Principal’s Statement – 26th February 2021

Dear Parents/Carers,

 

I hope this letter finds you and your families well.  I am so pleased that we will finally get to see the return of our students from the 8th March. Our staff have really missed the students over this period and are very excited to see them all again.  A brief warning, this letter is quite long! There is so much to cover so please take your time. Following the Prime Minister’s announcement, we are left with some logistical challenges largely around fulfilling an entirely new target of testing every student three times in the first two weeks and balancing that with our remote learning and face to face provision. I am happy to say that we have a strong plan in place that will fulfil those national requirements and continue to keep all of our students safe, happy and learning.

In order to ensure that all students (and staff) can access our testing site we will be staggering the reopening and continuing to utilise our remote learning provision for those not on site. As you will appreciate, it is a huge task to move over twelve hundred students through a testing site three times in ten school days (3600 tests), we need to have significant staff numbers available to do so, but we have the processes in place, where each student will conduct their lateral flow test under the guidance of a trained Health Care Assistant and supported by trained staff from the Hop Farm NHS testing site. Staff will also be on hand to ensure things go smoothly and for any support that is needed.

The return of students

On Thursday 4th and Friday 5th March, our staff will be undergoing an on-site induction process to ensure the staff and site are fully prepared for academy reopening, please be aware that some live content in remote learning will be disrupted on those days, however, work for completion will still be posted within Google Classrooms. 

Students will return on the dates below in the week beginning 8th March, initially for one day only. Students will have access to testing and face to face teaching on that day and then return to remote learning while alternate year groups are in attendance and tested. All attendance times are unchanged from the usual times, 8.30 – 3pm (2pm on Wednesdays).

On-site attendance Remote learning Testing
Mon 8/3/2021 Year 10 and KS5 only Year 7, 8, 9, 11 Year 10 and KS5 1
Tue 9/3/2021 Year 8 and 9 only Year 7, 10, 11, KS5 Year 8 and 9 1
Wed 10/3/2021 Year 11 and 7 only Year 8, 9, 10, KS5 Year 11 and 7 1
Thu 11/3/2021 All years Year 10 and KS5 2
Fri 12/3/2021 All years Year 8 and 9 2
Mon 15/3/2021 All years Year 11 and 7 2
Tue 16/3/2021 All years Year 8 and 9 3
Wed 17/3/2021 All years Year 10 and KS5 3
Thu 18/3/2021 All years Year 11 and 7 3

Please also be aware that there may also be some slight disruption to live provision on the 8th, 9th and 10th March, but again work will be available. Our aim is to prioritise face to face return and ensure students are well trained in self-administering tests so that they can confidently complete them at home at the end of the two-week period. Please be advised that academy attendance is mandatory and as such we expect to see, and are very much looking forward to seeing, all of our wonderful young people return.

To help us with testing

The most cumbersome part of the testing is the registration process on the NHS site, I asked in a previous letter for parents to check that your son/daughter knows key information off by heart, this will help considerably as we will ask students to register in advisory sessions prior to attending the test site. You can help further by registering your son/daughter for a test by creating an account at:

Please ensure that your son/daughter knows the username and password should you create an account for them. We will however create one for each test if you are unable to do so.

We also need to ensure that you have completed the online consent forms listed below:

 

On site safety and face masks

There will be a sense of familiarity as the students return, hand sanitiser is available at the entrance to every block and every classroom. Doors are propped open to avoid high contact. Windows in classrooms are open for ventilation, staff teach from boxes 2m away from students and students will remain in their bubbles for lessons with staggered breaks and lunchtimes as before. We will also be following the national guidance on the use of facemasks in classroom, this guidance is in place until Easter and will be reviewed at that point. If you have a medical exemption, please speak with your college team, who will work with you to find a solution. I am aware of a number of web sites offering face mask ‘advice’ and template letters, please be reminded that this is a national directive and concerns regarding legislation should not be directed to the academy. We will however work with all of our students and their families to ensure they are safe, they are happy and they can learn. Please ensure that your son/daughter arrives to school with a mask or in fact masks, we will have a small number available for those who forget or lose their masks.

Bromcom parent app

Over the half term period we successfully migrated our entire database to Bromcom and I am pleased to say we now have a parent app, downloadable in iOS, Google play and windows, please search for ‘Bromcom parent’. Your log on details will be with you over the next week. Once logged in you will be able to see live attendance, rewards and hopefully not too many sanctions.

Parents evenings

A reminder that starting from next Wednesday, we will be conducting virtual parent’s evenings using school cloud. Year 11 and 13 parents will be receiving their log in details shortly, the remaining dates are as follows:

  • Wednesday 3rd March – Year 11 and Year 13
  • Wednesday 17th March – Year 10 and Year 12
  • Wednesday 31st March – Year 7
  • Wednesday 21st April – Year 9
  • Wednesday 12th May – Year 8

Chromebooks

It certainly has come as a huge relief to finally get confirmation of our last Chromebook delivery for Year 8 and 9 students, this has been somewhat difficult to secure due to a range of issues relating to Brexit, COVID and even an international trade war for components!  We are now expecting to distribute those remaining Chromebooks in the week beginning 15th March and we thank you for your patience.

We have also put together some support videos and information for Chromebook use which can be found here.

Finally, we know that the challenges that face us remain and this can be a worrying time for everybody. The strength of our community in supporting our students over the last twelve months has always been based in partnership and as I have said before, there is no rulebook as to how to navigate a global pandemic. We are grateful that parents and carers have been incredibly supportive, working alongside us, our incredible students continue to amaze but challenges ahead still remain. For our young people, positivity and a return to familiarity and routine are key, they have been and continue to be absolutely fine. We will continue to work incredibly hard to ensure they are happy, safe and learning. We promise.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Mr W Monk

Principal