Head of School’s Blog

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!

 

Head of School’s Blog

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.

 

 

Head of School’s Blog

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Head of School’s Blog

We have had a great start to a new term during which things will be a little different.

I have been proud of how the students have continued to respect social distancing and mask wearing in the ongoing battle against COVID-19.

I would like to wish Year 11s ‘good luck’ for the first of two, one-week test cycles.

With no formal examinations taking place, the results will be used to give them their grades.

I have been really impressed by their engagement and preparation for the tests.

They have a confidence and calmness about them, which makes a pleasant change from the usual high levels of anxiety caused by exams.

Credit must be given to the team of staff which has helped them prepare. The tests are important, but the work done beforehand is more so.

As one year group comes towards the end of its 11 years of schooling, another is preparing to join us.

We are really looking forward to welcoming Year 6 in the coming weeks ahead of starting in September.

The year group is full beyond capacity and we are fortunate our community and families continue to choose us.

We have launched a specific website on transition, essential reading for Year 6 children and parents.

It contains a huge amount of information and will help reassure students about their switch to secondary school.

Year 10s were sent away at Easter with details about being a prefect. It is a fantastic leadership opportunity and always popular.

It is a year group which continues to impress staff with its attitude and we look forward to receiving a large number of prefect applications.

Not everybody will be successful but it is important to aspire and for students to put themselves in the shop window.

Year 9s are looking at their options for the next two years.

It is the first time in their lives they will make decisions that will affect their college chances and career choices.

It is important, therefore, they have conversations with staff about what they would like to take and what they, not their friends, are interested in.

The PE department is looking to offer extra-curricular clubs, in a COVID-safe environment. They are excited about offering these opportunities and the students about taking them up.

As I said, things will be a little different this term.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Head of School’s Blog

We are nearly there.

The holidays are eagerly anticipated and richly deserved by students and staff.

It seems a long time ago the Prime Minister announced the third lockdown and much has happened in education subsequently.

I want everybody to enjoy their break in the context of some restrictions being eased on Monday.

We need to remain cautious, vigilant, and respectful to keep everybody safe, but there will be time to get plenty of fresh air in the good weather.

I would like to thank again the parents who have collected additional lateral flow testing kits to enable children to continue testing twice a week over the holidays to help keep everybody safe.

Every parent I have spoken to has been grateful of the testing procedures, which make them feel more comfortable about sending their child to school.

I am pleased to say we have had no further positive cases since last week which suggests testing is going well, social distancing is being observed and, generally, people are maintaining the standards to keep students and staff safe.

Further advice on face coverings in schools is set to be announced by the Government during the holidays to give us clarity before we return.

The Easter weekend, a significant event on the Christian calendar, falls just before Ramadan this year – to be confirmed for 12th or 13th  April – which will last for 30 days from sunrise to sunset.

We will celebrate both.

Every child was given a cream egg this week to symbolise Easter and we are launching a competition to design a card for Eid.

The winning entry, judged by the Imam from the local mosque, will be professionally made and printed, just as we do for our Christmas card competition.

It is part of our efforts to celebrate diversity and do so widely.

We are respectful of each other’s cultures and observing cultural practices and how families live their lives.

Looking beyond the holidays, the PE team has started planning sporting fixtures before the May half term.

It will give students the chance to pull on the jersey or bib with the academy logo on it, and take pride in representing the school.

The last time they did so was more than 12 months ago and, for Year 7s, it will be their first opportunity to represent the Academy.

Hopefully, this will give students something to look forward to in the next phase of our roadmap to returning to an exciting, vibrant academy.

Happy Easter and Ramadan Mubarak.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Head of School’s Blog

It felt great to be back at full capacity on Monday.

School has been vibrant and busy, almost like normal. It is good to see children happy and pleased to see friends and staff.

We have hustle with a bustle. You can forget how important that is to a school and its community.

I think we are getting the provision right. Staff, students, and parents are working together to make the best of it.

But it is not easy for any of us. We are allowed to struggle to get back into a working and learning routine.

That is why it is important we help and support each other, recognising there are issues beyond the school gate which may make school life more difficult.

That is okay and we understand.

Generally, the students have adapted well to the new-look classroom and style of learning.

We are not putting students through tests, rather teaching them content and skills, and helping them with their aspirations.

All our students, including 11-year-olds, can tell me a career that interests them.

The other day, one described wanting to be a joiner while the girl next to him knew the subjects she needed to take to fulfil her ambition of becoming a vet.

Our job is to help them get there.

It is reassuring our students have retained high aspirations and goals even though we are in the middle of a pandemic. They are not going to let it get in the way of their dreams.

Those conversations suggest our extra-curricular activities around careers, such as our Futures programme, are working well.

I would like to again thank those families who have picked up COVID-19 testing kits and are supporting their children use them. The more who do so, the safer we are.

We have read Government guidance on testing over Easter and will be communicating further now we have finalised our plan of how the extra testing kits can be collected.

Finally, just to confirm a commitment I made to Year 11s last week.

They will be given details around the teacher-assessed grades process tomorrow and Friday.

We do not want them worrying unnecessarily and staff will be there to support and guide them.

We will get through the process together.

 

Head of School’s Blog

Welcome to my first weekly blog.

As you are aware, Mr Adnitt has switched role to Executive Headteacher. He continues to support, advise, and challenge but is responsible for more than this academy.

His weekly blog has been well read and received. I hope mine will be too.

We always knew it was going to be a busy two weeks and so it has proved.

Unfortunately, three positive tests have meant an early return to home learning for some.  It is something we had hoped to avoid but the figures reflect what is going on in the wider community.

It reminds us all that we need to stick to the rules and procedures, in and out of school.

We must follow the advice around good hygiene and wearing face coverings.

School will be undertaking its last lateral flow tests tomorrow (Thursday), meaning all year groups have been tested three times since their return.

The Government is expecting students to self-test at home twice a week to help keep everybody safe.

Now many students have experienced the test, we hope as many as possible will take up the opportunity to self-test.

Parents have been invited to pick up the kits from school and there has been a good response. We want them to contact us if they have any questions or concerns.

The guidance has not changed if a student is feeling ill or showing any COVID-19 symptoms. They should stay at home, get themselves tested and, if necessary, self-isolate.

To beat this pandemic, we cannot relax.

If we all do our bit and reduce infections, we can look forward to getting back to something like normal.

As a senior leadership team, we are planning for after May half term, with after-school clubs, trips, and visits from companies to the academy. We hope this planning comes to fruition.

I am conscious how Year 11s are to be assigned grades has still to be finalised.

Teachers’ assessments will take on board tasks undertaken in a classroom and not under exam conditions.

We will communicate exactly how this will work to Year 11s and their parents within the next week.

Given the uncertainties, Year 11 has been brilliant. I would also like to thank parents for their support, patience, and trust.  We have had a lot of messages and kind words.

What this whole experience has taught us is how much our students value education and being in school.

We are committed to beating COVID-19 and beating it together, returning to all the great things that happen at this academy.

We will get there.

 

Principal’s Blog

Students have arrived back at the Academy this week with a fantastic mindset.

They have been so positive and clearly pleased to be back and among their friends. Staff are delighted to be back teaching face-to-face.

It has been great to see everybody enjoying people’s company, something many have not experienced since the turn of the year.

A well-being and recovery curriculum has been operating this week to ease the students back into formal learning.

It has been a chance to reset and for them to share experiences over lockdown. While there have been formal lessons each day, we think this has been important. Attendance has been excellent.

Our testing of students and staff has gone well.

Unfortunately, a Year 10 tested positive today which has meant close contacts self-isolating and needing to learn from home.

It shows the procedures we have put in place are working and, as time goes on, students and families will be reassured about the testing process.

I would like to give a huge ‘thank you’ to the testing team.

They have done a fantastic job in terms of the numbers being tested and the way it has been coordinated and delivered.  It is all calm and orderly.

After Easter, we are hoping the local and national picture continues to look positive and we can provide the clubs and after-school activities we are so proud to offer our students.

It is something for everybody to look forward to.

There is still some uncertainty about Year 11 grading. As soon as we know, we will communicate with parents.

What is certain is their time in school is limited and they need to make the best of it.

We will certainly be working hard as a staff to ensure they are prepared for their next steps in education.

As always, please stay safe and well.

Principal’s Blog

It is only days before school reopens fully – and staff are really looking forward to welcoming everybody back.

Years 10 and 11 will return on Monday, Year 7 on Tuesday, and Years 8 and 9 on Wednesday.

Three lateral flow tests have been organised for each year group in the first two weeks, before families will be asked to continue them at home.

All the details about the return can be found in Head of School Mr Dalowsky’s letter.

The Government’s guidance recommends face coverings are worn in classrooms in addition to communal areas in the three weeks until Easter.

The Academy is going with that advice and we will review it then.

What we hope is COVID-19 infection rates stay low to enable us to open up even more.

Plans are in place for clubs and activities to return after Easter.

We will be sticking to the same regime that was in place during the Autumn term.

Students are reminded to:

  • Keep socially-distanced at all times;
  • Maintain their superb level of conduct and behaviour; and
  • Remember the importance of personal hygiene, with regular sanitising and washing of hands.

A wider public health responsibility rests with us all. We need to keep infection rates down to enable the gradual return to normal across society.

Exams will, of course, remain different this year.

We will be informing students and parents about the appeal process for Year 11 grades once we have the final details.

They can be reassured students’ futures are not in the hands of an algorithm as they were, at least initially, last year.

This time, it is in the hands of the students what grades they achieve, with teacher assessments based on work across Years 10 and 11.

That is why it is important to keep going with the home learning for these final few days.

As always, please stay safe and well.

Principal’s Blog

I hope students were able to follow my advice before half term and enjoy a break – and have returned to learning re-energised.

For those studying at home, we had the welcome confirmation from the Prime Minister this week that children would return to school from the 8th March.

We are digesting the guidance to ensure we get everything right.

Parents can be reassured that, when the academy does reopen fully, we will not be compromising on the social distancing measures put in place last term that protect students and staff.

Primary schools will return on 8th March but secondaries have been given the option of a staggered start over the course of that week to enable COVID-19 testing of students and staff.

We will be taking this up and communicating with parents shortly to confirm arrangements and issue consent forms.

The testing programme is a big undertaking for schools, and we are determined to ensure it is managed safely.

Colleagues have a lot to do before students return.

I know the vast majority will be looking forward to returning – and staff are keen to welcome everybody back.

However, there will be some who feel nervous and apprehensive. This is perfectly understandable as many will have been without normal social interaction for weeks.

I want to reassure them and their families about the return to school.

As in September, the curriculum will include a recovery element, allowing teachers a chance to check on progress and students time to catch up.

As well as the academic side, this will include students’ wellbeing.

In the meantime, if any families have concerns, please get in touch with your year group ATL, who will support.

One welcome difference to the curriculum provided up to Christmas will be the safe return of sports and other out-of-school activities.

We will provide more detail soon, but we need to get back to providing an all-round education experience which nurtures well-rounded young adults.

It is going to take time but at least there is light at the end of this long tunnel.

As always, please stay safe and well.