Released On 2nd Jul 2021

Headteacher Letter Friday 2 July

2 July 2021

Dear Parents

Headteacher Letter

On behalf of our teachers, I would like to extend a huge thank you to all parents and carers who contacted the school during ‘thank a teacher’ day. Our staff feel so supported and cared for by the local community and we really appreciate your kindness.

I would like to draw particular attention to the hard work of the refectory staff this term who passed their health and safety inspections with flying colours last week. As with all school staff, this team have been flexible and accommodating in order to meet the demands of an ever-changing landscape this year and I am very grateful to them.

Sports Day

We have moved our sports day to Friday 16 July to enable us to run more athletic events and extend the day. Students are looking forward to this event and have been keenly planning which activity they can be involved in. This year we are also hoping to have a staff relay team.

Year 6 Transition Visit

We are looking forward to welcoming Year 6 next week after school for a socially distanced meet and greet. They will have the chance to meet their tutor group and their new Year 7 tutor. Despite restrictions resulting in a different approach to this year’s transition event, we are pleased to be able to meet students on site and support them in getting to know their new school.  

Key Stage 3 End of Year Assessments

Over the next two weeks, students in Years 7,8 & 9 will be completing their second New Group Reading Test (NGRT). The NGRT is a standardised, adaptive, termly assessment to measure reading skills against the national average. As a school, we use this information to identify where intervention may be needed, and then to monitor impact and see the progress that is made. The ability to read with confidence and fluency is paramount to students’ success, therefore we have invested in ensuring we know where our students need support to achieve this.

For Years 8 and 9, the next fortnight is an especially important one. We are running an end of year exam series to give students a chance to put into practice the knowledge and skills they have acquired. Some of these assessments will be sat by students in the Gym (where the Public Examinations are taken). Research tells us that practising exams from a young age, in the same spaces where they will sit their formal exams in Year 11, enables students to build good exam habits and reduce potential anxiety in the long term.

We know this will mean hard work and dedication for students and we are here to support them every step of the way.

Key Stage 4

Year 10 students demonstrated their commitment to learning during their mock exam session and made their teachers proud. They will receive results in all subjects where a formal written exam is sat this week, with the results from the Arts exams following before the end of term.

Mr Mitchell, Assistant Headteacher, has recorded a 10 minute video explaining how we will support Year 10 as they move into next year. Please watch this video with your child here.

Despite a busy term of revision, our students found the time to complete exceptional applications to become Senior Students at the Academy. The interviews this week demonstrated just what an incredible calibre of students we have at Stanchester Academy. Our Lead Governor for Ambition and Careers, Mark Wilkins, said:

“What an absolute pleasure and privilege it was to sit with the students that applied to be Senior Students this morning. They all had different strengths, but the one thing that came over loud and clear was the shared pride they have in Stanchester Academy and the all-inclusive spirit within the school”.

Following the announcement of the successful applicants next week, we will interview those interested in the ‘Head Student’ positions. This group of young people are already fantastic role models as they demonstrate that success is a choice, and no amount of obstacles will get in their way of achieving great things.

Year 11 2020-21

We have had our Centre Assessed Grades sampled for our outgoing Year 11 Cohort – in English Language and Physics – huge thanks to the staff team and everyone for their efforts.

COVID-19 Prevention

You may have read about the Education Secretary’s statement to review restrictions and inform schools with plenty of notice ahead of the new term. At present, there is no further guidance from the Government regarding the current restrictions in place (e.g. social distancing, regular hand-washing and year group bubbles) therefore we will continue to use these important measures until we have new guidance.

With the rise in cases and an increasing number of people needing to self-isolate, I do recognise that there is a possibility of further disruption to our young people’s education. However, we want to do what we can to ensure students are in school and in front of the teachers so long as it is safe to do so. 

There is speculation in the media and education networks that we are likely to see some level of disruption (for example, further periods of remote learning or changes to examinations) in the Autumn Term or even this side of the Summer Holidays. I can reassure parents that our priorities at Stanchester Academy remain clear – to keep our community safe and to help students make accelerated academic progress. We have remote learning routines well embedded with our staff and students and, should we need to revert to this, we will be sure to support you and your children every step of the way.

With regards to the wearing of face coverings in school (which some students and parents have enquired about) we have always been advised that the Government and Public Health England may mandate that we re-introduce masks to secondary schools. Please be assured that we will watch the local and national picture with regards to face coverings and will keep you informed of any changes to the current requirements.

Lateral flow testing for COVID-19

One of the ways we can keep the school open safely is by students continuing to use their COVID-19 self-test kits to administer Lateral Flow Tests and report their results on the NHS website. Please remember that if the result is positive or invalid, you should report it to school immediately. Students have been given additional test kits and will have their next set early next week. You can also order these from the Government website here or collect tests from local pharmacies and supermarkets. The Information Booklet is here on our school website.

Staff will continue to test twice weekly at home using the NHS Lateral Flow test kits.

Thank you for taking the time to engage with this update and your continued support of the Academy.

As a staff and leadership team, we are all here to support students and families, so do get in touch if there is anything you need or if you have any questions.

Yours sincerely

Miss E Forward

Headteacher