Dear parent/carer,

It has been another positive week in the academy.  It was always our intention to ensure that students return to routines and structure as quickly as possible to ensure that they are supported.  They have responded incredibly and this week there has been a sense of routine and regularity around the academy and it feels fantastic, we will however not become complacent.

This week we had an unannounced spot check from the Health and Safety Executive, an independent body reviewing our practices and procedures.  I am pleased to say the feedback was entirely positive and stated that we provided ‘more than was asked for’.  This is fantastic news and reinforces our continued drive to place the health and safety of our staff and your children at the heart of our decision making.

We need to ensure that students stick to new hygiene measures, please continue to talk with your son or daughter about the need to ensure that hands are clean and the use of face masks for the duration of their journey on public transport. I’m pretty sure if we all stop doing that, so will they!  We have wall mounted hand sanitiser on entry to every block, but you may also find it useful to keep your son/daughter supplied with their own bottle to ensure that they can top up if they want to.

Our sixth form students were last week asked to wear facemasks when in transit around the academy, they have taken this new advice on admirably and responsibly, just one more example of the amazing resilience and adaptability of our students.  While staff have been maintaining their distance from students and face masks have been at the discretion of the individual, staff are now beginning to use face masks inside during transit where the volume of traffic is slightly higher.  For all other students at this stage facemasks remain an individual choice to be considered when passing through corridors rather than outside.

SIMS parental gateway

There have been one or two queries regarding the SIMS parent gateway.  SIMS discontinued their product a month or two before schools were asked to close, a replacement product was pursued and delayed due to academy closure.  We will shortly be transferring our school database to an alternative running the two systems simultaneously to ensure continuity.  If necessary in the meantime, as we collect data, we will return to the old-fashioned way of reporting via email or even printing, until the moment that we are confident that our new system will operate without fault.  Therefore, live attendance reporting will not be available until our new system begins, we thank you for your patience.

Chromebooks

Our Chromebook order is well underway, as you can probably understand, there are not bundles of one thousand Chromebooks readily available.  Whilst there have been some manufacturing delays, we are pleased to announce that the first delivery is scheduled to take place shortly with others following shortly, we will be prioritising examination year groups first (Year 11) and then other year groups.  It is our intention to ensure these are in the hands of our students as soon as we are in receipt of the devices.  You will be informed in due course as delivery dates are confirmed for each batch.

Uniform

This is the autumn term and the weather will soon become quite changeable.  With the systems and structures, we have in place a majority of movement is outside academy buildings, this will not change with the weather.  To ensure safety there are occasionally some short wait times outside buildings, please ensure that your son or daughter has a suitable coat for the conditions as they inevitably begin to change.  I would also ask that non-uniform hoodies are not used as PE Kit; the students look incredibly smart in the PE kit as the temperature drops please ensure that they are dressed appropriately with correct kit.

Cases

We are constantly monitoring the national and regional picture, you will have noticed situation in the North of England where the number of cases per 100,000 people is rising.  We currently remain in an are

a of relatively low transmission where for the week 8th -14th September Tonbridge & Malling reported 8 cases per 100k people, Tunbridge Wells 8 cases per 100k people and Maidstone 4 cases per 100k people.  The same average figure in the north is in excess of 80 per 100k people. To put this in context for an academy of our size we would expect 0.08 infections or the equivalent one infection for every 12.5 similarly sized schools within our area.  At this stage we have no positive cases recorded within our school community, but continue to work with individuals and their families using self-isolation as a precautionary measure where necessary.  Please consider the table here when looking at symptoms, not each symptom in isolation but rather a combination and remember it is also the season for colds and flu.  If your symptoms are in line with a cold, it is perfectly reasonable for students to still attend.  As always, our staff are available should you need advice.

Finally, from me, as ever my thanks for your efforts and your partnership with the academy in ensuring a calm and protected environment where students can continue their education and progress against the odds.  Academy attendance remains above the national averages and as a result those students are in the best possible position to succeed now and in the future.

Yours sincerely,

Mr W Monk

Principal