Released On 23rd Oct 2020
Parent Update 23 October
23 October 2020
Well I can certainly say it has been a half term like no other I have ever known! Being a school leader is never predictable and one of the beauties of the job is always having to expect the unexpected. As we all know, working with people, young or old will bring something new every day. But, as ever, the school team has risen to the challenge – our attendance has remained very high for both students and staff, we have managed to maintain face to face teaching for all students throughout the half term and we have even managed to continue with key events such as #HelloYellow, Parents Evenings and a Year 11 Revision / Exams Session. Our wonderful portrait mural is now up in the Sports Hall and is a real celebration of our school community, we hope to share the story of the mural in the press over the coming weeks.
As you know our focus this half term has been on bringing our children back and keeping them healthy, happy and safe. We now move into the next phase in school where our aim is to embed a full curriculum that can be safely sustained through the rest of this academic year, ensuring our ‘bubbles’ are as secure as possible. To ensure we have a sustainable model where staff are able to settle into a long term routine without exhausting themselves with all the movements to and from classes, and to build back in some of the curriculum areas we have missed such as Food and Health, PE, outdoor education in Year 7 and Personal Development in Years 7 and 8, we have had to make some adjustments to our ‘bubbles’ and timetables.
The Year 7 bubble will be unchanged with the same entrance and exit processes, the same tutor rooms and the same areas for breaks.
The Year 8 and 9 bubble will be split into two very separate year group bubbles – moving them into different blocks instead of just different classrooms. Year 8 will move into East Block with Miss Cornish and Mrs Flinn moving to the block to support them. Year 9 will move into Westland Wing with Mr Le Gassick and Mrs Hodges moving into the block with them. Their tutors will remain the same.
Year 10 and 11 will therefore move to the main block, again with Mr Newbury and Miss Parry moving with them along with Mrs Knight. Again, tutors will remain the same.
Students have had their new tutor rooms shared with them today but I incorporate the table below to enable you to also see where each group is now situated. Year 7 are not included as they have not changed.
|Year 8||Year 9||Year 10||Year 11|
|8RWE E7||9AM LRC||10TD M7||11RB E9|
|8JBU E4||9CM WW1||10LB/MW M14||11JB M4|
|8TH E9||9HSM WW2||10DC M5||11TT M6|
|8MCL E10||9RM WW4||10RH M20||11JG M16|
|8HH E8||9DW WW6||10KS M8|
To enable entrance to school to work alongside the ‘bubbles’ we ask that Year 8 and 9 now enter through the Library Gate at the far end of main block and Year 10 and 11 enter through the Main Gate. As is currently the case, all entrances are staffed in the morning. We will confirm exit arrangements over half term as there is not space for Year 8 and 9 to line up for their buses by the Library Gate.
Over the course of the last few weeks we have taken feedback from staff and listened to student views with regards to the timetable. To enable various systems to operate more smoothly and to enable us to incorporate all curriculum subjects fully we will be moving all year groups to the 45 minute structure of Year 10 and 11. Now that we have watched students with their movements and the management of split refectory times and by splitting the largest ‘bubble’ we have been able to move everyone onto a more evenly structured timetable. Students will receive their timetable in an extended tutor time on Monday 2 November. Students will not need PE kit on the first day back but PE will start on Tuesday with 7JC, 7AMC, 7RWi, 8MCL, 8HH, 8SG, 9CM and 9AM but everyone needing it from then on – Year 11 will not need kit until after mock exams.
In previous updates I have explained the need for us to identify students who have not yet gained sufficient ground since the return to full school in September. Over the last few weeks students in Years 7, 8, 9 and 10 have been completing assessments. These assessment have enabled us to identify different groups, particularly in Maths and English to enable us to target teaching at the right levels to accelerate students as quickly as possible. The timetable is structured to enable groups to be fluid - once a student accelerates through various levels they may move groups to continue to access the teaching that will challenge them at the right personal level to ensure they achieve their potential. Students in these year groups may move into different groups on the return to school after half term, their teacher will explain the purpose of the groups they are in and the goals they are aiming for.
Yesterday we met with all Year 11 to talk them through some key thoughts for this year, particularly around the management of exams. We would usually be hosting a revision evening to meet with parents and explain some of the exam processes but that is not possible. The material shared with students yesterday will be uploaded to the school website and includes their mock timetable. Students have taken home an extensive revision booklet. The booklet, besides including their mock timetable, also includes information about revision from each subject area, guidance on how to plan revision, advice on wellbeing and mindset as well as information about further resources that will help in their planning. Students also heard from our Careers Advisor Mrs Leanne Hewitson who spoke to them about applications, the variety of courses they may want to consider and where to gain information.
One key message to our students was with regard to their mindset. This year will be like no other and so never more has their own mind set mattered so much. Since I started leading the school I have been very clear that education at Stanchester is not only about students acquiring knowledge and gaining qualifications, it is about how we guide them to become the very best versions of themselves, how we grow and develop their characters. Their individual characters are what will define their success this year. It has never been more important for our Year 11 to approach this year with positivity, with a ‘can do’ attitude and with a will to achieve the very best from the very start. We cannot predict how this year will pass and so continuing the incredible start they have made will be critical in ensuring no matter what happens next summer, they know they have given their best and that together, we can demonstrate that.
Mock Exam Processes
A few key messages we shared, many of which are JCQ exam regulations:
- Students will need face coverings to enter and exit the exams
- Staff carrying out entry and exit routines will also wear face coverings
- Students will receive their ID card on Monday 2 November and will need this for every exam (JCQ regulation)
- Phones and watches are not permitted in exams (JCQ regulation)
- Students must have a clear pencil case with all the necessary equipment and must have a scientific calculator (JCQ regulation)
- Water must be in a clear container with no labels (JCQ regulation)
- No food is allowed in the exam room
Please remember that any positive Covid results within the household need to be reported to school to enable us to liaise with Public Health and carry out the necessary tracking and tracing. During the half term break if a member of your household receives a positive Covid test result please send a text message to 07503 671088 with the student’s name, year group and the best contact number. You will then receive a call back the same day or the next day should it be later then 5pm.
As with previous school holidays, should you need to report a serious safeguarding concern during the holidays please contact Mr Clinkard on 07503 636863. You can of course also contact 101.
Once again our absence remains very low. We have no staff absent with Covid symptoms and student attendance remains high with less than 5 currently receiving work at home due to household illnesses.
Stanchester Academy has worked very closely with the Rotary Club for many years and has benefited from our close partnership in a variety of ways including giving all our Year 11 students mock interviews, entering various competitions and showcasing our school through different events. This year we are joining their annual awareness raising of the Purple4Polio campaign. The Rotary Club worldwide have been campaigning for the elimination of Polio since 1979. Since their involvement Polio cases have dropped by more than 99%. As part of the campaign, Rotarians work with various organisations to plant purple crocus corms raising awareness of the campaign. Today students helped members of the Rotary Club to safely plant 100 crocus corms, I’m sure not only serving as a reminder of the incredible work done to almost eliminate the disease but also serving as a poignant reminder of the work we still have to do to avoid situations such as those we have found ourselves in this year.
This year, in line with Government and British Legion advice, we will not be able to attend remembrance services in the same way we have in the past. As a school that is incredibly proud of its relationship with the armed forces and with the highest proportion of service families of any school in Somerset we will of course mark the occasion as we always do. On Wednesday 11 November we will hold our whole school assembly, albeit virtually and we will be laying our wreath at the memorial on Ham Hill with our senior group of students. Students who are members of the cadet forces may wear their uniforms on Wednesday 11 November.
Throughout the days leading up to Remembrance students across all year groups will participate in activities to remind us of the meaning of remembrance and to enable students and staff to take time to reflect on the often very personal meaning of Remembrance. We plan to create a display at the front of the school for the community to also use as a focal point in the absence of Remembrance services. We look forward to sharing this with you.
Finally I would like to express my thanks to all our school community – Students, Parents, Staff, Governors and Friends who have supported us and enabled us to so successfully enjoy a half term of onsite face to face learning that has not just been about returning but that has actually enabled us to reflect on all we do, learn from the opportunities that have been presented to us and move forward with confidence for the future.
Mrs A Joynes