I hope this letter finds you and your families well. As we make the final approach towards half term there certainly has been no let-up in the efforts of our amazing students, we are incredibly proud of how they continue to respond and know that this simply places them in the best possible position upon their return. As families continue to balance work with students working remotely at home we appreciate how difficult that can be and are eternally grateful to parents and carers for their support. Whilst we are acutely aware of screen time and its effects, it is strongly felt that the maintenance of a familiar structure is also imperative providing a focus during the lockdown and ensuring that our eventual return will be resultantly smoother. We know you are all working hard, we know you are doing everything that you can, just keep it going. Please take the time to step away from screen as soon as lessons are over and during those wellbeing breaks between lessons throughout the day. As always if you are concerned about anything at all, contact us, we are here whenever you need us.
We are expecting an update on the details as to the reopening of schools and academies from the Department for Education around the 22nd February, this will also include the outcomes of the public consultation into how the summer public exams will be conducted. As soon as further updates are received, we will let you know how that will impact on our return and Year 11 and 13 exam arrangements. It seems that March the 8th is moving from a suggestion to something more certain, in the meantime just focus on maintaining your current efforts, we will do the rest.
We have now received confirmation that we can support the use of student cameras being switched on during Google Meets, we will not uniformly be requiring them to be on, instead preferring at appropriate points of the lesson such as questioning or discussion to have them switched on. There will be times when it needn’t be on and to ensure we avoid split attention, during explanations, modelling and deliberate practice they are most likely to be off. It will certainly be lovely for our staff to see student faces over black rectangles but it does come with a few vital undertakings by student, namely:
- Only ever switch your camera on if requested by the teacher
- Enter all Google Meets (lessons) with cameras off
- Please ensure your background is blurred with the Meet app
- Please ensure you are appropriately dressed
INSET Day Friday 12th February
A reminder to all parents and carers that next Friday is our Trust Conference (rather than black Friday sales which is the popular rumour amongst students!) so lessons will not be taking place. The academy will be closed from Friday 12th through half term until Monday 22nd February.
I am pleased to report that we have had our Academy testing centre up and running for students and staff in attendance at the academy for three weeks for asymptomatic testing. Linked directly to the national NHS track and trace system, at the time of writing we can confirm no positive results have been identified.
Mental Health Awareness Week
This week has been Children’s Mental Health Week, as an update we want you to be aware of how the topic of mental health has been incorporated into our curriculum and pastoral structure and adapted for the current climate.
To support students in the current climate we have reduced the number of advisory sessions that students have to be involved in alongside hourly well-being breaks in order to limit their screen time and to hopefully support a more effective sleep schedule.
We have sent every student a questionnaire to gauge their opinions on their current state of wellbeing and given them a platform to mention any concerns which we can then support with. Issues that students have raised are sleep as previously mentioned as well as friendships/social media. We have introduced tasks and information related to these into the advisory programme and will continue to address all of the other topics that students raise.
We have included Healthy minds into the curriculum for Years 7-9 and have adapted the content to suit the current global situation. Healthy Minds lessons have looked at how to reduce screen time and to promote wellbeing by setting more active and wellbeing related tasks.
We have our College pastoral teams checking in with students on a Friday in advisory sessions as well as our pastoral management team within each College making contact also with students who may require additional support.
If you have concerns relating to your child’s mental health, please make contact with their advisor via reception in the first instance.
For further information, please visit:
We are finally pleased to announce that we have integrated Schoolcloud to our school system and rearranged the parents evening dates, for our new virtual parents’ evenings. The dates are as follows and further access information will be sent out separately.
- 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
Bromcom Parent App
After half term, we make the switch to Bromcom to manage our information. Our previous platform had not provided us with a service that we wish to offer our parents in terms of real time communication. Bromcom comes with a parent app from Google Play and the App store, shortly after half term we will provide all parents with their personalised log in for the app where you will be able to log in and view attendance, rewards, behaviour points and (hopefully not) detention information. Switching the entire information system for the academy is a huge undertaking, there may well be some teething problems and as always, we ask you to contact the academy from a standpoint of inquiry first.
Finally, my ongoing thanks to the parents and carers of our community. There are many things that will remain as a result of our adaptations during this period, those discussions will take place when the time is right. But certainly, in the most challenging of circumstances, our community has strengthened in the best interests of our young people, I for one hope that we can continue such an amazing partnership long after COVID.
Mr W Monk