I hope this letter finds you and your families well. Much like lockdown last year, there has been somewhat of a settled feeling to this week. Our live provision has continued, now with wellbeing breaks and our fantastic students have shown a real vigour in their approach to remote learning. We have seen some amazing examples of work including some freeze frame photos in drama with added parents as extras! We continue to be immensely proud of how resilient and determined our students are.
Across the entire academy we are impressed with the log on and engagement data we are receiving, but we always want 100% at this stage we are far above previous lockdown engagement. Next week we will be collecting engagement scores for all students in all subjects and reporting to parents and carers shortly afterwards. It is absolutely vital that all students engage and complete work within the classrooms either live or at a convenient time, both count as engagement as tasks are completed. Our approach has always been to make the process in lockdown as easy as possible, from the provision of Chromebooks (with indications suggesting the end of January for our final two year groups, so keeping fingers crossed), laptops and wireless 4G routers where connectivity presents the biggest issues. Our staff have made the transition to remote provision and live lessons seamlessly and I continue to be impressed and incredibly proud at the rate in which our staff continue to develop their digital skills in an entirely new environment. They really are working tirelessly to make sure that the impact of the global situation on our young people’s education is limited, and in fact that they have every opportunity to continue progressing. It is absolutely vital therefore, that as parents and carers, with your son or daughter at home during lockdown you ensure that they access our provision online and engage fully. And check. Regularly. If you are having trouble ensuring your son or daughter is engaging, please contact the appropriate college team via firstname.lastname@example.org, we are here to support and to help, all of you.
COVID-19 testing and consent
This week we completed staff training on our Academy Testing Programme. The testing process involves the pupil themselves swabbing their tonsils and the inside of their nose. This takes around 90 seconds. Our testing centre is in C Hall, with testing overseen by three fully qualified Healthcare Assistants. Next week we will be offering weekly testing capabilities for our staff and for students who are currently in attendance at the academy, our vulnerable and key worker students. In advance of testing, consent must be gained for all students who wish to participate when we return. We would like to begin the process of gaining consent now, rather than wait until schools and academies are allowed to reopen. If your son/daughter is below 16 years of age, consent must be provided by the parent or carer by clicking on the form below:
If your son/daughter is aged 16 or above consent must be given directly by the student by filling in the form below:
For further details on the testing process please click on the link below:
We have been contacted by our supplier for Chromebooks, who, at this stage are looking at the end of January for delivery of our remaining Chromebooks. Once they have arrived, there will be a short turnaround for administration and then arrangements will be made for distribution to parents.
Free school meals
We will shortly be arranging for vouchers to be provided in place of our food parcels which have been distributed so far this lockdown. Those parents will be contacted with further information in due course.
The consultation period with the Department for Education for how the government intends to deal with grades for this summer in Years 11 and 13 is ongoing. What is becoming increasingly clear is that there will be a focus on the work that is undertaken by the students since last lockdown and throughout this lockdown. Exams boards are considering releasing assessments and questions to schools so that students can undertake them as evidence of meeting national standards. It has also been made very clear that students are to remain working with Grades decided at the latest possible moment, given the disruption caused throughout Year 10 and 12 respectively. It is absolutely clear that engagement and task completion is paramount to providing evidence towards student grades. Please ensure you leave no gaps by engaging daily and completing all work set, this will help us to support you in achieving the grades required for further study. Gaps in work at this point will likely have a direct impact on your grades. I will be writing separately to the parents of those groups with further details.
Finally, a well done! Another week of remote learning has passed, it can be a challenging time for families and we are always available for advice and support, please just ask. Our sole aim is to ensure the process is as easy as possible, this can only be done in partnership with parents and carers and you have been spectacular! We will continue to deliver the best possible quality learning opportunities, but for now the classroom management and engagement rest largely in your hands at home. In addition, please keep the positive messages coming, our staff really appreciate them and find them incredibly motivational.
Mr W Monk | Principal