Released On 26th Nov 2021

Headteacher Letter 26 November

26 November 2021

Dear Parents and Carers,

Headteacher Letter

It has been another busy and eventful week at Stanchester Academy: our Year 10 students have made an excellent start to their first formal mock examinations, the student council met to discuss lunchtime provision, Year 9 took part in our STEM event and we have had a renewed school wide focus on the importance of kindness, manners, and respect.  Assemblies this week have taken place to educate Years 7 to 9 around ‘Extremism’ and students in Years 10 and 11 have had their careers and enterprise assemblies from local Businessman Mark Wilkins.

Year 9 STEM Event

From 16 – 18 November, all Year 9 tutor groups took part in a two-hour STEM workshop that was delivered to them by specialist engineers from within the Army. Students were able to design, build their own robots, and then program them to navigate through a mock city.  

It was brilliant to see students developing their programming and engineering skills. The students were also educated in careers as engineers, medics, and logisticians.  One of the highlights of the workshop was a question-and-answer session where students were able to ask serving members of the Army about their job roles and what it was like to serve in the armed forces.

“The students demonstrated great teamwork and I was incredibly impressed with the enthusiasm and creativity the students displayed. They represented Stanchester superbly”.   

Jess Glass, STEM coordinator.

The show will go on! But alas, so does Covid

Our eagerly awaited school production of Aladdin will still go ahead, but due to a couple of high profile cast members being impacted by COVID, the performing Arts team and cast have made the decision to move the show back to the 16/17/18 February 2022. Tickets already purchased will be honoured for the new production dates. The Performing Arts team will be contacting all cast members over the next two days.

This means that the current working weekend scheduled for this coming weekend – 27&28 November – will also be postponed to a new weekend in February, details to follow in due course.

Relative to the area our COVID infection rates are still low but we remain in Amber alert until the end of the month.

As a timely reminder the guidance states students should:

  • Continue to use face coverings in secondary schools in communal areas such as corridors when movement occurs between lessons and on school transport if used.
  •  Reduce mixing between groups of students as much as possible. Consider pausing ‘whole school’ assemblies and other “large gatherings” indoors
  • Promote social distancing and reduce crowding where possible; minimise pinch points in the school day, for example, staggered lunch times, or start times
  • Reinforce social distancing and good infection prevention control amongst staff (ventilation and touchpoint cleaning especially in areas where staff gather)
  • Any close or household contacts of confirmed cases of Covid-19 identified by NHS Test & Trace to book a PCR test and whilst awaiting test results, undertake a daily LFD test and only attend school if this is negative.

I would like to stress the importance of our students remaining in their bubbles, particularly during social times to reduce the risk of infection. We have been reminding students about this regularly, but if you can discuss this over the weekend with your children that would be appreciated.

Social Media and Mobile Phones

New technologies, the internet and social media are increasingly impacting the lives of our young people. Whilst we recognise the many benefits these technologies can bring, it is increasingly the case that the pace of change is difficult to keep up with.  We understand some parents may find they do not feel informed enough to effectively support how their children use these technologies.

Since half term, we have seen an increased problem within school as a direct result of access to social media. There are several social media platforms where fighting in school across the country is being encouraged. Having reviewed several devices, we are concerned by the amount of negativity on students' mobile phones and the damaging affect this is having to our young people’s self-esteem and self-image.

To try to reduce this we will be issuing mobile phone ban letters out to students if they have:

  • Used their phone in school, to send abusive or threatening messages or voice notes to other students. 
  • Used their phone in school, without permission. 
  • Used their phone in school, to film other students.

If you have received a mobile phone ban, we will expect your child to enter the school through the main reception, at which point they will be expected to hand over their phone (this will be stored in the school safe) and then collect it at the end of the day. The in-school phone use is within our control; however, we need support from parents outside of school to help monitor activity for students online.

We are exploring how we can further support parents with these issues and ensure our young people use their devices in a healthy and productive manner. We would welcome your feedback on whether providing some guidance or workshops on how to support young people in using social media and technology safely is something that parents would value. This could be in the form of a live event or an online session that parents can attend virtually.

If you are interested, please complete the survey via the link below.

https://forms.office.com/r/pNrvEQi3xg

Leisure Assistant Opportunity

Following on from significant local interest and requests we are looking to reopen the Sports Centre for local community groups and require a Leisure Assistant to oversee the Sports Centre facilities, which consist of a four-badminton court sports hall, two squash courts, floodlit hard courts and grass football and rugby pitches.

The main purpose of this role is to be available to work evenings and weekends as required and supervise community lettings within the Sports Centre. The successful candidates will have a passion to work in a sports/leisure environment, possess good communication skills, flexibility, and a commitment to providing good customer service.

We are keen to fill this position as soon as possible and start to open the site up to community groups on our waiting lists. For further details, an application pack can be found in ‘Vacancies’ in the ‘Our School’ section at:

www.stanchester-academy.co.uk.

Closing date for applications: 5pm on Monday 6 December 2021

Please remember that we see feedback as a positive way for us to improve, if you have any ideas or suggestions and would like to be involved in what we are doing at Stanchester Academy please make contact with me or a member of the team.

Yours sincerely

Miss E Forward

Headteacher