Released On 10th Jul 2020
Parent Update Letter 10 July
10 July 2020
It is unbelievable to think we have just one week left of what has been a truly exceptional year – certainly one of the most challenging of my 22 years in teaching. That said, there are an enormous amount of positives to be taken from the year – largely due to the incredible community we have at Stanchester Academy. One of our new senior students said she felt these last few months in many ways had brought our community even closer together, giving us foundations to build on when we return and that this sense of community will make the return easier than maybe it will be elsewhere. I think she is right – certainly the word community has been used more than any other over the last few weeks. I thought before I detail some of our planning for September for you, I would share with you a piece of work from one of our Year 7 key worker students – I think it perfectly captures our school and demonstrates some of the attributes that will enable us to feel complete confidence moving forward toward the next stage of school return.
The coronavirus hero I chose was TEACHERS because they help all students and other colleagues with work or just generally supporting us. Just like at Stanchester we have six 6C’s for students I made this list for the teachers:
Caring - because they help students and they are kind.
Creative - because they made fun and exciting lessons.
Commitment - because they are committed to help students, and work hard to make sure students are doing the right things.
Challenge - they make challenging lessons and they make a challenge on staying up all night planning their lessons.
Collaboration - they get together and form plans with other teachers and teaching assistants.
Critical - they scan over students work to make sure it’s all correct and they stay up late to mark it.
Thank you Thomas and well done. The 6C’s have certainly helped all of us – students and staff, to focus on what is important – particularly at this time.
Thank you to everyone who has attended their tutor meeting with their child. Next week we welcome Year 7 for their meetings and look forward to hearing all about their last few months. We will also be trying to catch up with some of the students who have not been able to make it into school yet.
Summer Preparation Booklets
By the end of next week every student will have received a summer preparation booklet – either through their tutor meeting, being in school, or through the post if unable to attend. The booklets are full of activities to keep children busy over the summer and to keep them well. There are all sorts of ideas to help students reflect on the last few months and to help them prepare for returning to full time learning in school once again. Many students have also set their goals for the summer, I have heard of all sorts of challenges students are setting themselves, from cycling 30 miles a week to cooking a meal for the family each week. In September students will bring their booklets back to school and we will use these to help us get ready for the new school year.
Our overriding principle for September is to give you the confidence that we have done everything possible to ensure the safety of the school community. Despite the challenge of the guidance for schools we have identified a plan that will enable us to create ‘bubbles’ in zones across the school to ensure students do not travel from one ‘bubble’ to another. As you can imagine this has taken an enormous amount of work but also requires our staff to be incredibly flexible and adaptable to the changes we are introducing to ensure we have the confidence that every measure possible has been taken.
Our plan will operate in four stages with the final stage being a return to ‘normal’ once guidance allows this. Throughout every stage we will review success and impact before moving through to the next stage – at all times adhering to health and safety measures and ensuring it is ‘safe’ for us to move forward.
The aim of the first stage in September is to ensure all students return to school confidently and safely and have time to ‘catch up’ on any missed learning and for us to ensure we have a very clear picture of any students who may be off track in terms of achieving their potential. We want to motivate students and ensure we can re-ignite their love for learning in school so they can continue through the year with confidence and belief.
Each ‘bubble’ will have its own timetable to enable us to separate break and lunchtimes. Although we will not be staggering the start and end times of the day in terms of drop off and collection (due to the vast majority of students using buses) we will be using different entrances and exits. Every year group will study the full range of subjects except those that are not possible – such as DT Food and PE as we would usually see it.
Within each ‘bubble’ there are IT spaces, art rooms and large spaces for performing arts ensuring we are not reducing our curriculum offer but continue to keep these creative subjects ‘alive’ within our curriculum.
Full timetables will be shared with students on the first day of term in September – as they usually would. Details of where to arrive on day 1 will be sent in personalised letters next week.
We have split the site into 3 areas. West block which will be the Year 7 ‘bubble’, main block for Years 8 and 9 and Westland Wing and East Block for Years 10 and 11. Students will be taught in classes with the tables facing front as per the guidance. Movement to different rooms within the bubble will be kept to a minimum, with staff moving between classes and entrance / exits out of the blocks for breaks will be away and separate from other ‘bubbles’. Each ‘bubble’ will have its own facilities such as toilets and withdrawal spaces, should it be required for students. We have hired an additional toilet block in order to achieve this. Guidance states that within the identified ‘bubbles’ students can move around, although we will aim to keep this to a minimum, Years 10 and 11 will move within their ‘bubble’ to enable them to access their specialist option teachers. Year 10 and 11 will work as Year 10 have currently – having a 45 minute lesson of every one of their subjects every day.
County transport will be operating a full service. Each bus will have a seating plan by year group which will support our ‘bubbles’. Parents can of course choose not to use the bus and transport their own children.
Money in School
We do not anticipate students needing to bring money to school for trips and visits during the first few weeks of term. The Refectory will be operating but we will need to enforce the cashless catering system as students will not be able to travel through the main block of the school to access the ‘top up’ machine. We will be in touch next week to ensure we have details of any family not able to use wise pay or internet banking for their child’s fob.
We aim for all parents to receive a personalised letter next week with further details about specific arrangements. There will be a further parent update next Friday which will include details about the phasing of uniform, cleaning and hygiene arrangements and any further information I have regarding transport. Next week’s update will also have detailed signposting and information about safeguarding arrangements for the summer holiday and emergency contact numbers for all parents to use should they need to URGENTLY speak to myself or Mr Clinkard (Designated Safeguarding Lead).
During the summer I will write 3 further update letters ensuring we can respond to any further guidance as it is issued. These will be issued on Friday 31 July, Friday 21 August and Friday 28 August, staff will be back in school on Thursday 3 September 2020.
We will be launching a new website during the summer holidays. We will ensure we provide instructions for you – I know last time we launched a new website there was some confusion around navigation, I will ensure we do our best to support you in this particularly as the website holds all our update information for you.
Finally, we hope your children have a great last week of term and have plenty to look forward to over the summer, please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any concerns about the summer or would like additional activities for your children. Although we can’t celebrate the end of the school year as we normally would, we have a few surprises for your children and will ensure we have a celebration of our full return in September.
Take care and stay safe and well.
Mrs A Joynes