcome to my weekly blog.

Today is an important one in our slow return to being anything like normal.

We have welcomed the first Year 11s who accepted our invitation to come back to school before the end of term.

It is fantastic to see our students again. We have missed them and missed teaching them.

Hopefully, the communications home, including the video, prepared students for what they faced today.

I am grateful to Assistant Principal Mr Dalowsky and his ‘actors’ for the film and to teaching and non-teaching colleagues for the enormous amount of work that has gone in to ensure everything is ready.

The return of the new Year 11s means changes for those students who have been coming into the academy over the past three months.

They will form their ‘bubble’ and be restricted to an area.

I ask students for their patience. I know they will understand the changes have been made with everybody’s safety in mind.

Another feature returning to normal is, with the increasing numbers on site, students need to purchase food using their cards, topped up online.

Those entitled to free school meals will be in receipt of vouchers.

We have prepared a special recovery curriculum for our returning Year 11s. The first hour-and-a-half will help students come back.

Opportunities will be available to discuss their mental health and wellbeing and for teachers to assess where they are with their learning.

This time will cross over to a period of RE before lessons in English, Maths and Science. These have been designed to reinforce what they have been doing at home.

The Year 11s will be kept in the same groups in the same classrooms as we need to maintain their bubbles.

They will be in Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and leave at 1.15pm. It is important social distancing rules are followed in and out of school.

On Monday and Friday, we have invited into the Academy students in our new Year 11 struggling with internet access at home and who do not meet the Government’s criteria for a new laptop.

You will understand schooling is complex and you may have read about further potential changes as we move towards the new academic year.

All we can do is stick to Government guidelines and wait for further advice.

I would like to reiterate the staff are impressed at the work being undertaken at home via Class Charts. Please keep doing the best you can.

School appreciates this is not always easy and a quick look at how things might have been different puts into context the strange times we are living it.

Last Friday would have been Year 7 and Year 8 Sports Day, the last day of Year 9 examinations in Westaby Hall and day five of Year 10 work experience.

We have all had to adjust and it is crucial we continue to support each other.

Mr Adnitt

Principal.

 

Principal’s Blog

Welcome to my weekly blog.

Next week, I am delighted to say, we will start to welcome back a limited number of our new Year 11s.

We have, of course, been open throughout lockdown to those children entitled to a place by the Government.

But next Tuesday (23rd) will be the first time we have formally opened for more than three months.

This is a big step for students and staff.

Details will be sent to parents this week but we are inviting new Year 11s into school for some limited, face-to-face contact. Please bear in mind that this is an invitation and attendance is not compulsory at this stage.

Trustees, who met yesterday, supported our view that growing slowly and safely is the best way of doing this.

There will be only 25 new Year 11s invited into the Academy on any one day.

If they take us up on our invitation to attend, they will be expected to wear full school uniform and bring in their own equipment. This is important as staff cannot hand anything out.

Students must be in good health and come in with the right mindset, prepared to work.

The Year new Year 11s will experience a different Academy to the one they last occupied in March.

It will be school, but not as they knew it.

Strict social distancing measures have given the school a different look and feel.

What you need to know as parents – as they need to know as  students – is everything has been done to ensure the safety of themselves, their friends, and staff.

I would like to ask parents to reinforce our high expectations of behaviour and learning in the academy, especially as more information is shared by us with you over the coming days.

When they are not in school, new Year 11s – like Years 8, 9 and 10 – are expected to be home learning, logging in via Class Charts.

I would like to say another big thank you to staff, including our IT team, for the work around our online offering.

More than 250 video lessons can be now be accessed for home learning, a superb effort by all concerned.

It is important students engage with those lessons because, as I said last week, I do not believe we will be back to anything like normal in September.

We have planned for a part-school learning, part-home model to be with us into the next academic year, if required.

Finally, as always, if students need to talk to somebody about work or anything else, please contact tutors or heads of year. They are there to help.

Mr Adnitt

Principal.

Principal’s Blog

Welcome to my weekly blog.

I start with a big thank you to the staff team which has been adapting to the situation we find ourselves in.

A total of 138 video lessons were uploaded to all year groups last week, a terrific effort.

Additional to these are the considerable resources and homework tasks posted on Class Charts for students to pick up.

Each video lesson is being recorded in the academy in a controlled environment.

As well as knowing how many are being uploaded, we can see the download response.

The statistics are great and I’d like to thank our students and parents / carers for their continued support.

The system is up and running in a few short weeks and I am grateful to the staff for their support and ongoing efforts to ensure it is sustainable.

We need to get used to this new way of teaching and learning as I do not believe we will be back to anything like normal in September.

Trustees meet next Monday (15th) to discuss our plans around a cautious return to the academy for our newly promoted Year 11s (formerly Year 10s) on the 22nd June.

We will communicate the decision to parents and carers but, as I have said before, we propose to start with small numbers in a safe manner.

The academy is looking very different, with social distancing measures in place. Classrooms with 10 desks and chairs are ready for that initial intake of students.

At least we do not have the issues of some. Our self-contained, unisex toilets – put in when the academy was rebuilt – are appropriate for social distancing.

The plan is to grow the Year 11 numbers slowly but only when it is safe to do so for staff and students.

On another important matter, we have received communication from students around the #BlackLivesMatter campaign.

I recognise the impact of this worldwide campaign on our academy. Justice, forgiveness, and respect are among our core values and inextricably linked to the way we work.

Finally, as always, if students need to talk to somebody about work or anything else, please contact tutors or heads of year. They are there to help.

Mr Adnitt

Principal.

 

Principal’s Blog

Welcome to my first blog of the new half term.

I hope students enjoyed their break and are ready for a final seven weeks of the academic year none of us could have imagined when it started.

We have all had to adapt and we are where we are.

It has not been easy but, having read the new Government guidance released last week, parents can be reassured about our plans.

The wording around reopening from after the 15th is for those schools which can. We have a provisional plan in place which is ready to roll out after that date if we feel it is appropriate to do so.

We will be writing to parents of each year group at the end of this week with more details and our trustees will make a final decision on re-opening to Year 10s next week. That will be based on what is right for our students and subject to all health and safety concerns being met.

If we do start welcoming back Year 10 from after the 15th, it will be in very small numbers and on a part-time basis.

We know we are unlikely to see Years 7, 8 and 9 before September so it is important all pupils log on, do their work, and keep in touch.

On that note, there was a great start to video lessons yesterday, with the importance of such face-to-face contact also mentioned in the latest Government guidance.

We can see many logged on. Hopefully, the videos and presentations are making home learning easier and more interesting. They can log back in at any time through Class Charts to see them again.

When students do return, it will be to a recovery curriculum.

This will consolidate the learning done at home and gently ease them into the classroom environment.

It will consider the social impact of the lockdown period as well as support their academic work.

This will not have been an easy experience for many students, but we will do our best to ensure any long-term lockdown effect is kept to a minimum.

We will all be feeling our way – it has been 10 long weeks.

But it would be great to see a few more faces around the academy. If we do welcome some Year 10 students back from after June 15th, please be assured that it will be well planned and with the approval of our academy trustees.

Finally, as always, if students need to talk to somebody about work or anything else, please contact tutors or heads of year. They are there to help.

Mr Adnitt

Principal.

 

Principal’s Blog

Welcome to my weekly blog.

For students and parents, there are some confusing and, potentially, mixed messages out there about returning to school.

I would like to reiterate we will continue to make decisions based on what is right for our students.

We are working as hard as we can and as best we can in what are difficult circumstances for everybody.

The academy is following Government guidance. We have continued to remain open for vulnerable children and those whose parents are key workers.

We will do so next week (half term) from 8.30am to 1pm Tuesday to Friday but not on Bank Holiday Monday (25th).

The Easter break saw students in the academy creating rainbow chains and handprints for the NHS, which made colourful displays.

Holiday activities are being devised by staff again and I would like to thank those doing so and covering the four days.

Secondary schools are due to open to Year 10 students only in July, with Years 7 to 9 not returning until September.

As mentioned last week, we have plans in place to increase numbers returning to school in July under strict social distancing, to keep students and staff safe.

We will continue to monitor what happens over the next few weeks – including a planned return for some in primary schools – to see how this impacts on our plans.

Students are continuing to engage in home learning and I am grateful for parents supporting children with it.

We are always looking at new ways we can support our students, particularly now we know Years 7 and 9 will not be back in school before September.

Teachers have been videoing the first part of lessons that will help with independent learning. We believe this will make home learning easier and sustainable. More details will be provided shortly.

In the meantime, I hope students and staff can enjoy a worthwhile break next week. We all need it.

Finally, as always, if students need to talk to somebody about work or anything else, please contact tutors or heads of year. They are there to help.

Mr Adnitt

Principal.

 

Principal’s blog

Week 4 of my blog and things are only just starting to become a little clearer.

We heard the Prime Minister announce on Sunday that, in secondary education, only Year 10 may return to school before the end of term, but not for a few weeks yet.

It means our students will continue to access learning online at home. This remains very important.

Obviously, this has a big knock on effect for students, their families and staff.

But we can only work within Government guidelines and await further details.

I would like to reassure parents about our preparations for any return.

We have been carrying out a capacity analysis of the building, in terms of space in classrooms, corridors, workspaces and diner.

When students and staff return, it will probably be under social distancing so we have been calculating, for example, how many desks can fit into a classroom, keeping everybody two metres apart.

We will not compromise on the safety of our students and staff.

Staff have continued to work hard supporting students during the closure but we have also given a lot of thought to the return, whenever that is.

A two-pronged recovery approach will focus on learning and the impact on the wider academy community.

A recovery curriculum will consolidate the learning done at home.

But we also need to consider the closure’s social impact. Day-to-day contact with friends, their support network, and relationships with members of staff have been affected.

How will people feel talking about the wider complexities of this crisis? Academic progress is important but more so is the well-being of our students and staff.

However, I am confident, given the strength of our school community before closure, we can rebuild it effectively.

One other change returning students will notice is to the curriculum. Key stage 3 will be taught over three years, Key Stage 4 over two.

Subject options will be chosen in Year 9, with GCSE courses starting in Year 10. The move brings the academy in line with most other schools and the national curriculum guidelines . It will, we feel, benefit educational progress.

Finally, if students need to talk to somebody about work or anything else, please contact tutors or heads of year. They are there to help.

Mr Adnitt

Principal.

 

Principal’s blog

Welcome to my blog.

Most importantly this week, may I thank parents and carers for their fantastic support and understanding during this difficult time.

All our lives have been turned upside down and it is not easy for any of us.

But knowing the tremendous efforts of the academy’s staff are appreciated by our parents means an awful lot.

We may not get it right all the time, but we are doing our best. And parents are recognising that.

Like everybody else, we will be looking out for any changes in Government guidance this week mentioned by the Prime Minister last Thursday.

We know there will not be a full return to school but there could be a phased approach.

The staff team has discussed different scenarios to ensure, when asked, we are ready.

Our priority, like the Government’s, is the safety of our pupils and staff. Nothing will be done to compromise this.

So we wait and see and, in the meantime, continue with our new approach to learning.

Students should keep logging in to Class Charts where there is lots of information and learning resources.

For those not able to access the internet, we will continue to post out materials.

We do understand it is not easy and students are not always able to send work back.

We are looking at ways of making the learning more personalised.

In terms of Year 11 results, staff are working hard to ensure no student is disadvantaged.

Teachers have a clear quality assurance process to follow which will result in as fair and accurate grades as possible being submitted.

Away from work, our students need to continue to do their bit.

Stay at home but, when you make essential journeys, keep safe and ensure you are socially distancing.

Finally, if students need to talk to somebody about work or anything else, please ring tutors or heads of year. They are ready to help.

Mr Adnitt

Principal.