Uncertainty has been a constant this last 12 months – so it is fitting my last blog of the year follows a similar theme.

The country is on alert for the latest variant of coronavirus and, given what we have been through, it is understandable people are concerned about its potential impact on education in the New Year.

The fact is, as an Academy, we do not know and will probably find out at the same time as parents, carers, students and the wider public.

It is just the way it has been over the past 20 months or so.

What I can say is that we are planning for different eventualities and will be ready for whatever the future holds.

My hope is that face-to-face teaching continues, and we do not go back to online learning. That would be a retrograde step, given the progress made over the last term.

We have been determined to run the Academy as normal as possible and have been fortunate to have parents’ evenings, an open night, Year 11’s ‘evening of ingredients’, sporting fixtures, reward trips and community events.

Our hope is this will continue in the New Year and I can publish the half term’s events on the school calendar once we return.

Inevitably, senior leaders will spend the holidays with one ear listening out for any potential changes the Government may announce.

If there is anything significant that alters the arrangements in the end of term letter sent out last week, we will communicate with parents / carers as soon as we can.

For those who have not seen that letter – which includes details of a staggered return in January to enable all students to be COVID tested in line with Department for Education guidelines – please read it here or get in touch with the Academy.

What can be said with certainty is that we have two weeks away from the Academy.

I know, for some parents / carers, the hard work will continue over the festive period.

But I do hope families are able to spend some time together, get a rest and recharge the batteries.

It is also the end of the year, a time to reflect but also to think ahead, consider making New Year resolutions or changing the way we do things.

We do need to look forward, not backwards, but I understand this might not be easy and, should anybody need support, let us know.

Whatever you do over the break, I hope students and staff come back refreshed, recharged, and retaining the level of enthusiasm we have seen over the past term.

Please take a pause, look after one another and spend some quality time together.

I wish you all a happy Christmas and a healthy, safe, and peaceful New Year.