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Academy Update – 03/07/2020

Posted on: July 3, 2020

There are only two weeks left of what has been without a doubt the strangest term ever seen in education.

The good news is that in September we can welcome back all of our students. We can’t wait to see them! However, before then the academy has a lot of work to do to prepare the site, classrooms and curriculum for the ‘new normal’ at the start of next term. The Government published guidance yesterday which you can read here if you wish:

To summarise, the Government requires all schools to ensure the following:

• A robust policy for ensuring hands are kept sanitised and ensure good respiratory hygiene.
• Regular cleaning schedules that ensure that areas are thoroughly cleaned before they are used by different year groups.
• Minimising contact between individuals and encouraging social distancing where possible and ensuring students do not sit face to face (unless there is a screen in place).
• Creation of year group bubbles in which students from different bubbles never come into contact with each other and never use the same room until that room has been thoroughly cleaned.

As you can imagine this will require a lot of preparation. Once we have made all of our preparations we will produce a video and accompanying letter explaining all the new arrangements. What I can tell you at this very early stage is the following:

• The academy will use 2 INSET days on the 1st and 2nd of September to help all staff complete preparations for the students return.

• It is my intention (if possible) to bring all students back into the academy on 3rd September, one year group at a time starting with Year 7. All students will need time to be shown the new arrangements.

• From Friday 4th September onwards the academy will have staggered starts in which Y7 & Y10 will be expected to be in the academy no later than 8.30 am. Years 8, 9 and 11 would be expected to arrive no earlier than 8.35 am to begin lessons at 9.00 am. Each year group would enter the academy by a separate gate and the student yard would be divided into 3 areas to keep the year group bubbles intact. Breaks and lunches would also be at different times.

• Year 7 & 10 would finish the academy day at 2.50 pm and Year 8, 9 & 11 would finish at 3.20 pm. Year 11 would have intervention lessons scheduled for some evenings after 3.20 pm.

• Students will be back in full school uniform in September.

You will, of course, have a huge number of questions and we will answer these in due course. If there are specific questions please feel free to contact me at the academy using the email address or use the Forum on the academy website. I welcome your input.

One of the questions many of you will be asking is how the students are going to catch up on the months of education that they have missed. The academy is currently putting together plans for a full catch-up programme in September and will communicate these to you closer to the time.

A big thank you to everyone who responded to our parental survey. We now have all the requests for our summer school. This will run in weeks 1, 2, 3 and 6. Weeks 4 and 5 are for the new Y7 students. We will be contacting every parent who asked for a place at the summer school in due course with specific details. The summer school will run between 8.30 am and 3 pm every day. We will provide breakfast and lunch free of charge. The mornings will be an opportunity to engage in academic catch up (as requested by the vast majority of you), but we will use the afternoons for sports and craft activities as well.

We also have another exciting opportunity coming up next week at OSSMA, following the recent success of our Holocaust Survivor Zoom lessons. On Tuesday 7th July at 11 am all pupils have a chance to join in an online workshop live from the Houses of Parliament. The session will cover how Parliament works and also how our young people can get involved in politics. Any pupil who wants to take part in this needs to email Mrs Peach at and they will be sent the link on Monday.

These next few months will be testing for everyone in the community. We will expect even better behaviour and cooperation from the students in order to ensure that everyone is safe and that the guidance is followed. The staff will go to even greater lengths to ensure that our students are not disadvantaged by what has happened and continue to receive the best possible education available. Things are going to be different moving forward and I would ask for your support and patience in this.

As a community, we will emerge from this stronger than ever.

Take care and stay safe.

Nick Brennan
Head of School