Principal's Blog - 23rd April 2021

Dear Parents and Carers,

I hope you are well and have enjoyed the warmer weather. It has been lovely to see the students outside enjoying the fresh air, this helps their mental health and enables them the freedom to walk around and to remove their face-masks if they wish to do so. For Year 8,10 and 11 we have been able to open the outside food hatch this week so students are now getting food from outside. I hope that, as the roadmap opens up further in June, that we will have the option of returning back to normal, with students having the freedom of all areas of the school again.

Nevertheless, this has been a great week! We have covered ‘ Shakespeare day’ and ‘Earth day’ this week, so the students have been completing a range of activities, which they have thoroughly enjoyed! I have attached some photos below. It has been great to see enrichment fully back this week with a huge offer of PE Clubs and debate clubs starting back again. Our academy truly believes in the value of extra-curricular activities and enrichment opportunities for each and every one of our students, and I am so pleased that we are, finally, able to re-introduce these.

As you will remember I sent out a survey to you, students and staff regarding staggered breaks and the timings of lessons. The majority of students/staff/parents all said that they preferred one hour lessons. Therefore from September the timetable will revert back to one hour lessons for all year groups. I also consulted with you all regarding the staggered break/lunch and this was very much mixed. The students and parents enjoyed and wanted the staggered breaks/lunches due to having more space, less crowds in the canteen and less time queuing for food etc. However some students said they miss seeing other year groups. Staff were mixed regarding this, however I have gone with a combined approach introducing two staggered breaks rather than three, so the school will be split into lower and upper. This will mean that students can mix with some year groups, however they will have the added space of the canteen and main hall, plus usual eating areas for both break and lunch, plus the usual outside space. It will mean, however, that students will not be able to walk around the building as lessons will be on for other students, but they will have ample inside seating areas and outside space. Below is a copy of the timings for September 2021, the new Principal will then review this next academic year.

Time Lower School Upper School

08.45 Mentor Mentor

09.20 P1 P1

09.50 P1 P1

10.20 Break P2

10.50 P2 P2

11.20 P2 Break

11.50 P3 P3

12.20 P3 P3

12.50 Lunch P4

13.20 P4 P4

13.50 P4 Lunch

14.20 P5 P5

14.50 P5 P5

15.20 End of day End of day Just advance notice that on the 6th May we have Year 10 Parents Evening (virtual) as a result students will be leaving the site at 12.45pm. Transport has been arranged if your child normally uses a school bus.

Next week our Year 11/13 students start PPE exams. Sadly, this will mean that the main hall will not have seating/tables during this time as they will be used for exams and due to bubbles we do not have extra spare furniture. Y11 will need to be in full uniform for the two weeks as PE lessons will not be taking place during this period.

I can confirm that Year 11 and Year 13 will finish on the 28th May as per other Essex schools, however we may still need students on site till the 12th June for any assessments etc. I will be in touch with further information around leavers’ day in the next few weeks.

Can I also remind parents/students that students are expected to be in full uniform and wearing the appropriate shoes, not trainers. Any student wearing trainers without a medical reason will be isolated and the same will apply if students are choosing to wear personal jumpers/hoodies rather than school jumpers or blazers. Please remind your child of the reasons why we continue to work hard to ensure our students look smart and play their part in school and the wider community. Following this I would like to say how impressed I have been with the students' return and their attitudes to wearing face masks. They have done this respectfully, ensuring we continue to work together to keep everyone safe and have just accepted this way of life. Like them, I can’t wait until the restrictions are lifted but we will continue to play our part in staying open but safe.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend.

Emma Baker



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