What do they say about the best laid plans?
Colleagues have prepared some good ones for when lockdown is scheduled to finish on 21st June.
It has been giving us an end point and increased the level of confidence in what we were planning and producing for ‘normal’ times, something we have not been able to consider since last February.
However, from what we are told, this date may be pushed back and given the time of year and proximity to the end of term, any delay will impact on our plans.
Unfortunately, education seems to be on pause all the time.
But we need to remind ourselves we remain in the middle of a pandemic, and we are following a series of measures for the benefit of everybody. So, we shall see and adapt accordingly.
On a similar note, we are still waiting for guidance about Year 11 results day on 12th August and any appeals process for the teacher-assessed grades.
It is, therefore, important our Year 11s keep in contact with their tutors and heads of year.
They may have left but they are very much in our thoughts, and we will be keeping their academy emails active throughout the summer.
We will be in touch as soon as we receive any updates so, Year 11, please keep checking your emails.
It is the turn of Year 7 to have a parents’ consultation evening. As we have done successfully with other year groups, it will be run over a week from Monday, 21st June to Friday 25th.
Five-minute telephone appointments can be booked with teachers in mornings, afternoons and evenings.
The booking system will be open from 8am next Monday (14th) to 4pm on Friday, 18th via the text message parents will have received or the website.
On weather-related matters, warmer temperatures have arrived at last.
A reminder that it is important students bring enough water with them to last the day.
Water will be available at breaks and lunchtime in free cups from the diner. It can also be purchased from there.
Uniform policy remains consistent throughout the year.
Blazers should be worn but, of course, can be popped on the back of chairs in class, and taken off outside at break and lunchtime.
Finally, term dates for the next academic year are live on the website to help parents with forward planning.
Back to plans again! Hopefully, they are successful.
Half term beckons at the end of the week.
After a strange start to the year, what has become evident is the longer students have been in school, the easier they have found a regular and effective routine.
They are more confident, more relaxed and, above all, more capable than only a few weeks ago.
It adds up to the students making excellent progress and I thank them and my team for that.
Year 11s, of course, are in their final few days with us. They are looking forward to finishing their journey at the academy and the celebrations organised will capture that.
They will allow for students to reflect on their time here; what they have given us and what the staff have given them.
Our application process to be a prefect next year continues, with 57 students in the mix.
They are in the scenario round, with presentations to tutor groups and questions asked of them.
They will then put in their completed applications and the winners will be announced in a special ceremony on 9th July.
We have just completed an intensive two weeks of recruitment.
I am delighted that we were able to make some outstanding internal appointments, from colleagues who wanted the next stage in their career.
We have also looked outwards and recruited staff who will join us in September. New ideas and fresh eyes are always welcome.
The important point is we will be fully staffed in September, across all subjects, to deliver our curriculum.
Increasing numbers of students are involved in extra-curricular activities, staying with us after hours on a school day.
Whatever the Government is planning for 21st June – the scheduled last date on the roadmap to easing coronavirus restrictions – we are preparing for our first sports days in two years.
Some of our students have not experienced our special events.
We will return to Quibell Park and the event could be over two days.
It promises to be better than ever and just one of the celebratory events we are planning for after half term.
So there is plenty to look forward to.
In the meantime, I would like students and staff to enjoy their much-deserved break.
I watched Leicester City’s players, supporters and owner celebrate their FA Cup triumph on Saturday and it reminded me of a similar triangular relationship in a school.
Effective communication between students, parents and staff is crucial to producing the best outcomes for our young people.
It is something we strive to succeed with daily, and we appreciate the feedback we receive in turn from students and parents.
We will always aim to emulate Leicester, and build relationships around respect, truth and trust.
It has been fabulous to go into so many lessons over the past few days and see conversations between staff and students taking place without face coverings.
Some young people have chosen to continue wearing them and we are fine with that. All of us have that choice.
All are continuing to be sensible, and respectful of other people’s space, particularly at lunchtime and in the communal areas.
But it is great to see staff engaging in open, meaningful conversations with students, and there is a nice, settled environment.
More good news is the latest guidance says our Year 6 transition days on the 1st and 2nd July should be able to go ahead.
Those Year 6s will enjoy an enriched, deep learning experience over those two days and I would encourage parents to attend the transition evening on the 1st.
It will be a chance for them to meet tutors and key staff and, for the majority, will be the first time they will have been in the academy.
We are looking forward to meeting them and building those relationships.
Our transition website offers more information.
Related to that, we are pleased to announce Shah’s in West Street, Scunthorpe, will stock our full affordable range of uniform, including our PE kit.
Parents can still buy uniform from our usual online supplier but our support of a local business in the heart of our community gives parents the choice of where and how they buy their uniform.
That is important to us and, hopefully, helps further builds that relationship between home and school.
We have much to celebrate too.
News that face coverings need not be worn in school from Monday is welcome – but we also have to be mindful we remain in a pandemic.
Their removal is fabulous for our young people and I would like to thank them for the way they have observed wearing them brilliantly.
It marks another phase in the return to normal and will recreate a great learning environment.
Staff and students will be able to watch and hear each other properly and communicate with facial expressions!
But we need to remain vigilant, and I would encourage our young people to test at home twice a week to help keep everybody safe.
We have a large number of lateral flow testing kits in the academy that can be picked up by parents / carers between 8.20am and 9am.
Away from coronavirus, Year 10 parents can still book appointments with teachers for the virtual Parents’ Evening, taking place from next Monday (17th) to the Friday.
Please click here to book your five-minute appointment at a time convenient to you and the teacher, be it in the morning, afternoon or early evening.
Letters will be sent out to Year 11 parents in the next day or two, which will explain what is happening at the end of term.
It will include details of the invitation-only celebration event, for those students who have engaged fully and done their best.
It was great to take a walk around yesterday and see Year 7s being taught sign language; other students looking at our Eclipse learning package, which looks at leadership; and others enjoying reading.
They are all activities which will improve our children’s life chances and make me proud of what we do and achieve at this academy daily.
Finally, may the divine blessings of Allah bring you hope, faith, and joy on Eid al-Adha and forever.
Happy Eid ul Fitr!
We had a fantastic response from Year 9 to choosing their options.
I would like to thank them for taking the opportunity to discuss their futures with staff and shaping what they would like to do going forward.
We now ask for their patience as we look at their preferences for study at GCSE in Years 10 and 11 and how they work in terms of the timetable.
We have always made clear there can be no guarantees but as many students as possible will get their first choices.
An important Year 10 Parents’ Evening is approaching this month. I say ‘evening’, but it is going to last a week, taking a similar form to others this year.
The virtual event is between Monday, 17th May and Friday, 21st and will involve five-minute telephone conversations with subject teachers.
We listen to feedback and appreciate that parents / carers work and have busy schedules.
That is why we are inviting them to log on to the School Cloud, check teachers’ availability, and book appointments at times to suit both parties, be it in the morning, afternoon, or evening.
This flexible approach has been well received by other year groups this academic year and we hope for a similar response from Year 10.
The Government’s suggested there might be changes to next year’s exam schedule which makes it even more important for Year 10s and their parents to have access to their subject teachers and discuss progress. More details are here.
Year 11s are in the last phase of tasks and assessments.
They are building up to their leaving date – which will be announced shortly – and a proper, face-to-face celebration.
It is important they can remember their time at the Academy and their teachers can celebrate with them.
The event will be by invitation only and reward their ongoing effort, behaviour, and conduct.
That is why Year 11 need to keep going with their studies and then they can look forward to receiving their invitation.
Complacency is something we cannot afford as we see a light at the end of the coronavirus tunnel.
Like many others, I have enjoyed seeing people out and about, enjoying a walk, shopping on the high street, or socialising with friends.
There is a buzz about the place, and it is easy to forget where we have come from.
But there is a sharp reminder when you turn on the television news and watch the tragic events unfolding in India.
Students here have family and friends in the country, and it brings home that the world is a small place.
Our thoughts are with everyone affected.
The images and statistics serve as a reminder we are still fighting a global pandemic.
As such, we need to remain vigilant.
The infection rates are low in North Lincolnshire and we need to continue playing our part as a school community to keep them that way.
That is why it was disappointing to hear the area is among the lowest in the country for ordering home testing kits.
We need to do our bit, with students and staff being asked to use the lateral flow tests at home twice a week.
They are available from school.
Most importantly, if you show symptoms of COVID-19, please stay away from the academy.
In other matters, we stand alongside our Muslim students who are marking the Islamic Holy Month of Ramadan.
We appreciate their commitment and know how much the celebrations at Eid mean.
Another event to look forward to is Schools’ Football Week.
During it, on the 26th May, students may attend school in a football shirt of their choice.
We will be asking for voluntary contributions for doing so, with the money raised going to a local charity.
If students would like to participate and need a shirt to wear, please do not hesitate to ask.
There are those of us with more than two – though the team might not be to their liking!